This fine little dog, who is rather like something that's escaped from a Lowry painting or a child's drawing of a dog, came into our life 13 years ago. We called her Rufus after the book about the bat as she is similar in her glossy ear. She now approaches her 16th birthday and, apart from sleeping more, has the same terrier energy. A lover of all things feathered, when she sees a bird in flight, she stands on her hind legs and becomes a periscope, rotating her stance as she follows them through the air. In fact, so transfixed is she by the great outdoors - and it is truly great in the Madrid Province - that she must always be on a lead. If she sees a rabbit, for example, she will chase it and, without so much as a glance over her shoulder, she will forget she was ever owned. She's always erred on the side of timidity but is comfortable with us but certainly could never bring herself to being a lap dog. And did I tell you about the inky spot ingrained on her tongue? Strange!