Moo, the marmite dog

Anyone who knows us, also knows Moo our English Bull Terrier. She's a whopping 13 years old now and still as mad as a brush. She's been my constant companion since we got her, BK (before kids). I work mostly from home and she's my reason to have a break, grab some fresh air or have a quick cuddle - I don't usually need much encouragement.

English Bull Terriers are marmite dogs, people either love them or hate them. Children and old ladies tend to do the former, toddlers are always draping their sticky arms around Moo's substantial neck and old ladies love to coo over her. Moo's always been indifferent to the attention though and embarrassingly will ignore anyone who fawns on her, unless they have food.

But there are plenty of people out there - you may be one of them - who hate the breed and will go out of their way to cross the road when they see us coming. This happens a lot sadly, Moo doesn't care, but I always notice and feel a little sad. Truth is Moo is a gentle soul who's idea of a good time is a cuddle. She waits for our boys to go to bed and then seeks me out knowing she'll get my undivided attention.

When Moo was younger she chewed every bit of wood, leather, fabric and plastic that was left within reach. There aren't many of the boy's toys that escaped her rabid jaws, or Alex's work boots either. Strangely she never chewed my shoes, but my pillows were always good for a wrestle if she managed to sneak up the stairs.

The 'sneaking to the upper floor of the house' days are behind her now and our rambling walks have been replaced by short investigations of our neighbours front gardens. She likes to check out their recycling bins for stray scraps to keep her going till tea time. I still find the gentle pace of our lives together odd after the manic energy of our earlier years, but it's a real privilege to care for an ageing pet and we're doing our best to make her 'golden years' special. Her careful diet has relaxed a bit, I'll sometimes take her for a drive rather than a walk and we leave her to sleep the night wherever she ends up in the evenings, rather than waking and moving her. Little things that we hope make a difference.

So that's our Moo, my BFF, my clown, my faithful companion. She completes our family and makes our house, a home.

Kim Moore