Does anyone remember 'Urban Dog'? It was a column in The Telegraph about the real life 'adventures' of a Scottie dog, Parker, and its owner, Will Cohu. I used to love it, and when my husband and I brought home two Bichon Frisé puppies, it prompted me to start a puppy diary.
Our previous canine companion had died two years earlier, and while I had many wonderful memories of what she used to get up to, I was sure there was much that I'd forgotten. I didn't want that to happen with Harry and Sophie. Twelve and a half years later, the puppy diary has been renamed the doggy diary, and although I can't claim that it would entertain anyone else, I don't regret a moment spent writing it.
At the very least, it has kept me writing regularly. Even though the diary will be read by no one except me, it makes me think about style and vocabulary, beginnings, middles and endings. If William Carlos Williams can make poetry from a note on a fridge door ('This is Just to Say'), I should be able to make something readable of the dogs' antics. Looking back through it, I find myself automatically proofing and editing it. It's all good practice, but for me it's much more.
There have been many ups and downs with the dogs over the years. They've brought us new friends, made us laugh, ensured we get exercise and fresh air–even in the rain and mud–and given us love on days when we felt unlovable. Now, they're growing old and have various health issues, it's good to have a record of when they were active and comical, and everything was fun. Bichons rule OK!