When in my fifties, I got my first dog - an unusually-coloured grey and white Fox Terrier - I feared that I had become a doggy cliché myself: the dog and I both had grey hair and rather long noses.
Ironically, I had hoped that owning a Fox Terrier might help me avoid becoming another kind of cliché – a woman of a certain age with a small, white, curly-haired dog with a composite-breed name like LackaNoodle or YuckyPoo.
What I really wanted was a dog whose temperament would complement mine. I went so far as to complete a questionnaire which purported to assist in the matching process.
Some of the questions – allergies, activity levels, sociability – were predictable enough. Other questions were rather more left-field: What kind of amusement park ride best describes the energy in your home? (Carousel/Ferris Wheel/Log Ride/Roller Coaster); How do you react on the road when another driver cuts you off? (Slow down to give him some space/Lean on the horn/Accelerate and try to cut him off); Does drooling bother you much? (Not a bit/Not my favourite thing/I really don't like it)
The results suggested that I’d be happiest with a Fox Terrier, a breed known for being “intelligent, outgoing, active, inquisitive and quite stylish (when groomed properly)” That sounded like me. And so it came to pass that I lived very happily with my Fox Terrier, Pete, until liver cancer and the ministrations of a compassionate vet delivered him to the Great Bone Yard in the Sky.