This is Bob. Bob is a dog. He is a Very Good Boy. He came to us about a year ago from Hungary Hearts Dog Rescue. I have no idea what his life was like before he came to us, but I guess he had a bad time: he’s a very sweet, friendly and calm dog around the house, but outside he was super-reactive and very nervous. White vans and men in tracksuits in particular seemed to upset him.

Not having had a dog before, I must admit the learning curve was a steep one, and in retrospect getting a rescue as our first dog may not have been the wisest decision. I had no idea what the hell I was doing, and probably made him worse rather than better for the first few months.

Either way, a year and several thousand pounds’ worth of professional dog training later, he’s healthy, happy, mostly obedient, frequently hilarious, brilliant with the kids, and we love him to bits.

He’s a bit wet in this photo as we’ve just come back from a morning of scaring the bejesus out of the Muntjacs in the woods around Gravetye. As a result, he smells like a pub carpet. But he has a bone, so he doesn’t give a monkeys.