Scruffy went peacefully to sleep in my arms at the vet’s clinic yesterday. She won’t wake again. Her tumour had finally bested her.

It was so many years ago that she came to live with us. Our old dog, Bear, growled at this impudent pup, the size of a mouse, who had entered his kingdom. She took no notice, but made herself comfortable in the curl of his tail and went to sleep. He made no further protest. He knew when he was beat.

And the next dog, Scamp, never had a chance. She ruled him with an iron paw.

Scruffy loved people and so many loved her. She was full of the joy of life.

She has been my faithful companion for all these years. And now there’s a hole in my heart, shaped like a little white dog with brown spots.