It seems only yesterday that I went up to Véronique at the fish farm and returned with a tiny black bundle. Now that black bundle is a mature (well, in number of years) twelve! Mainly grey now, not because of her old age but because the little black puppy with white paws changed her colour in the first two years.
Those first few weeks were quite taxing, as Poppy tried to hid from us. Not content with going behind the washing machine, she sought refuge in the bottom of the woodpile or, worse still, tried to go into the aeration hole on my terrace which led to an inaccessible space under the house. Together with my friend Margaret we went round the house blocking off all danger spots.
Through the years Hans and Margaret have shared the caring of Poppy, who soon transformed from a scared little scrap to a self-assured Madame, confident of her place at the centre of the universe. So it was only fitting that they should be invited to share her 12th birthday. I provided a cake for the humans, Margaret made one for Poppy – which she bolted in one sitting.