It's not as if Walle hasn't got a perfectly good bed of his own. But that's in the living-room, where he could easily choose to sleep, and does when we are all in there. But there's no room for that big bed in my bedroom. And Walle always sleeps wherever I sleep – or nearby. He's not allowed on beds or chairs, and knows that. But wherever I sit, work or sleep – that's where you'll find Walle. At the mistress's feet, so to speak. Right now, as you can see, he's lying right here behind me, his morning walk over, a couple of chicken necks quickly gobbled and nothing better to do than snooze.
And on one other occasion, while friends were helping unload compost onto plants that border a camping area at the bottom of our paddock, I looked up just in time to see Walle take off, ears horizontal, in pursuit of a big monitor lizard he'd found sunning itself in the grass by the dam's edge. The lizard executed a neat dive into the dam, and in plopped Walle right behind. He'd no chance of catching the lizard, of course. But still Walle plodded around among the water lilies, churning up mud and coming out a new shade of brown. I'm not a great believer in washing dogs too often, but no way could Walle come into the living-room without a hosing down on that day. At least he'd recently been shorn, making the clean-up a bit easier.
When Walle first came home with me seven weeks ago, I thought his extreme devotion would be temporary. It worried me then, so the breeder gave me an article about 'separation anxiety' and I followed its recommendations. But now, even though Walle has settled happily into his new home, I know his 'attachment' to me is permanent. He's a one-woman dog. And though it took some getting used to – a bit like having a toddler follow you around – I'm not only resigned to it, I love it. I even think Walle knew I needed this unconditional love and affection, knew that his main job with us would be to care for the carer.