During our childhood we had a veritable menagerie: dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, adopted horses, stick insects, fish… The veranda at the back of the house was lined with wellies of all shapes, sizes and colours, standing by ready for action. We children would scamper off into various corners of the garden, with the dogs trotting along behind, the cats watching inscrutably from a warm window sill and the rabbits, up on their hind legs, looking on curiously, nibbling dandelions.
Now we have all grown up, we own between us a motley crew of pets. Mine is a dog called Bramble, affectionately known as Woo. She is an utterly silly labrador, with paws that are far too big for her, and is beloved of all the family – except my brother Gregor, who protests that he dislikes dogs or indeed pets of any kind.
Ironically all the family animals love Gregor and make a beeline for him, especially Woo, whose feelings for him would be better described as adoration. Gregor is an illustrator and drew these quirky pets for my pottery, so I suspect that, deep down, he really does rather like them. A regular Doctor Doolittle, my brother.