As we are now at the very last stages of buying our new home, I find my thoughts straying ever more frequently to the real reason why we decided to purchase a proper house with a real garden.
Yes, it was the logical move after years of throwing money away on a parade of rental properties across London.
Yes, having secured a cushy new job that enables her to work from home, my wife needed a dedicated office space.
However, the real motivation (as anyone who knows me will testify) for the purchase is that owning our own home (and garden) will mean that we can get a dog.
This may not mean much to many of you, but I have been craving a pooch ever since I moved to this godforsaken metropolis from the heather-strewn glens of my homeland.
We always had a dog when I was a child. And while I was as keen as the next teenager to take the barker out for a walk in the rain – in other words, really not very much – I find that the older I have got, the more I have come to yearn for the snuffle of a wet nose and an over-driven tail.
And, fingers crossed, that dream should come true within the next few weeks. We are even allowing ourselves to get just a little bit excited about the prospect.
Out shopping last weekend, we stopped in one of those new pet superstores, spending half an hour pinging rubber steaks at each other and squeezing squeaky toys in each other's ears.
One thing we did notice in the shop was the plethora of posters for pet insurance. This is a reality with which we will soon have to become familiar.
We have spent the last few months in a hell of endless life/buildings insurance questionnaires, answering an endless array of questions about our medical history and the odds that we will shuffle off this here mortal coil before the ink is dry on the mortgage deed.
And all of those questions are very necessary. But I would rather jump through insurance hoops knowing that my reward will be a little furry friend who thinks I am genuinely and without question the finest and most loveable object in the solar system. Such adoration is rare these days.
Of course, all of this canine affection only throws into even starker relief the news from the BBC that cats are one of the top threats to US wildlife, being responsible for the deaths of billions of animals each year.
It is estimated that the demonic, fish-breath hate-mongers have their paws all over the deaths of between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and up to 20.7 billion mammals every year.
Shocking as these statistics are, they should surprise no one. Dogs exude love; cats just ignore you and then try to weasel their way into your affections again by assassinating a sparrow then depositing its still-twitching corpse on your kitchen floor.
There's no insurance premium to cover that kind of queasy trauma. Bastards.Reuse content