Sarah Todd: Shaggy-dogs stories prompt thoughts of a household addition

Looking up the date for this week's column deadline made me smile, as our neighbour has given us a calendar full of different pictures of lurchers.

I think it was a bit of a joke, as it will be amusing for the Husband to have to look at a different specimen for the next 300-and-however-many days. "He's all right when he wags his tail," he says of our lurcher Tetley. "But does he have to look so sad the rest of the time?"

It's true that he rarely looks overjoyed – the dog this is, although you-know-who has started to look a bit miserable with all the rugby that's been cancelled because of the weather.

When Tetley is out in a field and sees something, his ears go forward, his tail goes up and he looks magnificent, like something Henry VIII would have next to him in a hunting portrait.

The rest of the time, it has to be said, he isn't smiling. There's nothing to make us fear he isn't happy, it's just the way he is.

On the new lurcher calendar they all look just the same, perhaps even more forlorn, from January right through to December. So it's obviously not just our dog.

He suits us down to the ground. He's got a smashing nature, doesn't yap and although he likes a run out, is happy enough to be sitting by the fire.

He's a bit of company and he also looks rough enough ("like he should be chained to a gipsy caravan you mean," jokes his master) to be a security asset.

Our daughter asked Father Christmas for a book about dogs. She would like her very own for the birthday that falls at the end of this month.

Common sense tells me that one dog is more than enough, but then at her age I had my own – a Jack Russell called Trixie – and we were inseparable. She was my very best friend and there was always something to do when she was around. Like George and her dog, Timmy, from The Famous Five.

The birthday girl's father is a spaniel fan and, to be honest, this was the reason we ended up with Tetley. He'd gone on so much about how we should get another spaniel when the old one died that the only thing for it was to get something at the complete opposite of the canine scale. He's at it again, going on about spaniels.

Our daughter has now read right through her book and has put her mark in very near to the end, on West Highland White Terrier.

Do readers have any thoughts on this breed? It's impressive the way she's considered everything – exercise, temperament etc – and made up her own mind.

Looking at the ball of fun in one of the pictures, might one be just the boost we all need for the year ahead of us (including Tetley)?

CW 8/1/11