I had my misgivings when my brother said that he and his family had finally acquired the dog they had wanted for months from the Blue Cross Society near where they live, south of Birmingham. The dog, named Rocky, had been to and fro between a couple of would-be new homes for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as a Rottweiler/Alsation cross, he had tried out with the police force but been returned by them for being too much of a softie, then he had gone to a home with cats. Rocky doesn’t like a cat, although he loves almost anything else on four or two legs or even six or eight. He has been in residence now for about three months and by all accounts including that of my son and his new wife who visited last week-end, the whole of this highly-strung family has benefited enormously from Rocky’s phlegmatic, optimistic and loving nature. He loves everyone equally and each one of them is putty in his paws. My brother, whose blood pressure has been a matter of concern to me for a long time, now willingly walks the two miles up the hill to the newspaper shop and back ‘because the dog needs exercise’. He would NEVER walk anywhere before. My brother is also a computer freak who is accustomed to spend most nights of his life sitting at his PC screen in his study, particularly as he thinks most television programmes are rubbish. This does not suit Rocky, however, who likes all his pack around him when he watches TV, eating his bone-chew. Possessed of a primal herding instinct, Rocky thus presents himself at the door of the study, bone in mouth, head cocked, with a look of enquiry on his face. He then trots off to the lounge - if my brother does not follow, Rocky returns to the study and stands in the door again - now with a hurt look on his face. My brother has no defence against this and meekly follows the dog to the lounge for the duration. Well, well, well! Who would have thought it?