Muffin, the dog who loves to travel

One question I am frequently asked about is how moving location will effect pets. Building societies tell us that the average family moves home every seven to eight years.

I have just spoken to an old and good friend for fifty years and he has lived in the same house since he married some sixty-two years ago and has no intention of moving. In many ways I envy him but on the other hand I have enjoyed the variety of homes I have lived in. Different conditions, different countries ,different climates. Of course we are all different, it makes life interesting.

Erny and I have lived in our present house, deep in the countryside, for twenty years and we and the animals love it. Adjustments had to be made to suit the pets. We have fenced in an acre and a half of our land and have self-closing gates fitted as a public road is only a short distance away.

Recently I was watching the Notting Hill Carnival on television and my mind went back to a German shepherd dog called Muffin and his owner Tony. Tony came from a wealthy family which owned a large engineering works. Tony was interested in farming so he went to an agricultural college and then could afford to buy a very luxurious farm in the west of England.

It became a model farm and featured on a BBC programme showing the cows lying on waterproof mattresses with heated byres for winter. There he acquired Muffin. Tony started dabbling in stocks and shares which put him in touch with a merchant banker who, after four years or so, offered him a job in a London banking house. Tony sold the farm and he and Muffin moved to a house in Notting Hill. Muffin settled in wonderfully however the noise of the annual carnival upset him so Tony asked me if I would take him during the carnival. We had a fine fortnight exploring the lovely countryside before Muffin went back to Notting Hill.

After three years the restless Tony, a keen skier, decided to take a six months skiing holiday in Switzerland and deposited Muffin with me. After two months Tony was missing Muffin so much that he had him flown to Switzerland to join him and his new wife.

After the holiday and a stay in archaic quarantine, Muffin plus Tony and his wife, moved to Bermuda. I lost contact with Muffin but when I joined an American company which caused me to visit New York frequently I decided to return home to UK via Bermuda. I telephoned Tony and said I would like to meet up. "Come off it, tell the truth, you want to see Muffin," he replied. Well it was so, and I was warmly welcomed.

What a varied life Muffin had and he adjusted beautifully, largely due to the considerable care given by Tony and I like to think a bit of attention from me.

Pets, with human assistance, can adapt.