I know there are many out there who will say, "but it's just a dog." Firstly, "it's" a "he," and secondly, there's no such thing as "just a dog." I believe there's no such thing as "just" any sort of animal, actually. They all have remarkable personalities; cows listen to music and turkeys like hugs. But for me, my little slice of family comes in the shape of a Jack Russell Terrier. Cooper is not big or brilliantly behaved or even particularly nice to everyone. But he's mine. And through no choice of my own...I'm his. This little dog who doesn't even stand as high as my wellies and who weighs in at quite a hefty stone and a bit has become a torch for me. When I cry, he licks my tears, and when he is filled with joy on his beach walk, do you know what he does? About 100 metres away, he turns around, grins at me, and like a tiny missile, hurls himself from wherever he is, straight into my knees. This is love.