Column: I was a cat lady but I fell in love with a dog

There is one thing in life that will never disappoint you. One thing that will love you unconditionally. It will cheer you up when you're down, and take you out when you're moping around the house.

He will always be happy to see you, and won’t even blush when you cradle his head lovingly in your arms and kiss him on the face in front of his mates. He won’t feel embarrassed or mutter a complaint because he is a dog. For years I was a cat person that was until I discovered the joy of having a dog. What I didn’t understand then but do now is a dog is more than just a pet. To call him one seems demeaning to the point of insulting. You don’t own a dog, just as you never own a cat. You see, a cat owns you, where as a dog adores you. A dog will give you tenfold the amount of love you lavish upon him. In other words, he’s always happy to see you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve nipped to the bin out or been away on a long extended cruise, he will be anxiously waiting your return. He won’t care if you don’t look your best, or argue over the TV controller when you insist on watching your favourite programme. Instead, he will slumber as peacefully as a child in your arms, occasionally waking to check that you are still there and out of harm’s way. Your dog will do the dance of extreme happiness every time you walk through the door. Granted, he won’t have your dinner in the oven or be able to make you a cup of tea, but by his sheer presence alone he will soothe you after a long, hard day at work. When you’re feeling grumpy he’ll always find a way of making you smile with something daft he just did. Unlike a man, he won’t hog the duvet but shift off the bed when asked (not that he should be on it in the first place) and, unlike a fractious toddler, he will retire to bed without noise or complaint when you tell him to. On the flip side, he’ll drag you out in all weathers (rain or shine) for the longest walk ever and still be up for another 10-mile jaunt when he hears the rattle of his lead as you hang it limply on the back of the door. He has the ears of a bat and can hear the treat cupboard door open from a different continent never mind another room. His pleading eyes will melt your heart into foolishly handing over more goodies than you first intended. But then he’ll look at you with those same eyes that declare you are the centre of his universe and nothing or no one else matters. And that is when - quite simply - you’ll be putty in his paws.