Man’s (and Woman’s) Best Friend

Man’s (and Woman’s) Best Friend

When we lost Boris earlier this year, I started to write a Blog post about him but found it too difficult at the time. He’d sat with me for every Blog I’ve written, curled up under my desk, only stirring when I headed to the kitchen for a coffee refill, when he’d wag his stump in the hope that a treat of some kind might be coming his way, or even better that we’d be off for a walk, so trying to compose a Blog was just too painful.

We still miss him every day but I now feel that I can share a few photos and the story of his life.

In early 2004 I was on a bike ride in the hills above Garstang in Lancashire, with my friend and business partner, Michael, when we stopped by a reservoir for a drink and a chocolate bar. As we chatted, a lady came down the path walking her Miniature Schnauzer, so I went over to say hello. Alison and I had been thinking of getting a dog and this breed seemed perfect. Her dog was very friendly and reasonably small, but capable of walking all day, without needing exercise in the way a spaniel does. Schnauzers don’t lose their hair either, which was another bonus.

When I got home, Alison and I scoured the web for more information and came across a breeder in Nelson who had some puppies available. So it was, that in the late spring of 2004, Boris came into our lives. I was actually away biking on the weekend that he was picked up but I’d been involved in the selection process a few weeks earlier, when we met his Sire and Dam at the farm where he’d been born. His dad was a grumpy devil, which should really have given us a steer on Boris’ temperament.

House training was  a breeze thanks to the work that the breeder had done in advance. Sadly, his tail had been docked by the time we collected him, something which, thankfully, has now stopped happening. His Kennel Club name was Jack the Lad, but Boris suited him perfectly, although I used to wince when people thought he was named after Johnson. I don’t mind Yelstin, Pasternak or Becker, but, please, not the mad haired loon.

He soon settled in and became part of the family. His favourite toys were small plastic plant pots, that he’d carry around the garden; the same garden where, a year later, he’d wait for our cat, Sammy, to bring him mice from the field adjacent to our house. Sammy would bring them back over the fence, kill them and then present them to Boris who’d be quite happy to swallow them whole. Nice.

In those days, we had a static caravan in the Yorkshire Dales and Boris used to love his time up there, although him and the site manager’s dog were sworn enemies. Funnily enough, there were certain breeds of dog that he thought of as his nemesis – he didn’t get on with Border Collies, Jack Russells nor Springer Spaniels, although to be honest he didn’t really like any other dogs very much. One year we went on holiday to France and left him with a dog training school instead of kennels. They had him for about 5 weeks in total and when we picked him back up the handler said that he was the most stubborn dog she’d ever worked with!

We bought our campervan in 2011 and he’s been all over the UK with us on our trips. At first we took a cage with us for him to sleep in, but it wasn’t long before that was abandoned and he slept with us on our bed. Life would have been easier if he’d slept lengthways rather than at right angles to us, but, hey, we used to fight over him on cold nights, when he proved to be a very effective hot bottle.

Because he didn’t lose his hair, he had to be clipped every 6 weeks or so, a task made more difficult because he hated having it done. The dog groomers would bring their van to our house and take their lives in their own hands, as they attempted to shampoo and clip him. It was always amazing to see him go into the van looking like a small bear, then emerging back out as a schnauzer again.


Over the years, he’s had loads of adventures with us, but gradually his eyesight and hearing began to fail. He got cataracts in both eyes and was as deaf as a post at the end, but we like to think he had a good life. We’ll miss him forever I think, but we’re really glad of the memories he gave us. RIP Boris – we’ll never have another like you.






  1. Pete

    What a super tribute to Boris!


  2. Geoff

    Lovely blog Martin, we’ll miss the little furry chap.


  3. Nichole | Wildly Alive

    What a touching story! I enjoyed reading. And dog is not just a dog. Its part of the family, your best friend. Always there to listen. Just by having them by your side when you’re feeling down is just a enough. Their presence is enough. And losing them is such a heart breaking. But their memories will always be remembered. Thank you for sharing this to us.


  4. Nick Mcentee

    We have just started our journey with Monty our border terrier, already a fabulous member of the family.
    Reading this Martin has confirmed, if we needed it, why we bought a dog, an amazing story.


    1. Martin

      Enjoy Monty, Nick. He looks like a star.


  5. wheatypetesworld

    I think you paint an amazingly poignant picture of Boris here. When sadness and moments that make you smile combine, then that is poignant. He even looks like he was frowning in some of these photos, but your affection is evident in every word. It is this dichotomy that makes for such a powerful tribute. He reminds me of Frazer from Dad’s Army – he may be a grumpy old git, but he always manages to make you smile and you love him dearly. He has other qualities…


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