Annie the Labrador steals the show

Back home at my dad’s place, my son reunites with a close friend

‘Annie the puppy!’ my son screams as we enter my father’s house, making a bee line for the black Labrador who is, conversely, making a bee line for him. My father’s dog, for she is a puppy no more, has grown tremendously since we last saw her. ‘Daddy, what the hell are you feeding her?’ I ask, before being shown a nondescript silver dish filled with dry dog food pellets, where realistically a platter of zebra steaks and protein powders would have made more sense.

My son first met Annie when she was six weeks old, and Annie the Puppy is simply her name now – a three-word soubriquet enshrined in permanent fact, like Kermit the Frog or Henry the Eighth. Annie is the size of a small bear, ‘and still growing!’ my sister’s fiancé Eddie adds with pride, as Annie licks my son with a tongue twice the length of his head.

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