There is little doubt that losing a beloved pet can leave a massive hole in a family's life. Unlike the death of a human family member, which understandably attracts a huge outflow of sympathy, love and care in both actions and words, the death of a pet can be bewildering for other reasons.
What's so wrong anyway with treating a dog or even a cat like a 'fur kid'? Or perhaps I am already on a losing argument when I use the term 'fur kid', as it is so often derided? Pets have 'personhood'; they can act and create a relationship.
Obesity is the number one concern among vets when it comes to man's best friend but worryingly, nearly half of people surveyed are not aware that it's a major issue. Yet obesity is linked to serious problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and a shorter life expectancy.
Last week, I fell in love with Barcelona. Some cities just make beautiful sense. Barcelona is one of them. Long, straight Roman roads to follow, squares thronged by palm trees. Great architecture, café culture, the beach.
I didn't know Barcelona before I came. In total I have nine days here. I picked people's brains for Barcelona recommendations before I arrived; it's such a much-loved city. Still, though, one of my housesitting pleasures is moving to my own rhythms.