My parents have two dogs. One, called Tess, is an aging Staffie with a loud snore and a propensity for stinky farts. The other is a small black and white Jack Russell concoction called Spot, who I'm sure is the hairiest and most conniving hound in the whole world. My parents inflicted both dogs on us when they came to visit for Christmas and in preparation for showing them who was in charge, I drew up a list of rules for the dogs to abide by. Firstly, no dog would set one paw in our bathroom, for fear of making the white carpet and anything else dirty. Secondly no dogs would go in the living room and certainly not on our rug - this particular rule was mainly for Spot as her hairs are a nightmare to clean up and are found lurking in the most peculiar places after a visit (e.g in my pockets, on top of a shelf, in my salad). Lastly, on absolutely no account would any dogs go in the bedrooms. My parents would bring their comfy doggy beds for them and they could sleep on these. I did have a cunning plan to lock the dogs in our garden shed over night, but this was thought to be cruel so I amended this to the outer room (a less than posh conservatory area) off the kitchen, which has a nice draft blowing through the back door for ventilation... Within two hours or so of their arrival the first of my rules was broken. I accidentally let Spot sit on my lap and then realized that her odour was less than Chanelesque. Been in the woods earlier apparently. Probably rolled in something. Lovely. Into the bath for her and a generous dollop of Pantenne. That dog can certainly shake the water off when she wants to. The second night of the visit my parents left me to put the dogs to bed in their cold little chamber. "oh no" I said to Dr X, "look how sad they are and Spot is shivering". Dr X agreed that we should move them into the living room where they could have their doggy beds in front of the fireplace and enjoy the warmth from the last of the glowing embers. Good plan. They had already broken rule number two anyway and were perfectly at home rolling on the supposedly dog free rug. I went to bed with a clear conscience. Following a nocturnal visit to the facilities at 3 in the morning however I had an unpleasant surprise. Frozen on the stairs with her ears down was a tiny, hairy white body. Spot, the hairy hound, was sneaking up to see if she could sleep in anyone's room and preferably on their bed. Oh no you don't I thought. I'm not falling for that trick. I picked her up, crept down the creaky stairs and returned her to her doggy bed. Only it was quite cold in the living room now. The fire had died out a few hours ago and it isn't the warmest of rooms at the best of times. Tess slept soundly on, she'd be great if there was a burglary. The hairy hound started shivering and then sat up in her begging pose. Crud. I'd always been a sucker for that. Were those fake tears in her little black eyes? She had her paw firmly on my guilt button and wasn't taking any prisoners. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep if I left her there. I sighed, picked her up and took her to our room. I hoped she would quickly and inconspicuously fall asleep on our bed so as not to wake Dr X. But of course she had to be a drama queen about it. She threw her hairy body against his slumbering form and gave him a long lick up his arm. That woke him up pretty quick and he was not amused. Her work over, the hound shook some more hairs in my direction and then curled up between us radiating more heat than necessary. Never again.