A puppy was the last thing we wanted. But his was a sad story, so Buster came home in the crook of an arm.

He sports a brown brindle coat flecked with tawny gold. His legs, halfway up, are white, like stockings. A diamond-shaped white patch marks the back of his head and a white tuxedo front runs up and over his face, which is dappled with brown bits, as though he just finished lapping up your cup of cocoa while you ate your toast.

(He wants the toast, too. The little devil.)

Chewing things brings great joy, especially if they turn into splinters. Anything that rips is beyond excitement. Noise is a big extra: a plastic bottle snatched from the recycling bin gives loud crunches and crackles when he bangs it around, then kicks it along the floor.