Mac (MacDougal Buchanan when he's in trouble) is a four-year-old Bearded Collie who was born on a farm in Eyemouth. After flunking sheepdog school (bags of enthusiasm but lacked focus) it became obvious that Mac, although descended from working stock, was best suited to a life of leisure. He can now be found frequenting the parks of Glasgow and beyond and has acquired a reputation in his hood for being a hairy Houdini. Likes: Bonios. Cheese. The W word. Sticks. Swimming (the sea, lochs, puddles). Worrying sheep. Bones. Dislikes: That Weimaraner in the park. Bees. Going to the vet. Being caught reclining on the couch.
Me (Marisa) is a journalist at The Herald who has a lifelong love of dogs which stretches back to the family mutt Sandy, a "Heinz" dog with colouring to match who was witness to many a teenage misdemeanour. After many years without canine company, she brought Mac home three years ago and hasn't stopped laughing at his antics since. Likes: Bracing walks in the countryside. Pubs that allow dogs (usually far better behaved than half the clientele.) Dislikes: Having to carry a bag of steaming dog muck for miles. Finding Mac reclining on the couch.
However, this year’s pyrotechnic season, which started around mid-October, seems to have him spooked.
The other night, a series of booms and shrieks filled the skies outside our home. Normally Mac will respond to them but not get too freaked out. This time however, he was a quivering wreck and began pacing around the house and panting rapidly.
Today, however, it really is someone to visit him. On the other side of the door is James Macdonald who works for Therapet, an animal therapy service run by Canine Concern Scotland Trust, a charity established in 1988. He is here to assess whether Mac has what it takes to be a therapy dog.
The average pet owner forks out £690 a year on repairs to their homes which include re-upholstering couches and replacing carpets and chewed skirting boards.
The figure has been estimated by Kong, purveyors of quirky rubber chews which are designed to lure knashers away from the chintz sofa and claim to be indestructible. Mac was once the proud of owner of a Kong - one of the few things he was unable to chew to smithereens - but as the idea is to stuff it with treats, it was stolen from the garden by a fox.
The 38-year-old said he that he had lost his best friend and had been unable to stop crying since he made the decision to have the 12-year-old black lab put down after her health began to fail.
Like many owners and pets, their lives were intertwined. The presenter first appeared on our screens, alongside Inca, on the reality show Castaway and it was while they were both walking their dogs that Fogle met his future wife, Marina. They are now married with two young children.
Chief among these is his penchant for scaling the garden wall and hot-footing it after whichever small, furry mammal happens to have unwittingly strayed onto his olfactory radar.
The slightest whiff of cat, fox, squirrel, or sometimes even a large bird, will often prompt a cartoon-style chase sequence across the neighbourhood.
This time it was a small ginger cat, which had obviously grown bold on account on Mac’s recent inactivity, and ventured too close.
Arran is surely the closest thing that mutts have to nirvana with its wealth of walking opportunities and dog-friendly hostelries.
Given the number of four-legged passengers on the ferry from Ardrossan, owners seem to have cottoned on to this fact too - it’s like a floating dog show.
The minute Mac sets paw on that Cal Mac ferry he knows that the good times are about to roll. Only this time, things are going to be different.
Burnt-out BBQs, food wrappers and, worst of all, glass bottles. More often than not these bottles are smashed to smithereens as carefree revellers toss them aside having drained them dry.
Our nearest park has been a scene of devastation since the hot weather. The council (yes you, East Dunbartonshire) appear to have recently cut the grass but, save for a cursory tidy up of the worst rubbish, the vast tract of broken glass has been left exactly where it fell - specifically, around the children’s play park.
When he first moved into our home, he loved nothing better than watching the world go by from the vantage point of the kitchen window.
Now, this isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds as the kitchen window is located above the sink, which meant he was quite often lounging with a paw in the dishwater.
The window looks straight out on to the street so Lord only knows what people walking past made of the sight of a big hairy dog staring back at them at eyeball level.
That’s what I am picturing as I take Mac, my four-year-old beardie, to try some urban mushing or canicross – essentially running with your dog. But not just running alongside or behind your dog; being harnessed together and running in sync.
Lindsay Cloughley, 29, from Glasgow, who worked as a make-up artist for 12 years, and two-year-old Suko, an Alaskan Malamute, are experienced canicross runners.
It was on one of those days recentlywhen the weather went from freezing to scorching in a matter of hours.
I'd been doing some gardening. Clad in my garden get-up of naff, ripped tracksuit bottoms and a big "Sarah Lund" jumper, I thought I'd nip to the tip with the garden rubbish.
I brought Mac along for the ride and on the way back decided, on a whim, to stop at the canal and take him for a walk.