My dog Coffee is a little black-and-brown Australian terrier. He’s not a particularly bright or obedient2) dog. He’s not even especially loyal. He comes when I call him only if he feels like it or if I have food in my hand. He confuses every command I give him and has no inkling3) when I’l upset or injured, so there would be no chance of him ever rescuing me from a perilous4) situation like the smart dogs you often read about.
But I’l the first to admit that a big part of the problem with Coffee’s attitude5) is his upbringing: he’s spoilt rotten. My dad is the biggest culprit6). While Dad can instil7) fear in my sister and me just by the tone of his voice, I have never heard him raise his voice at Coffee — no matter how naughty he is. In fact, one look from Coffee at the biscuit tin is enough to send my dad flying to get him a snack. Whenever we protest about the unfair treatment, a guilty smirk8) creeps across Dad’s face. It’s become a long-standing family joke that Coffee is the closest thing to9) a son Dad will ever have.
Then, five years ago, our lives were turned upside down10) when Dad suffered two major strokes in the space of11) a month, caused by a massive brain haemorrhage12). At the time he was in Hong Kong on business and, luckily, my Mum and sister were with him. I was in Melbourne, studying at university, but left Coffee with a relative and hopped on the first plane as soon as I heard the news. ......