I once had a dog. I miss the blissful softness of his silken spaniel ears and the guilty thud as he flopped off the sofa whenever he heard me coming. And I've never forgotten the disconcerting way he used to stare me awake with his baleful, unblinking eyes.
I still yearn for my dog. Forget fervent promises of visiting rights and access, custody was as good as lost the minute the removal van moved my things out of the house. Losing him to my ex was the bitterest part of a bitter ending, and the one thing I find it hard to forgive.
Occasionally, and heartbreakingly, I still glimpse him from across the other side of the park, being walked by the unspeakable one. I immediately duck behind the nearest tree for fear of having to attempt a civilised conversation, still impossible at ten years distance. Erm, I mean, impossible with the ex... obviously, I could talk to the dog... tee hee.
Actually, the dog was always appallingly badly behaved: very much the Alpha-male, belligerently ignoring his position in the pack. I once fed him an entire tin of Good Boy chocs, in the vain hope that they would do what they said on the can. My Ex and I both corrupted him horribly, each trying to get the dog to like one more than the other: the life of a tug-of-love puppy is ever thus. His behaviour deteriorated dreadfully of course, after we split up. And he would probably have ended up with a canine ASBO, if he hadn't had the excuse of coming from a broken home.
Anyway, as ever, the tail of this particular story is wagging the dog in the worst possible way. My intention was not to take you through a morose ramble round my past, but to share Dan Burn-Forti's magnificent pictures of the finest dogs you've ever seen, published in the June issue of UK Esquire magazine. From Stanley to Bluebell, these dogs are a perfect and adorable foil for the season's latest accessories, and gladden the heart of all who look at them.
This is Jack, in Dior Homme
Archie, in Brooks Brothers
Bee, in D&G
Stanley, in a Bailey of Hollywood pork pie hat: very Brad Pitt, no?
Mollie, in Cutler & Gross
Inka, in Thomas Pink
And, especially for Belgianwaffling and LibertyLondonGirl, Bluebell in Louis Vuitton
'Doggy Style': Reproduced with the kind permission of Esquire magazine. Photographed by Dan Burn-Forti.
To see the full story, and other examples of clever, brilliant journalism, the June issue of UK Esquire is on sale on 7th May at all key newsagents, or you can subscribe from only £15 for 12 issues. http://www.esquire.co.uk/