So I’m meeting a friend at the wine bar at Centro and she asks rather too casually whether I’ll be bringing the imaginary dog and, if so, whether the cafe will object and does he smell? He doesn’t smell – although of course he sniffs. But they know him there and don’t mind as long as he doesn’t bother the other patrons – which he never does. He really is extraordinarily intelligent. He has a very extensive vocabulary. In addition to the vocabulary that most dogs have – “squirrel,” “walk,” bad dog,” “dinner,” “biscuit,” “Did you do that?” “pee-pees and poo-poos,” “Why are you always on the wrong side of the door?” – he knows, I would say conservatively, 800 or so additional words and phrases (as many as some university students according to what you read in the papers), including “stilton” (which he loves; we both do), “Glenmorangie” (the Gaelic pronunciation), “that bitch,” “packaged extruded meat products” (which, on the advice of the personal trainer and the vet, we both avoid like the plague; they are loaded with chemicals and the tiniest forms of life), “excuse me?,” “move over buddy, I’m driving,” “Q4 earnings” (we frequently discuss the portfolio), and “Poppa’s got a brand new bag.” All this and he never sleeps on the furniture. On the advice of my psychiatric team, I am thinking seriously of getting an actual flesh and blood dog, but I worry that that it will suffer in comparison to the Dingleberry. You see my point.