Perhaps some of my readers are unaware that I am on a regular basis subjected to a quite onerous grooming regime?
You might be thinking, "Oh that Bertie, he sports the natural look; none of your fancy-schmancy poodle parlour business for him".
Well, it is indeed true that the concept of a 'spa day' is alien to both human and canine occupants of this household, and that my fur-do is not the result of the professional attention.
But make no mistake, just as it can take a long time for a certain type of human (usually female) to create the impression she is wearing no make-up, and some human males go to very great pains to cultivate a not-shaved-for-four-days look, it also follows that my 'rough and ready' appearance is underpinned by considerable and ongoing efforts.
Early in my puppyhood, Gail took the decision that she was perfectly capable of teaching herself - with the help of a demo from my breeder and the occasional YouTube video - how to groom a wire-haired fox terrier.
And that has been the pattern of things for the last seven years.
So the furs on my back, neck and haunches are hand-stripped by Gail - a matter which I tolerate if given a tasty enough long-lasting chew to distract me from the mild discomfort involved. Scissors are used for my underside, face and ears, and my legs are pretty much left alone...
Thing is, because Gail generally adopts a 'little and often' approach to the hand stripping business, it tends to go unnoticed - and, we feel, unappreciated - by the world at large.
Well I would like to point out that on Friday morning I was stripped and clipped for as long as my patience and Gail's mildly arthritic thumbs would allow.
The timing might have something to do with the fact that I'm going to visit Human Granny for a few days later this week, and she always complains if she can't see my eyes.
Anyway, I like to think I was looking pretty spiffy for my Saturday afternoon walk in the woods, and I'm optimistic about catching the attention of (treat-bearing) admirers on the train to Nottingham on Thursday.
It is a not uncommon occurrence, that Gail and I spend time agonising over which is the best photo to select for my blog.
For example, last Sunday, I had the opportunity to explore the ruins of Strome Castle, near the West Highland village of Lochcarron. Although the weather was far from perfect, it was a scenic spot, and I (most obligingly I would say, given my harsh treatment the night before) posed patiently for some pictures taken from inside the ruins.
We narrowed it down to two possibles for this post.
In the first, I am looking head on at the camera, and you get a peek of the hills on the southern shore of the loch, but unfortunately Gail has cut off the top of the arch in which I am standing, which I feel detracts from the overall effect of the shot.
In the second, the archway is better framed and you can see more of my side (and actually the right is my 'good side') but I am not looking at the camera. Also, because the photo was taken from a very slightly different angle, there is more water and less hill in the background.
So I am wondering, which do you prefer?
(It would, of course, be a legitimate point of view, to believe the only metric we should be using here is the proportion of the picture taken up with my handsome self...)
Gosh, it has been far too long since I last visited the Torridon cottage. But here I am this weekend on the wet west coast of Scotland, with Gail and her friend Yvonne for company.
And look how patient I am posing for photos, even in the rain.
Of course I do expect a reward.
Now it may not come as a surprise to folk who have met Gail and Yvonne, but I can exclusively reveal to the rest of you that for this pair of friends, the main point of exercise is to enable them all the more to enjoy a good nosh-up in the evening.
So I am delighted to report that just a few miles from the cottage in the remote village of Diabaig, we have a most welcoming restaurant.
It turns out that on Saturday evening I was not the only dog to be invited along. Meet Patch.
I must say, Patch's people were so much better dressed than mine. Look at that fine kilt.
And what's this? A wedding frock!
And there were two lovely bridesmaids looking most adorable in blue, with white fluffy capes. Gail says that not all bridesmaids would be so enthusiastic about posing with an ever so slightly muddy dog in their arms.
Patch told me that the couple had been married in something called a 'humanist service' on the old stone pier at Diabaig earlier that day. Gail seemed to approve. I sure hope they had some big umbrellas.
In the interest of accuracy I feel I must report that I spent the final part of the evening in the back of Gail's car.
Yes I know, it is quite unimaginable that Gail could have been so cruel. Ok, so there was the small matter of a noisy altercation with Patch while Gail was chatting with another customer at the restaurant (a nice man from North Carolina).
But I notice that Patch was allowed to stay, which I consider quite unfair.
Hi, I'm Bertie, a wire-haired fox terrier pup. I live with Gail in Aberdeen, Scotland. An old Westie called Hamish used to live here but he died on 18th February 2010 (exactly the same day I was born). People tell me that he used to have a blog and that I have big pawprints to fill. That's a bit too much responsibility for a very young puppy - and anyway, I intend to make my own mark!
(Gail says that Hamish could certainly have taught me a thing or two about marking stuff....)