So Gail and I were out walking near Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon when we ran into this fine fellow.
The long silky furs and those most impressive ears told us right away he was one of the UK's most endangered breeds, a Skye terrier.
He seemed a friendly kind of a guy, so I asked him a question.
"Are you by any chance descended from Greyfriars Bobby?"
Gosh, it turns out I had made what Human Granny would describe as a big "faux pas".
Since this is a family blog, I shan't relate word for word his response, but this was the gist of it:
"Oh my goodness, have you any idea what a trial it is to be a Skye terrier here in Scotland? No wonder we are nearly extinct. Barely can you step outside the house and some random mutt asks you about that idiot of a dog in Edinburgh who sat and pined on his master's grave for fourteen years... FOURTEEN YEARS, I ask you! And Edinburgh is almost as cold as here in Aberdeen.. I would be embarrassed to have such a fool for an ancestor, and would like to make it quite clear that Greyfriars Bobby was absolutely no relation of mine. Let me assure you, should my owner here pop her clogs while I am still alive, I shall be knocking on the door of the local rehoming centre demanding a new family with a nice warm home, a well-filled treat jar and a relaxed attitude to the dogs in bedrooms question. No point looking back, that's my philosophy. What was it that Einstein said about life being like a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep moving...."
You know, by the end of this diatribe, I was feeling quite sorry for the Skye terrier's owner, an innocuous looking lady who told Gail that fox terriers were her second favourite breed of dog.
PS from Gail: I came across this interesting article when googling 'Skye terriers':
Also, here are some statistics on Kennel Club registrations of vulnerable breeds over the past ten years: