The best £70 I ever spent

Bear the Parson Jack Russell

In October 2001 I took my 12-year-old son to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. After 25 years of living in London, we were relocating back to Yorkshire, so it was our final chance. It was strange that as someone who likes dogs better than people I had never been.

I could only take my son, as my daughter and husband would have wanted to adopt every dog there. I told Marco, “We are only looking.”

Of course we fell in love with the first dog we saw, but we said nothing to each other.

After looking at all the lovely dogs (there were at least 100) we turned to each other and said, “I liked the first one we saw.”

We raced back, queued for hours, and then had a really in-depth interview where I cried over the Yorkshire Terrier I had had put to sleep three months before. We were told we had been successful. We adopted Bertie, a one-year-old Jack Russell.

Bear cost me £70… I cannot tell you what a very special dog he is

The love affair began with our renamed Bear (I had just been to a lecture with the young Bear Grylls and I loved the name).

Bear cost me £70 and, as I sit now writing this with tears steaming down my face, I cannot tell you what a very special dog he is. I am crying because this evening my son, now 27, and his sister are coming to say goodbye. At the wonderful age of 17 and two months, Bear saw the vet today, who said that it is time. He is a very compassionate vet and is coming back later, so we can all be with our great pal to say that last goodbye.

Bear has had a wonderful life. We could keep helping him up, feeding him when he can’t quite stand and getting up three times a night when he barks because he is confused – but his quality of life has gone. Marco is distraught and has just returned from taking him for the last walk; he had to carry him much of the way.

Thank you Bear, for being probably the best dog in the world.

This is a guest essay by Linda Macaluso. Want to write for us? Visit or email


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