Point & Vince

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The great writer, Anatole France, once said that “until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” I love dogs. For as long as I can remember they have always been around – from my gran’s grumpy poodle who rolled in unmentionable things to my family’s cocker spaniel who was more talkative than some of my classmates at school. With all these years spent in their company, I understand the special bond that exists between a child and their dog. That was why one of my favourite characters to write was Point: Twister’s shadow and faithful companion. Naughty, playful, loyal and on a mission to piddle on as many trees as he could, I based Point on the dog that I share my life with now: a rescue from Cyprus called Vince. I don’t know much about Vince’s background except he was a stray, captured by the dog warden and shoved into the municipal pound, which is bad news in the doggy world. Known as ‘kill shelters’ the dogs are put to sleep if nobody claims them after a few days. Fortunately for Vince, there was a charity called the Wild at Heart Foundation who help dogs abroad (and at home). They fund shelters with non-kill policies, pay for vaccination and neutering programmes, successfully rehome many pooches and educate the locals – for instance, in Cyprus, it is believed black dogs bring bad luck.

When Vince arrived in Scotland, he turned my world upside down. He stole food, shredded paper, disobeyed me in obedience classes, refused to walk down busy streets and yowled at squirrels so loudly, people would stop to ask if he was in pain. However, from the very moment he bounded into my life, he bowled me over with his courage, humour, joy and loving heart, and it was this spirit I was determined to capture in Point.

Juliette Forrest