|Jemma, aged 16, and Missus, not aged 16|
Jemma was a rescue dog; she didn't have the same settled start in life as I had. She came to live with Missus and Mister, aged eighteen months, after her previous owners divorced. Fortunately for her, she hadn't been ill-treated which meant she had an affectionate temperament, but she was extremely disobedient and couldn't be trusted off the lead for the first two years after rehousing - not until she met an 'angel'.
According to Missus, what follows is a true story:
On a cloudless day in Spring in the local recreation ground, Jemma did her customary high-speed escape act the minute Missus let her off the lead. Helter-skelter away down a path she went, with her intentional-deafness earplugs in place, forcing Missus to sprint after her.
From the opposite direction, came an ageless-looking man of about 6ft 5ins in height, with flowing blond hair halfway down his back, and the most gentle peaceful expression on his face. No, Missus wasn't fantasising about the perfect man, or dreaming up a new character for a novel. It just seemed to her this apparition was the equivalent of Adam before he was ejected from the Garden of Eden and the ravages of mortality screwed with his looks.
Jemma stopped running as the man approached her. She went to stand in front of him, as if waiting for a commandment. He bent down, held her face between his hands and spoke to her in hushed tones. After he'd finished, Jemma came straight to Missus, miraculously and permanently reformed in her behaviour. As the man walked past Missus, he exchanged a smile with her, but when Missus looked back over her shoulder only a few seconds later, he'd vanished without trace.
Missus reckoned only an angel could look so perfect, reform a dog so fast, and do such a spectacular disappearing act.