Whenever I take Biff to have his hair cut I never know what kind of dog I'll eventually walk out with. Sometimes it is a cheeky Tibetan-like terrier; other times - depending on the coiffeuse - it is an uppity little poodle.
But one thing is sure: he always puts up a fight. On this occasion, the coiffeuse was new, so I offered to stay and help.
A fraught hour passed as he trembled, cried and yelped his way through the appointment. I really felt his pain. Several times, whenever she tried to go near his paws, he tried to hurl himself off the table and even issued a few warning growls - swiftly followed up by an apologetic lick.
Eventually, it was agreed that the coiffeuse would put him in the bath first and then attempt to do his paws afterwards. She suggested that I come back in half an hour.
'Please make sure the bath water is nice and warm,' I said. 'He only likes warm water.'
'Madame Wheel-AIR,' said the receptionist jumping up excitedly, when I returned. 'Your dog, he is not saying anything. He has stood very quietly to have his paws done. Not a word!'
'Really?' I say. 'Have you drugged him?'
A few minutes later he comes trotting out - neither poodle or Tibetan terrier - having been transformed from the canine equivalent of an amiable old hippy, complete with dreadlocks, to a lean, whippet-like running machine. His little bobbed tail, I notice, has been cut into a perky pompom.
The coiffeuse meanwhile, confirmed the story of his impeccable behaviour.
I've no idea why the little monkey should act up or, as the French say, faire du cinema for my benefit but she seemed to think it is because we are 'tres proche' or very close.
'Next time Biff,' I tell him as he jumps into the car, 'you're going in alone.'