If Tess's story has left your bottom lip quivering and dreading to see what other heart-rending dog-stories are on the blog, rest easy today dear reader.
I've really only lived with and loved three dogs in my life and they've each had a rather different attitude to food and frolics.
Polly was my mate Jill's dog - a languid and lovely red heeler with distinct 'Barney Rubble' style spots in blonde over her coat. Dark-rimmed eyes and an ability to run faster than Steve Moneghetti the second anyone in our five-person student house got their bike out. Instantly fell in love with every single one of Jill's house mates and visitors and was an invited guest to Love Chunks' and my wedding.
She was obsessed with food. Rob stood there one day with Polly and Sam, Tim's kelpie puppy who visited occasionally. Both sat obediently at his feet. "Check this out," he said. "Look where their eyes are."
In one hand he held a sandwich and the other a tennis ball.
Polly's eyes were glued to the sandwich and Sam's little beadies were on the tennis ball.
Love Chunks and my first dog, Tess, would have had eyes only for the tennis ball, but would then stare at the holder of the ball, wag her tiny stump even faster and urge them to throw it. For several years after she died we'd still find little fuzzy green scraps of tennis ball or rubber core buried in all corners of our garden.
Since having Milly, I've conducted the same Sandwich and Tennis Ball Test with her many times.
Every single time, her eyes are not on either the food or the plaything, they're on me.
And every single time she does this, my heart turns to mush, I put both things down, say "Awwww" and give her a good tummy rub.
Which is what she was asking for in the first place; clever canine.