(with apologies to all other possible contenders for the title). This is Maddy, a large and, well, rather ridiculous dog, although she wouldn't, I'm sure, like to see herself in such a light ... She has a poignant, loud whine when she's the other side of a door, which, somehow, she always is ... The triumph of Maddy, so far as I'm concerned, is that she's managed to make me unafraid of her. I was bitten by a very large dog when I was fourteen - an African Ridgeback, whom I made the mistake of trying to pass when she was blocking my way on the pavement in our road. The following week, she savaged both the postman, and a small child, and that was the end of that particular canine. But it left me for decades with the tendency to freeze, even quiver, if a large dog bounded up to me - and of course dogs are extra smart when it comes to scenting fear in a human. But not Maddy - she's always treated me as her best friend (and yes, Maddy, I've forgiven you, long ago, for that scarf of mine you ate).