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TOBY makes the big decisions. That’s how it should be, he says, and the other dugs agree with him, cause he’s the alpha in our pack. But lately I’ve been wondering, y’know? Cause sometimes Toby says things and does things that don’t make heaps of sense. But then, I don’t know very much. I’m only Alfie.

Toby is a bulldog. Actually he says he’s a Great British bulldog, but I don’t know if that’s a real thing. As for me, well I’m a wee heinz 57. At least, that’s what Daddy says. He’ll say, ‘Aww, where’s ma wee heinz 57?’ and he always gives me hugs when he says it, so I’m pretty sure that being a wee heinz 57 is just super. When I told Toby what I am his face was all screwed up, but then, that’s just his face.

Toby is also my next-door neighbour. Our houses are semidetached. Daddy and me live on one side, and Toby and his mum and dad live on the other side. Toby’s side is a lot bigger though, because it has an extension and a conservatory. Toby says this means if my house wasn’t joined on to his house, my house would fall down. He also says his house would be totally fine if my house wasn’t there any more. I’m not so sure that small houses are more likely to fall down than bigger ones, so I guess that’s one thing Toby says that doesn’t make heaps of sense.

The thing is, something happened recently that just doesn’t feel right to me at all. It all started when a bunch of us were digging about in my back garden, and we found a load of old bones. Toby said that because he’s the alpha, he’d have control over the bones, and I thought, Yeah, okay, cause that’s how it works. Now Toby prefers biscuits to bones, and he let the other neighbourhood dugs dig up those bones, as long as they paid him in biscuits.

But every time he got some biscuits, he’d go crazy, scoffing the whole lot. Now I thought maybe we should set some of the biscuits aside – save them up, like – because I knew the good times wouldn’t last forever and then there’d be no more biscuits, just a rainy day or whatever. But Toby thought that was a silly idea. I told him I thought there were a lot of biscuits to be got from those bones, but he did that snorty laugh that he does and told me the bones would run out soon anyway.

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March 2018 Issue number 39 The only independent Pro Scottish magazine on sale today