Amber was the second puppy in Milly’s last litter, and like her sister Dylan she was delivered straight onto the floor, as Milly was still too big to lie down (she did after Amber’s birth). Both were large, healthy puppies who took to suckling quickly and flourished.

Amber at around 4 to 5 weeks

I had never had winter puppies before, and I wouldn’t be keen on having them again. Usually I would have the puppies in the garden as soon as they were mobile, but winter weather is too cold for young puppies, and in the 2017/8 winter there were few mild days, and most of those were wet. It meant that she couldn’t go outside until she was 8 weeks old; old enough to be able to regulate her body temperature and big enough to run around and keep warm. Flora, who didn’t leave until she was 10 weeks old, played outside with her. It made the house-training much more difficult than it had been since Rowley and Tigga’s day.

Amber at 7 weeks

Amber was confident, playful and naughty. She was intimidated by nothing, and was only kept in order by Poppy (Milly was too soft to discipline her). She was a virtually solid ruby, although at birth she had a tiny triangle of white hairs on her chest.

Amber among the Shobdon bluebells

Amber was my first ruby since Rowley the best dog, and in recognition she was given his mother’s name. She has a heritage to live up to.

Amber at about 3 months

At six months Amber was still quite unreliable when it came to housetraining, and even at a year she still had the occasional accident overnight. At this age Amber was still an adolescent; her coat although feathery is not fully developed, and she still behaves like a puppy.

Amber at around 6 months

Throughout the previous six months she had been walked separately from Milly to discourage her from picking up Milly’s habit of barking at everything. She loved her walks, and unlike Poppy never strayed too far from me in pursuit of pheasants.

Amber just before her first birthday

She and Poppy have become great friends and play together all the time.