It was not planned.
It is true that my husband has a birthday tomorrow, and that he is careful custodian of the dog’s appearance.
It may well be that we considered buying the dog an outfit in his honour.
But until I stumbled on the pet parlour, nestling at the back of the huge pet superstore in our home town, I had not dared hope we might get an appointment.
Is it the same where you are? Are dog grooming services, static and mobile, booked up insane periods in advance?
Why is that? Are we, even in the teeth of a double-dip recession, pampering our pooches when our own appearance could do with more than a minor tweak?
The answer to that question is Yes. I could bring out all the justifications I used: Macaulay has not had a haircut for a year or so; he looks like John Lennon in the very hairiest days; he could write the Karma Scratcha, he is scratching so much and in so many positions.
But really, it came down to impulse. The parlour has a glass facade and, having gawped at all the bunnies and the guinea pigs and the hamsters and the fish, I gazed through the glass to see a small captive Yorkshire terrier on a table being blow-dried, his eyes sending me a heartfelt canine SOS and his little body trembling. Get me, he signalled with every sinew in his small body, out of here. Now.
This was the place for Macaulay, I decided promptly.
I walked straight in and discovered they had just one cancellation, for the following day at nine am sharp.
The dog pottered happily through the small pets part of the store but when his paws crossed the threshold of the parlour everything made a stab at walking in the opposite direction.
It was all attached to a lead: resistance was useless. And I will never, in all my born days, forget the look on that dog’s face as I left and looked back through the glass.
Now, Macaulay is a preppy doggie once more. He even smells nice. It is like having a well-groomed stranger in the house.
Right up to the moment he begins going through every single position in the Karma Scratcha.