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Me and My Pet - Lyndsey Appleyard and Spencer

PUBLISHED: 00:00 30 August 2017

‘Age cannot wither him, nor custom stale his infinite variety’ – what Shakespeare would have said as Spencer sped past him after a frisbee

‘Age cannot wither him, nor custom stale his infinite variety’ – what Shakespeare would have said as Spencer sped past him after a frisbee

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Marketing manager Lyndsey Appleyard on her terrier Spencer – a real ‘Heinz 57 dog’

In the market for fun, Lyndsey Appleyard and super-stylish SpencerIn the market for fun, Lyndsey Appleyard and super-stylish Spencer

With my background in marketing, you’d think I’d be able to provide a one-liner on pet Spencer’s heritage. Well, let’s just say he’s a Heinz 57 dog. He’s a Staffordshire bull terrier cross with a touch of collie, or perhaps retriever; we’re not entirely sure. Either way, he’s a much-loved rescue dog who’s been in charge of the Appleyard household for nine years.

Spencer was two when he came to us. He was found wandering the streets of Sheffield, malnourished and in a poor state. As we played such a fundamental part in his early life post-rescue, my husband Richard and I thought we’d bask in the satisfaction that we were providing a caring home for this mutt, but he is terribly fickle and attentive to anyone who gives him the time of day. If you feed him or fuss him, you are his beloved companion. We’ve learnt not to be too offended.

I manage education marketing for English Heritage in York so, during the day, Spencer is cared for by my parents in Sheffield. They were initially concerned that it was a big commitment, but Spencer won them over, and when I get home I can see he’s been out and about and is pleasantly exhausted. My parents are pretty wiped out too.

Almost 60,000 children a year take part in our education programme in the north, so it’s a busy job. When I’m at home, I’d prefer to take a gentle stroll round the park with Spencer, but that simply won’t do. He expects a full-on joyous game or two with his favourite toy, a frisbee, and I’m there for one reason only – to play.

Spencer’s well known in the area for his sense of style, and his dickie-bow is often commented on. We bought it at a Christmas fair as it just seemed right for him. While I’m not into dressing dogs, I do feel he merits an element of sartorial elegance. If he were human, I think he’d probably enjoy some fine tailoring, so this our nod to that.

He absolutely loves holidays, so we endeavour to find a dog-friendly beach whenever we can. On the basis that a car journey will invariably end in a beach or a vast open field, he’s always delighted to get in.

He has a happy little dance he does on the spot to celebrate his lovely life or just to get attention (we’re rarely fooled). Either way, it’s a joy to see and, if ever we wonder if we did the right thing taking him on, then that’s our answer.

Spencer is now 11 years old – not bad for a dog who had such a tricky start. While he might be getting on in years, his foibles continue to endear him to us. Let’s hope he has many dancing years ahead of him.

Lyndsey Appleyard is the York-based manager of education marketing for English Heritage in the north. For further information about pet-friendly days out, visit english-heritage.org.uk

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