Luka was found straying in Dundalk, Ireland in  February 2006, and taken to Dundalk pound.  He was wearing a collar and lead and so everyone thought he would be reclaimed, but he wasn’t. With his life in danger (many of the Irish pounds are so pushed that dogs are destroyed after just five days), we offered to take him and he arrived in the UK soon after. We fostered him ourselves while looking for a home for him but my partner Jon fell in love with him and that was that!  He has been with us ever since and has now been joined by our flatcoat rescue, Maisie, Boz and Tickle.

Like many of the Irish retrievers, Luka is a gentle, loving, unassuming lad and beautifully behaved at home.  He’s a rather different dog when out, though - protective of his humans and a keen hunter.  We suspect Luka had to fend for himself in the past and he can disappear for up to half an hour on our walks on Salisbury Plain.  He has an unerring sense of geography, though, and never fails to find us if we lose him. We’ve had to work very hard to convince him that he should return to our side when we call him - especially if the scent of a deer or a rabbit is luring him in the opposite direction - but his recall is now almost 100 per cent.

We think, despite that greying muzzle, that he was only about five or six years old when he arrived.  Almost two years on, there’s a little more grey, he’s a little stiffer and can no longer jump up on to the garden table with quite the consummate ease he could two years ago, but he still adores his runs on Salisbury Plain and very nearly keeps up with the youngsters.

Luka adores the car. He is fascinated by everyone and everything he passes. However long the journey, he never lies down. Luka’s other great passions are food, swimming (especially fishing for stones, see below) and warming his bones in front of a roaring log fire.

Luka likes to feign indifference. He’s always the last to greet you when you come home, preferring to stand back gently wagging his tail while we are mobbed by the youngsters.  But he is totally devoted to Jon who he would follow to the ends of the earth, albeit pretending he just happened to be going that way anyway.

LUKA (rehomed)

Luka (far right) marshalls the gang on Salisbury Plain

Fishing for stones...

Luka (right) with our flatcoat Maisie