I didn't know it was a thing, but there are apps which introduce people who like looking after dogs to people who need someone to look after their dog for a few hours or days.
But I do now. The former Student has signed up to one to earn herself a bit of extra cash and she is doing a reasonably brisk trade.
I was worried about it at first. A succession of strange dogs coming to stay in my house. What if they pee on the floor or chew up my precious belongings? What if they don't get on with my dog or dig up my garden?
Of course it might still happen, but so far all the dogs have been well behaved, from the boisterous young pup which wanted constantly to play to the older sedate, gentle giant of a dog content to amble around, sniffing in the garden and relaxing in the shade.
All the dogs have been similar and different. They look very different: shape, size, colour, smiley, doleful but they are all affectionate, want to be liked and they love walking the local country paths, meeting other dogs, marking their trails.
I am starting to understand why some people prefer dogs to their fellow men (and women). Individual dogs may not always get on with every other dog they meet but it's personal and not because the other dog is a different colour or breed. If dogs which are so different are so accommodating of each other and all dogs recognise all other dogs as fellow dogs, why can't we humans do the same?
Our dog has welcomed the strangers into his home and not attempted to drive any of them away. He didn't know how long they would be here for or whether they were termporary guests or refugees he needed to take in. I think he even fell in love with the most recent. A large chocolate coloured labrador a couple of years younger than himself, which went home today. I think he will be missed.