I have a dog.
She's a good girl, if occasionally naughty.
Her worst infraction to date is probably eating my boss' reading glasses.
He was dog sitting at my house and was foolish enough to leave them sitting on a table within reach of her snuffling nose and eager teeth.
I really should have warned him, though, as she had previously chewed through not one but two pairs of my glasses.
Sorry about that, again.
She is very much a dog's dog, definitely not one of those pooches that thinks it's a person.
She's so confident and independent that sometimes I think she would hardly need me if it wasn't for all the food, shelter and toys to shred. Until, that is, I see her greeting when I get home from work every day.
Having her is expensive, joyous, time-consuming, hilarious, social life-limiting and life-affirming but that's what I signed up for because's she's family.
I don't think Tauranga's Louis Delves thought of the two staffies unlucky enough to be in his care, Tank and Sass, as family.
Would you starve your family until they had lost 40 per cent of their body weight?
Would you leave your family chained to a post in the pouring rain?
Would you allow your family to suffer through infestations of fleas and worms?
An SPCA inspector found the two dogs emaciated, in a shocking state of neglect at Delves' property in Whanganui in June 2017.
He pleaded guilty to four charges under the Animal Welfare Act and was this week sentenced to four and a half months' jail.
The SPCA said it was one of the most significant jail terms for animal abuse since an equally horrible case in 2016.
The judge also banned the evil sod from owning a dog for three years.
Although it is good to see the court take a hard line on animal neglect, it's a cold comfort.
The warm comfort came in the form of pictures of Tank and Sass a few months down the track. Couldn't count a single rib.
They have apparently been placed in new homes. Happy and loving ones, I hope, where they are treated like family.
If you want a dog - working, companion, therapy, pet, whatever - that's the minimum standard of care.
If you can't meet it, get a cactus.