Tails of the unexpected

For all those a little bit grumpy at having to return to work after the Christmas binge, here are two heart-warming stories involving furry animals for you.
First, a fluffy hamster tale from Finers Stephens Innocent head of property David Battiscombe. On arriving home one evening, Battiscombe found an unidentifiable package in his garden. Fortunately, he paused to investigate before calling the bomb squad and discovered that some heartless cove had left a hamster by his herbaceous border.
The hamster, still in his cage, was escorted inside and Battiscombe phoned the RSPCA. The following day, he tottered off to work and the RSPCA representative turned up, complete with camera crew and Antipodean superstar Rolf Harris. Unfortunately, the hamster was somewhat underwhelmed by its newfound celebrity status and refused to perform for the cameras. After much coaxing, prodding and the occasional bout of tears from Battiscombe's son at the sight of the bearded wobble board player, the Animal Hospital team eventually finished and took the hamster away to become a marvellous substitute beard for Rolf.
As if that wasn't enough to bring a smile to your face, Bevan Ashford assistant solicitor Joanna Clarke earned a photo opportunity for her firm by fostering a trainee guide dog for the blind, named Twig. Clarke tells Tulkinghorn that the Bristol Centre for Guide Dog Training is always seeking people to look after their talented pooches because it doesn't have kennel facilities. “I'd love to have a dog of my own, but it's unfair, since both my husband and I are out at work every day,” comments Clarke. “When I heard about the need for boarders it was the perfect solution. I drop Twig off at the centre in the morning and they bring her to my office in the afternoon so that I can take her home.”
As part of Twig's training, she comes into the Bevan Ashford offices and sits under the desk. Presumably, when she finally moves on to a full-time role as a Guide Dog, she'll have to forget the trick of appearing from under the desk, baring her teeth and growling whenever negotiations get tricky. Twig, that is, not Clarke.