Lesson Seventeen: How to date a non-animal lover. Ladies and gentlebois, I apologise most profusely for my absence; I do hope your manners have not deteriorated whilst my back has been turned. All of the manifold reasons for my recent lack of contact are entirely prosaic, except for this one: This is (Wini)fred. If you’re posh or rich or a celebrity you might call her a Moodle or a Maltipoo. However, as I live in Australia, where one calls a spade a spade, I am inclined to be honest and describe her as a mutt. A shelter mutt, in fact — a pound puppy, a homeless hound and an unwanted dog. That is, of course, until now. Arriving small, bedraggled, bewildered and a little bit smelly, Fred has since found herself ensconced in a haven of warmth and Kmart acquired luxury, including all the dog beds, dog treats and dog toys of the rainbow as well as a selection of highly packaged dog food so expensive I expect her tiny poos will arrive gilded in gold. On top of this, Fred has found herself embraced by an entire mob of gaily adoring humans exclaiming over her every precious wriggle, and of course, the proud possessor of two mums. Now, I have always presumed it to be the truth that all gay ladies experience most of life through a haze of permanent giddiness due to their overwhelming love of cute fluffy animals. If one is not a cat person, then one is a dog person; if not a dog person then a rabbit person; if not a rabbit person then an alpaca person and so on, because baby, you were born this way. That is, I believed it up until I met my otherwise immensely lovely ladyfriend and was aghast to realise that my multitude of completely amazing cat anecdotes were being met with open bemusement and it quickly came to my attention that her cat-non-compatibility levels were in fact at such an extreme that all her attempts to pet either of my adored felines generally resulted in aggrieved yowling and wide-eyed hissing, and that was just my girlfriend. The cats themselves have slowly come around, cautiously condescending to her as though she were a peculiarly long-limbed kindergartener of foreign extraction.