The hero inside…

The health benefits of dog ownership are well known, companionship being the front runner of a very long and therapeutic list of benefits.

Dogs are fiercely loyal. They offer undiluted affection. They are dependable and consistent. Dogs can be cuddled. They are warm. Unable to use toilets, dogs need to be walked, thereby the human is bound to exercise and reap the associated upsides. Our dog is 7 years old and I calculate that conservatively I have walked 3,640 miles I would not have walked otherwise. This claim cannot be made by any of the Holland children since the walking of the dog is strictly a mum and dad thing.

Oxygen and water might head up the list of essentials for life but love is not far behind. It is important to love something and I describe Tessa as the only member of the Holland household who is loved by everyone all of the time.

As such, she is unassailably the most popular Holland and we all vie for her affection and compete to be her favourite human.

Which happens to be me – which I think is now settled.

Tessa is a beautiful female who thinks I’m bloody wonderful and this makes her unique.

And in return I love her back and which I can prove when recently Nikki and I took her on a dog walk to London’s biggest open space, Richmond Park.

Quickly into the walk we encountered an owner with two Staffordshire Bull Terriers (Staffies) or Pit Bulls in the US. The three dogs sniffed and prodded the way dogs do whilst their owner assured us his dogs were friendly even if the younger one was incredibly strong and exuberant. But quickly the play took a sinister turn with his dog pinning Tessa to the floor and the fierce growls were interspersed by her yelps and cries.

Flat on her back and overwhelmed, the assailing dog with his jaw clamped on to Tessa’s thigh and his owner standing doing nothing and Nikki unable to even look, luckily one brave hero was on-hand.

Without a thought for my own safety, I entered the melee with a breed of dog famed for its ability to clamp its jaw so tight that almost nothing can release it. Apocryphal tales abound about the drastic methods required, variously involving a red-hot poker or the less reliable thumb in to the eye.

Undeterred by this, I clamped my hands around the dog’s jaw and began to prise it open and off my beloved dog. To be fair to the animal, it didn’t seem to object, allowing Tessa to make a beeline for Nikki who was standing at a safe distance and now in tears.

And because the dog didn’t then turn on me, its owner was able to attach a lead and regain control – whereupon we exchanged some differences of opinion. I suggested he should keep his dog on a lead. He countered with it being my dogs’ fault – despite her puncture wounds and forthcoming £200 vet bill.


Not a pleasant man we agreed to differ and we moved off in different directions – both literally and metaphorically. I did question if writing this up is prudent since I don’t really want him to know who I am – but I figure I’m safe because I don’t have him as much of a reader.

Nikki and I were badly shaken and presumably Tess was too – but quickly I began to recover in the knowledge that Tessa knows who saved her and Nikki does too. To have the admiration of the two females in my life, quickly I embraced my new-found hero status.

Nothing I have accomplished on stage or by writing novels or appearing on TV have I ever seen Nikki so impressed with the man she settled for.

“Dom, you were so brave…”

“Oh, it was nothing.” I demurred, but do carry on, if you must.

“I could never have done what you did…”

With each plaudit I felt myself grow a few inches (finally).

“Seriously, what would I have done if you hadn’t been with me”.

A metaphor for our life together, surely.

Although, no thanks from Tessa, not even at the vets as I pay the bill.

Not that I need any her thanks, however. She has been a God-send for the Hollands and has a huge balance in credit.

Plus, I am enjoying my newly boosted self-esteem on account of my supreme valour – further augmented since Nikki is determined to tell everyone she meets about her intrepid husband and including our four boys who now understand that their old man is not just a clown after all. He’s a warrior.

Dogs are good for our health and I can attest to this all day long.


This week I am hoping to recover the data from my dead Mac Book – upon which I can proceed with my many forthcoming publishing projects. To be on the inside track of these important literary landmarks by one of the world’s most deluded writers, be sure to sign up to his newsletter here. 










11 thoughts on “The hero inside…

  1. Ronja Schäfer says:

    Fortunately, nothing happened to anyone – thanks to you! Hopefully you can recover all of your computer data! Good luck from Germany❤️

  2. Sydnee Coleman says:

    Lovely blog Mr. H, I love that you got to be the hero, i I understand having to get to the middle of two dogs and then have some choice words to the owner, I own a Great Dane, she is still a baby, one year this November, her and a doberman got into and there was no second thinking or chance I just immediately got in the middle of it. So I know the feeling of being a hero, but you will always be a hero in my eyes,lol.

  3. Yuna says:

    Great blog dom
    I love Tessa
    I don’t have the film invasion ,hum when i have.i can watch
    Eu espero que recupere os dados no seu computador
    Hero family

  4. Moony says:

    This went to the heart of me!! What a terribly upsetting event and I pray you’re all alright. Poor Tessa is such sweet dog and this must’ve been horrible for her! As well as, you and Nikki! Dom, thank God you were there and you are a hero!! Keeping Tessa’s recovery and all of you in good thoughts and prayers. ??❤

  5. Rachel says:

    Poor little Tessa, I hope she’s not made nervous by other dogs now.
    It’s extremely shell-shocking when witnessing dogs truly fighting instead of play-fighting. Kudos to you for stepping in and rescuing your dog; that must have been incredibly scary. Tessa’s really lucky!
    Looking forward to next week’s blog!

  6. Lolly says:

    Poor Tessa… these pics are heartbreaking :'( What a traumatic experience it must’ve been but thankfully she’s fine now and you’re fine too (with all your fingers and thumbs intact, phew!)
    Apparently it’s been scientifically proved that dogs take on their owner’s personality traits so certain people should never be dog owners – or parents for that matter – so no surprise the attacker dog’s owner is an @hole.
    I hope you and Nikki never cross ways with him again and that all your next thousands of miles of walk are joyful experiences 🙂
    Wishing Tessa a speedy recovery ❤️
    (and to you speedy recovery of your data hehe)

  7. Michelle Siasat says:

    Fight or flight. What a boss man you are, Dom. Can’t believe you grabbed dog jaw with your bare hands. Relieved to see Tessa on the mend. I hope for more peaceful walks around Richmond Park.

    If only there were a way to report/audit dog owners and their pets. Like how we have drivers licenses etc

  8. Daridon Astrid says:

    I hope that Tessa is okay now, this man wasn’t cool at all and he should be careful with his dogs.
    You are such a hero Dominic, I hope you know that because a lot of people wouldn’t do what you did.
    Tessa is lucky to have you and your family?.

    Wishing Tessa a speed recovery?❤

    Take care of you and your family

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