Nero (Actual Size)
This is Nero, the dog we had when I was growing up.  My parents bought him when I was about 10.  They chose a chihuahua because they didn't want anything that would interfere with their camping, boating or hill-walking holidays, and he was small enough to fit easily into a dinghy or a VW camper van.  And they chose a long-haired chihuahua because, let's face it, short-haired chihuahuas are just weird.

Nero was rather anti-social, and had a deep mistrust of anyone outside our immediate family unit.  (Who could he have picked that up from?)  He eventually came to accept my grandparents, my best friend Justin, and maybe one or two of my sister's friends, but everybody else was viewed with deep suspicion.  This was a pity, since he was a very pretty dog, and people used to come up and try to stroke him, only to retreat hastily when he started snarling and barking at them.  All other dogs were his enemies.  When he wasn't on holiday he liked to sit in the sun in the porch of our house (14 Tower Road, Brighton) and growl at them as they went past on their way to Queen's Park.

I think the original idea was that when Mum and Dad were out on some twenty mile hike and his little legs got tired he could be popped into a back-carrier, hastily converted by Dad from an old baby carrier which must have been lying about in the loft since my sister was small.  But Nero's little legs never did get tired: he loved walking, and he loved the hills, and most of the mountains which I reached the top of as a boy had Nero standing proudly on the summit cairn like the Monarch of the Glen.  Other hikers we met would almost always say; "I bet his legs were longer when he started out!"  It was quite funny the first few times.

My sister, my mum, Nero, and me, half way up Ben Mor on Mull in 1977.  I appear to have sat on a thistle.

He used to get very excited when he sensed a holiday was about to happen, and sit patiently in his little carrying-box all the way up the motorway.  (It was a long way from Brighton to the Lake District or Scotland, especially in a camper van, and especially in a camper van towing a dinghy, which I seem to recall meant we couldn't go over 50 miles per hour).   He never seemed to mind the journey: I suppose he knew that we were going to end up somewhere like this...

Summer of '77.  The Reeve encampment on Mull in 'Not Raining' Shock.
He was a good dog.