Roo St Germans tells how he is the real pack leader at Port Eliot

17th May 2008

My name is Roo. I am a whippet and I live in a stately home in Cornwall called Port Eliot. I am descended from the longdogs and gazehounds that escorted Genghis Khan in the 14th century, when the Mongol Empire ran from China to Hungary. I am part of that noble family related to Afghans, Salukis and the Borzois.

In terms of pedigree and lineage, by comparison to that of my owners, the 10th Earl of St Germans and his Countess, they are mere arrivistes. I should point out that it is only the Earl and Countess who think they are my masters – to me, they are merely staff. I am the God Emperor of this place. Access all areas.

Frankly, this "opening to the public" malarkey has ruined my life. I used to come and go at will within a 100-acre garden, teeming with squirrels and rabbits. However since "they" have opened up their house, I frequently hear that most dread and foul of all the four-letter words – lead. "Where's the lead?"

And another thing... the public have driven away the rabbits, leaving just the squirrels and a family of badgers. The squirrels are very canny and hard to catch. When I was a puppy I tried to tackle a badger. I will carry the scars of that encounter to my dying day.

There is some compensation, though; my social life has improved immeasurably. After a great deal of negotiating, I have persuaded the staff to allow other dogs to come here. They have even agreed to allow my fellow hounds to run free without the shackles of that unmentionable word on any Wednesday. Boy, is that day fun. The other day, the hunt came for a lawn meet. This was an extreme red letter day for me. Can you believe it, there were 38 other dogs. I was so busy cocking my leg everywhere that I ran out of pee. I followed the hounds for a while, but was seen off by the leader of the pack. He condescendingly asked what on earth I thought I was doing running with his pack and if I knew what was good for me I would b***er off.

There are more than 500 paintings in this house, six show the same parrot, there are eight depicting cows and sheep, there is even one portraying a pile of dead ducks, pheasants, pigeons with a heron and a fish. Yet there is only one of a dog and that is kept in an attic. I find this terribly offensive considering how much love and devotion we dogs have given to so many to these Eliots over such a long time. The least they could do is get a painting of one of us up.

But, despite all their faults, I love my Cathy and Perry dearly – after all, they do let me sleep on the end of their bed every night.

As told to Peregrine St Germans