I have two urgent problems this week. I may be able to rescue the Irish economy in a matter of weeks with the help of an Emirates bank clerk named Suleman Bajoga whose name appeared in my junk email an hour ago, and I will move on that inside the hour.

My most pressing problem, however, is presented by our beautiful golden retriever, the virginal Anika. This is top of the list, and that says a lot about the rating which economic problems have for your average Irishman.
What has happened is that our Anika, who is three and much loved by the Dutch Nation and myself, became strongly romantically inclined about 12 days ago. We discussed the matter over a glass of wine, the Dutch Nation and I, and decided that she deserved a romantic interlude and a litter of puppies as much as any other.
Meanwhile, the cottage was surrounded by howling and growling suitors of all breeds and none. We have a cat flap in the front door, and a small Terrier called Max attempted to enter the house that way. A huge black Labrador called Luke kept trying to break in to Anika's pen.

Her demeanor, I have to confess, was quite sluttish towards all males and sundry.

The Dutch Nation and I decided, however, that a splendidly well-bred Golden Retriever called Max, owned by our neighbor Sean, would make a splendid partner. Sean agreed readily and was, as is traditional, promised the pick of the litter in return for Max's services.

None of us, least of all Anika, were concerned at all about the Irish economy during this period. And that is good.

It was arranged that Max should visit Anika's pen a few days ago, and they would spend lovers' time together there. A fine friendly fellow, he arrived wagging his tail and they were introduced.

Out Anika flirted like fair hell, quite shamelessly, and pursued Max up and down the pen, but it was clear from the start that Max was not in the mood.

He did not appear to fancy her at all, not that way anyway. He treated her like a small sister.

After a while she seemed to accept this, and they were to be seen sleeping happily side by side for most of the 36 hours they spent together.
Meanwhile, the other suitors were lined up yapping outside the pen.  Nothing of a sexual nature occurred within.
Max was mad to get back to his mother, Lady, and his happy home down the road. When Sean called to collect him he nearly knocked him down in the rush.

Sean had heard that, for romantic matters, the bitch should always be brought to the dog's own turf. Anika was invited and I brought her down there.

Max greeted her like a favorite sister, but his mother Lady was not so welcoming at all. We put the pair in Max's own private pen, and again they were lying asleep side by side within the hour.

I think that Max's mother kept her eye on the son the whole time from the other side of the fence, and that he was afraid to display his doghood in front of her.

I blame Lady for the fact that again, after a day and a night together, nothing sexual happened at all. It's all platonic stuff. I'm heading down to Sean's in an hour to bring our spurned virgin home.

Meanwhile, there are complications. Another wise neighbor hinted to Sean (who is a lovely man) that our Anika might have been seduced by another male sometime before we arranged our match.

There are certain signs, says this wise man, which raise suspicions on this front. This sets the cat among the pigeons altogether.

I know that if there is a culprit it is the big black Labrador Luke, and he does look a bit guilty when I see him on the road. He's as black as coal and of another breed.

So much for golden white pedigree retriever pups! It's a tough world but we must live in it.

Concurrently, in the savage bantering in the Honk, where both Sean and I enjoy pints, poor Sean is already being accused of owning a gay stud dog. Both of us will suffer much more before this episode is over. That is a real recession!

Which reminds me of Suleman Bajoga from the Emirates and his amazing email offer. Suleman is a clerk in his local bank and is in control of a $100 million dollar account which has been dormant since its owner, the wealthy Sheikh Ali Nadoroso, was killed in a plane crash last November.

The bank will claim the loot, Suleman tells me, unless I assist him in saving it from them.  He found my email address through Google and hopes I can assist in return for 75% of the money. I have urgently to send him all my banking details in order for the plan to work.

As a good Irish citizen (if poor dog breeder), I have found an email contact number for our Minister for Finance Brian, Lenihan and I will contact Suleman before nightfall saying it is my wish that Minister Lenihan receive the millions rather than me.

He needs the money more than I, and anyway, my hands are full dealing with Anika and canine matters.

I will cope. I usually do in the end.