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TOM UTLEY I thought our four sons would break the bank

 At the start of the lockdown in Bogota, Colombia, where the rules were much stricter than in Britain, our youngest son was stopped in the park by a policeman, who demanded to know: ‘Where’s your dog?’ He replied that he didn’t have one.‘Then go home and stay there,’ said the officer, who explained that only dog- walkers were allowed in the park. Everyone else had to stay at home, except to buy essentials.Well, our young Harry, who was in Bogota teaching English under the auspices of the British Council, didn’t much fancy the idea of spending what was left of his Colombian adventure cooped up inside with his flat-mates.So he hit upon a solution. He would find a neighbour with a dog and volunteer to walk it every day. Either that or, in the last resort, he’d have to acquire a four-legged friend of his own. Prices for popular dog breeds have risen by up to 90 per cent since March 23 and Dogs Trust warned that pet smugglers have been doing a roaring trade during lockdownJust one problem: the entire population of Bogota appeared to have had the same idea. Indeed, he found that the dog-owners of the city were deluged with offers to take their exhausted pooches for walks.As for the idea of adopting his own pet, a moment’s reflection convinced him that this was a non-starter.For one thing, there was the heart-breaking question of what he would do with the poor brute when the time came for him to return to London. As a dog-lover since his earliest childhood, he couldn’t bear the thought of a forced parting.DemandThere was also the fact, as he quickly discovered, that demand for dogs in Bogota was so high during lockdown that prices had gone through the roof — far beyond the reach of his modest stipend as an English teacher.And now it seems that the same thing is happening here at home. A study by the Dogs Trust rescue charity, reported in yesterday’s paper, finds that prices for popular breeds have risen by up to 90 per cent since the Government brought the shutters down on our social lives on March 23.For example, the average asking price for a French bulldo
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