USUALLY when Alison Page writes her stories about Corrie the cute little Westie, the dog who inspired the tales is not far from her side.

Sadly, Corrie died last month, but Alison has pledged to finish the latest book to help raise money for Glasgow charity Mary’s Meals.

“I’d had her for 15 years, she was lovely,” she says, sadly. “On top of old age and arthritis, Corrie had cancer. I decided not to operate and our local vet, Charlotte, was superb monitoring her on a regular basis.

“Corrie was a rogue for spitting out medication so I was hiding tablets in tasty treats – she really developed a taste for roast lamb and steak pie.”

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She laughed: “When Charlotte asked if she was still eating I could honestly say she had the best appetite ever.”

Alison started a coaching consultancy in 2013, after taking early retirement from the Civil Service after 33 years. She wrote her first children’s book, The Westie Fest, in 2018 and followed it up last year with The Tattoo Toorie.

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She is now working on the third in the series, partly inspired by the walks she took with Corrie in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens and along the River Kelvin.

Profits are donated to school feeding charity Mary’s Meals – and she has already raised more than £6000.

“I saw the charity’s film Child 31, a short documentary about its work helping to feed some of the world’s poorest children,” she explains. “It had a huge impact on me and I wanted to help. Mary’s Meals does what it says on the tin. Put simply, food + school = hope.”

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She adds: “I gave talks, ran a knitting group and even set up a slimming class to encourage people to ‘pay a pound to lose a pound.’”

The idea for writing a children’s book came on a trip to Arran, where Alison now lives.

“I was ‘ferry louping’, as the islanders call it – travelling back and forth to Arran from Glasgow every weekend, and I would always meet so many other West Highland terriers and their owners,” she laughs. “I always said it was like a Westie Convention. I didn’t know if it would take off, but people have been so kind.”

She adds: “I was never allowed a dog as a child, but my grandfather had Westies and I loved to visit them,” she explains. “Corrie’s Papa in the book is inspired by my grandfather’s dog, Curaidh, which is Gaelic for hero.”

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The coronavirus outbreak has meant Alison, who is known as ‘Granny Island’ to her family, has been unable to visit her new grandson in Norway or her older grandson in Glasgow, but they are keeping in touch online.

Losing Corrie – named after the Arran village and fondly nicknamed Corrie Doodle – has been a huge wrench. Despite her sadness, she has vowed to continue writing to support Mary’s Meals.

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“Latterly, Corrie developed Westie lung and she became unable to walk far,” she explains.

“In her last week I bought a buggy to take her down to the shore front where she could tootle around - we both loved that.

“She was a sweetheart – I will miss her terribly.”