DOGS give the best hellos of anyone.

All that wagging and bouncing and licking and running round in circles says ‘I’m so incredibly pleased to see you’ so much better than a smile or a handshake ever could.

My particular furry chum, however, is rubbish at goodbyes.

The minute the suitcase comes out or the coat goes on, his shoulders drop, he slinks back into himself and he won’t meet your eye — and he certainly won’t let you kiss or stroke him. ‘I can’t believe you’re going’ he is saying, silently.

And I think I have lot in common with the dog because I wasn’t going to write this column today — because this is the column in which I say goodbye. I’d rather shove my nose under a cushion and pretend I don’t care. But I do. So here goes.

After 11 long and happy (and sometimes frustrating, disappointing, stressful and downright ridiculous) years at the Adver, I am leaving. I shall officially be redundant as of December 31, and who knows what the future holds? But it won’t be here.

In my time here, I have been privileged to work with some of the finest, most talented and maddest people I have ever known. Particular mention must go to my mentor/tormentor and former managing editor, the legendary Pauline Leighton, without whom the newsroom has never quite recaptured its buzz. She was a rare beast who could bring you to account with a single steely glare but who at the same time had a huge capacity for fun — something fundamental for life at a newspaper when the front page falls through or staffing cuts leave you floundering or a particularly horrific tale hits everyone to the core.

But she’s not the only colleague who has made the past 11 years such a joy. Every single person at the Adver loves this paper and loves this town and works harder than you’d ever believe to bring you the news, features, information and entertainment within these pages.

And each and every one of them has become like family to me. I will miss them more than I can say.

Sadly, each time the scythe of redundancy swipes across the newsroom, it leaves fewer and fewer people behind trying their damnedest to do a good job. So be kind, dear reader, next time you spot a typo or some other error. It’s not through laziness or a slapdash attitude; but the few who remain are only human and can only do so much.

I’ve said it before in this column and I’ll say it again: local journalism is essential. There’s no such thing as a free democracy without a free and active press. Who holds our politicians, the councils and courts to account if not for some poorly paid trainee reporter with a shorthand pad who is willing to give up their evenings to report on meetings so the readers can hear what is happening in their town? Journalists get a bad press but we do an incredibly important job.

I’ll be honest, I fear for the future. New technology means fewer of us are needed to get the paper out — but computers can’t replace talent and computers can’t make moral judgments.

The Adver is not alone in facing ever increasing cuts — it is a picture repeated in all local papers across the land. Support the Adver — it is not our paper, it is yours — and fight for its future. Believe me, you don’t want to live in a world without it.

As for me, the future looks vast and jagged — who knows what I will end up doing? One thing I’m sure of, though, is that our paths will cross again. They have to — because I don’t like goodbyes.