We live ten minutes from an off lead sports oval where Lila has spent much time with dogs of all shapes and sizes, negotiating the quirks of their wildly ranging personalities.

The two moodles (aka maltipoos) Topsy and Turvy have never once offered to play with Lila (too much brown dog), but she always greets them with exuberance. She loops round and round with delight undaunted by Turvy’s snarl-snap. But Turvy is also a romantic with a fetish when it comes to some of the girls.

And then there’s Alf. A German shepherd-kelpie cross. Built like an elite athlete, he struts across the oval exuding his top dog status. Sometimes he will deign to engage in tug of war with Lila, each grabbing an end of her yellow rubber mallet. But mostly he keeps his eye on the nearby railway. Train spotting is his great passion.

Keltie’s a rescue dog of unknown origins although there’s speculation that she may have some Irish wolfhound mixed with a bit of mastiff. She loves field mice. At least that’s what we believe. We’ve never actually seen them. When she spots one in the long grass woe to the dog who dare stick its snout in her business (Lila learned this the hard way). [read more below]

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Ochie and Ngalla also turn up at the oval on a regular basis. Two very clever, high-energy Aussie shepherds. Ochie’s a soft dog which sometimes prompts Lila to overstep the mark. Especially when she’s trying to impress Alf. She’ll pin poor Ochie down and chew on his lush fur until I rush to his rescue.

And there’s Reuben, a Westie-maltese, who doesn’t think twice about his diminutive stature and frolics with the best of them. And Charlie, predominantly Bull Arab, whose explosive energy often overwhelms his owner. Bred to hunt wild boars, socialising at the oval isn’t quite enough excitement for him. And lovely Matilda, a gorgeous old golden retriever whose golden years now glitter.

But Rosie is Lila’s favourite playmate. Part kelpie and more importantly part Lab, she and Lila are on the same wavelength when it comes to rough and tumble (the rougher the better). The two met when Lila was still a pup and Rosie has asserted her authority ever since. Whenever they play, Lila always finds herself ridiculously on her back.

Things don’t tend to get too dull at the oval, but when they do, there’s usually a flock of galas or cockatoos to scatter. And Lila quite happily entertains herself with that.

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