When Phil and I planned our summer holiday, we planned it around our Labrador Lila. What would Lila like to do??? After much deliberation, we decided that her preference would be a combination of bush and beach. And the three of us headed down Victoria’s terrifyingly beautiful Great Ocean Road to a cabin in the Otway Ranges where the sound of the sea lapped our doorstep.

The most exciting aspect of this adventure was seeing the world through Lila’s eyes. Glimpsing for the first time the surf and learning its rhythms. Poking her chocolate nose into mysterious rock pools and prancing along the beach with seaweed streamers held aloft. Alert to the snores and belches of koalas perched in the treetops. Digging holes deep in the sand just for the hell of it. Tantalised by flashy king parrots and sulphur-crested cockatoos, staring back at her with heads cocked. And at long last sleeping in the same room with us (jumping onto our bed at the crack of dawn!). If ever a pup knew how to have fun, it was Lila. Her enthusiasm bubbled over.  [read more below]

[wpvideo NROX0TwG w=484]

Of course, holidays can never be perfect. One afternoon, while walking on a bush track, the sun came out. And so did the flies. Not nice ones, either. The biting kind. When she’d snap at one, there’d be two others. And on the beach, there came an unexpected wave big enough to require body surfing. With knitted brow, Lila let it carry her safely back to shore. Occasionally, while exploring she’d encounter ugly signs with a red slash across a black dog. Unwelcoming. And we mustn’t forget the winding roads that made her tummy ache. She coped pretty well though. And felt it was all worth the trip.

[If you have received this post by email, please click “dog downunder” or “lila’s first holiday” in order to view accompanying video in a web page.]