One of the first surprises of Lila’s puppyhood was her outsized bark. Even though she was still tiny, she produced a sound deep and robust. It should have been coming from a much larger dog. And now that she’s a fully-grown but not particularly big Labrador, her bark continues to exceed expectations.

When the telephone man recently turned up on our property, he looked around uneasily for the monstrous dog sounding off somewhere out of sight. I assured him that he would not be mauled and to please feel free to go about his business. I could see he wasn’t convinced.