We don’t make a big fuss at Christmas, but we always give a little something special to each pet. My mare Lily enjoys a juicy holiday apple and expresses her delight by slobbering all over the hand that feeds her. And normally we would give some tasty treat to Lila, but this year we thought that a Labrador might appreciate a wet place to cool herself during our antipodean summer.

A bright red wading pool was not our first choice. All the blue ones had sold out. But red seemed to make sense for Christmas. We hid the pool from Lila until Santa could deliver it at the appropriate time. We wanted to surprise her, but her tentative reaction to it surprised us. Lila loves swimming (please see “like a duck to water”), but appeared baffled by the wading pool being somewhat bigger than her water bowl but much smaller than our dam.