Zeph and Zsa Zsa are English Pointers and Zeph, being a male, can roam far in pursuit of birds or game. So we’re trying to train them to run free but return to us on command. On our property there’s no drama but as soon as they go somewhere else: well, it’s a circus.

Zsa Zsa visited the vet recently for her annual check-up and shots. She basically destroyed the reception area trying to get to the dog biscuits on display. She certainly lived up to her reputation as The Point-in-ator.

As part of their training (or ours), we took them recently to New Brighton beach in Christchurch. It was a bright sunny day but the beach and wharf were shrouded in pearl grey mist and sea spray. It made for good photographic material but I only had my iPhone with me.

We let them off their leashes and they both ran around like lunatics. Zeph was chasing seagulls and Zsa Zsa wasn’t quite sure what to do other than run. So many new smells and strange things to inspect. Zeph was fascinated by seaweed but little ZZ thought it was some scary object to growl at. We kept calling them back to us so they’d get the idea – run and be free but return to your humans.

Not sure the lesson went totally to plan because Zeph started running and running down the beach. He seemed to have selective hearing when it came to us calling for him to return.

We then took them to the Styx Mill Conservation Park, which has a securely-fenced dog park. We thought we’d let them run around in a contained area – smarter idea. But, when we arrived, we found too many dogs there and hubs declared it was all too much. Coping with two very athletic, energetic Pointers on the beach had worn us out!