People and Places
Saltwater sisters Betty and Darla
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Batty Madeleine Darla

Madeleine Morgan – Darla’s owner.

Betty and Darla.

Labradoodle sisters Betty and Darla are living the dream in Sorrento. Betty’s owners Paul and Bec Wilson, and Darla’s owners Madeleine Morgan, pictured, and Amanda Smith, are long-time friends and hospitality veterans who live near each other.

Both Paul and Madeleine were reluctant about getting puppies because of their working hours. Paul says, “I was thinking how can we be the best dog people we can be and work in hospitality.  When Bec said, ‘We’re going to get two puppies with Amanda and Madeleine; we’ll support each other with babysitting’, that was when I was in.”

Betty and Darla were in a litter of five born in Kyneton. Their breeder is a hospitality friend. “We were talking about getting a puppy in lockdown one, and then in lockdown two we found out we were going to be puppy parents and we got them just before Christmas Day last year,” says Bec.

The sisters look like twins but like all siblings have different personalities. Paul describes Darla as being “up a gear”. She has a faster sort of nature; she knows she’s the little sister and looks up to Betty. Betty’s a bit more measured but a bit of a boss.

The attractively shaggy pair garner so much attention on their daily beach walks between Sorrento and Blairgowrie that Bec has a pre-prepared script she recites to Betty and Darla’s admirers: “They’re puppies. They’re sisters. They’re 10 months old. They’re labradoodles.”

Bec ‘babysits’ Darla every Saturday. “They go nuts together in our backyard. They do a grand prix circuit going around and around. They just love it. Paul gives them a bone each. Betty takes her time with the bone; Darla devours it like a piranha,” explains Bec.

When it comes to their diet, having a famous chef as their dad/uncle means they have a taste for the finer things. “They basically see me as a walking T-bone steak,” jokes Paul. “I like to spoil Betty with some good meat. We’ve tried cooking things for her; she doesn’t like it.” Betty also has a penchant for chewing on oyster shells and loves peanut butter toast. Amanda says, “Darla will eat anything, whether she should or not. She loves a pig ear, loves a bone; on a Saturday she dines out all day at the Wilsons.” Darla’s also fond of prawns.

These perfect pups do get up to mischief. Betty’s “sport” is being chased with Bec’s eye-glasses or shoes in her mouth. “She gets them in her mouth, looks at me, smiles and wants me to chase her. She likes the attention,” explains Bec. Darla set Madeleine’s heart racing recently when she “vanished” on a beach walk, dashed across Point Nepean Rd and followed her nose to her sister’s house. “We heard this banging on the front door; it was Darla,” says Bec. Madeleine cried herself to sleep that night.

Betty and Darla turn one on October 31. A picnic is being planned. “We’re having T-shirts made. On the front will be a nautical pic of the girls and on the back it will say: ‘They’re sisters, they’re puppies, #obies’ – obies means obsessed,” says Madeleine.

Bec finishes: “I can’t believe I haven’t cried during this interview. I’m totally obsessed with both of them. I adore them. They’re the best.”

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