Kellie & Breeze: Every year around this time, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) holds its annual fund-raising Million Paws Walk (MPW) throughout Australia. So, on the appointed Sunday morning, the Pack Leader and Alpha Female put on their MPW T-Shirts and caps, and we put on our MPW bandanas, and the four of us headed with all due despatch for the assembly point at Lake Ginninderra. When we arrived, we were overjoyed to see that hundreds of dogs were taking part, together with their human companions. It was great to see that so many dogs and humans were out in force in support of the less fortunate of our furry and feathered colleagues.

One salient question occurred to us as we surveyed the scene: Just how many dogs would be doing the Million Paws Walk in all the cities and big towns in Australia on that day? It would be interesting to know the answer to that. Either way, we're quite certain that the figure would have been very impressive indeed.

Here we are at top, sporting our Million Paws Walk bandanas, just before we left for Lake Ginninderra.

Tom and Sam met us at the assembly point. (That's them, together with us two Goldens and the Alpha Female, at left.)

Just about every known breed of dog must have been represented there that day, though, to be honest, we had our suspicions about one or two. The Pack Leader said that one of them was a "ferret" and two other really big ones were "alpacas". Can't say we've ever heard of those particular breeds, but there it is.

Anyway, we were very pleased to do our part in helping the RSPCA, which does a tremendous job looking after the interests of all sorts of creatures, including native birds and animals, throughout Australia.

But, you know, all this charity work can be very tiring. We really need a good rest when we got home to No 86.

Kellie & Breeze: As you are no doubt aware by now, one of our favourite places for a long walk is over in the (former) Stromlo Forest. It's only a short walk from No 86, but the great thing is that, once you are in there, you can almost believe that you are way out in the country. Alas, we almost never see kangaroos over there any more, and even the rabbits seem to have abandoned the place since the bushfires.

As the following pictures show, we occasionally elect to take a break and rest up on a bench or tree stump or something. Elevation, that's what you need if you are going to spot kangaroos before they spot you. They're not there now, but they'll come back one day. And when they do, we will be ready.

Kellie & Breeze: The Pack Leader, who breaks out in a rash and starts to twitch violently unless he buys himself a new toy about once every three months, got himself one of those Apple iPod portable music player thingummies in May. We two Goldens took a bit of a liking to this thing ourselves, as is evidenced by the following two pictures.

Breeze: This is me, somewhat entranced as I listen to Vivaldi's Concerto for Mandolin in C.

Kellie: And this is me, listening to Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf. What else?

Breeze: One of our many tasks as the resident Golden Retrievers at No 86 - apart from generally keeping the whole place on an even keel and squelching problems before they arise - is to keep the Pack Leader and Alpha Female reasonably fit. To this end, we feel compelled to take them out for a walk each day, occasionally in rather difficult and demanding terrain. They complain from time to time, but we keep them at it. You know what they say - no pain, no gain.

The Pack Leader and Alpha Female will try to tell you that this is no chore for us at all, and that we actually enjoy, and look forward to, these daily excursions. Indeed, the casual observer might be fooled into believing that that is, in fact, the case, given that we invariably jump around excitedly and bark like crazy when we see the Pack Leader reach for the leashes.

Not a bit of it. That behaviour of ours is just one big act. We are simply doing our duty, tiresome though it may be. Really. No, really.

Breeze: Sometimes the Pack Leader will feign fatigue or pressure of work or something in an attempt to escape his daily exercise. But we never let him get away with that nonsense. For example, here we are refusing to let him near his silly computer thingummy until he attaches our leashes and heads for the outside world, with Kellie and I leading the way and cracking the whip.

Kellie: Yep, its always "once more unto the breech" for my Mum and I, such are the demands of our job descriptions. Ah, well. There's no use complaining. May as well get out on the track once again, our humans in tow.

Breeze: What the heck, Kellie. We can always flake out when we get home.

Kellie: Indeed we can, Mama. However, next time I wonder if I could prevail upon you to give at least passing consideration to precisely where you place that part of your person extending down through the tibia and tarsus and thence to the metatarsals.

Breeze: Run that past me again, daughter-of-mine.

Kellie: Watch where you put your feet, please.

Breeze: What are you saying? That you don't want a shoulder massage?

Kellie: I can live without it. And, frankly, I think Froggie can too.