APRIL - JUNE 2004
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.
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: 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.