Breeze: The most important event in October was, of course, the fourth birthday of my rather spirited and exuberant young daughter Kellie, otherwise known to my humans as The Kellie-Bomb or Big Loud One. She's not exactly a shrinking violet, my Kellie. She was an absolute canine dynamo as a puppy, and gave notice on her fourth birthday that she was not going to change any time soon. But that's my Kellie.

Kellie: Kellie-Bomb? Big Loud One? Is that really how my Pack Leader and Alpha Female refer to dainty little me? Well, I'm shattered. I really am. I mean, I've always thought of myself as being rather prim, proper and demure. In fact, I'll prove it to you: It being my birthday and all, I'll just pose on the side of this hill looking super-prim, mega-proper, and ultra-demure. What do you think?

Breeze: Trust me on this, Kellie: You're about as prim, proper and demure as a heavy metal rock band. But don't worry about it, because the Pack Leader says that he wouldn't change you for all the diamonds in the Kimberleys.

Kellie: Well, I'm really, really hurt by these outrageous imputations, Mama. And on my birthday, too. I'm a good girl, I am. A good girl, I say.

Kellie: Then again, if those kangaroos over there think that I'm a demure and retiring little lady, I think I might just race over, put them to flight, and convince them to the contrary.

Breeze: I rest my case.

Breeze: You really have to stop telegraphing your punches like that, Kellie. Surely you know that, whenever you look like giving chase to kangaroos, on go the leashes and back to the car we go for the voyage home.

Kellie: Fair comment. But think of it this way, Mama: Home is where the doggie treats are.

Breeze: An astute observation, daughter-of-mine. But do you think you could allow me just a tad more room here in the back seat? I sometimes think you forget what a big lump of a girl you are.

Kellie: So that's it, then? On my fourth birthday I learn that I'm regarded as a big, loud, brash, exuberant, boisterous, rambunctious lump of a girl. Better get used to it folks: You're looking at Big Loud Kellie-Bomb, the canine supernova.

Kellie: And the most important event in November was my Mum's tenth birthday, a notable occasion if ever there was one. As is traditional at No 86, she spent the first couple of hours being fluffed up at Capital Grooming, preparatory to the usual torture of having her birthday pictures taken.

Breeze: Fluffed up, indeed. Reminded me of my days in the show ring when I was a young girl. To be frank, neither the Pack Leader nor I were at all sure about those little red ribbons in my hair. (The Pack Leader thought they might have been a just a little too "cutesy-pie" for a mature lady like myself.) However, in the end we decided that it was a rather nice gesture by the ladies at Capital Grooming, and that we should leave them on for my birthday pictures.

Kellie: One of my Mum's funny little traits is that she is forever wandering around No 86 with a chew-toy in her mouth. For that reason, we always have to keep a good selection of chew-toys on hand, which is why her collection was added to on her birthday. The down side to all this is that she leaves these things scattered all over (and outside) the house. As a consequence, the Pack Leader or Alpha Female must necessarily perform a "sweep" every day so as to recover her toys and return them to the central chew-toy repository, where she expects to find them all next morning.

Kellie & Breeze: And then glorious summer was here. Time to indulge in one of our favourite pastimes, which is taking the Pack Leader and Alpha Female for a morning stroll along the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin. They seem to enjoy it as much as we do - except for those occasions when black swans, kayaks, or dragon boats sail into view. When that happens, we invariably express our disapproval with continuing and relentless barking, causing the Pack Leader and Alpha Female no end of embarrassment.

Kellie & Breeze: And then - yep, you guessed it - it was back into the wet stuff again. We are now in our third year of drought in our part of Australia; thankfully, however, there's still enough water around to allow a Golden Retriever to do what a Golden Retriever does best.