Kellie & Breeze: Oops. We almost forgot to mention the annual Million Paws Walk back in May. This is an annual fund-raising event conducted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). It's a great day out in support of a worthy cause, and provides us with an opportunity to meet a lot of other people of the canine persuasion.

Breeze: For example, here I am with a couple of little friends I met at the start of the day.

Kellie: And here I am with one of my new friends, and with Saybo giving me his usual undivided attention.

Kellie: Here we are setting out for the long walk around the lake. That's Tom with Saybo on the left, me with the Alpha Female in the middle, and Sam with my Mum on the right. As you can see, we had a perfect autumn day for the event.

Breeze: Speaking of Saybo, well, the little guy seemed to increase in size every day (even though the ears still seemed to be quite a bit off the pace). He was visiting Kellie and I quite often, and it was always a pleasure to see him. He seemed to have boundless energy, and a pretty good nose for mischief as well. In fact, he was beginning to give the Pack Leader and Alpha Female a very strong sense of deja vu, reminding them of rascally Kellie during the first year of her life, when they occasionally wondered what on earth they had taken on.

Kellie & Breeze: Yep, we sure knew when young Saybo had spent the day with us. Took us another day to recover.

Kellie: Red Hill is one of the really great areas for a jolly good walk in Canberra. Trouble is, its a pretty long and steep climb, which leaves the Pack Leader and Alpha Female gasping and wheezing by the time we get to the top. I mean, Kellie and I practically have to drag them up the final slopes, the negotiation of which proves beyong all doubt, if such proof were needed, that four legs are vastly superior to two in any situation requiring the movement of one's person from point A to point B.

Breeze: The one down side to Red Hill is that we are not permitted off the leash while we are up there. We'll leave you to guess the reason for this. Yep, the reason is immediately below. Have you any idea, any idea at all, what it's like being presented with such a sight when you are a Golden Retriever and not being allowed to obey your natural instincts? Well, if you could see the Pack Leader and Alpha Female trying desperately to restrain Kellie and I in such circumstances, you'd get a pretty good idea of the level of frustration we experience. It's just not fair.

Kellie: But the up side of Red Hill is that, once you are up there, it's sometimes difficult to believe that you are, in fact, right in the middle of a city. (It's not for nothing that Canberra is often referred to as "the bush capital".)

Kellie & Breeze: OK, we said to the Pack Leader, if we're not allowed to chase kangaroos on Red Hill, we'd much prefer to be over at Yarralumla. At least we're allowed off the leash there, and the fish, unlike these uppity marsupials, have never objected to our presence. No that we've noticed, anyway.

Kellie: Shiver me timbers, Cap'n Breeze! I see you've tricked that Spanish galleon into sailing right into pirate territory. Brilliant work, you crafty old sea dog! What's the plan of action now?

Breeze: Aaarrr, arrrff, Blackbeard Kellie. We'll swim across, disable the rudder, board the vessel with cutlasses drawn, and force the skurvy knaves to walk the plank to Davey Jones' locker unless they give us, like, heaps of treats and more pats than there are gold doubloons in all the Spanish Main.

Kellie & Breeze: Alas, neither swimming nor piracy interested Saybo all that much. Maybe he was just waiting until he was fully grown. And, let us tell you, by late September he was rapidly approaching that particular goal, with the ears steadily gaining in self-confidence.