Kellie: My Pack Leader and Alpha Female were, as you would expect, somewhat uncertain as to how I would handle the loss of my incomparable Mama. Indeed, they were even uncertain as to whether I had any understanding at all as to what had happened and that I would never again see my beloved mother and mentor. To them it seemed that I was just a little confused by the fact that Momma Breeze was no longer in residence at No 86 and that I was probably wondering, in my own canine way, why she wasn't around anymore. But, of course, our humans have no way at all of knowing what goes on in our little Golden Retriever noggins at such times, and it's probably better that way if you really think about it. It's best if the humans just leave we Goldens to handle these things in our own way.

One thing I just know my Mum would not have wanted to see was me moping about the house feeling sad and lonely. I just know that she would have wanted me to simply get on with my life and remain as active as ever. So it wasn't too long before I found myself going for my daily walks and weekly swims again, though I would have to say that it just wasn't the same without my Mum.

Some weeks later I laid claim to the bedroom once occupied by my (human) sister Samantha. I just went in there one day and jumped up on the bed, something I had never been allowed to do in the past. Fortunately, the Alpha Female wasn't too fussed about this and just said "Well, it hasn't been used for years now, Kellie, so I guess this can be your room from now on.". The Pack Leader just winked at me and told me that I carried the day because I looked absolutely adorable just snoozing away there and the Alpha Female just didn't have the heart to disturb me.

Quite a coup for the Kellie-Bomb, really. Mum would have been proud of me.

Saybo the Long-Haired German Shepherd came to visit me quite often during this difficult period of adjustment. My Pack Leader and Alpha Female were always pleased to see him here because, apart from the fact that he's a really wonderful fellow to have about the house, they were grateful that I had some canine company from time to time. He's a really great pal of mine is Saybo. He has a really terrifying bark, which intimidates some humans until they learn that he's a real cream puff inside. The original gentle giant.

Occasionally Saybo would accompany me on my swimming excursions but, frankly, the big lug is absolutely hopeless in the water. Absolutely hopeless. Just can't seem to get the hang of it. And another thing is that he fails to understand the singular importance of laying on the shore between dips, reducing the sticks you have just fetched to a pile of woodchips. So, generally, our outings together are confined to good old terra firma, where he tends to excel.

Before we knew it, spring had arrived yet again. Great weather for a Golden to be out-of-doors and strolling around in Canberra's parks.

Great weather also for getting up to speed again on the sacred task of burying bones and chewy sticks.

Later in the year I was visited by some friends of mine from Victoria. Their names are Whisky (the matriarch of the family), Spencer and Gracie, and they live on a farm quite near the famous Hanging Rock. Spencer and Gracie are very young recent arrivals, but Whisky goes way back to Bessie's day, and we have been communicating with the family since that time. Whisky is quite old now, having lost her long-time kennel-mate Oscar some time ago, but she is still quite the loveliest little Golden you could ever wish to meet. She is an absolute charmer, and possesses a quiet dignity which sets her quite apart from the rather boisterous and headstrong Gracie and Spencer.

That's Whisky in the middle in these two shots. It was all I could do to keep those two pups still for long enough to take the picture, they are so energetic.

And that's me (on the right) with them at my place. The pups are giving their well-known imitation of snakes in the grass.

Before they left, the invited me to spend some time with them at their holiday house down at Tuross Heads, a delightful spot on the coast east of here. Here we are taking our rest after a walk on the beach.