OCTOBER 2009 - APRIL 2010

Goodness gracious me! Nine years old already! Hard to believe.

"You know," said the Pack Leader to the Alpha Female, "the reality is that Kellie is now in her sixties in human terms. But can you imagine any human female in her sixties looking that young and gorgeous?"

Well, as you would expect, that comment went over like a lead balloon so far as the Alpha Female was concerned. Nevertheless, she had to concede that the Pack Leader had a point. I mean, be honest. If you had the choice, would you rather have (a) opposable thumbs or (b) my looks when you get to 65, hem, hem?

Anyway, here's modest little me on my ninth birthday:


I hadn't had any swimming since February, mainly because of elevated blue-green algae levels in Lake Burley-Griffin, which is rather dangerous for we members of the canine species. By October, however, the lake was clear, so there was nothing for it but to hit the aqua again. The problem was that all this coincided with about two weeks of unusually high temperatures in Canberra. In fact, the temperature was so high that the Pack Leader elected to take me down to the lake in the very early mornings, before it got too hot.

It's fairly dark at that time of the morning. On the other hand, it's really peaceful and quiet, and I've got the whole lake to myself ...

... until, that is, the rowers from the Australian Institute of Sport take to the waters for their early-morning training.

But they all have excellent manners and don't mind me being present in the shallower waters when they come back to shore. For example, the lady rower slowed down to let me pass. And the gentleman rower, observing that well-known maritime rule which dictates that steam gives way to sail and oars give way to paws, obligingly trailed his port oar as he passed by me.

Fortunately, by mid-December the temperatures had dropped back to a pleasant mid-summer level, so I started taking to the lake a tad later in the day.

Basically, my at-lake activities comprise fetching sticks and then chewing them to bits on-shore. I no longer have anything to do with the black swans because, these days, I just don't regard them as worthy adversaries. They are just feathered cream-puffs really. Just not in my league.


2010 started off extremely well. In late January, Dayna and Angus came to stay with me again, this time for two whole months while Scott and Kate took a well-deserved holiday in England, Wales, Scotland and France.

Needless to say, when Scott and Kate were in Scotland, they visited the little villiage of Tomich, which is quite near where the Golden Retriever was bred into existence by Lord Tweedmouth in the nineteenth century. I doubt whether Dayna and Angus would have forgiven their humans if they had not paid their respects at that historic location.

Meanwhile, back in Canberra, my Pack Leader and Alpha Female fought a valiant, but ultimately doomed, battle to stop we three Goldens from twisting them around our little paws 24/7.

Here we are having a breather on the back lawn and, in the picture at right, interrupting the Pack Leader's hobby activities by cadging treats off him. Let's be clear about this: it's rather pointless being born with oodles of charm and not using that gift to good effect. And getting a treat is a pretty good effect, if you ask me.

Here we are (1) pulling the same stunt on the Pack Leader's daughter Samantha and (2) taking the Pack Leader on his daily walk. I don't know how many kilometers we walked while Dayna and Angus were with us, but we covered an enormous amount of territory, let me tell you. If it were up to Dayna, we'd still be walking. I mean, Angus and I are always keen on our walks, but Dayna is an absolute fanatic. She's enormously energetic.

Angus had his sixth birthday while he was here so, needless to say, we all helped him celebrate the occasion. He seemed rather fascinated with his birthday cake and spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how he could get the biscuits off the top without dislodging the candles:

Anyway, here's the big guy's official sixth birthday photograph. Bit of a hunk, isn't he? It's no wonder I like to have him stay at my place.

Just a few random shots here to record the way I was in early 2010. (Just the same rascal I've always been, says my Pack Leader.) As for the shot of me sleeping after my daily walk, well, it's rather characteristic of my style. Ever since I was a little puppy, when I have settled down for a sleep, I have always tried to find a place where I can wedge myself between two objects. At the very least, I simply must have a wall or a chair or something at my back. I just feel more secure that way I guess.

Anyway, with Dayna and Angus having returned to Scott's and Kate's place, I was once more required to occasionally play hostess to Saybo the Long-Haired German Shepherd.

The trouble with Saybo is that he has absolutely no idea how to counter-surf, so he has to rely on my expertise in that regard. Here he is egging me on and asking me to check out whether there's anything up there worth purloining.