KELLIE: OK, then. Winter. Groan. Double groan. Amongst other things that tend to cramp one's lifestyle at this time of the year: no more swimming in the lake! Not till the water gets warm again, says the Pack Leader. What a bummer!

DUSTY: Methinks my big sister doth protest too much. Yes, I know that she's a dyed-in-the-wool water-dog, and that she would spend half her life fetching sticks from the lake if given half a chance, but all our other activities remain on the agenda during the winter months. We still get all our daily walks, for example, even when it rains. When the skies open up, we all just slip on our Dryzabone coats and away we go. (Yep, I've now got my own Dryzabone, just like Kellie's. I mean, you're just not an Aussie Goldie without a genuine Dryzabone.)

DUSTY: One of our favourite walks, as we may have mentioned before, is over at Commonwealth Park. That's where these pictures were taken. As you can see from Kellie's front legs, those horrible vets have been at her again, shaving off her fur and sticking tubes into her veins. It's just so unfair.

KELLIE: No big deal, really. In June, and again in September, I got really bad tummy upsets and, on both occasions, had to spend an overnight in hospital. Fortunately, I was as right as rain a day or so later, though that didn't stop my Pack Leader and Alpha Female from worrying themselves sick of course. You see, they thought my tummy upsets might have been caused by my pancreas "chucking a wobbly" again, which is something they simply don't want me to have to endure ever again. But I'm happy to report that tests showed, fairly conclusively, that my pancreas was not involved in either of these episodes. Big sigh of relief from The Pack Leader and Alpha Female, I can tell you that.

DUSTY: Commonwealth Park is one of those places where Kellie demonstrates her incredible navigational abilities. Our walks over there wend and wind all over the place, but my big sister handles it all with aplomb, only occasionally requiring a liitle corrective steer from the Pack Leader. Another thing that amazes us is that, wherever we go in Canberra, as long as it's somewhere that Kellie has been to many times before, she seems to know exactly where she is the instant she gets out of the car, trotting off in the appropriate direction for that location. One of these days we'll figure out how she does it, though we suspect that the legendary nose plays a key part.

KELLIE: Look, it's all a piece of cake, really. I mean, I'm just not going to let my loss of vision curtail my activities in any way at all. I'm just not. The thing of it is that, when all is said and done, I am my father's daughter.

DUSTY: Which is all well and good, but the fact of the matter is that the Pack Leader sometimes gets a little annoyed at my big sister's level of confidence, which he (the Pack Leader) often characterizes as over-confidence. I think he may have a point, given that Kellie will occasionally wander off by herself, usually in pursuit of some intersting aroma, when she cannot possibly know if there's anything dangerous in front of her.

KELLIE: To which I would say (1) danger is my middle name, and (2) I am not now, nor have I ever been, a shrinking violet. Headstrong and wilful, that's me. It's in my DNA.

DUSTY: Nuff said. Nuff said.

DUSTY: During this period, Tia, the little rescue dog from Melbourne, came to stay with us again. Kellie had seen her several times before, of course, but this was my first encounter with the little lass. I must say that we hit it off right from the start. In fact, the Pack Leader has expressed the view that we two are "as thick as thieves", and that we are a very bad influence on each other, the one compounding the mischievous antics of the other. Seems like the usual inexpicable human attitude to what Tia and I regard as nothing more than NCH (normal canine behaviour).

KELLIE: Next up is my absolute all-time favourite photograph of my little half-sister Dusty. The Pack Leader says that he had to use a super-fast shutter speed for this one, given that she was moving at about a thousand kilometers an hour at the time. It's a shot that seems to convey her essential nature - a happy and carefree little lass, brimming over with the joy of living.

KELLIE and DUSTY: Early September saw us over at another one of our favourite walks near the National Museum of Australia. By this time the temperatures were quite balmy and the blossoms were appearing on the trees again. A great time to be alive.