DUSTY: It has always seemed appropriate to the Pack Leader and Alpha Female that the birthday of my estimable half-sister Kellie should herald, each year,the coming of summer. Yep, another year has flown, and Kellie has turned eleven. Still as wilful and headstrong as ever, and still bossing the humans around as if she is so loveable that she can get away with it - which, of course, she can. Anyway, here is she is on her birthday.

It was a glorious summer day in Canberra for her birthday, so we went for an enjoyable walk down Dunrossil Drive to the gates of Government House and back. Here we are outside the gates of Goverment House, taking a breather.

KELLIE: There's a bit of a story behing that last picture. A few seconds after it was taken, Dusty, for some reason best known to herself, up and bolted - and she bolted right for the nearby gates of Government House! Fearful that she would go right through the gates and into the grounds, the Pack Leader ran after her, yelling like a madman.

Now picture what this must have looked like to the guard in the guard box. A Golden Retriever bounds towards the entrance to Government House (the official residence of the Australian Head of State) and there's this bearded guy with a large camera bag strapped around his waist (the same general location where suicide bombers strap their sticks of dynamite) racing after her yelling like a lunatic. I still don't know whether the guard came racing out of the guard box in order to apprehend Dusty or to (possibly) terminate the Pack Leader with extreme prejudice. Anyway, mercifully, Dusty turned around at the last moment, thereby de-fusing the situation. She just stood there in the middle of the entrance looking up at the Pack Leader and wagging her tail, no doubt thinking that the whole thing was some sort of highly enjoyable game.

"You two Goldens will be the death of me. You really will." said the Pack Leader during the drive home.

DUSTY:When summer arrives, the water beckons. Well, anyway, it beckons to Kellie, who, I'm told, took to the water quite instinctively and quite fearlessly at a very early age. But, as for me, I'm still very wary of that big lake. As I may have mentioned before, I'm quite happy to paddle around in the shallows, but I simply will not go in out of my depth no matter how hard the Pack Leader tries to entice me. I'm sure Kellie is quite appalled by my lack of aquatic expertise, and no doubt considers me to be a tad disrespectful of the historic relationship between our noble breed and the water. As for the Pack Leader, he says that he is not going to rush me, convinced that one day I'll take the plunge, and then spend the rest of my life wondering what on earth I was afraid of.

DUSTY: But as for Kellie, well, she still loves to go for a swim. We are still convinced that she has gills somewhere. It's just that we haven't located them yet.

DUSTY:That last shot of her shows her sinking down to periscope depth, which she occasionally does so that she can sneak up on me unnanounced. Another trick of hers, shown below, is to wait until the Pack Leader gets close with his camera and then give herself a violent shake so as to get water droplets all over the camera's lens. Rather annoys the Pack Leader, that one, much to the amusement of the Alpha Female.

Starting to wind up

Approaching max RPM