MARCH - MAY 2012

KELLIE & DUSTY: March saw us heading to Callala Bay for a few days of seaside relaxation at a place called The Beach House. (Callala Bay is actually part of Jervis Bay, which is over on the coast east-north-east of Canberra.) It's a very pleasant and peaceful spot, and that bracing salt sea air does wonders for the constitution.

Needless to say, we elected to take the Pack Leader and Alpha Female with us. After all, and in all fairness, they probably deserved a bit of a break after months and months of attending to our every wish and whim.

KELLIE: My little sister Dusty was a bundle of restless energy most of the time, exploring here and exploring there and having the occasional "conversation" with the little doggie next door. But for my part, being a senior citizen, I was determined to get as much rest and relaxation as I possibly could.

DUSTY: Not completely true, that last bit. I mean, Kellie does her fair share of exploration when we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, although it is fair to say that her explorations comprise, for the most part, counter-surfing in the kitchen. Trust me on this: if there's anything edible on an unattended kitchen counter, Kellie's nose will seek it out with alacrity. And, let me tell you, the legendary capabilities of that nose remain quite undiminished after all these years.

KELLIE: Dusty, for her part, displayed a certain fascination with watching the sun come up every morning. Well before dawn, she'd be in this location, staring out to the east, and she'd remain there until well after sunrise. Occasionally she'd feel compelled to bark, at length, at that big orange orb rising in the sky. The reason for that behaviour remains somewhat obscure. Probably just some primal canine instinct asserting itself I shouldn't wonder.

KELLIE: Another thing that fascinated Dusty was the daily arrival of these strange feathered creatures, which the Pack Leader informed us are called pelicans. Every afternoon we'd see them perched on the street lights. There just wasn't one single street light without its attendant pelican. Why the street lights and not the trees? Go figure.

KELLI & DUSTY: One thing we greatly enjoyed was just lazing around on the terrace in the evening light while the Pack Leader stoked up the barbie and the Alpha Female rustled up our evening meal, which was invariably followed by treats and pats. Doesn't get much better than that.

DUSTY: On the second day we strapped into the motor car and drove up north to the little town of Gerringong. Apart from anything else, the Pack Leader wanted to get some shots of us at the same spot where he took his all-time favourite shot of Kellie and her Mum Breeze (the bottom one on the January-April 2007 page).




KELLIE & DUSTY: On the way back to Canberra via the Southern Highlands we had to detour to the town of Bowral so as to once again pay our respects at the Bradman Oval, a cricket ground named in honour of Sir Donald Bradman, arguably the greatest batsman who ever lived. Actually, I think we Goldens would be pretty good cricketers. Admittedly, batting and bowling would be a bit of a stretch, but fielding would be right up our alley, given that we can run like the wind and catch things in our mouths. And if you've ever heard us sledging, well, enough said.

DUSTY: And then came autumn in Canberra, and then the winter. But don't think that cold and wet days cramp our style in any way. No siree. Not us. I mean, there's one thing that Kellie and I feel compelled to apprise you of at this juncture: regardless of the weather, we always go for our daily walk. Yep, when it's raining, the Pack Leader, the Alpha Female and we two Goldens just put on our iconic Aussie raincoats (our Dryzabones) and head out into the raging tempest, laughing in the face of the very worst that mother nature can throw at us. No kidding.

KELLIE: Another thing we should mention at this stage is that our new friend Taylor (introduced back on the January-March page) and her kennel-mate Angus have become absolute bosom buddies. They are really quite devoted to each other, and a joy to watch playing together. Here they are carrying on like absolute pork chops in their backyard and sharing one of their new winter beds.

KELLIE: Because I move very slowly these days, my little sister Dusty is taken on a separate walk every second day, this to ensure that she gets adequate exercise. Quite often this walk occurs in a big stretch of open grassland, just north of our place, through which a new bicycle path meanders.

Last year, possibly as a result of the breaking of the drought, we saw the odd mouse over there, scurrying into the long grass. Well, that really brought out Dusty's hunting instincts and, ever since, she has remained convinced that there is still a mouse or two over there. Fortunately, she hasn't caught one yet, because we don't want them harmed, but that doesn't stop her (a) doing the occasional pounce and (b) roaming over the area like a hunting lioness in search of prey on the plains of the Serengeti. Not to worry though, because she has what they call in the trade a "soft mouth". So I really don't think she'd harm one, even if she could catch one.

DUSTY: Finally, here are some rather autumnal shots of Kellie and I taken over at Commonwealth Park in late May. The last one is, fittingly, of my big sister Kellie, looking every inch the wise and dignified matriarch of the clan.