JULY 2013 - MARCH 2014

DUSTY: There's no denying that the loss of our dear Kellie hit my pack rather hard. It was if a great gaping chasm had been left right in the middle of our lives. Kellie had such a larger-than-life personality that it was hard to get to grips with the fact that she simply wasn't around any more.

But, as the saying goes, life goes on. We kind of sensed that Kellie would not have wanted us to remain down in the dumps for long and that we should just knuckle down and get on with our lives - just as long as we sat by her grave from time to time and remembered all the good times we had together.

So the Pack Leader and Alpha Female eventually had me out on daily walks again, sniffing here and sniffing there. And when I wasn't doing that I'd often lay down by Kellie's grave and fix one of my chew-toys in a hammer-lock, remaining motionless for extended periods. Kellie always did this as well. We used to call it the Kellie Trance.

My good friends Angus and Taylor kept me company from time to time. They had recently been joined by Phoebe, the last Golden Retriever to leave Buffalo Kennels. Phoebe is Taylor's daughter, and Taylor was Dayna's daughter, so there are strong family connections there.

Just look at Angus here, in the picture at left, doing his well-known orca whale impersonation. As his Pack Leader Scott says, he is a born entertainer.

Unfortunately, little Phoebe developed a serious problem about this time. She became very "nervy" and "jittery" and started behaving as if she just knew that something terrible was about to happen. For some reason she seemed a little calmer at my place, so her Pack Leader (Scott) and my Pack Leader agreed that she should stay with me until, hopefully, she got better.

That made sense because my Pack Leader and Alpha Female are both retired whereas Scott is a Qantas pilot and always going out-of-country and his wife Kate works long hours in a demanding job in the Prime Minister's office. We all agreed that it just wasn't a good idea to leave Phoebe at home by herself during the day. Much better to have her at my place where my Pack Leader, Alpha Female and I could look after her 24/7.

After a few weeks, Phoebe's condition had slowly improved to the point where she was able to go home again full-time. We had become such firm friends during her stay, and went everywhere together. She had become such a fixture around No 86 that it was a bit of a wrench to see her go, I can tell you. Just ask my Pack Leader and Alpha Female.

Yes, I missed Phoebe when she went home. But, hey, it was summertime, and thus time for many enjoyable morning walks in Commonwealth Park and my other favourite walking spots.