JUL-DEC 2015

In September my humans went off to Europe for a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, and they left me in Canberra! Can you believe that? I mean, what a bummer. Outrageous discrimination against persons of the canine persuasion, I call it. Anyway, they said they saw some Golden Retrievers in Amsterdam and Rothenburg and the whole experience made them miss me something awful, so it jolly well serves them right if you ask me.

Anyway, my human sister Sam and her husband Tom looked after me while my humans were away, with considerable assistance from my long-time friend and protector Saybo the Magnificent, the resident long-haired German Shepherd. You can just see him here in this photograph taken at his place, keeping a watchful eye on me as usual.

So here's my Mum in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic and at Melk in Austria. No Golden Retrievers anywhere in sight so I honestly can't see what they saw in it all.

When my humans were sailing through the Rhine Gorge, they had a very important ceremony to perform. They had taken a clipping of Saybo's fur with them and, as they passed The Lorelei, they solemly cast those clippings into the waters. The Pack Leader swears that some Rhine maidens gathered the fur together as it hit the waters and carried it right down into the bosom of Saybo's ancestral homelands. Some say that this ceremony was so intensely moving that there wasn't a dry eye on deck.

And then, later that day, while he was up at the at Niederwald monument near Rudesheim, the Pack Leader turned around to see the fellow at right, below, just behind him. For about half a second he actually thought it was Saybo! Gave him such a shock that he had to go and sit down for a while to steady himself. I tell you, German Shepherds have a lot to answer for.

You all remember my good friend Phoebe, who stays with me from time to time. Well, late in the year she was joined by Bronte, who was retired to Phoebe's home in Canberra from Dobro Kennels up in Queensland. Bronte had only recently had a litter of 14 puppies (yes, 14!). I guess you could say that a lady who has delivered up a litter of that size deserves a restful retirement. I know I do.

Anyway, Bronte made the journey from Queensland in a Qantas jet, arrived in good shape, and very quickly adapted herself to her new circumstances - evidence in itself, if such evidence were needed, of the legendary adaptabiity and resilience of our noble breed, hem, hem. Here she is with Phoebe (at front) at her new home. Of course, when this shot was taken, her coat and body were still recovering from all the effort of delivering up that huge litter of puppies.

As for me, life proceeded apace as summer approached. A walk and a bit of a sniff around each day is what keeps me happy, together with the requisite number of treats and pats.

Some days we drive over to Commonwealth Park for a stroll. When you exit a little bridge over there, you have the choice of going straight ahead around the lake or turning left onto another path. It always amuses the Pack Leader and Alpha Female that I invariably insist on turning left, and dig my heels in and refuse to budge if they try to go straight ahead. They have no idea why I do this, and I really can't see the point in trying to explain it to them. It's one of those Goldie things that humans simply cannot be expected to understand.