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(a dog's point of view)

When my owners were in a great fuss of preparation for their BIG TRIP they decided to take me with them, and so they have asked me to write the Christmas letter this year. In case you are wondering, this is Sam [the Dog] and I am writing this by thought transference, as my paws are too big for the keys. Our trip began with me loaded in the car on top of the mattress, and HE has decreed "never again, we'll buy a rooftop locker for the mattress before our next trip" It was fairly comfortable, and I took things one day at a time. The first night was terrible, in a metal locker on my own mat in a boat which rocked all night, I was glad to see them the next morning, and to get back into my car. I am not a water dog! It was good staying with Felicity and I was allowed to sleep on my mat outside her door, and there were lots of walks in the park. Next stop was at Castlemaine, where there were two friendly dogs, and a good run around the garden. People at St Arnaud were very kind, and let me sleep on my mat in their shed. My owners forgot the mat, but got me a new one. Adelaide was exciting [lots of cars and trucks] and Port Augusta gave me a run on the beach and a meeting with a nice female dog. Lots of miles later, I put my paw on my owner's shoulder. It worked, we stopped and had a run, but we went on again! After Coober Pedy, my owners thought they would show me the Dog Fence - some fence it was! More photos, and then I calmly walked across the "cattle grid" and christened it! There was a most exciting smell, which I wanted to follow, later we saw a dingo feeding from the roadkill. Two days later we got to Alice Springs - what fun! There was dog show on, and lots of large and strange dogs paraded in the Caravan Park. Some kind cousins gave us their house for two weeks, and I had my own yard, and the company of a little female dog named Barbie, lots of water in the swimming pool and sunshine to sleep in.
Next stop was Tennant Creek, my owners had a great time driving around and taking photos: we went to their old house, but it was guarded by two Mamalukes, and we all talked loudly across the back gate with their owners. HE caught a train in the night, but he didn't take me! SHE got me up the next morning before sunrise and we drove to Katherine, where we had to find MM, then he took us to a cattle station where we stayed two nights with me on the front porch and having runs down to the river. There were some Very Strange smells near the river and we didn't stay long, there were lots of nice dogs, and some beautiful big trees.
We had a walk in the park at Darwin, and SHE insisted on taking me into the sea at a nearby beach, it was very warm and salty, and as she washed me all over, I was licking the salt off for days! The caravan park was nice and shady, and the dogs were kept close to their owners. On Sunday, we raced into town, and my owners went into this building where lots of people were singing. They forgot to wind down my windows, so when they came back I was given a walk and lots of people patted me and said "Good Dog -what is he?" [My mother was kelpie and my father was possibly a Queensland Heeler, and I'm told I am a very handsome dog]. My owners kept going to National Parks and had to leave me locked in the car, on guard, with the windows partly down, but there was lots of shade, always.
I really don't know how they would have found their way each day without me! I stood on the mattress, and watched the road all the way. There were not many trucks, but lots of 4 wheel drives and caravans. We went west after another stop at Katherine, and another two-day halt was at Hall's Creek. We went for an early drive, and two dogs kept getting in front of us, and making a big noise. As it was Sunday again, I was left in the car twice, while they went inside to do some singing.
At Broome we had to camp in a park which welcomed dogs, they were everywhere - don't know who made the most noise, the dogs or their owners! We went on to Sandfire, which had a little zoo. There were peacocks, geese, a camel and a Brahmin bull. A very kind man from the caravan next to us gave me a bone from their pork roast dinner - YUM! I made short work of that. Breakfast the next morning was fun, because SHE went to buy groceries and I had a good scrap with the petrol-station owner's dog! We were well matched, and I could have made a meal of him if I hadn't been dragged off to have my breakfast instead. At Port Hedland where even the pigeons are copper coloured, they insisted that it was my privilege to swim in the Indian Ocean, and they both got into the waves to show me it was safe. Barking was no use, I had to get in and swim! Oh well there was lots of clean sand to roll in after! There were also some horses being exercised, and they didn't mind swimming - to each his own! Two nights inland, much better smells, cattle and some sheep. Kalgoorlie was a good stop - lots of shade and sunshine while HE cleaned the car and put the spare tyre on. No dogs, but a very feisty orange cat! He spent some time on the roof when I was there, but always came down for his owners, who seemed very fond of him. Good long walks with HIM and someone called Brian.
Across the Nullarbor was a long way, and one night I was most uncomfortable and made a mess in the car. I tried to tell them but SHE just said "Good DOG - go to sleep." Well, SHE had to clean the car in the morning while HE took me for a long walk. I'm happy to say that was my only accident, the Nullarbor is not treeless, there are millions of trees.
It was cold and raining in South Australia, and we headed for a farm at Robinvale, where there were two dogs and I was very well treated, although my owners tied me to a long lead just in case we all got stroppy. We went out to afternoon tea, and I was tied up next to two other dogs, but the scones were yummy. Sunshine and good smells - oranges, lucerne and a river nearby, I was sorry to leave. One night at Kerang where I had my own yard, next to a friendly little dog who reminded me of Barbie. A couple of nights at Kyabram where I had my own yard and shelter, then down to Melbourne to Felicity again [I believe she has two cats inside that door, but I never got to see them] and THE BOAT again! My documents were all in the wrong bag, but they let us into Tasmania again.
Tell you what, I'm glad to be home in MY yard, MY shed, near MY beach again!