THERE’S something missing in our lives these holidays. It’s Missy, Missy Higgins. 

Not the multi-talented singer-songwriter, but Missy, a shiny, black 10-year-old kelpie/whippet cross rescue dog we adopted in early 2017. We re-christened her, adding the singer/songwriter’s surname to give her some extra “cred” (it also works as her territory included the northern suburb of Higgins). 


And it turned out she didn’t need any help in that department. She had personality plus (we thought, anyway) plus mega attitude. Missy quickly wormed her way into our household and hearts.

I hadn’t had a dog since the 1970s when our family had a jet-black border collie whose name cannot be uttered now. It was more than likely offensive at the time, too, but also back then there was no dog ice cream or dog yoghurt and it was a time when nobody paid exorbitant vet fees and dogs had names like “Butch” and “Scruffy” and “Bimbo” but were never referred to as Doggos.

Missy didn’t seem to consider herself a dog and couldn’t understand why the leather couch was denied her, although she obviously got that message loud and clear. 

She had a haughty attitude to most things and in particular to other dogs, although she would deign to sniff the occasional butt during her daily walks. Peer pressure?

Missy loved bedtime stories, her favourite being “Why Dogs Sniff Each Other’s Bums”, the classic tale which more than plausibly answers the eternal question of why dogs engage in the socially awkward practice. Without giving too much away, the story goes… all the village dogs were summoned to an important meeting in the town hall to discuss the issue of appropriate public leg cocking etcetera. As the dogs entered the hall they were required to hang their bums on coat hooks in the foyer. Halfway through the meeting a fire alarm rang and as the panicked dogs raced from the building they mostly grabbed the wrong butt. And that is why, to this very day, a dog will leave a juicy bone and sniff another’s bum in a desperate bid to find its own. Missy never tired of this story even though she “abhorred” the term sniffing butt. “Common!”

She did possess a dog’s obsession with walks and, despite her delicate and ladylike persona, she would plough through as many walks as we were prepared to be dragged on. And, like all dogs she had no shame whatsoever of public pooing. Her poo PB was three in the one walk. But Missy was prone to look down her elegant snout at many of our, to her, frivolous requests of activities we attempted to engage her in. 

She flatly refused to fetch anything; no tennis balls, no sticks, and certainly no slippers or newspapers. 

“All the tummy tickles in the world won’t get me doing that” was the prevailing attitude. We had to draw the line at her request for an instagram account. She would have been insufferable.

She was a tad racist, too, and as a mostly inside dog she would bark more threateningly than at other times when the courier man with the turban and beard delivered the online shopping.

Sadly, in September Missy became seriously ill and had to be put to sleep. We all still miss Missy. Mostly her presence in the house, usually flopped in a bed near the fire during our harsh winters or a spot of sun near a glass door. And even all these months later, there are times when arriving home we still expect to see her waiting at the window.

In announcing her passing on social media I was stunned and warmed at the number and nature of the heartfelt and genuine comments on the heartache of losing a family dog. We all learnt a lot from Missy Higgins. And in my case, thankfully, you can teach an old dog new tricks. RIP Missy.

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THE season of goodwill to all is slow to arrive in the capital if the selfishness of some Action bus passengers is any indication. 

Four males rudely pushed past women to get on first. With the bus full, the two three-person bench seats at the front – which have clear signs for younger passengers to give up seats for pregnant, disabled and elderly travellers – contained three millennials on one and a man and his large parcel on the other. 

A request from the female bus driver for someone to give up their seat for an elderly passenger was ignored.

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison fired the starter’s pistol on the election campaign with a ferocious Question Time spray at the member for the bellwether seat Eden Monaro. 

Morrison accused Dr Mike Kelly of cockiness: “I notice the hubris I’m hearing from the member for Eden-Monaro. He’s walking around his electorate. He thinks it’s all over bar the shouting”. 

ScoMo warned the former soldier: “You’re in for a very big fight, the Australian people do not want $200 billion of higher taxes in the mortgage belt of Queanbeyan or down the south coast”.

STILL in campaign mode and bellwether seats, straight-talking NSW Nationals’ leader John Barilaro has ripped into the Federal Liberal Party over damaging infighting. The member for Monaro told local radio: “The ‘Hill’ was sucking all the oxygen out of politics” which was denying NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and him the clear air they need to get their message out before March’s state poll. The Deputy Premier bemoaned, “politics is bad at the moment”.

ANYONE who knows the ‘Poeys – ACT Brumbies vice-captain David Pocock and his wife Emma – knows the pair does things differently. Although the committed Christian couple had a commitment ceremony in 2010, they pledged not to marry until Australia’s same-sex marriage laws changed. The activist pair has now officially tied the knot, announcing the news on Twitter.

David tweeted: “Married my best mate yesterday”, with pics of the pair in the bush under a gum tree with only a celebrant and an Esky. Emma tweeted: “I endorse this tweet”.

I WON’T be reading superstar Jackie Chan’s memoir “Never Grow Up” in which he describes himself as a nasty jerk, but some Canberrans may be interested. Before superstardom, Chan spent some of his adolescence in the capital. Jackie’s parents were employed at the US embassy, with the teenage Jackie joining them for a period in the mid-70s. Jackie also learnt English at mature-age student ESL classes at Dickson College.

Actor Samuel Johnson… edited letters for “Dear Santa”. Photo by Mike Welsh

A NEW book with strong Canberra connections is actor Samuel Johnson’s latest work. The Gold Logie-winning performer enlisted some of his famous friends and their friends to submit letters to Santa for “Dear Santa”Johnson edited the Christmas correspondence of Missy HigginsMolly MeldrumDeborah MailmanGrant Denyer and many more. The actor has helped raise more than $10 million for the charity Love Your Sister, which he established with his sister, Canberra mother-of-two Connie, who died in 2017 after a long battle with cancer. Some proceeds from the book will go to cancer research.

JOHN Howard has raised an old bugbear with some Canberrans. With the release of the 1996-97 Cabinet files, the former PM says he has no regrets choosing to live in Kirribilli House in Sydney rather than on Adelaide Avenue. The Liberal Party elder statesman accepts many locals were offended by his choice of digs while in office.

LIVING in The Lodge does have its advantages though as the four Keating siblings will attest. With the passing of former US president George H W BushKatherine, Patrick, Caroline and Alexandra won’t forget January 1, 1992, and the thoughtfulness of the visiting Mr Bush and First Lady Barbara, who invited the Keating kids to join them on Air Force One on a flight from Sydney to Canberra.