ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr take note. The unofficial mayor of Kingston is having her time in the sun – at least three times a day.
Rosina, the 10-year-old purebred poodle, may not have declared her political aspirations, but is proving very popular with the people of Kingston who have dubbed her the mayor after lapping up attention during her three daily walks around the suburb.
Also known as Rosie, she is the energetic companion to 92-year-old Michael Wilson, a former diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs who retired in 1993.
Rosie is a little apprehensive at first meeting but soon warms to lots of pats and scratches. Together, Michael and Rosie are practically inseparable.
Neighbours take her for a morning walk while Michael and Rosie roam the streets during the day.
“She’s a perfectly friendly companion,” Michael tells Region Media. “She doesn’t bark, doesn’t howl. She just wants my company and has to be taken for a walk … three times a day.
“She loves Green Square. We go around the park or down to the shops. She loves meeting all the people on the way and they love seeing her too.”
Rosie earned the auspicious title of ‘mayor’ of Kingston when the Kingston-Barton Residents’ Group saw the canine’s connection with the community during Floriade Reimagined at the end of last year.
However, it is the 10-year connection between owner and dog that endures.
Michael has had Rosie since she was a pup and the pair have lived at Kingston for 10 years. Before that, Michael lived in many parts of the world, including Papua New Guinea, Belgrade, London and Vienna.
Married twice, Michael’s second wife Susan died five years ago after the couple were together for 30 years. Four of Michael’s five surviving children live elsewhere.
Neighbour and friend Vonda Daniels checks in on Michael who is still staunchly independent and loves reading and watching the TV program Numbers and Letters.
“He’s up at 6:00 am every morning and still cooks for himself. He still drives and loves to visit the galleries,” Ms Daniels says.
Occasionally, it’s a case of the dog walking the man when Rosie and Michael see their friends on her daily walks.
“She has a tremendous amount of energy,” says Michael. “She’s great with children and they all love seeing her.”
Born in Dee Why, Sydney, in April 1928, Michael is the youngest of two brothers and a sister. He was too young to serve during World War II, and while aging gracefully, says he is now “clinging on to the wreckage”.
“I’m still able to walk up and down the stairs and I almost always go for a daily walk with Rosina.
“She also tells me to do what I’m told, so it’s an easy life really.”