This is a story of Brutus and Vader and their first attempts at lure coursing at Guildford Polo Grounds, Western Australia.
Brutus is my dog – a kelpie/ridgeback mix and I also have Rocky who is a kelpie. Vader the boxer is my friend Lexies dog and also Brutus’s best friend.
We decided to take them Lure coursing which is a totally fun event aimed at all breeds of dog, they can run solo or with other dogs.
This is the story as how I see it, as usual if you have followed my previous animal blogs, you will see that I animate my animals, make them talk, have an adult sense of humour and yes, at times they use bad language. I aim my stories at adults to indulge the child within and make them laugh.
Warning – this blog is not suitable for children, or if you would like to read it to your child, that is fine but you will need to remove some of the language that my pets tend to use.
In the car with Lexie – Vader’s owner, myself and Brutus
‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus asked impatiently and for the millionth time as Lexie drove us to the Guildford Polo Grounds for the lure coursing event.
‘No Brutus, we are not there yet’ Lexie replied patiently.
‘Are we even nearly there yet?’ Vader asked in his boxer voice – any boxer dog owner will tell you that boxers talk in a certain way which is with an exceptionally fat tongue and rather slow. Just like kelpies talk really quickly and manage to throw the words ‘tennis ball’ or ‘sheep’ in between each sentence.
Greyhounds/whippets/Italian greyhounds tend to talk in a posh English accent whilst Jack Russell terriers speak in a sort of eccentric public school accent and discuss rabbits and stuff.
Anyway as usual I digress – I am terrible for doing that so you must all excuse me.
‘No Vader, we are not nearly there yet’ I told the impatient boxer who looked quite upset at my response.
‘I am bored, I am so bored – can anyone help me, I am bored’ Vader said with his tongue getting caught up in his mouth as it was far too big.
Brutus looked upwards as though it would have all the answers ‘Lick the windows, that’s what we usually do when we are bored’ he said happily and then began licking the windows of Lexie’s car.
Vader looked thoughtful and after a few seconds, decided that yes, licking the windows constituted a sport and one that he was quite good at.
Two special dogs licking the windows – very nice until Brutus realised that Vader had some sort of skin irritation under his mouth and thought that he could clean it very well thank you while Vader patiently let the young pup wash him.
On arrival at the polo grounds the boys were met with an array of strange but exciting smells including “fresh bitch”, dog urine and hot dogs.
‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus and Vader yelled together, they were so excited that one of them farted and neither would own up as it smelt so foul, in fact I was sure that one of them had shat themselves except there was no evidence.
The scene was a hub of activity – greyhounds jogging round the track and showing off to all those slower than themselves, Italian greyhounds doing test runs; a couple of Irish wolfhounds were also warming up by jumping around and bouncing in a way that only an Irish wolfhound can do.
Some huskies were barking their heads off and discussing sled dog racing and a border collie was doing squat jumps whilst a Jack Russell terrier timed him on a stop watch.
‘What was my time?’ The border collie said in a breathless voice.
’40 secs’ The JRT replied looking very important with the stop watch round his neck.
‘Bollocks, I am down on my last time’ The collie said looking disappointed.
‘Yep but only by two seconds, you will beat the arse off the huskies for sure’ The JRT said confidently and then mouthed ‘Fuck off’ to the huskies that were eying him up in bitchy fashion.
A couple of Rhodesian ridgeback bitches sat in their cages, looking rather regal and majestic as they were sipped their water while discussing the lions in Africa, not that they hunted lions but it was what their ancestors used to do so it was only fair that they discussed it.
‘And she reckoned she brought down 14 lions in one day’ One of the bitches said to her friend in the next cage.
‘Well I heard it was only 10 but you know what she is like, prone to lying of course’ the other dog said.
Glancing round for a distraction, one of the ridgeback bitches spotted Brutus who was literally glued to the spot in awe of all these other important and athletic looking dogs all doing their own prep for the race.
‘Well hello there, and who is your father?’ The ridgeback bitch giggled at Brutus who looked like a cross between a kangaroo and Scooby Doo.
Brutus blushed and elbowed Vader in the ribs for support, he had never in his puppy long-legged life seen quite so many dogs at one point and to be honest, he felt more than a little intimidated and he also felt upset about being asked about his father who was rumoured to be very good at herding sheep I’ll have you know.
‘Hey, Scooby Doo, I said who’s your father?’ The other ridgeback bitch giggled from her cage.
It was no good, Brutus would have to answer the question, feeling totally out of his depth he really wanted Vader’s support in this matter but Vader was busy being admired by people and proudly displaying his long tongue.
Taking a deep breath, Brutus replied in his surprisingly deep voice ‘My Mum is a ridgeback and my Daddy is a kelpie’
The two ridgeback bitches stared at each other in surprise and after what seemed like ages, nodded approvingly and smiled at Brutus.
‘Well you do look a bit odd but I guess you can join our gang’ the large bitch replied.
‘Where’s your ridge?’ the smaller bitch asked accusingly, she had a ridge and rather a splendid one at that, where was Brutus’s ridge?
‘Oh I only get my ridge on for special occasions’ Brutus blurted out. He didn’t actually have a ridge and it was his hackles that he got out for special occasions but his response was enough to shut the dogs up and keep them happy.
‘Never heard of that before but that’s OK, we like you’ the smaller bitch said happily before taking another drink from her water bowl. Really she was rather glamourous.
Brutus smiled gratefully, he had always wanted to be in a gang – anyone’s gang would do.
‘Do you chase lions?’ The bigger of the ridgeback bitches asked Brutus.
‘No, I don’t’ Brutus replied and then added ‘Do you have a Tony Abbott doll?’
The ridgebacks looked at one another confused; ‘Tony Abbot – why would I have a Tony Abbott doll?’ One mouthed to the other and the next minute they had decided that they were bored with Brutus and went back to discussing lion hunting in Africa and in their own unique way, dismissed Brutus leaving him clumsily fiddling with his collar and kicking the grass wondering what to do next.
Vader in the meantime was busy taking in the scenery; he was the only boxer there and was quivering with excitement. He didn’t know whether or not to greet the other dogs, bash them up, snot on them or shit himself. Standing there with his tail held erect, he did his best ‘village idiot’ impression and let his tongue hang out of his mouth like a yard of wet ham.
A group of kelpies sat in the corner whilst discussing sheep trials. They barely showed any interest in the course and positively scorned at the greyhounds who were still doing squat jumps and warm ups for the race. Several of the kelpies were throwing tennis balls at one another to test their speed and reflex, each time a dog dropped the ball the others would laugh and cheer loudly.
‘I heard that the sheep were all disabled to give them the best chance’ said one tri coloured kelpie who was holding court to the rest of the kelpies.
‘Well I heard that she can’t even do backing and is meant to be a started worker’ a red cloud added to the conversation.
‘She can’t even herd up ducks so I have been told’ said a black kelpie in a sarcastic voice causing the other to laugh at the shock of it all.
‘Have you seen them – over there are a group of Alpacas?’ the tri coloured kelpie said in excitement whilst nodding to a group of Alpacas in the next field.
It was true, over the road was a group of Alpacas hanging out by the fence, just begging to be herded up and once Team Kelpie had spotted them, all thoughts of the race was abandoned.
Team Kelpie all ran over to where the Alpacas were and before you knew it, were discussing the logistics of herding and how quickly they reckoned they could do it. The Alpacas were quite antagonistic in their response and knowing that they were safe in their field, started moving around to annoy the kelpies who were barking in frustration at not being able to herd them up.
The sight-hounds were totally acing it really, they always did, they were so fast and effortless as though they ran down the track whilst chatting about shopping and stuff.
The smaller dogs were arguing heatedly about who was going to go next and some were literally smiling as they were enjoying themselves so much.
It was all so distracting and exciting for our boys, it was a wonder they didn’t piss have a meltdown with all the fuss going on around them.
Brutus and Vader
Brutus and Vader were looking nervously at the other dogs around them. Neither of them knew what to do or how to race and everyone else seemed so professional, they all knew what to do and just fitted in with everything while Brutus and Vader like new kids on the block, felt awkward.
‘If he doesn’t stop doing squats I am going to fart on his head’ Vader growled at a greyhound who was bouncing around like a twat.
Brutus wasn’t listening; he had sighted a beautiful Weimaraner bitch who was flirting with him. Blushing furiously, Brutus plucked up the courage to ask for her phone number which she willingly gave. Suddenly a vigorous game of ‘play bow’ and ‘sniff the genitals’ took place much to the jealousy of Vader who was barking hysterically asking Brutus to stop embarrassing him.
Vader isn’t really in to girls like Brutus and feels quite disgusted when Brutus looks up girls’ bottoms and has been known to throw jealous fits over it. Girls smell in Vaders eyes and the only thing girl dogs genitals are good for is to store your bones in.
Sitting down in the little chairs that Lexie had bought for us, we enjoyed a hotdog and a can of coke which I shared with Brutus. I knew it could give him diarrhoea but it was a treat and he enjoyed it so much and it was lovely to see him with sauce on his snout.
Brutus was very puppy like in his behaviour and spent a lot of time play bowing to other dogs and being very submissive which was nice as he posed no threat and there was no aggression shown to him by other dogs.
Team Kelpie had now isolated themselves in the corner and were making elaborate plans for the Alpacas, there was even talk of breaking in to the field to herd them but that was only talk at that stage and I don’t think it actually happened.
We all registered for our races – we entered Brutus and Vader in for two races each – one solo and one with each other.
‘I am scared; I don’t know what to do’ Brutus whispered to me, and then stuffed his nose in my face and said ‘tell me what I have to do’.
‘You run Brutus, you chase the lure and you run’ I reassured him.
Vader and Lexie had gone down to the bottom for Vader’s first solo run and a guy very kindly held Brutus for me whilst I waited to catch Vader.
‘Mum, where have you gone – who is this man?’ Brutus shouted from the sides as the guy held him.
I had no time to placate him – the excitement had built up amongst the dogs.
The greyhounds quivered in excitement, some dogs were yelling and shouting at no-one in particular, there was barking and crying, even the ridgebacks had stopped gossiping to see what was going on.
‘Jesus Christ on a bike, would you take a look at the mouth flaps on that!’ A large husky shouted as Vader thundered down the track like a champion.
He was proud, his heart was bursting – he ran as though his life depended on it and he took his jowls with him as they flapped in the wind. He could hear his very own music – ‘Chariots of Fire’ and it was playing in his mind, he could hear it loud and clear.
People clapped and people cheered – we all did, it was pure joy to watch each dog run his/her heart out down that track and I was so proud of Vader.
‘They are clapping for me; I am going to win my race!’ Vader thought to himself, totally exhausted by his run but the applause just made him go faster until he and his jowls reached the end where he was caught.
None of us dared tell Vader the only one in ‘his race’ was himself and there was no-one to beat, we didn’t want to ruin it for him and he was so proud of himself and rightly so as well.
‘Well done Vader!’ Brutus shouted, he was thrilled for his friend and even the ridgeback bitches congratulated him.
It was a while before Brutus went down for his turn but while we were waiting; he made friends with a couple of whippets and enjoyed sniffing out their genitals and handing out his phone number. They seemed quite taken with the gentle giant and were amused by his baby-like behaviours to make himself non-threatening to the bigger dogs and utterly cute to the smaller ones.
Two large male ridgebacks sat in their cages – full of their own self importance, they were reading copies of dogs’ magazines and discussed dog shows and stuff and barely acknowledged Brutus as he went down for his race.
Brutus smiled at them nervously and was met with a brief acknowledgement and a nod from both dogs that then carried on with their conversation.
Soon it was Brutus’s turn and one of the ladies released him for me while I went to the end of the course to catch him.
‘Go on lad, you can do it’ A couple of greyhounds shouted in a sudden display of support and solidarity.
Team Kelpie barely lifted their heads to show interest, I had only seen one kelpie down the track while his mates yelled insults about sheep to him resulting in him mouthing ‘fuck off’ and flipping them the bird.
‘Everyone is looking at me’ Brutus sobbed as I started to run down the track and then added ‘Don’t leave me!’.
Ignoring him, I ran to the end and gave my hand signal to the lady that was holding him, he was released as the lure was set off and started to give chase.
I was so proud of my boy running down, somewhat distracted by the other dogs but he did his best and people cheered him on.
‘I did it, I won! Do I get a prize?’ Brutus shouted breathlessly as I put his collar back on.
It took some explaining to tell him that he wouldn’t get a prize and as we walked back, other dogs were telling him he had done well which pleased Brutus as he loves praise.
We rested the boys up to prepare them for their run with each other and Brutus played with his new girlfriend the Weimaraner bitch while Vader barked on in jealousy and flicked his snot everywhere.
‘That was fun, I loved that’ Vader said happily as he took treats from Lexie.
Because I had a thumping headache, I was consuming rather too much caffeine in the form of a can of “Mother” which always seems to help with headaches but suffice to say the rest was much needed.
‘Did you see the Italian greyhounds?’ Brutus asked Vader, he was over excited and talking super fast because he wanted to get all of his words out.
‘Legs that snap like carrots’ Vader muttered, he had no time for such tiny dogs that couldn’t take the rough and tumble of boxer-games.
The next race
Before long it was our turn for the next race and both Brutus and Vader were going to run together.
‘Right boys, let’s go’ Lexie and I announced to the dogs.
It was all getting rather serious and the other dogs were now drinking sports drinks and discussing the Olympic Games and agility and whether or not consuming roast kangaroo before a race constituted cheating.
Now I will say that although our boys are not sporty like the others, they did hold their own and were very well behaved and we were proud of them.
We took our place in the line to enter both of our boys and aside from Vader poking a large greyhound that growled back at him, it all went rather well. Vader denies that it was his fault and said the greyhound started it by calling him a ‘snub nose mucous mouth’ He was merely defending himself and accused the greyhound of having an eating disorder and ribs you could stack plates on.
‘Fuck you skinny legs’ Vader yelled when the greyhound told him to ‘fuck off’ and then added that he eats lots of food thank you and is blessed with naturally skinny genes.
‘Yeah right, your snout is so sharp we could chop wood with it!’ Vader shouted at the greyhound who was making exceedingly rude gestures to the angry boxer dog.
‘Vader will you stop it!’ Lexie told Vader off causing him to blush; he didn’t like being told off in public.
Brutus remained quiet, he was getting nervous again, or was it excitement? Perhaps it was both, so just to be safe, he farted.
Leaving the boys with Lexie, I ran to the end of the course ready to try and catch them – a thought that filled me with utter dread.
I gave the hand signal, the boys were then released and I will say that in their favour, they ran beautifully – Vader literally leaving the ground as he ran so fast and Brutus smiled his way down the track.
We cheered them on and even Team Kelpie showed some enthusiasm but that was only because they had heard that Brutus’s Dad is a kelpie so he constitutes in their eyes, half a kelpie and therefore should be supported. This also meant that once the ridgebacks had confirmed that the other half of Brutus was a ridgeback, they could cheer on that part of his breeding. Pedigrees can be so picky you know.
The greyhounds had tried to claim a part of Brutus for themselves on the grounds that he had very long legs but that idea was thrown out when they realised that Brutus had a penchant for cats – as in he loved them.
Brutus came back easily but Vader didn’t like the guy that tried to catch him and told him to ‘piss off’ and ran towards me but as the guy moved in the same direction, Vader swore and ran off, taking a few minutes to be caught by Lexie.
A time to shine
We decided to go home after that, the boys were so exhausted they barely had the energy to jump in the car as they were that tired.
Kings they came home that day – they had ‘won’ their very own personal races, they had faced their challenges, they had made friends, told others to ‘fuck off’, they had stepped right out of their comfort zone and had mixed with dogs of all shapes and sizes and they had proven themselves as good boys.
On the way home they excitedly discussed their day and how much they enjoyed it, Brutus was extra happy as he had scored a few bitches phone numbers.
I helped Brutus out of the car to take him to the house and said goodbye to Lexie.
‘Catch ya later Vader’ Brutus grinned at Vader who was so tired he could barely lift his tongue back in his own mouth.
‘See you later, catch up next week?’ Vader asked hopefully.
Rocky always rubbishes Brutus when he has been away and he shouldn’t really as he has his treats and trips out – and even has a hydrotherapy session booked. An entire swimming pool booked for Rocky and Tess for a whole hour, toys provided, some might say he is too spoiled but Rocky would beg to differ.
Rocky pissed on Brutus’s head as soon as he saw him and bashed him up a bit and by ‘bashed up’ I mean roughed him up and when he had finished, he asked Brutus how his day had gone.
I didn’t hear the whole conversation but overheard Brutus saying about ‘racing’ and ‘winning’ and in typical puppy fashion, by the time Brutus had finished telling his story, he was claiming to have raced with 5 greyhounds and had beaten them hands down.
But that was just Brutus trying to impress Rocky and Rocky knew Brutus was bullshitting but let him have his moment of glory anyway.
Later that night
Brutus was crashed out on his bed; barely able to move and was in such a deep sleep at one point, he must have been dreaming as I could see his legs twitching and his tail wagging in his sleep.
Vader was also exhausted and had told his own version of events to his sister Tess who also didn’t quite believe that Vader had beaten every dog in the event and was going to enter the Greyhound Derby as a boxer dog.
‘Rocky?’ Brutus asked Rocky later that evening.
‘Yes Brutus?’ Rocky replied.
‘You know that each dog has a job and your job is herding?’ Brutus asked.
Rocky looked thoughtful and after a few seconds replied ‘Yes’.
‘Well what is my job? If Dad was a kelpie and Mum was a ridgeback, what is my job?’ Brutus asked sounding confused. He wanted a job of his own like the greyhounds and huskies he met today at the lure coursing.
Rocky stared at him for a minute, realising that this was important to Brutus and that he needed his very own ‘job’.
‘Well lad, let’s say that you are a guard dog for the house and our family, you might not be a racing dog like those greyhounds, or a sled dog like the huskies or a sheep dog like myself but guard dog is just as important if not more so’ Rocky said to Brutus who was taking in every word.
Brutus thought for a moment and then satisfied with the answer, replied ‘Guard dog – I like the sound of that’.
And with that answer, Brutus was more than happy.
Because all dogs should have a ‘job’ and protecting the family is the most important job of all and Brutus does it so well – my very own ‘pedigree’ and I am so proud of him.
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright March 2014
Photographs Copyright (C) to Mel Jones/Dee Cole and Lexie Goldsmith March 2014