Brutus – did you say fastest dog in Australia?
Lure Coursing – Heats for the ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ Contest
West Coast Dog Sports, Kings Meadow Polo Grounds, Guildford
15th June 2014
*Warning – this story is a long one as in a really long one, it is not a quick read so you will need to put the kettle on and put your feet up. Contains some adult content – parental supervision may be required if your children are reading this*
It was the day of the heats for the Fastest Dog in Australia and each dog was to run twice and have the fastest time recorded to count towards the Australia wide contest.
There was considerable excitement as this was unlike any other coursing day because it was competitive and instead of the usual gossiping and bitching that the dogs did, they were trying desperately to warm up and improve on fitness.
Brutus had just arrived, he had started to shake and cry as we drove into the Polo grounds, he always does you see; he gets so very excited that he has dreadful wind and rots the car out with each ‘puff’. Excitement of seeing his new friends, excitement of racing, excitement of seeing his beloved Mouse and excitement that Pippin had accepted him as an honorary member of the Italian greyhound group; so to say he is happy with his lot is an understatement.
You will find that each time you arrive for the lure coursing events, the same dogs stick to the same groups – it’s ‘The Law’, an unwritten rule but they usually congregate in their own gangs.
The first dog that Brutus saw was Mouse of course, she was sitting with her family under the terrace, totally oblivious to anything other than the lure. In fact if I ever turned up at lure coursing and Mouse and her family were not there, it simply would not be right and I would not be happy – Mouse is a lovely dog owned by a lovely couple and I believe that Brutus would throw a huge tantrum if he didn’t see her.
‘Hello Mouse’ Brutus said nervously, it was rather like meeting the Queen for Brutus and he always got nervous before addressing her and was never sure if he should bow or not.
Mouse totally blanked him as she was staring at the lure wishing evil things upon it like being able to shred it and attack it and murder it and then pee on it.
‘Hi Mouse’ Brutus repeated in a slightly louder voice.
‘Hi Brutus’ Mouse replied curtly as she strained her beautiful sculpted head which looked like a piece of fine bone china, and stared at the lure and a young female dog who was chasing it.
‘She took off too quickly, that’s no good at all’ Mouse muttered to nobody in particular.
Not quite knowing what to say, Brutus agreed with her that ‘she’ whomever ‘she’ was as in the dog running at the time, did indeed take off far too quickly. Brutus always did agree with the majority and never had his own opinion.
After a greeting of mutual genital sniffing, Mouse then made it abundantly clear that she had to watch the next run but not before Brutus posed for a few photographs of his beloved white greyhound that was so elusive, she almost gave unicorns a run for their money, except that when Mouse gives anything a run for its money, she always wins and sets fire to the ground leaving a ring of flames and a fair bit of smoulder.
The joys of a loose dog!
I have mentioned previously that there is seldom anything as joyful as a dog that has escaped its leash and West Coast Dog Sports has seen many a loose dog including the time that the naughty Afghan hound that looked like a piece of black silken cloth floating across the field as it ran along in gay abandon while the other dogs cheered it on.
Invariably Melissa Jones’s Staffords will escape by undoing their own cages and chasing their Melissa down the track. They are positively expert in the art of escaping and have even written a book titled ‘Escaping and the modern day dog’.
This race meet was no different. A dog had to escape – it was an unwritten rule and the other dogs not only expected it, they set their watches by it.
‘Whose turn is it today?’ Amira the ridgeback asked Bailey and Mac.
‘Not sure, we shall see in a minute’ Mac replied and then went back to washing his bum.
‘Oh my god, Copper has escaped!’ Someone yelled as a large ridgeback galloped past the trees while their owner desperately tried to catch him. As the large brown ridgie galloped happily towards the bushland as the other dogs yelled ‘Yay! Go on my son, do it for all of us!’
‘Do it for Africa!’ Milly the Border collie squealed.
(Photography by Periwinkle Photographic Studio)
‘Africa? What are you talking about?’ A poodle type dog with a cute beard whose name escapes me, said to Milly.
‘Do it for me – quick, they are gonna catch ya!’ Brutus shouted in his deep voice.
The dogs were going mad shouting at Copper the ridgeback and even Dee’s ridgebacks; Bailey, Mac, Princess and Jaz were so excited that all of them were farting and snorting and in between that, shouting support to Copper who was fast approaching the bush.
‘Catch me a sheep’ An excited kelpie bitch squealed and then added ‘Bugger it, he’s been caught – bad luck Copper!’
‘Nice try lad, nice try’ Bailey shouted to Copper who grinned back and flipped him the bird in an act of ridgie naughtiness. Brutus who wasn’t sure whether or not to praise Copper for his attempt to make a bid for freedom, merely farted instead and then realized Milly was next to him holding her nose and making choking sounds.
Planet Iggy (Italian Greyhounds)
Pippin was doing his usual running around with two mobile phones trying to keep everyone in order. Rocco was feeling particularly bad tempered and was shouting at random strangers from his crate; while telling them to ‘piss off’ in between looking super dainty and highly regal and exceptionally pointy in appearance.
‘Call yourself a dog? Yeah right, you need to diet – you look like a coffee table!’ Rocco yelled to one elderly dog with a grizzled face that plodded past as though he had calipers on.
‘Rocco, where are your manners?’ Pippin told Rocco off while looking totally horrified at such an outburst from an Iggy.
‘At least I don’t have legs that snap like carrots!’ The elderly dog shouted back and then flashed his anus in a bid to end the argument leaving Rocco looking boot-faced, as he couldn’t get the last word in, after all one never spoke to a dogs anus – ever.
Madam Gigi was sitting on a nice cushion while a couple of Iggys fanned her down and mopped her brow, not that she needed to be fanned or her brow mopped but she did like that kind of attention and at times had been known to faint so that she could be brought round and waited upon.
Fletch was smoothing down his ears and admiring himself in the mirror while continually glancing around him to see ‘who was who’ and ‘who was there’ in Planet Iggy. Fletch commanded respect and he got it as well.
Nica was dramatically making vomiting noises, she was pretending to have an eating disorder to try and persuade her Mum to give her human food instead of dog biscuit and as far as vomiting noises went, Nica had it down to a fine art and even made the other dogs hold her ears as she pretended to vomit down the toilet in return for a piece of steak.
Bronte who is the new girl on the block and Pippin’s new girlfriend, hadn’t quite worked out who was who, only that Pippin was in charge but he was showing her the ropes and she loved him because they had their laundry baskets side by side in the back of Denise’s car, complete with safety harnesses and straps and Bronte thought that was a cool way to travel.
Suddenly one of the Iggy’s had sighted Brutus who had left Millie at the table and was now plodding along like Forrest Gump through the crowds, saying in his loud goofy voice ‘Hi everyone!’ to anyone that even looked at him.
‘Quick, it’s Brutus!’ Nica squeaked, momentarily forgetting about her eating disorder and quickly smoothed her ears down and rearranged the tiny whiskers on her snout.
(Sounds of excited Iggy’s all shouting in high-pitched voices as though they had inhaled large quantities of helium, just imagine the little people in the Wizard of Oz saying ‘follow the yellow brick road’ and that is just how Iggys talk)
‘Brutus! Over here!’ Pippin yelled and then skillfully spoke into both of his mobile phones, one of which was a conversation with Gidget who although was deemed to fragile to race, still insisted on getting the gossip and phoning up Pippin to find out what was going on, the other call was to Vader who was highly pissed off that he had been left at home and also wanted updates on the day.
‘Hi Brutus’ Amira the ridgeback shouted to Brutus and then blushed as she always did when she spoke to boy dogs. Dee’s puppies waved while Bailey and Mac tried to be more restrained and grown up, except for the moment being ruined when Mac farted quite loudly causing Bailey to purse his lips in disgust. (There is nothing quite like a ridgeback fart by the way, aside from a Labrador that has eaten sprouts).
A French Affair!
It was all going on, excitement, barking, lure chasing, the cocking of legs as dogs urinated in various spots to mark them as their own in a secret code that shouts ‘I have been here’, a bit like graffiti except for dogs. Well Brutus at 19 months is still not cocking his leg and prefers to squat like a girl and piss on himself.
Brutus was doing a bit of ‘social butterflying’ with the other dogs, he had lots of mates now and was very proud of that fact; but that is lure coursing for you – it is a social event and owners as well as their dogs, get to catch up with friends and make new ones which is why we all love going and without being biased, I think our little club is the best.
Brutus social butterflying with his Iggy friends
At first he didn’t notice, he was too busy saying hello to his ‘Iggy friends’ (Italian greyhounds). Brutus didn’t notice that a beautiful white French poodle called Shimmer was staring him.
She sat there smoking a posh cigarette in a long cigarette holder, smelling of expensive French perfume and ‘high class’, she spotted Brutus and once she saw him, she had no intentions of looking away.
‘Bonjour Mr Brown Dog, my name is Shimmer and who are you?’ Shimmer said to Brutus in a French accent. Her voice was husky from too many cigarettes, brandy and singing at the ‘Canine Moulin Rouge’ at the weekends, but she sounded quite sexy to Brutus, as he had never heard a dog speak in a French accent before.
Brutus looked around to see who was watching and then looked back at the poodle and replied ‘I am Brutus, pleased to meet you’.
The Iggy’s were all giggling and whispering to one another ‘did you hear that, did you see that? That French poodle Shimmer is chatting up our Brutus!’
Completely unsettled by the attention that the little poodle was giving Brutus; Pippin looked boot-faced and butted in abruptly; ‘Look puff-ball, this is a lure coursing event and not a powder puff contest, besides – don’t let Mouse see you chatting up Brutus or there will be trouble’
Pippin bristled with anger and self-importance while Rocco and the others all nodded their heads so vigorously that it was a flurry of pointy snouts almost whacking one another.
‘Mouse? Who is this Mouse you talk of?’ Shimmer demanded and then as if bored by the moment, she glanced down at her perfectly manicured nails to admire the handy work of her dog groomer.
(Sounds of gasping and looks of horror on all the Iggys faces)
‘You don’t know who Mouse is?’ Pippin spluttered in disbelief.
‘That is what I said isn’t it?’ Shimmer snapped back in her sexy French accent.
‘Sorry, better go’ Brutus mouthed to the poodle and was immediately surrounded and protected by his tiny Iggy friends. Rocco was absolutely livid and was already having a burst of temper while muttering to the poodle to ‘piss off before he ate her a new face’. Rocco was the toughie of the group and frequently wore leather jackets with ‘Dog Zone’ on the back and chewed gum for effect and had to stay in his crate, as he believed that he was bigger than he actually was and had given himself the nickname of ‘Hannibal Rocco’ and demanded that his Mum bought him a metal muzzle to complete the image.
‘Hannibal Rocco’ in his crate
(Photo by Jeni Sach)
‘There are things that every dog in this group should know and knowing who Mouse is, is one of them’ Pippin said firmly as the Iggys all nodded in agreement.
The line had been drawn – the husky voice French poodle had declared herself to Brutus who had already declared himself to Mouse. The Iggys were upset and in turn, so were the whippets that Pippin had told and by the end of the day – everyone was talking about it. Even Melissa’s Staffords had held a meeting about the whole thing and the word on the course was that Mouse was not happy and if Mouse wasn’t happy, then nobody was happy.
‘Such strange dogs at this place, all is fair in love and war and zee mysterious clumsy brown handsome dog Brutus’ Shimmer said in her strong accent and then shrugged her shoulders in a ‘devil may care’ attitude that had Pippin so furious that he almost urinated down his own legs.
‘Bastard’ Rocco shouted but not before Denise told him off for his ‘Tourette’s’ moment and reminded him of the ‘Three Ps’ of the Iggy World ‘Polite, Proud and Pointy’.
(Photography by Jeni Sach)
Brutus – (not) the fastest dog in Australia but gave it a damn good go!
Brutus was busy gossiping to one of his good friends – Benny the Pharaoh hound, he totally loves him and they both enjoyed indulging in a bit of bottom sniffing and have always got on well right from when they very first met.
‘Do you think you will stand a chance?’ Benny asked Brutus who was trying hard to roll in some horse shit on the ground.
Without looking up, Brutus replied ‘Nope, my legs are all wrong and Mum said I am ever so clumsy’.
Brutus and Benny the Pharaoh hound – waiting their turn to run
Benny laughed and then both boys remembered the story of when Brutus cleared a coffee table complete with wine with one swipe of his tail, not to mention the time when Brutus jumped on top of my car and fell off but we won’t talk about that as the memory still haunts me. Clumsy was indeed a fine word to describe Brutus, as was ‘Turd Legs’.
Brutus and Amira the Ridgeback
Dogs were cheering each other on at the sidelines, the kelpies were barking and yelling stuff about sheep and tennis balls, a couple of gorgeous Irish terriers were getting thoroughly over excited and had to be split up as they started having arguments with invisible dogs which nearly ended in an invisible fight.
An elderly dog was then put to run while the other dogs waited to cheer it on. The frail dog looking somewhat confused, grizzled and tired; stared at the lure and then muttered ‘Stuff that, I can’t be bothered’ and stiffly trotted back to its Dad.
‘Oh too old and too tired’ the owner laughed and picked up his dog. Now although the old dog didn’t run, every dog likes to think he/she is a winner and every dog likes to be applauded.
‘Yeah, that was brilliant, well done!’ One of the Irish terriers shouted in a strong Irish accent and one by one the other dogs clapped the tiny frail dog in a canine act of support and solidarity while the elderly dog started to wag its tail looking absurdly pleased with itself.
The humans cheered as well and by the time it was Brutus’s turn to run, the elderly grizzled dog with its grey muzzle and tufts above its eyes; really believed that he/she had won the whole thing. And that my friends, is what it is all about – believing you can win and more to the point knowing in your heart that you have won because your mates supported you.
‘Good luck Brutus’ Benny said to his friend and Brutus grinned back at him.
Brutus was nervous, he knew that he wouldn’t do an earthly in this contest but he wanted his Mum (me) to be proud of him. I ran to the end of the course to catch him while a lovely lady released him for me.
Brutus who is not used to running that kind of distance; and as this course was much longer than he was used to, it certainly was a challenge for him but my gentle giant did ever so well and looked so happy when I caught him that he was almost smiling.
Brutus ‘winning’ his own race
(Photography by Vicki Clements)
Brutus smiling his way through his race
(Photography by Jeni Sach)
‘I won, I won!’ Brutus shouted happily as his mates clapped and cheered, even the Iggys yelled raucously in their high pitched ‘helium’ voices and applauded Brutus – their honorary Iggy mate; as he was led out off the course.
‘Mum?’ Brutus asked me as I proudly walked him back to our table where his friend Milly the Border collie was waiting for him to congratulate him.
‘Yes Brutus?’ I replied.
‘Am I a good boy?’ Brutus asked, needing constant reassurance that he was a ‘good boy’, it was important to him to know this.
Remembering the multiple chewed (expensive) beds, the graves dug in the garden, the destroyed plants, the scaling and jumping of a 6 foot fence, I looked down at him as he panted and tried to get his breath after his race. He might not always be a ‘good boy’ but he was ‘my boy’ and I was proud of him and how he had taken to lure coursing and had socialized and made so many friends into the bargain – both animal and human alike.
‘Yes Brutus, you are a good boy’ I smiled at him.
‘Mum?’ Brutus asked.
‘Yes Brutus?’ I laughed.
‘Am I a winner?’ Said Brutus.
‘Oh yes Brutus, you most certainly are’ and with that I bent down and kissed his huge brown head and momentarily loved the kiss that he gave me back, but only momentarily as I quickly remembered that he had washed Mouses’s and Benny’s genitals earlier.
Brutus – The Good Boy!
(Photo by Periwinkle Photographic Studio)
Toys to be won!
‘Who is number 34?’ Dee shouted through the microphone ‘Number 34 you have won a spot prize, please come and collect it before we give it to someone else’
Momentarily forgetting what number Brutus was, my husband said ‘that’s you, number 34’.
And so it was! Brutus and myself walked down to where Dee was to claim our spot prize.
‘It’s Brutus, Brutus has won a prize!’ said Dee laughing and then looked around for something strong and robust enough that Brutus could safely play with and he was given a tough canvas toy, which he happily took and gripped in his mouth tightly and took it back to show his ‘Dad’ – (my husband).
Brutus and his toy that he is very proud of!
Meanwhile, the Italian greyhounds were heatedly discussing the fastest times; Pippin was looking rather serious with his clipboard and stopwatch, which was hooked to his collar and was nearly as big as him. Checking Mouse’s time records against the other dogs, Pippin nodded approvingly at the speeds of Mighty Mouse and looked around to see if he could see her to discuss the results.
Mouse however, had long since left the grounds as she had to be somewhere else and had a rather busy social calendar and had resorted to using Bender (her brother) as a bodyguard and Barbie Ska (her greyhound sister) as a PA. Barbie took this job seriously and even wore spectacles on the end of her exceptionally long snout to make herself look more intelligent, not to mention wearing a pie frilled collar as she tried to go for the sensible look.
Mouse and her brother ‘Bender’ who is also her bodyguard
(Photo by Jet Ska)
Mouse and her sister Barbie Ska – also her PA
(Photo by Jet Ska)
Mouse I might add, actually goes to a doggy painting group and does paintings with her paws and rumors have it that she painted the Mona Lisa but as Barbie Ska had started the rumor; I would take that with a spoonful of salt.
Mouse at her painting class – did she really paint the Mona Lisa?
(Photo by Jet Ska)
Bender also claimed that he had seen Mouse wearing an artist’s apron and a beret, while doing nude portraits of other male dogs at playgroup but who knows if that was true; not me that’s for sure. Still, Mouse can paint and that is quite some skill to have to add to her racing talents.
Anyway, as usual I digress and I am terrible for doing that so please forgive me.
‘Pippin, do we know who is leading in the times for the Fastest Dog in Australia yet?’ Madam Gigi asked.
‘Nope, we are not allowed to know yet’ Pippin sighed.
‘Loose dog!’ A Westie shouted happily and one by one the other dogs yelled ‘Loose dog!’ until that was all you could hear in a variety of deep and high toned barks – depending on the size of the dog of course as small dogs always talk in high pitched voices.
‘Oh dear, who has escaped now?’ Pippin sighed.
‘Second one of the day, good effort!’ Rocco grinned from his crate.
‘Don’t know but I am starving, I can smell sausage – can you smell sausage?’ and looked around to see where the smell of sausage was coming from.
Brutus can smell sausages!
‘Brutus, it is me! I fight zee Mouse for you, I don’t care if you are big and clumsy, I like you!’ said the unmistakable French accent of Shimmer the French poodle.
‘What?’ Brutus spluttered and then hid behind Rocco as he had never had a girl so blatantly chasing him before. Rocco despite being in his crate; puffed himself up and stood in front of his friend to defend him.
‘That is SO pushy, fancy that – how brazen!’ Melissa’s Staffords muttered.
‘Hey Cotton Dog, I bet you can’t make it to the paddock!’ Shouted the little kelpie bitch who had temporarily forgotten about discussing sheep and tennis balls and was now egging Shimmer on to run as far as the paddock with the Alpacas in it.
Shimmer was eventually caught but not before she insulted several of the dogs and accused them of not having class and breeding on the basis that they didn’t speak French.
Shimmer – the French poodle making her bid for freedom
(Photo by Jeni Sach)
The End of the Day
‘Right, everyone keep an eye out tonight for Dee to post the results of our places, they will be on the WCDS website’ Pippin instructed his group. (And yes, your dogs can use the Internet just like us)
‘Brutus – we should all be on the internet tonight, get your phone switched on and ready’ Bailey told Brutus.
‘Will do Bailey, catch you at the next race meet?’ Brutus shouted back and Bailey grinned and nodded while Princess and Jazz played ‘bottom games’ and did some genital sniffing as Mac rolled his eyes in disgust – puppies, quite revolting at times.
‘Farewell Mr Big Ears, I ‘ave not forgotten you’ Shimmer whispered in Brutus’s ear. Brutus blushed and pretended to clean his bum to take away his embarrassment.
‘That accent is SO fake’ Bronte whispered to Rocco as the other Iggys nodded in agreement. And when Iggys nod, it is like the mass nodding of a heap of pointy snouts – get in their way and you will be ‘snout stabbed’.
The whippet contingent were packing up and so were the greyhounds, people were starting to leave, a few stayed behind for the fun run but so many wanted to get home so that they could prepare for the results of the race.
Goodbyes were said, arrangements made, numbers exchanged and yet again, another good day had come to an end but this time there was one last part to come before it was finally over – the results of the fastest dog.
‘I am so excited, I shall never sleep until I know who has won’ Brutus said firmly as I helped him get in the car.
And before we had even started the engine, Brutus was snoring loudly on the back seat in a sleep so deep that he didn’t wake up until we arrived home 45 mins later.
Brutus – asleep as soon as he got in the back seat of the car
Back at home
Every dog that had been to the lure coursing, had been fed, watered and rested and were now gathered around their computers waiting in on the results to see who had won the fastest dog on the day.
‘Oh I do hope it’s Mouse’ Brutus said to Rocky who although he hadn’t met Mouse, certainly knew of her.
Vader and Tess were by their computer patiently waiting. Vader had forgotten that he was meant to be sulking and was also praying that Mouse had done it for Western Australia.
Mouse, Barbie and Bender were all sitting round the computer, Mouse was as cool as a cucumber and certainly betraying no emotion to show her expectations, hopes and fears about the results.
Mouse – keeping an eye out for the results of the race!
(Photo by Jet Ska)
Dee’s ridgebacks were as usual on Dee’s bed playing with the iPad to keep updated, in fact every dog that had entered was anxiously waiting and even dogs that had not attended were waiting to see how Mouse had done.
Pippin and Bronte was in their pajamas, Pippin was ready to settle down for the night and had just got off the phone to Madam Gigi and Gidget when he heard an excited high pitched squeal from Bronte.
‘Oh my god! Oh my god!’ Bronte shouted and quick as you like, Pippin ran over to see what was going on.
‘Well I’ll be damned!’ Mac and Bailey said together as they both hugged the iPad.
‘Brutus – quick, look at this!’ Rocky shouted to Brutus.
Brutus leaned over and stared at the screen – he saw that he had come 8th out of 11 dogs which was rather nice to see his name in such an official capacity.
‘No, not that – look who has won the fastest dog on the day!’ Rocky said impatiently.
Brutus stared closely, looked at Rocky and then stared again to see if his eyes were playing tricks on him – and they weren’t and for the first time ever, the normally aloof Rocky who rarely shows any emotion except for when he argues with Vader, hugged Brutus because he was so pleased for Mouse.
Rocky and Brutus hug!
At the House of Mouse
Mouse sat on her bed looking as cool and elegant as ever while Barbie and Bender were keeping a check on the results to come up on the computer.
‘Mouse, you have done it, you have won the fastest dog on the day!’ Barbie and Bender both yelled at the same time.
Mouse looked thoughtful and just for one moment, it was thought that she might lose her legendary ‘cool’ attitude and go a bit mad but she stood up, shook herself and said simply ‘good result’, before turning a few circles and laying back down.
‘Now I wonder if I can beat the arse off those Eastern States dogs?’ Mouse thought to herself.
The news spread, and every dog now knew that Mouse had won the fastest dog on the day and the question that everyone wanted to know was how did Mouse compare to the Eastern States dogs?
But one thing was certain – Mouse was not only representing our little club but also WA and whatever the end results are, she has done us proud.
Thanks go to Dee Cole, Melissa Jones and everyone else that organised the event and to each and every owner that attended with their wonderful dogs.
I would also personally like to thank the Iggy people for being so nice and especially Rocco for proving little dogs can have attitude and thank you to Pippin for running such a tight ship and having a superb ability to talk into two mobile phones at once.
And finally I would like to wish Mouse all the best for the finals and whatever happens, you really have done your owners and Western Australia very proud.
Aside from the little snaps I have taken with my iphone, all photographs remain copyright of the photographers named. Please do not reproduce these photographs without their permission.
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2014