Lure Coursing, breaking barriers and greyhound dramatics

10330344_10204119960096596_7112504982245364946_nThe poster that we all love to love and look forward to

(West Coast Dog Sports)

The day they had all been waiting for had arrived – yes you got it, it was lure coursing day at Kings Meadow Polo Grounds, Guildford.

As the last event had been cancelled, the dogs were more than ready for this and all you could hear was barking, yelping and sounds of boxer dogs flicking their snot everywhere and cries of ‘Vader has your tongue grown?’.

Because at this event there were more boxers than ever before and to be quite honest – the boxers stole the show.

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Vader the boxer (and his tongue)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Brutus was upset that his Pharaoh hound boyfriend ‘Benny’ wasn’t there and even more so that Mouse wasn’t. They all get attached to each other you see and the slightest change in their routine can have them getting into more states than Australia.

‘Hi Mac, Hi Bailey’ Brutus said confidently as he rocked up to where they were crated.

‘Piss off’ Bailey snapped and put his head down – he was in a bad mood as Dee had foiled his plans to pull of a sausage heist and had made sure that whatever would blow over, it would not be their crates to enable their bid for freedom and food.

Brutus and Vader had turned up wearing their finest clothes – Vader was dressed as Superman and Brutus was dressed as a life guard which was laughable really as Brutus has all the buoyancy of a house brick and the only thing he could save is food and even that is questionable.

Brutus lifeguardBrutus the life saver (in his dreams)

(photo by Dee Cole)

10592950_10152334849148317_338218557600371576_nBrutus ‘the brick’ (in reality)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

‘Vader! Over here!’ three boxers belonging to Vicki Clements were all dressed up in their costumes.   Yelling at Vader to get his attentions; Vader looked round they all flashed their bums at him and started farting, boxers are like that you see – they have farting contests and can generally emit foul smells to order, usually in a car with the windows closed on Tonkin Highway (ask Lexie).

‘Vader – let’s have a turd competition!’ Dibbley the boxer shouted to Vader who grinned back at him just as Lexie said that no, there would be no ‘turd competition’ and to stop being so disgustingly juvenile.

Vader superdogVader as ‘Superdog’

(photo by Dee Cole)

You know that all boxer dogs speak in the same kind of slow voice, as though their tongues don’t fit in their mouth? (which of course they don’t), well imagine when a group of boxers meet and all of them talking in the same ‘full tongued’ kind of voice, all sounding slow and very special in a boxer kind of way and you will just about get the idea.

10551033_683596241728425_297137429613025875_nVader’s special magic ever-growing tongue 

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

I will say that in their favour; Boxers try ever so hard to be good but most of the time it just doesn’t happen – you can ask Dozer the boxer as he ate his way out of his soft crate and escaped to the sounds of the other boxers cheering and clapping and Vader yelling ‘Go on my son!’ and wriggling their bums as Dozer ran around the polo grounds shouting ‘Boxers rule the world!’.

Vicki boxer

Dozer the boxer (and crate breaker)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

But as you know, at every single lure coursing meet at least one dog has to escape and if at all possible, roll in horse shit for good measure – it’s The Law and today there was going to be more than one escapee and I shan’t tell you who it is as yet, you will have to be patient and wait.

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No such thing as a mature/sensible boxer!

(Photo by Dee Cole)

The Iggy Stand (hub of activity and generally where it all happens)

Rocco was sitting in his crate and swearing as usual, each dog that dared to go past him was duly told to ‘Piss off’ and insulted and even when no dogs walked by Rocco, he decided to swear at the invisible ones instead. IMG_6577

Rocco (fights with his invisible friends)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

All dogs have invisible dogs to swear at and blame for things so just in case you see your dog barking at fresh air, it is probably an invisible dog that has wound them up or something.

‘You know if I wasn’t in this crate I would eat you and rip your legs off limb by limb!’ Rocco shouted at an invisible American Staffie who just looked back at him and said ‘Yeah, really? and I could pull your legs apart like a wishbone’

‘Your mother is nothing but a street mongrel from Battersea Dogs Home!’ Rocco yelled before Madam Gigi had to gently remind him that Battersea Dogs Home was in London and that invisible dog friends had no parents.

‘Do you like my dress?’ Bronte asked Fletch who blushed before checking to see if Pippin was watching – he wasn’t so Fletch took an admiring glance up Bronte’s dress and nodded in approval.

‘Very nice, SpoiledBratz?’ Fletch asked knowingly – he is SO ‘up’ on his fashion is Fletch and what he doesn’t know about Prada or Gucci is not worth knowing.

Fletch can often be seen in his home with a tape measure around his neck and holding pins in his mouth as he measures the other Iggies for outfits – a bit like a doggy version of that guy Gok Wan the fashion expert.

‘Of course, where else?’ Bronte grinned and then immediately spotted Brutus in the distance and very quickly decided to turn her attentions to him as she had developed quite a crush on the big fella.

‘Brutus! Over here!’ Bronte shouted in her high pitched Iggy voice. Putting her slim paws in her ears; Madam Gigi shook her head and muttered something about ‘there is no need to shout’. Madam Gigi

Madam Gigi (not impressed with the shouting)

(Photography by Gwynneth Cavilla)

Ignoring Madam Gigi’s look of disgust, Bronte galloped across the grass to see Brutus so that he too could take a peek up her dress, after all with a bottom as cute as hers, who wouldn’t want to have a look?

‘Really she is such a flirt’ Fletch said with his lips pursed into a disapproving shape – a bit like a cats bum. Fletch

A disapproving Fletch (look at that cute little Iggy bum!)

(Photography by Denise Pringle)

‘I think it is time for me to faint’ Nica said and then looked around for her team to assist her by holding her ears back.  Apollo was even trained to carry bone flavoured smelling salts to bring Nica round, providing a suitable audience was there of course as Iggies love dramatics and a good audience is essential. Nica

Nica (can faint and vomit with the best of them)

(Photography by Francesca Perino)

But soon all thoughts of fainting went clean out of Nica’s head when she sighted Enzo in the car playing Pavarotti and pretending to be Italian.

Standing there with his tiny Iggy chest puffed out, he waived his arms about and sang in his best opera ‘Pavarotti’ voice while playing ‘Nessun Dorma’ on the car stereo.

The other Iggies clapped and cheered and some of the girls even threw their panties at him and those that were not wearing panties threw their collars instead. Enzo

Enzo (talks Italian and likes Pavarotti)

(Photography by Gabrielle Gill)

‘Enzo darling – how are you?’ Nica shouted as Enzo grinned back and kissed her on both cheeks in a very European way. ‘Looking fabulous as always my beautiful girl, let’s talk opera’ Enzo said in his fake accent.

‘Yes let’s’ Nica said and then clicked her paws to a random whippet and shouted ‘Can someone get us some dog-o-cinnos please’.

By the way, please don’t be surprised at Enzo’s love of opera, all Iggies love opera and singing and can do it beautifully.

Pippin happens to run the Iggy choir where they all gather once a week to practice their singing and in a gang of pointy snouts, they sing their souls out whilst wearing tiny starched white ruffles around their necks like the choir boys at Christmas.

One time Brutus was invited to the Iggy choir at Pippin’s house but only once as it didn’t turn out very well when Brutus ruined the whole event with his ultra deep voice.

By the time the song had finished, there was just Brutus left singing ‘All things bright and beautiful’ with such enthusiasm that he hadn’t noticed that the other Iggies were standing there looking on in horror at him singing in his deep voice with enough volume to fill St Pauls Cathedral.

‘Could you hear that OK?’ Brutus grinned proudly afterwards. choir dog

Brutus singing choir songs (better suited to the ridgeback choir – according to Pippin)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Poor old Pippin had stuffed toilet roll in his ears and gave Brutus a pained smile and replied ‘Yes Brutus, we heard it’ and then gently advised him that whilst he isn’t suitable for the Iggy choir, he could probably join the ridgeback one.

Rocco had no such tact and told him that he sounded like an elephant being castrated and as Brutus is still at the sensitive stage, he didn’t take it very well at all.

But that – as I often say, is another story entirely and as usual, I am digressing (so much to write you see and so many characters banging in my imagination to get out).

*Back to the race day*

Bronte had taken a momentary break from flashing her bum and was standing with a whippet looking at a catalogue for new clothes.  She was hoping that her Mum Denise would go on the next SpoiledBratz auction to get her some more cool stuff.

Actually Bronte would have rather liked some clothes from London and had seen a very nice dress with the Crown Jewels on it amongst other trendy clothes; but she hadn’t worked out a way to get Denise to buy them for her – yet.

‘This is all highly naughty, disorganised and irregular’ Pippin said fretfully as he tried to get the Iggies to behave and have some respect which was hard when Nica was flirting with Enzo and Bronte was still looking at the catalogue for new clothes while Brutus was admiring her ‘lady-garden’ under her dress.

Really when did they get so naughty and perverted? Talking of perverted, we won’t discuss Pippin’s penchant for humping male dogs in any which way he and because that would embarrass Pippin and I wouldn’t want to do that but I have actually seen it for myself.

‘Excuse me everyone, let us have a ‘pre race’ meeting so we can get organised.  Let’s stop all this nonsense and line up’ Pippin said using his ‘Don’t mess with me’ voice.

‘Rocco, what on earth do you think you are doing?’ Pippin demanded as he saw Rocco rolling around in his crate snarling like something rabid and angry.

‘Bashing the crap out of this invisible dog’ Rocco shouted ‘He is trying to kill me, but don’t worry, I got this covered’

Shaking his head in disbelief, Pippin picked up his mobile phone and resigned himself to a game of Candy Crush while he sat at Denise’s feet as she rubbed his ears. Hannibal Rocco

Rocco fighting with his invisible friends

(Photography by Jeni Sach)

Brutus – (high school jock and a letterman sweater)

It was to be Brutus’s first time doing the full course and whilst I would like to tell you that he took those corners like a gazelle and ran like a professional, that would be lying. Because I very quickly learned that not only does Brutus not ‘do’ corners; but he doesn’t appear to have a ‘stop button’ either. 10369915_665925536828829_4846034155693857016_n

Brutus (finger clicking flirter)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

He has also developed this rather embarrassing habit that I am almost too ashamed to admit to you but hey, you guys are like my family so here goes nothing.

Brutus is reaching sexual maturity and has just discovered that young hot bitches like him despite the fact that he has no testicles.

He is a very handsome dog and he incites giggles and flirtatious behaviour from the lady dogs wherever he goes.  (Some have even thrown their dog collars at him to get his attention). 10447056_663023523785697_7934537613617115507_n

Brutus (taking names and taking numbers)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Well when he did his solo race, he galloped by the side of the barrier and was clicking his fingers like one of the ‘High School Jocks’ in the movie ‘Grease’ – you know the ones on the sports pitch that wear Letterman sweaters.

‘Hey ladies, how are you doing, lunch tonight – my place?’  Much to the amusement of the group of female dogs at the side.

A Scottie dog called Penny pursed her lips to a ‘cat bum’ shape and said ‘Ohh, he is a bit forward isn’t he?’ in her Scottish accent and then immediately blushed when Brutus clicked his fingers, pointed at her and said ‘Loving your beard Ms Scotland!’

‘Oh you cheeky wee thing’ Penny the Scottie dog giggled and then remembered her breeding and that ‘nice dogs’ didn’t flirt back, at least not on the first date and they certainly never removed their collars for a boy.

Now I have no idea who has been teaching Brutus this but he is like a walking ‘chat-up’ machine as he runs along, winking, waiving and collecting phone numbers, panties and pink collars.

On one occasion a pretty female dog even threw her dog collar with address tag at him and said ‘Hey, call me!’ Someone told me that it was Rocco that taught him this trick, but others have said it was Vader which I don’t believe as Vader couldn’t possibly make clicking noises without his tongue falling out and slapping him violently.

So my money is on Rocco as I heard Pippin reprimanding him for teaching Brutus how to say ‘Show us your teats’.

Anyway, the second run for Brutus was with his beloved friend Vader and is always good for a laugh.  It was their first time running together on the full proper course and Brutus was showing off doing star jumps and press ups to make himself ‘match fit’ while Vader allowed his tongue to fall out and then lift it back in while insisting that it surely constituted as a warm up?

Dee Cole released Brutus and Lexie released Vader and I just stood there nervously with the camcorder so I could video the whole ‘event’, or should I say ‘scene’ as that is a far more suitable word. Brutus and Dee

Brutus and Vader – ready to race!

‘Ready Brutus?’ Dee asked the big clumsy brown dog.

‘Yep, bring it on – I am going to ‘do the Mouse’ and set the field alight (Mouse Norris taught him to say that).

‘Ready Vader?’ Lexie asked Vader who was trying to organise his tongue in his mouth so he didn’t trip over it.

‘Yeth’ Vader replied – ‘Yeth’ is said with your fat tongue between your teeth and if you say it now, you will know how Vader talks.

Suddenly the lure started and the boys were released!  My heart was bursting with pride, praying that Brutus would not social butterfly with the other dogs and do his embarrassing winking thing.

‘Ohhh, it’s Brutus!’ Penny the Scottie dog said in an excited voice while some whippets giggled near by and clapped.

PennyPenny the Scottie dog (a ‘Tartan’ breed of dog according to Vader)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Now if you imagine a Scottish person saying ‘Brutus’, it would be said rolling the ‘r’s and sound something like ‘Brootus’.  If you have trouble saying it in a Scottish voice, just ask a nice Scottish person to say it for maximum effect.

It all started off well, my heart was bursting with pride but then suddenly Brutus shouted ‘Oh shit, it’s a corner, what do I do?’

Brutus and Vader

Vader and Brutus (a promising start – where did it all go wrong?)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘You turn it Turd Legs’ Mac shouted from the distance while Bailey spat his water all over the puppies while laughing.

‘Did he just ask what to do with a corner? Are you sure he is half ridgeback?’ Mac asked Bailey who replied ‘Yes he did ask, yes he is half ridgeback but you have got to admit the lad is funny’  Mac nodded his head and agreed.

Mac and Bailey playing

Mac and Bailey (they love Brutus really)

(Photography by Dee Cole)

‘How do you do a turn Vader?’ Brutus asked but Vader was long gone and had taken to the course like a natural and had secured his tongue in his head and ran his heart out to the cheers of Vickie Clements boxers who were shouting their support in very slow but loud voices as boxer-snot was flung everywhere.

‘Someone help me, I can’t stop!’ Brutus cried and then ran straight under the barrier to the amusement of everyone watching while Penny the Scottie dog covered her eyes and said ‘Oh dear, Oh dear – poor Brootus!’ (Brutus)

The Samoyed who is a regular fixture on the lure coursing circuit and is the self appointed ‘Town Crier’ was now shouting ‘stampede, loose dog!’ and barking her head off to everyone telling them to get to the shelters to save their own lives and that of their puppies.

Brutus fence breakerBrutus – unable to take a corner and unable to stop

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Does anyone know where I am?’ Brutus yelled as his legs carried him outside the containment fence. Galloping along resembling a wonky donkey, people were laughing and cheering him on. ‘Vader, where am I?’ Brutus shouted, pretending not to be embarrassed, as though it were all part of the ‘big plan’ but secretly he was farting himself with nerves as his legs wouldn’t stop running and he found himself chasing the lure from the wrong side of the fence.

Brutus fence breaker Aug 2014Brutus (where am I?)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Yeah! go on my son!’ A large Saluki shouted from the sidelines as a gang of terriers barked insults at various invisible dogs, but don’t mind them, they were just having a ‘short dog syndrome’ episode.

Several of the Iggies had gathered round to watch Brutus joining the ranks of the ‘break free’ club which was started by the black Afghan that my husband compares to a black silken cloth floating down the race track.  Now when that dog escaped it was quite spectacular – especially when it rolled in horse shit, my husband still laughs about that.

Cloth dog Aug 2014The famous Afghan hound – AKA ‘the silken cloth dog’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Brutus has broken out!’ Fletch shouted excitedly as Pippin looked up from what he was doing and tried to keep a straight face.  This was the one thing that every single dog aspired to do and that was to break out from the containment fence and have a good old run round a polo field and if they can find horse shit to roll in then that is a bonus.

‘Good job!’ Pippin grinned and then remembered his position of sensibility in society and that he had a reputation to uphold.

(sounds of Italian greyhounds giggling)

‘Oh my god our very own Brutus has broken out’ Rocco roared and at that point was so proud that he forgot to argue with his invisible friend and started to bark with excitement.

‘Brutus where are you?’ Vader shouted while looking round for his friend.

At that moment the girls opened the barrier for Brutus to run back in to and rejoin Vader.  As he went back in everyone clapped and cheered him while Brutus muttered ‘Thank God for that, I thought I would never find you!’

‘Let’s play!’ Vader grinned and then flicked his tongue on Brutus’s back leaving a trail of mucous and snot that could easily stick up wallpaper.

‘Yee ha! Did I win? – this has to be worthy of the Good Boy Award!’ Brutus shouted happily as he and Vader ran around each other joyously oblivious to everyone else.

‘That was so much fun, can we go again?’ Vader replied and then tried to pick his tongue back up as it fell out of his mouth on to the grass.

Vader snot Aug 2014Vader and Brutus playing on the race track – check out the snot on Brutus

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Now that, was priceless!’ Bailey said to Mac who was laughing so hard that he actually pissed himself.

‘Who is due to escape next?’ Bailey asked Mac who was cleaning himself up.

‘Oh that’s easy – It’s Melissa’s Staffords’ Mac nodded, ‘Can’t wait for that one’

Bailey laughed and took a drink of water from his bowl before spluttering it out through his nostrils as he was still laughing about Brutus.

Penny the Scottie dog (the pelmet on wheels with a fine set of ‘furnishings’)

Penny the Scottie dog who has been mentioned before was turning out to be quite a character on the race circuit.

With what can only be described as an ‘angry’ beard and a ‘furious’ set of eyebrows, the solid little black terrier stood proud in her white collar with red trim and black Scottie dogs printed down the side, finishing the look with a black and pink harness on her back.

Whilst our little lure coursing club is very multi cultural in terms of doggy nationalities, very few of the other dogs had heard a Scottish accent before and when Penny started to talk, they all stopped to listen.

(Imagine the following being spoken in a soft Scottish Highlander accent)

‘Well it is all very nice here isn’t it, what are we meant to do – chase that plastic bag?’ Penny asked and then started to rifle around in her handbag and offer some Scottish treats around to the other dogs.

‘Would you like a sweetie?’ Penny asked the other dogs who were looking back in amusement.

What on earth is a ‘sweetie’? – they were all wondering but if it went in your mouth then it couldn’t be that bad, unless it was a heart-worm table and then you had to be pretty desperate to enjoy one of those (OK, Brutus enjoys them but don’t tell him I told you that).

Before Penny had the chance to hand out any more ‘sweeties’ as she called them, she was led up to the starting point to start her race.

‘Excuse me young man, could you not look at my bottom!’ Penny said in a firm no-nonsense Scottish accent at a young ridgeback that had never seen such a furry anus in all his life.

‘OK, how hard can this be, hold on a minute, could somebody please tidy up the course, there is a plastic bag left lying around’ Penny demanded to nobody in particular.

‘The plastic bag is meant to be there, that is what you chase!’ shouted one of the greyhounds while the others laughed.

‘Well if you don’t mind, it is all very untidy and I like to keep a clean house’ Penny replied.

Penny actually reminds me of my Scottish friend Sandra and trust me on this, there is nothing quite like Sandra when she is on a cleaning mission and once the cleaning mission has ended, she is on an ironing mission and even irons underpants, in fact she would iron visitors if they stood still long enough and nobody had facial creases in her house.

You simply do not mess with a Scottish person on a cleaning mission because there is nothing quite like being told off by someone with a Scottish accent.

Before she knew it Penny’s owners had released her to chase the lure and all thoughts of handing out ‘sweeties’ and tidying up the grass had gone out of her head and she ran as fast as her stumpy legs would carry her.

‘Oh dear, oh dear, where did the plastic bag go?’ Penny squeaked in a high pitched voice as she glided down the track looking like like she was on wheels where her legs were hidden by the ‘Scottie dog’ traditional ‘furnishings’.

‘That looks like a curtain pelmet on wheels’ Rogue the staffie said looking highly confused.

‘You leave her furnishings alone!’ said a miniature schnauzer looking somewhat insulted as he had some pretty fine ones himself.

Rogue looked at Millie who was staring at Penny in awe and whispered ‘Pelmet on wheels’ and then added ‘But super cute all the same’. Penny 2

‘Penny – the pelmet on wheels’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

And for her first time at lure coursing, she did very well indeed and by the time she had finished her run, quite a gang of dogs had gathered round the barrier to cheer her on.

‘Well that was very nice thank you’ Penny gasped as she was led off the track looking somewhat dishevelled, and then added ‘Can I do it again?’

‘What breed of dog is that?’Millie the border collie asked Vader.

Vader who was trying hard to impress Millie, replied confidently ‘A tartan one’. Looking more than a little puzzled, Millie mouthed the word ‘Tartan?’ and wondered whether or not to question Vader but decided not to.

After all Vader was a dog of the world and had been in Star Wars movies and even Superman movies, that is what he told her and if he said it was true, then it had to be.

Astro the greyhound (AKA – the ‘pole breaker’)

Astro the greyhound is as serious about lure coursing as Abigail who won the ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ contest.

Nothing stops Astro and when I say nothing, I mean it literally as Astro is a true sportsman as most greyhounds are.

I was standing by the fence and actually saw this happen and it was almost in slow motion for me as I prayed that this dog would not hurt himself and how he didn’t is nothing short of a miracle.

Astro ran with such passion and all the other greyhounds were cheering him on as they always did when quite suddenly he hit one of the plastic poles that had a wooden stick inserted through it that was stuck in the ground.

‘Oh shit!’ Astro shouted and before he could say anything else, he jumped high into the air as the stick snapped in half through the tubing and part of it came out.

‘I can’t look, is he OK?’ Brutus asked Vader nervously. Vader didn’t reply as he had covered his own eyes while little Millie the border collie was nervously looking around wondering whether or not to go down and help but as her Mum had just bought a bacon roll, Millie thought it safer to remain where she was and ‘assist’ her Mum in eating it.

Astro Aug 2014

Astro – the pole breaker!

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘It’s OK everyone, it’s OK!’ Astro shouted as he quickly regained composure, looked at the broken fence post as though it had assaulted him before continuing the course like a ‘boss’ as the other dogs clapped and cheered in support.

‘Impressive, highly impressive’ said Mac as Bailey nodded in agreement.

‘It’s turning out to be quite good today I reckon’ Amira the ridgeback thought to herself before leaning around to wash her arse in a most un-ladylike fashion.

‘Nice one Astro, nice one!’ Brutus and Vader congratulated the greyhound as he was led off the course after finishing his run.

‘Phew! that was close – nearly made myself into a spit-roast’ Astro laughed nervously as his long legs were literally shaking from shock as his owner took him away to get a drink and thank his lucky stars he was OK.

‘Did someone say food?’ A chunky Labrador that had heard the words ‘spit-roast’; asked  after being momentarily roused from his slumber as all good Labradors have to be on the lookout for food in whatever form it takes.

Abigail – (it’s only a flesh wound)

Abigail as you may remember, won the Fastest Dog in Australia competition.  A senior greyhound with a passion for lure coursing, food and cuddles from her Mum. Abigail 1 Aug 2014

Abigail – ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ title holder

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Are we good to go, can I go yet?’ Abigail said in a manic voice as the other greyhounds had formed a crowd by the fence to support their friend.

When greyhounds do lure coursing, there is always a crowd at the side and it is usually a flurry of pointy snouts nodding sharply to the point they could almost be weapons of ‘snout destruction’.

‘Remember, if in doubt – chase it, if it doesnt stop chase it and if in doubt chase it again and if not, piss on it’ One greyhound said confidently while the others agreed passionately.

‘Good luck Abigail!’ Pippin shouted and gave the black greyhound the ‘thumbs up’ sign.

‘There goes our pride and joy of WA’ Pippin said proudly and suddenly wished that Mouse Norris was here to add her support.

Actually Abigail is a joy to watch on the track and really does enjoy the whole lure coursing experience. She and Mouse Norris have been known to meet up after dark and discuss racing tactics and ways of improving themselves.

When Mouse did her entry for Fastest Dog in Australia, Abigail broke free from her owner and gatecrashed Mouse’s session as she ran and while Mouse tried to ignore her, Abigail wasn’t having a bar of it and and thoroughly enjoyed herself running up and down trying to get the lure while Mouse told her to ‘piss off’ and pretend she wasn’t there.

Abigail fastestAbigail with her trophy – age is no barrier for this girl

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

Abigail was released for her turn and as the lure went past with Abigail in hot pursuit; I had the pleasure of watching her gallop with ease across the track whilst shouting ‘Catch me if you can losers!’

At first I didn’t realise what she had done but I saw her suddenly limp with her front left leg and then with her right hind leg.

‘I am OK, I am OK!’ Abigail cried as she lifted each leg in turn to try and carry on while shouting  ‘Shit that hurts, I am OK! let me at that lure!’

It didn’t take a genius to see that she had really hurt herself but the adrenaline had kicked in and Abigail wanted to complete her race.  Thankfully she was caught and reluctantly forced off the course, I say reluctantly – she was swearing her head off and using worse language than Rocco fighting a team of invisible dogs.

‘Oh no, she has hurt herself!’ One of the greyhounds gasped and then beckoned Pippin over to take control of the situation.

Grabbing his mobile phones and a tiny Iggy sized first aid kit containing nothing but a bandaid as that was all he could carry, Pippin ran down to the track just in time to see Abigail being carried off by her owner to the car to be driven to the emergency vet.

‘It’s OK, it’s just a flesh wound – I will be fine, who needs toes anyway, they are overrated!’ Abigail ranted loudly.

The Samoyed (AKA ‘The Town Crier’) was already on the case and had invented her own version of events and was shouting ‘The greyhound has lost all of her legs but don’t worry, she can still win the greyhound Derby!’ Samoyed 2

The Samoyed – ‘Town Crier’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘What – all of her legs, really?’ Monty the Brussels Griffon gasped.

The Samoyed nodded and replied firmly ‘Yes Abigail has lost at least 6 of her legs in that race’.

Monty ran up to his brother Dozer the boxer ‘Dozer, do dogs have 6 legs?’ Dozer couldn’t think of a reply so he choked on his tongue as he tried not to laugh as that was a question that made even a boxer sound intelligent. MOT

Monty – a dog of many legs

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Lure coursing newsflash – greyhound injured, call the medics!’ the Samoyed shouted to a puzzled audience of Italian greyhounds and of course all the dramatics were enough to make Nica faint in a ‘pile of Iggy’ and Enzo bring her round with his handsomeness.

Things were somewhat more subdued after Abigail was carried off, even the Samoyed had stopped announcing stuff and couldn’t think of anything to talk about and that my friends is saying something.

The Great Iggy Run

Every lure coursing meet the Iggies have their own race ‘The Great Iggy Run’ which usually has a few humans in it for good measure.  It is the highlight of the day watching these tiny fragile dogs run at various speeds down the track and when their humans compete, it totally ‘makes’ it. Diana Anderson

Humans are welcome in the Great Iggy Run

(Photography by Diana Andersen – Animal Images Photography)

Brutus being their staunchest supporter, is always by the fence cheering them with his loud booming voice yelling as they run past.

It is always good to watch – especially Rocco who is known to shout ‘Bollocks, you are all fat and you are all ugly’ as he runs past the dogs watching at the side.

Bronte has been known to flash her ‘lady-garden’ and Pippin having won the Fastest Iggy in Australia, gets the cheers for doing the Iggy group proud. So it is good to watch and the little dogs look so comical as they run along, Fletch always waves to everyone as he goes by and the other Iggies just squeal with delight as this is THEIR time to shine.

If you ever get the chance to go to see them run, you will hear them squeaking in their high pitched voices – a bit like the little people in ‘Wizard of Oz’ where they sound as though they have breathed in large volumes of helium, really it is quite fabulous.

‘Your arse is grass’ Bronte said to Pippin, vowing to steal his title of fastest dog.

‘Who on earth taught you that profanity?’ Pippin demanded as he stretched ready to be released for the race. ‘Or don’t I need to ask that?’

‘Don’t look at me, why are you looking at me, I always get the blame!’ Rocco shouted in a voice that screamed ‘Guilty as sin’ and then shouted ‘Anal gland face!’ while Bronte giggled as it was indeed Rocco that taught her to say that and much more that Pippin didn’t know about yet.Iggy race

 The great Iggy race – highlight of the day

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Bronte actually beat Pippin in this run and did very well indeed.  Pippin cried ‘foul’ because Bronte wore such a short dress that it was suggested that the boys were led into temptation.

Madam Gigi and Nica were on Bronte’s side but Enzo and the rest of the boys were on Pippin’s but they have all insisted that there is no need for Bronte to stop wearing such short dresses as they are all entitled to a nice ‘view’.

Bronte Dress Aug 2014

Bronte in her dress

(Photography by Studio Joy)PippinPippin doing his race (the little dog with a big heart)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

 After the Great Iggy Run, all the Iggies all went back to the Iggy tent to regroup and Pippin was to be awarded his certificate for the Fastest Italian Greyhound in Australia and had to walk up to accept the certificate which made him blush as he was a humble dog that did not like ‘bigging’ himself up so to speak.

‘Speech! Speech!’ Rocco shouted while Fletch slammed his water bowl on the floor and replied ‘Here here!’ ‘Come on Pippin, give us few words!’

Madam Gigi smiled at the little Iggy that ran his group with a paw of iron but also looked on them as his family and he would do anything for them.

Bronte sat proudly in the corner wiping tears from her pointy face and tried hard not to openly cry.

Such displays of restraint did not go unnoticed by Nica who loved a bit of dramatics and decided to dig out a white silken handkerchief and cry as well.

‘You are not going to vomit are you?’ Bronte asked Nica, really there was no place for vomit at lure coursing because there was always another dog to eat the offerings and that ruined the dramatics of it all.

I mean what is the point in vomiting if some scabby dog is going to snarf it down straight afterwards so nobody sees it?

‘I would like to thank my servant (Mum) who buys me nice clothes from Spoiled Bratz and loves me.  I would like to thank my sister Bronte and everyone in the Iggy group and their owners that love me as much as I love them’.

Pippin looked round at the ‘Pointy snout brigade’ as he fondly referred to them –  greyhounds, whippets and Iggies all standing there to see him get his certificate and he was so proud he felt sure that his chest would burst.

‘Who wins the ‘Good Boy Award’? Bronte asked.

‘The same dog that always wins it as he is the only one that he can win!’ Rocco said while laughing.

‘Don’t be horrible Rocco, it’s his award and he loves winning it!’ Madam Gigi replied, Nica and Fletch nodded in support.

Pippin smiled and said in a voice loud enough for Brutus to hear ‘And the Good Boy Award for this month, goes to Brutus!’

Brutus who was washing his bottom, suddenly lifted his head up and said ‘Did someone say my name? Have I won the Good Boy Award, that is awesome!’

The Good Boy Award is something that has been invented just for Brutus as he doesn’t win any other awards and as he is so naughty to the point of cute, he qualifies for the Good Boy Award.

This gentle giant of a dog that doesnt have a bad bone in his body, he is scared of his own shadow and especially scared of the Iggies and although this dog has made my garden resemble a desert and eaten my plants, he is my ‘Good Boy’ and deserves this fictitious award.

‘To Brutus the Good Boy!’ Bronte shouted to Brutus as the other dogs all clapped for him.

Good boy

My favourite ‘Good Boy’ photo of Brutus

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Although the other dogs had to endure this pretend award at each race meet, not one of them really begrudged Brutus because it was worth it to see his face each and every time he received it because never has a dog been so grateful for recognition and acceptance as Brutus. Pippin and Brutus

Pippin checks out Brutus on the computer for the Good Boy Award

(Photography by Denise Pringle)

Pippin was about to finish up his speech but then remembered something important he had to say.

‘But one thing before before we all go home, please can we spare a thought to Abigail who has been rushed to the veterinary hospital with her injury that she got doing what she loves best and the reason why we are all here – lure coursing’.

One by one the greyhounds, the whippets, and the Iggies all started to clap and shout out ‘To Abigail!’. What started off as a smallish gathering started to spread as other dogs gathered round and they too started shouting ‘To Abigail’ until every dog on the track was saying it and it became so loud that any human would have had to be deaf and daft not to have heard and more to the point, understood what the those dogs were saying.

‘To Abigail!’ Brutus and Vader said to each other while Millie the border collie wiped the tomato sauce off her face from robbing her Mum’s burger, so that she could also pay her respects to the senior greyhound that injured herself that day.

And that was how the lure coursing day ended.

Abigail Update

Abigail was taken to the vet and given pain relief and X-rays which revealed two badly dislocated toes on her left hind and one minor dislocated toe on her front left foot.  She was sent home with her injuries strapped up and the injuries would be monitored. Abigail strapped

Abigail (strapped up after her injury)

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

Sadly for Abigail; a couple of her toes did not heal as well as was hoped and on the 25th September, she had to have her two middle toes amputated in order to give her the best chance of mobility and a normal life. Abigail Xrays

Abigails initial X-Rays

(X-Rays – Malibu Veterinary Hospital Radiology)

Like any finely tuned athlete, Abigail was somewhat pissed off with this, especially when Mouse Norris, Barbie and Bender offered to make her some callipers to assist her. This was made worse by Brutus offering to push her around in a wheelchair with a tartan blanket around her legs while Rocco could stand next to her with a tin demanding money for ‘dogs for the disabled’.

Bentley had gone one better and was suggesting that the Iggies tell everyone that Abigail lost her toes in the war but that idea was quickly quashed by Pippin.

Abigail recovery 2

Abigail after her anaesthetic (has anyone seen my tongue?)

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

 ‘How on earth will I manage without my toes?’ Abigail sobbed when some of the dogs came to visit her after her surgery.

Mouse was busy throwing dog biscuits at Rocco to incite a reaction so that she could tempt him into arguing with his invisible friend for a laugh while Bender was asking Bronte to pull his paw so that he could fart a selection of nasty smelling guffs.

Really though; it was no good trying to console Abigail about her missing toes, she was still drowsy and in pain and could not yet understand that the surgery had been done for the best.

‘Will you all still be my friend when I have my toes chopped off?’ Abigail asked Barbie. ‘Of course I will, don’t be daft – I don’t mind being friends with an amputee’ Barbie said firmly – she had actually decided that it would be quite trendy doing her bit for the disabled.

‘I can’t do lure coursing any more’ Abigail muttered drowsily to Pippin.

‘You might not be able to do it but you can still come and be the team mascot’ Pippin said thoughtfully.

‘That’s not a bad idea actually’ Rocco grinned, ‘We can put her high on a stretcher decorated in gold and carry her around’.

‘We can buy her a buggy and make it look like the Pope Mobile!’ Vader shouted, forgetting that he had put his tongue away for the night as it fell out and hit his chest.

‘Would you do that for me?’ Abigail said in a weak and tired voice, really her friends were just the best.

The dogs all looked at one another and smiled as Pippin said ‘Of course we would, you are our friend, why would we not help?’

‘You can sit at the Iggy stand and be like the Queen’ Bronte said excitedly.

‘And I can teach you how to vomit for effect’ Nica added.

‘Nica – no!’ Fletch and Apollo shouted out together just as Rocco rubbed his paws in glee at the thought of all those hungry dogs that could benefit.

And that was that, it was decided that one way or another Abigail would still go lure coursing and her friends would always be there to support her – just as it should be.

Thanks and acknowledgements

I would like to thank each and every dog owner and their dogs for coming to the lure coursing event and inspiring me to write about them.  I do try to include as many dogs as I can in different stories.

Thank you to West Coast Dog Sports for organising this wonderful sport and giving our dogs the chance to take part and for the owners to socialise and make such good friends.

Thank you to the Italian greyhound community as this breed of dog gets to my imagination more than any other breed.  Little dogs with huge characters and yes, Rocco really does argue with himself and Pippin is the organiser of them all.

Thanks to everyone that has supplied me with their photographs because they truly make the story come to life when you can put a face to a name.

Amy Joy – Studio Joy Photography

Amy Joy is one of the regular photographers at West Coast Dog Sports and works tirelessly to get the incredible and unique shots of our beautiful dogs.

Amy kindly allows me to use her watermarked photographs for my blog and for that I am grateful as she captures the moments that I describe just perfectly – for example, what happened to Astro the greyhound and Brutus when he escaped, not to mention Penny the Scotty dog floating down the track like a curtain pelmet.

Amy is a student at Curtin University studying Digital Design and Illustration and Photography Design. Not only is she building up her portfolio for her coursework but she is also now offering a professional service as a pet photographer.

This talented young photographer has made so many people happy with the outstanding photographs of their dogs, that owners are requesting personal shoots for their pets.

I have the pleasure of watching Amy work at lure coursing events and get to see the quality of the photographs that she takes and I would not hesitate to recommend her services.

If you live in Perth and are interested in booking a photo shoot for your pet, Amy’s details are as follows:

Amy Joy

M:                    0430 549 346

E:                      amyjoy2213@gmail.com

Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyStudioJoy

Charges are:  $100 for a 30 minute – 1 hour session which includes a disc with all the edited images on there. Amy will go to a location that suits the clients i.e. a park, beach, etc.

Help for Abigail and her Owner – Hannah Ruth Ogden

Abigail Aug 2014Abigail – any help appreciated

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Abigail’s veterinary bills as you can imagine; are very high – the amputated toes alone cost in the region of $1,000 and that is not including the initial emergency visit to the vets, strapping and follow up visits, pain relief, dressing changes and antibiotics etc.

Although Abigail’s owner has not asked for any financial help, I do happen to know that Hannah is struggling to find the money to cover the bills and when you don’t have a lot of money for whatever reason, this amount is a huge expense.

I also happen to know that Hannah loves her dog to distraction and if there is one thing that I will never forget and that is seeing Hannah’s face when she realised how badly Abigail was injured and watching her struggle as she carried her precious greyhound to the car.

Greyhounds are so easily discarded in the racing industry and Abigail is one of the lucky ones to have a good loving home with Hannah who obviously treasures this senior greyhound and the bond between them is clear for all to see.

Anyway, if you would like to help towards Abigail’s veterinary bills, any donations would gratefully be received.  Hannah’s bank account details are as follows:

Bank:              Bankwest

BSB:                306 097

Account No:    0377985 

As I have said, Hannah has not asked for anything; this is purely my idea.  I just know that things are hard for her at the moment and I also know what it is like to struggle.  It doesn’t mean we don’t love our pets any less, it doesn’t mean we are neglectful, it just means our situation has changed and we could use a little help.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright Sept 2014

All photographs remain the copyright of the photographers – please do not use, print or reproduce any of them without the consent of the photographer concerned.

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