We all tell our dogs that they are the best, that they are ‘good boys/girls’, the most handsome dogs on the block, the fastest, the best at what they do.
But there comes a time where sometimes, just sometimes – they need a bit of a reality check and tonight my friends, Brutus had to have his reality check.
Don’t hate me for it but I had to tell him and he had to know the truth.
It is the night before lure coursing – you all know the score, dogs gather round their computers and check the price of sausages, check out pictures of lure coursing and generally every self respecting dog is making plans, making lists and generally farting themselves stupid with excitement.
Now at the last lure coursing event, Brutus was entered for the full course for the very first time as he normally does the fun runs.
Brutus has terrible trouble stopping and has actually torn through the barrier before but at the last race meet we realised that Brutus is not only unable to stop, but he is also completely inept at turning corners and sort of carries on and either crashes through the barrier or scoots under it.
Brutus – simply cannot turn a corner
(Photography by Studio Joy)
A dog that can’t turn corners can easily be injured in lure coursing so I have decided to keep it fun for Brutus and just enter him in the sprint in the fun run.
Sounds like a plan? One would think so except tonight I heard Brutus telling Rocky that not only was he going to win the ‘Good Boy Award’ but he was also going to ‘win his lure coursing race’.
Despite the fact that it is not technically a race and despite the fact that there is no winner, Brutus builds himself up to the fact that there is and when people clap and laugh at him, he truly believes that they are here to watch him and him alone. He also has created his own invisible friends that race with him and every time he beats them paws down.
He even has vivid and impossible dreams that WA Cop Dog Rumble will be there to shout him on in support.
But as much as Brutus loves his lure coursing, he is a clumsy puppy with poor coordination and whilst Vader has excelled in the full course, Brutus thinks the larger space is purely to play, social butterfly and have fun and if Vader is with him, all the better.
However, I simply cannot risk him injuring himself with his inability to turn a corner and he isn’t just like it on the track, he is at home as well and has even ended up on the ROOF of my car – yes you heard that right, when he forgot to dodge the car and leapt on to the roof but we won’t talk about that episode as he is embarrassed that he frightened the shit out of himself and urinated down his own legs.
‘Brutus, can we have a chat please?’ I said gently to him.
‘Right, I chase the lure, then I get the girls phone numbers, then I play with Vader and then I win the Good Boy Award, everyone claps because they are there to see me and then I cry because I am so proud’ Brutus said aloud as he pretended to have a race with his Tony Abbott doll, his fluffy rabbit, his teddy bear and his squeaky penguin.
Bashing his toys together, Brutus made them ‘race’ around his little room and then declared the rabbit a ‘champion’ while the penguin won the ‘Good Boy Award’.
Being a Good Boy is everything to Brutus
He looked so animated that I nearly backed down but remembering it was for his own good, I carefully took his toys away and put my arm around him.
‘Hello Mum, I love you!’ Brutus said quickly and then washed my face quite thoroughly.
‘Hello Brutus, I love you too’ I smiled back at him.
‘It’s lure coursing tomorrow, I am going with Vader, Lexie and Seb, did I tell you?’ Brutus said happily.
‘Yes Brutus, I will be in the back seat with you and Vader so I know all about that’ I laughed.
‘Don’t worry about a shower in the morning, Vader and I will wash your face – one of us each side’ Brutus said confidently.
‘Brutus, do you remember at the last event you crashed the barrier, you couldn’t turn corners and had trouble stopping?’ I asked him.
‘Yes, but Vader said corners are over rated and you can get by in life without turning corners and if in doubt, just jump over it’ Brutus said confidently.
Vader is Brutus’s best friend and has managed to convince him of this exceedingly well because Brutus had indeed started jumping over things instead of avoiding them.
Vader and Brutus – best buddies
(Photography by Studio Joy)
‘Yes Brutus but the trouble with lure coursing and doing the full course, is that you have to be able to turn corners or you could get injured like Abigail – do you remember what happened to her?’
Brutus looked worried as his eyebrows creased over ‘Yes, I remember that, the Samoyed said she lost 7 of her legs’
I had to gently remind him that Abigail didn’t loose any of her legs and she only has four of them anyway.
‘Well, I have been thinking that it would be best for you to do the fun runs and you won’t have to worry about those nasty old corners or not being able to stop in time and everyone will still cheer for you and everything’. I said as I rubbed his ears.
Brutus looked crestfallen and suddenly I felt as though I had ripped his Tony Abbotts head off stuck pins in it.
When Brutus is upset, he has a slight deformity in his mouth that shows up and his bottom lip hangs down and if dogs could cry tears – Brutus would cry a river.
‘But Vader said I don’t need corners in my life!’ Brutus started to cry and in between washing my neck, he broke his big brown ‘Brutus-heart’.
I cuddled him, I held him but could I console him? No I couldn’t and within ten minutes he had convinced himself that he was ‘special’, disabled and would never win the ‘Good Boy Award’ purely because he couldn’t turn corners or stop when he needed to.
‘Jesus Christ on a bike, is this going to go on all night?’ Rocky growled from his bed.
Rocky is never amused by dramatics
‘Excuse me Rocky but you are the one that throws major tantrums when I try and get you out of the ocean so you are a fine one to talk!’ I snapped back at Rocky.
‘Don’t worry Turd Legs, if you are that upset I can teach you to turn corners in the house’ Gordon sniggered from the top of the sofa.
Gordon the cat – doesn’t suffer fools glaldy!
‘Gordon you are not helping the situation’ I muttered.
‘But I want to do the full course just like Vader!’ Brutus cried and then proceeded to work himself up into more states than Australia.
‘You know some of the best dogs can’t turn corners Brutus and you would hate it if you hurt yourself and had to have a bandage on your leg because that would mean no play time with Vader in the courts’ I said quickly. Grasping at straws I would say anything to calm him down.
Brutus sniffed and wiped his eyes ‘What did you say?’ He gulped.
‘Lots of dogs don’t do the full course – Pippin doesn’t do it and he won the fastest Iggy in Australia’ I said triumphantly.
Knowing how much Brutus worshipped Pippin, I crossed my fingers behind my back that this would work.
Brutus shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘I guess so’.
‘Guess nothing, you know I am right and don’t forget that Chewy loves the fun runs as well’ I added. ‘So if you want to be a good boy, you have to realise that all dogs have strengths in different areas, it doesn’t mean that they are less of a champion than the other dogs’.
Brutus gulped and took a few shuddering deep breaths – just like a child when they have been sobbing and can’t breathe properly.
Wiping his snotty snout on my T shirt, he sighed and said ‘OK, I will do the fun run’.
‘Good boy’ I smiled and tickled his ears.
‘Can I still win the ‘Good Boy Award?’ Brutus asked in a somewhat feeble voice. The Good Boy Award was not just important to him, it was everything.
‘Yes Brutus, you can still win the Good Boy Award’ I said and then tried to stand up, I say ‘try’, because my bloody legs had gone dead from kneeling on the floor.
‘Love you Mum’ Brutus said happily and then gave my neck a quick wash as I stood up.
‘Love you too Brutus’ I laughed and then closed his baby gate.
I sat down to drink my cup of tea and I could hear Brutus talking to his toys. He has such an imagination that I am surprised that he doesn’t have imaginary friends like I did as a child.
Turning round to see what he was doing, I could just make out him holding Tony Abbott and the penguin, talking in different voices to make them speak.
‘Tony, you are going to have to go in the fun run as you cant turn corners and you dont know when to stop – and Mum said you are a bit of a bastard’ Brutus said happily and then in the next second, made the squeaky penguin attack Tony Abbott and have a fight.
Brutus and his favourite toys
‘Do you think he will be OK?’ Rocky asked shaking his head in disbelief at such a dramatic scene.
I stared at Brutus who was now racing Tony and the penguin around his bed and laughed ‘Yep, I think he will be just fine’.
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright October 2014
All photographs are copyright, please do not use without the consent of the photographer.
Thanks to Amy Joy for the use of her photographs.