(Photograph by Fran Forbes)
The day had arrived for Toppa to fly to QLD to stay with Fran and her Iggies – Shine, Gracie and Amex and show Fran what he could do in the show ring.
For those of you that have not read the first installment of this story, here is the link if you fancied reading it.
Pippin and Bronte were round Toppa’s house to see him on his way and Pippin was doing the organizing and finalizing of the finer details.
‘Are you bags packed? Do you have your passport? Have you packed a clean collar?’ Pippin asked Toppa.
‘Yes, I have checked my bags three times, I think everything is there – I am a bit nervous though and I have a clean collar’ Toppa said fretfully.
‘Is your bum clean?’ Pippin demanded.
Toppa glanced round to his bum and had a brief check before replying ‘Yes, I believe so and my anal glands are empty’.
‘Good, because we don’t want the QLD dogs thinking we have dirty bottoms’ Pippin growled.
Pippin was in his element checking and organizing everything. He had 4 mobile phones, an iPad, a notepad and a pen plus a packet of Schmackos to chew on for his nerves.
Bronte was looking boot-faced because she was not invited and we won’t even go into how upset Brutus and Vader were that that the invite had not extended to them because they had totally convinced themselves that they were also going on this little trip.
Brutus and Vader the boxer wanting in on the trip to QLD
(Photograph by Samantha Rose)
‘I have heard that you will have to wear a muzzle in QLD and that the cane toads are so big that they can carry you off to their homes and feed you to their families and everything’ Bronte said without looking up as she admired her nails.
‘Bronte – Toppa will not have to wear a muzzle and no, the cane toads do not kidnap dogs and feed them to their families and if you can’t say anything helpful then say nothing’ Pippin growled back firmly.
Doing a last minute document check, Pippin nodded towards Toppa. This was it, the moment they had all been waiting for – Toppa going to represent the WA Iggies in QLD to help Fran Forbes in the dog show ring. It was not just good news, it was positively exciting for all concerned and the QLD Iggies were also looking forward to meeting Toppa as well.
‘Right then my good man, are you ready?’ Pippin said in his best ‘BBC English’ type voice, took a deep breath and straightened Toppa’s collar as a last minute tidy-up and then put some saliva on his paw to wipe some dirt off Toppa’s face (the way your mother did to you when you were a child).
‘Yep, I think so – that’s it then, I shall call you from the other side’ Toppa said sounding far braver than he actually felt. He wasn’t really a brave boy at all but he was determined to show Fran how what a handsome show dog he is and do his best in the show ring in QLD which incidentally; Brutus had convinced him was officially known as ‘The land of the banana, cane toad and Bindi Irwin’.
‘Brutus said that there are more bananas than people there and that they don’t speak English, is that so?’ Toppa whispered to Pippin who rolled his eyes and made a mental note to tell Brutus off next time he saw him.
‘Ignore what Brutus and Vader tell you, they are the ones that believed their muscles were called rifles and pistols instead of guns so the less you believe from them the better’ Pippin replied.
‘I’ll miss you Toppa, will you bring me back a present?’ Bronte said hopefully.
‘I’ll try and I will miss you too’ Toppa said as he hugged her.
‘Safe flight’ Pippin grinned and say hello to Fran, Shine, Gracie and Amex for me’.
Toppa was carefully loaded into his airline crate and placed in the car to go to Perth airport where he was to take his flight to QLD and he didn’t mind admitting that he was more than a bit nervous about the whole adventure.
‘Do you think he will be OK?’ Bronte asked Pippin.
‘Yep of course he will, he is going to be ace!’ Pippin said confidently.
‘Ace? What does that mean? Who taught you that word?’ Bronte demanded to know. She had never heard that word used before except in the show ring.
‘Ace? Oh all the dogs in the North of England use it, Brutus told me’ Pippin said firmly.
‘You told me never to believe what Brutus says’ Bronte replied, ‘And how would he know what they say in England when he has never been?’
‘He told me he has seen the photos and everything, don’t ask such daft questions Bronte’ Pippin said dismissively and then grabbed one of his phones and sent a text to the entire Iggy group saying ‘The Eagle has taken off’.
And the last Pippin and Bronte saw of Toppa was him waving frantically from his cage as the doors to the van were shut.
Bronte hung her head down, she hated it when one of the Iggy gang left to go anywhere and QLD was so far away.
‘It’s OK Bronte, he will do us proud – now let’s go back inside and if you behave yourself I will share with you my Schmackos’ Pippin said affectionately to his sister who managed a grateful smile and wag of the tail.
On the plane a while after take off
(Photograph by Jeni Sach)
It was one hour after take-off and Toppa was in his cage in the hold of the plane in the special area that the animals go in to. Humans don’t go in there and have no idea as to what goes on and I only know because I am a bit special like that and have an imagination as fertile as a female guinea pig.
‘Hello Toppa, would you like a drink sir?’ A beautiful blue whippet bitch stewardess stood next to Toppa holding a bowl of chilled water.
‘Hmm, no thank you – if it is all the same with you I am going to try and sleep’ Toppa said nervously. He wasn’t sure what to do and through sheer nerves, he farted. The whippet wrinkled her nose in disgust but quickly regained composure and pretended to not smell the horrible gas that was indicative of Toppa going on a bin raiding session the night before.
‘If you need anything please don’t hesitate to contact me and if you need the toilet – it is over there’ The whippet said pointedly while cupping her beautiful grey snout and staring at the toilet.
‘Thank you, perhaps later’. Toppa smiled and then shut his eyes to try and sleep, which he would have done quite happily had it not been for a couple of Schnauzer puppies arguing over a Kong toy and who was going to take a piss on the bedding in the cage.
Just as he was about to drift off he felt someone kicking the back of his cage, glancing round he could see a beautifully hand stripped Irish terrier wearing a neckerchief with the Irish flag on it.
‘Excuse me do you mind not doing that?’ Toppa asked politely.
‘Oh would you listen to that Aussie accent, I love the Aussie accent. Will you not be so boring and talk to me, I am flying to QLD as well you know – I am going to be a show dog’ The Irish terrier said in a cheerful Irish accent.
Toppa glared back, who was this dog with the strange wired coat, neatly clipped furnishings on its feet and an angry beard and why was his snout not as refined as an Iggies or whippets/greyhounds? As for being a show dog, would that mean he would be at the same shows as Toppa, surely not?
‘The name is Ronan and I am from Ballybunion in Ireland’ The terrier said in a high pitched ‘sing-song’ voice. (I think the Southern Irish accent is my most favourite accent ever)
‘The name is Toppa and I am from Perth’ Toppa grinned, ‘Ballybunion? Did you just make that up?’ he added and then laughed mercilessly as the Irish terrier looked positively furious at such an accusation.
‘No I did not make it up, it is a real place I’ll have you know’ He snapped back at Toppa who was already making notes to ask Pippin if it really existed
(Actually it does exist because my good friend Joe from my veterinary nursing days lived there).
‘Would you like me to tell you some jokes, I have some good jokes from my Daddy – he is a top prize winning Irish terrier you know’ Ronan said happily, and he was happy as well as there was nothing nicer than meeting someone on the plane and making friends with them.
‘I am rather tired if you don’t mind’ Toppa sighed and then closed his eyes. He couldn’t wait to see Fran and meet the other Iggies and then report back to Pippin and he had grand plans to display his ‘walnuts’ (testicles) to Gracie and show her his ‘Magic Mike’ impressions that Brutus had taught him. (Brutus had a lot to answer for).
‘Did I ever tell you about my brother Justin, he was a Crufts champion you know and he liked a bowl of beer every week or he would simply not perform. That is the truth you know’ Ronan said quickly without drawing for breath and adding ‘you know’ to each sentence while managing to sound like Mrs Brown from the show ‘Mrs Browns Boys’.
‘He was a right fecker though you know and he would take a shit on my bed, did you ever take a shit on someone’s bed? I took a shit on my human sisters bed and my mother rubbed my snout in it, I was picking shite out of my beard for weeks afterwards’.
But that little story was lost on Toppa because the little Iggy had fallen asleep in his crate and was now dreaming of QLD, Fran and her gang and winning all the prizes in the show ring.
‘Oh he is such a dote, don’t you just love him?’ Ronan said to the whippet stewardess who had come to check on them.
‘I think he is asleep Ronan, best you leave him be’ The whippet smiled at the Irish Terrier who was quivering with excitement at the idea of having a new friend.
‘Well he is not very talkative but I think we are going to be great friends’ Ronan said to nobody in particular as the whippet had walked off and was using her pointy snout to do a head count as she nodded from left to write to make a note of who was sat where.
‘Would you like a Schmacko?’ Ronan asked a loudly snoring Toppa.
‘Perhaps not’ Ronan sighed and looked around for someone else to talk to and seeing that everyone else was fast asleep, he began to talk to his invisible friend about the time that his Aunty Coshene the Irish terrier had bitten the ankles of the milkman and pissed on his legs.
Welcome to QLD
‘Thank you for flying with us, hope to see you soon’ The whippet stewardess said in robotic fashion to each animal that was offloaded from the plane onto the tarmac.
Toppa was first off the plane and never got to see the Irish terrier, not that he cared really as he was so hyped up about meeting Fran, he had heard that she was really strict and Amex had said that Fran would not take any nonsense so Toppa was a bit scared really because Jeni (his Mum) and all the other Iggy Mums had all spoilt him at some point.
Most Iggies have ‘nonsense’ down to a fine art and have their humans so well trained that the humans don’t even know when ‘nonsense’ has crept up on them. But the rumors in QLD were as such that Fran wore a ‘no nonsense suit of Armour’ when it came to her Iggies.
(However, let us not talk about the prawns, smoked trout or sleeping on the bed which has since come to light since Toppa has been there, I am sure Fran can explain it all).
As Toppa was wheeled to the animal collection area he was greeted by Fran who looked absurdly pleased to meet him which was very nice and although Toppa scrutinised her, he could see no evidence of the ‘No Nonsense’ suit of armour he was told about.
She did have a funny accent though which Toppa later learned was a QLD accent but he was relieved to know that despite Rocco and Bentley trying to convince him otherwise, Fran did speak English as did all QLDers and there were no cane toads waiting for him in ‘Arrivals’ to eat him like Brutus had said there would be.
Toppa sat in his crate at the back of the car back for the journey to Frans house and took in the sights, sounds and smells as they left the airport. This was to be his home for a while and he had to do his Mum proud not to mention show Fran what a good boy he is in the show ring.
But first he had to do the most important thing and that was to update his FB status to tell Pippin and the gang that he was OK.
Grabbing his mobile phone Toppa typed in the status update and the message was simple ‘The Eagle has landed’.
Back in Perth
Pippin’s phone bleeped, he did not hear it initially as he was snoozing but Bronte gave him a nip on the bum which woke him up.
‘What’s up?’ Pippin asked sleepily.
‘Your phone, it bleeped – I think it is from Facebook’ Bronte said and nodded towards his phone.
Pippin saw the message come through and grinned. ‘Toppa has done his FB status update, he said that he is in QLD, that’s good he has got there safe and sound’.
Going over to his laptop, Pippin added to the status update ‘Remember to keep your bum clean and your walnuts tidy’ Pippin wrote back.
And within minutes some of the other Iggies had all responded to add their congratulations to the status including Brutus who posted something about not knowing any eagles and he thought that it was Toppa that had gone to QLD.
At Fran’s House in QLD
The first thing that Toppa noticed when he arrived was how beautiful the place was. Fran’s garden looked beautiful and like a treasure trove fit for any Iggy, lots of places to hide, plants to dig, room to run – he was going to love it there, he was sure of it.
Gracie introduces herself to Toppa
(Photograph by Fran Forbes)
‘How are you going, the name is Gracie, I have heard lots about you’ Gracie the Iggy introduced herself to Toppa in her strong QLD accent.
‘My name is Toppa and I am pleased to meet you’ Toppa stuttered nervously and then remembered this was the girl he was meant to be impressing with his testicles (walnuts) and doing Magic Mike impressions for.
‘You must be tired after your trip, allow me to show you round the garden and you can meet Shine and Amex’ Gracie smiled at Toppa.
Toppa suddenly felt homesick and a bit disorientated, he wanted his Mum, he felt lost and out of his depth and was sure he would never be able to converse with this confident little Iggy who was so proud of her home and family, let alone impress her with his testicles.
As Gracie led him to where Shine and Amex were standing, Toppa nodded politely as the two Iggies greeted him warmly.
‘Welcome to our home, hope you are not too tired as we shall be having a delicious feed later’ Amex said cheerfully to Toppa.
‘But I have heard that your Mum doesn’t spoil dogs?’ Toppa asked looking bewildered.
Shine snorted with laughter, Gracie giggled and Amex said firmly, ‘That my dear, is what we lead people to believe but you shall find out the truth later’.
Toppa did not need to wait long for the truth to come out either because not much later, the ‘truth’ involved smoked trout, prawns and power naps on Fran’s bed and as for cuddles and kisses – Toppa was positively overdosed on them and all worries of homesickness had gone as Fran loved him as one of her own.
Later that night
The three Iggies were curled up on the bed discussing the events of the day.
‘Do you think you will like it here Toppa?’ Amex asked him.
Toppa looked thoughtful, although he missed his Mum and all of his friends – even Brutus despite all the stories he had told him about cane toads and Bindi Irwin, he just knew he was going to like it in QLD and he also knew that he was going to love living with Fran and showing her about dog shows.
‘Yes, I think I will like it here and I especially love Fran’s version of ‘no nonsense’ Toppa replied.
Amex and Shine burst out laughing.
‘Yes but don’t you tell those WA Iggies, we have a reputation to keep up’ Amex barked in between snorts of laughter.
‘Goodnight, see you in the morning’ Toppa said to the others.
‘Goodnight Toppa, good to have you here’ Shine smiled.
What would tomorrow bring? Who knows, but Toppa was ready for it and his time in QLD was his for the taking – he could do with it what he wanted and not a day would be wasted either.
And within a few minutes, Toppa and the other Iggies had fallen asleep to dream about smoked trout, prawns and Fran’s bed.
Amex, Shine and Toppa
(Photograph by Fran Forbes)
To be continued…..
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright February 2015