Adrenal Insufficiency – Out of Balance and Wrong


There is always a bit of sunshine behind every crappy situation

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

I haven’t updated this section of my blog for quite some time but thought now would be as good a time as any to do so as there has been a recent update for me health-wise.

In October last year I was diagnosed with secondary adrenal insufficiency which they (doctors) suspect is steroid induced.

Adrenal insufficiency is where the body does not produce any or enough of the ‘fight or flight’ hormone that helps you cope with stress.  There are many different causes for this and it can either be primary or secondary.

It is a huge topic to explain and I can’t even begin to do it as I am not a medical person but if you wanted to read up on it, here is a link to which gives some excellent information on the condition.

Like so many other people that have to take them; I hate steroids and I hate the fact that I need them for my connective tissue disease and totally hate the fact that even on 5mgs I carry extra fluid that while some people claim not to notice; I may as well have bags of water strapped to my body for how it feels to me.

Each time I try to reduce my preds to 4mgs, I develop a whole new host of symptoms that in the past have had me wondering if I was losing my mind as well as well as my zest for life.

Symptoms that I actually had many years ago when I lived in the UK while taking long-term steroids for asthma, but I never told my GP. Would it have made a difference – who knows but I definitely should have sought medical advice at the time.

My blood sugar was always unstable and I would have hypo attacks while out walking or doing anything energetic and had to carry a snack in my handbag when I went out anywhere.

I have clear memories of being with my friend Erica one time on a country walk and my blood sugar going so low that I was cold, clammy and confused.

It was only down to the fact that we found a pub in the middle of nowhere and ordered some food plus some chocolate to tide me over till it was served, that I was able to make the walk back home.

Other symptoms included (and still do) extreme tiredness, inability to react normally or cope with stress or confrontation, sound, light and smell sensitive – the list goes on and the list was ignored up until recently.

I recall about four years ago when I wasn’t even on the steroids, being at our local gym with my arms and legs so heavy and weighted and my chest hurting, I could not exercise and just lay down on the bench press looking like a decorative human ornament wrapped in lycra.

So how long I have had this condition is a mystery but one thing is certain, it got progressively worse until my consultant decided to do an ACTH stim test to see how my adrenal glands were performing.

It is hoped that this will be reversible but how long that will take is a good question. Personally I swing between being hopeful that my adrenals will like Sleeping Beauty; ‘wake up’ one day with the life saving ‘cortisol kiss’.

But then at other times I have my doubts as I have had these symptoms in the UK which could be when the problems started and the damage was caused long ago by previous steroid doses.

So what now?

I have changed from prednisone 5mg to Hydrocortisone and divide my 20mg dose four times a day.  This regime takes some getting used to and is often messed up if I am busy at work or at home if I fall asleep and forget.

Like a finely tuned set of scales, I have no room for negotiation with my adrenals and steroid dosage and my body has no hesitation in letting me know this.

If I am so much as 30 mins late for my tablet, I am punished with dizziness, an ache in my chest, nasty ache in my kidney area, bad headache, confusion, slurred and slow speech and a feeling as though someone has stuffed my mouth out with cotton wool and dried it out and yanked my tongue out and fed it to my dogs.

Every day has to be planned around my steroid dosage and each dose gives you a certain amount of ability to deal with stress and energy expenditure – a bit like ‘The Spoon Theory’ except for adrenal glands, I call it the ‘Steroid allowance’ and if you go into debt with the Steroid allowance, you get charged double – with interest because you really cannot function without steroids.

Before I do exercise I have to stress dose and I learned this rule pretty early on in the diagnosis when I started Pilates and found myself unable to raise my arms and legs after just 20 mins of exercising.

But that is OK, I have a wonderful instructor who has become very good reading my body language and knows when I feel as though I have died and gone to hell in a basket, she lets me lie on the mat while everyone else does marvellous things with their legs and I just feel like someone has tied my own legs in a knot.

Anything that makes my ‘flight or fight’ hormones kick in, requires cortisol so I tend to avoid confrontation or stress and even excitement can see me feeling quite unwell afterwards so my days out lure coursing with my dog tend to need an extra dose of steroids.

Sometimes even the thought of going shopping to a crowded and busy place or doing something that involves strenuous activity has to go in the ‘too hard basket’ as I feel somewhat overwhelmed at tackling such things – although this is better on the hydrocortisone I must add.

I have actually found it quite fascinating how exhausted I can get just by lying on the sofa and how a day off can be spent fast asleep whilst dreaming about being ‘normal’ and then waking up and feeling tired from all that effort of dreaming (makes sense to me anyway).

Work can be a challenge, I am very good at prioritising in my job and it is one of my strengths but sometimes a pile of work on my desk can see me covering my face with my hands while wondering what to do and how to do it.  Luckily I have a brilliant employer that has gone way above and beyond to help me and providing I take my steroids religiously, it isn’t too much of an issue.

The hardest thing for me is knowing when to stress dose and this is usually in situations of diarrhoea/vomiting, surgery, accident or injury etc.  Because basically you just have to know your body better than anyone else, you have to listen to it and do as it asks because not doing so can have severe consequences.

Friends or enemies?

This is where you find out what friendship is all about. Having Sjogrens syndrome is one thing and if you have followed my blog on that, you will know that I have had my fair share of comments such as ‘hypochondriac’ or being accused of making up, fabricating or over playing the pain.

But having another diagnosis added to the mix just sends the same intolerably uneducated people into a frenzy of similar, stupid and judgmental comments to fuel their fire of idiocy.

Comments like ‘Why are you taking another pill?’ or ‘What are you stressed about now?’ Or my personal favourites ‘Is there anything you don’t have wrong with you?’ or ‘When are you going to get better?’

People tend to have a short tolerance with those of us that are sick and because they are healthy themselves, quite often their empathy quota is somewhat in short supply when you don’t ‘get better’ within a few months.

And that my friends, is when you find out who your REAL friends are, who is important in your life and who is not worth being around because of their ignorant and toxic attitude.

The benefits of support groups

Having discovered the Adrenal Insufficiency Support Group on Facebook, I have found it a huge help to speak to others that have the same symptoms which not only validate what I feel but also make me feel less alone.

Because Adrenal Insufficiency like any illness, is a lonely one. The group is like a safe place where we can discuss our issues and offer words of support or advice and whilst this does not ever take the place of seeing a specialist or consulting your doctor, never underestimate how important this kind of support is.

What next?

With a recent blood cortisol test done this week, I now await my appointment with the endocrinologist in April and I shall will keep my fingers crossed that my adrenals have started to ‘wake up’ and in turn, give me a normal life and one that does not require steroids in which to live it.

And if the damage is permanent then I guess like a house full of lodgers, my adrenal insufficiency will have to learn to get along with my good old friend Sjogrens syndrome while I try to get on with my life and not let them interfere with it too much.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright March 2015

The Night Before Lure Coursing – March 2015


Pippin Pringle – The Organiser

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

At the Pringle Headquarters

You all know the drill – it was the night before lure coursing and Pippin Pringle was doing his usual organising of what was to be expected on the biggest night of all self respecting lure coursers agenda’

‘No Bronte, you cannot possibly wear that dress as it is far too short!’ Pippin said firmly to his sister Bronte who was wearing a dress so short that you could see her knickers (had she been wearing them).



(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Straining to look at her bottom in the mirror, Bronte gave a haughty to look Pippin and then carried on admiring her bum causing Pippin to roll his eyes impatiently.  He had so much to do before tomorrow, things like make lists and stuff and organising the Iggy meeting where no doubt Rocco, Bentley, Fat Harry and the gang would cause a scene of some sort involving Rocco’s invisible friends to fight with.

(Pippin’s phone rings)

‘Hello, Pippin Pringle here’  Pippin said in his posh voice that he does so well, you know a ‘telephone voice’ that we all adopt when we answer our phone in the hope that someone says ‘Aren’t you posh’.

‘What did you say?  James?  Are you sure?, Well this changes everything – no, don’t worry, I shall tell them tomorrow’.  Pippin said quietly while staring at Bronte who without a care in the world was now kissing her own reflection in the mirror and telling herself how hot she was.

‘What’s up bro?’ Bronte giggled to Pippin and just as she was about to give her brother a playful poke, she saw his face and thought better of it.

‘James the mini wired Dachshund tragically crossed over to Rainbow Bridge – I have only just been notified’ Pippin said sadly.  Being ‘The Organiser’ of his little group, it was down to him to break the news.

‘James has gone over to Rainbow Bridge? Are you sure?’ Bronte’s voice faltered as she fought to stop herself from crying.

That was the thing you see, when any of their lure coursing pals went over to Rainbow Bridge it was always sad, well not for the dogs that have crossed over because Rainbow Bridge is a lovely place but sad for the loved ones that have been left behind to miss them and mourn their empty bed.

‘Yes I am afraid so, a feisty little dog as well who will no doubt be keeping them on their toes up there but it does mean that Kim and Ian his parents will need special hugs and dog licks tomorrow at lure coursing’ said Pippin firmly.

‘If Brutus and Vader lick them then that will be more of a bath than a lick don’t you think?’ Bronte asked Pippin who looked somewhat alarmed at the suggestion because it was so accurate.

‘Yes, but she does have Eugene and the rest of the ‘Cloth dogs’ (Afghans) and remember when one escaped the barrier at lure coursing and rolled in horse shit?  Well I am sure they are ‘hard core’ and familiar with all things like that’ Pippin barked his response.

‘What do we do Pippin? You always know what to do, What do we do?’ Bronte asked her brother.

‘That is easy Bronte, we race for a reason and tomorrow’s reason is James’ Pippin said confidently.

These dogs do not often race for a reason, in fact the last time they raced for a reason was for a beautiful staffie so this time they will be doing it for James.


Race for a reason – James the mini wired Dachshund

(Photography by Kim Ian Cross)

Because racing for a reason means that each dog is released to catch the lure and their purpose is to celebrate the canine friend that has crossed to Rainbow Bridge to honour them.

Brutus’s House


Brutus – the energetic lure courser with his new Julia Gillard doll

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

‘What does wait and see mean?’ Brutus sobbed loudly to me as I tried to ignore his pleading eyes.

‘It means providing that you can keep your dinner down and stop farting like a shit machine, that you can go to lure coursing tomorrow’ I replied.

Brutus being Brutus had eaten some kind of crap in the garden and having a sensitive stomach, it had inflamed his tummy and caused him to vomit up the copious amounts of grass that he had eaten and also fart like a guffing truck.

Totally refusing all food, he was also accusing his own bottom of assaulting him because he farted so loudly that he stared at his anus for a bit and then went ‘full Pringle’ and burst into tears.

*Full Pringle is to do what Pippin does when he can’t get his own way and that is to burst in to tears*

‘But I want to go to lure coursing with Vader!’ Brutus broke out into noisy sobs which of course put pressure on his stomach and he farted in between each word.

‘Let’s see how you go Brutus’ I tried to sooth him but it was no good, he had got into more states than Australia and was now walking around the living room with Rocky’s gingerbread man tightly gripped in his mouth as he tried to plonk the soggy wet toy on both my husband and myself to try and prove a point.

‘You are such a girl’ Rocky sneered, secretly jealous that Brutus got to go lure coursing and he didn’t.

Smiling Rocky

Rocky on holiday on the farm in Denmark 

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Brutus walked aimlessly around the living room for a few minutes, contemplating that his entire world would end if he could not go lure coursing.

Already deciding he would go on a hunger strike once his appetite came back, he would also do a dirty protest and crap on the floor like prisoners did in their cells.  But hold on a minute, Brutus has done dirty protests before so let’s not go there.

Planet Iggy – Zara and Nica’s house

‘I am so excited I might be sick’ Zara squealed happily.  It was to be her first lure coursing event and she had already packed some cycling shorts and several hats.

‘Nica, what are you trying to do?’ Zara asked her sister who had her back facing her.

‘I am practising my vomiting techniques for when people ignore me and thought that if I made more noises when vomiting, then I could also throw in a fainting episode’ Nica growled.

Raising her eyebrows, Zara grinned ‘That should work but it might be better to pretend that you are lame as well’.

Nica who SO did not ‘do’ lame, looked horrified, ‘I shall stick to what I do best and that is vomiting’.

‘Your loss but I think it would be far better if you had a walking stick as well’ Zara shrugged her shoulders.

‘What would you know, you are only a puppy’ Nica snapped and then did the new vomiting sound that she had perfected that made her sound like Kylie Minogue on helium.

Vader and Tess’s house


Vader – tongue firmly inside mouth (for now)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Lure coursing was very nearly a non-event for Vader when he had a bit of an accident involving a tongue and a tuna can and as you all know, he has a substantial tongue to have an incident with and he is still very embarrassed about it.

I cannot go in to too much detail other than that he ran up to Lexie shouting ‘Mum! My tongue, save my tongue!’ in a special lick-the-kennel-windows kind of way, except that he couldn’t lick the windows because his tongue was too busy being tangled in the open lid of the tuna can.

‘Oh Vader what have you done’ Lexie sighed.  Honestly this boy was at the vets far too often for her liking.

‘My tongue is caught’ Vader sobbed as Lexie spotted his tongue caught in the tuna lid and yes, there was a fair amount of blood to go with it.

Saving Vader and his tongue and freeing him from the tuna can, Lexie gave him first aid and sent to his bed to feel very sorry for himself while Tess laughed at him and made jokes about his tongue now being served in cans in the supermarket.

Fast forward to now and Vader is fit and well for lure coursing and has been making himself ‘match fit’ by doing squats and press ups in the garden and also jogging round in circles.

‘Can you please stop, I am so tired’ Tess sighed as Vader managed to do one sit-up and then insist on a rest.

‘I can’t stop, I am racing tomorrow’ Vader puffed and then managed another sit-up before falling over and lying on his back forcing him to admire the cloud formation in the sky.

‘I can’t wait to see Brutus’ Vader said happily.

‘You two are such girls’ Tess laughed, ‘I am going in to lie on my bed’ and with that she shuffled off like an old lady towards the house.

‘Brutus, are you there?’ Vader shouted at the fence.

(sounds of fence snuffling)

‘Yes, I am here! Are you excited for tomorrow?’ Brutus barked excitedly.

‘Yes, so excited and I am doing vigorous exercises in the garden and have a body like a finely toned greyhound’ Vader said hopefully.

Trying to imagine Vader with a body like Mouse Norris, Brutus felt a bit nervous as he was not match-fit and had been rough housing with Rocky in the garden but that was about it really, aside from walks on the farm in Denmark on holiday a couple of weeks ago.

‘I am going to get the Good Boy Award tomorrow I am sure’ Brutus said to Vader.

The only two dogs I might add that actually believe The Good Boy Award exists are Vader and Brutus and every race meet, Brutus believes that the crowds are there to see him and if they cheer him on, he truly thinks that he has won The Good Boy Award.

And the only dog that really believes that Brutus has won it, is Vader who passionately supports his good friend and when Brutus thinks he has won it, Vader happily cries along side him because he is so happy for him.

‘You have won The Good Boy Award? Really?’ Vader barked and then mentally started to imagine the scene on the day so that he could cry for him.

‘Yes but I have had a bad tummy for eating stuff in the garden and Mum has said I have to be normal better by tonight or I can’t go’ Brutus said to Vader.

‘But you have to go, if they don’t let you then go on a hunger strike’ Vader growled to him.

‘I am already on one of those but I did manage some dog biscuit and tried to steal Mum’s lamb and veggies so I think I am feeling better’ Brutus sighed.

‘Good lad, right I had better go as Mum is calling me to lie on the sofa with her and Dad for a belly rub’ lied Vader who I might add really was lying because I know his Dad would not do that but it was enough to make Brutus jealous.

‘See you tomorrow!’ Brutus barked at Vader and then ran off towards the door and demanded to be let in.

‘Mum, Vader is going on his sofa for a belly rub, can I get on the sofa for a belly rub?’ Brutus insisted hopefully.

Letting him inside the house, Brutus jumped on the sofa and then displayed his belly for me to rub it.  Only he is so big there was nowhere for me to sit so I relented and let him have the whole sofa and then moved to the chair that I am sitting in now so I could write this story.

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked me.

‘Yes Brutus?’

‘I have been told that I have won The Good Boy Award tomorrow’ Brutus said proudly.

Rocky did not even look up as he was used to this routine of The Good Boy Award now and knew it didn’t actually exist and to correct Brutus would break his heart.

‘You are a good boy Brutus’ I laughed at him.

‘I like The Good Boy Award, it makes me feel like Rumble the cop dog’ Brutus growled.

Rumble the cop dog is Brutus’s hero and Brutus has convinced himself that one day he too will be a cop dog just like Rumble which is probably why he thinks he has won a Good Boy Award each month at lure coursing, just so he can big up his ego.

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked again.

‘Yes Brutus’

‘I hope I can remember how to run’ Brutus said sounding a bit worried.

Remembering how he crashed through the barriers because he couldn’t turn corners, I replied ‘So do I Brutus, so do I’.

Rainbow Bridge

For the benefit of those that do not know about Rainbow Bridge – feel free to read a blog post I did on it last year.

James the mini wire haired Dachshund sat comfortably from his chair at Rainbow Bridge and stared down at his parents Kim and Ian as they prepared their dogs for lure coursing tomorrow.

He felt somewhat sad that he wouldn’t be there to greet them when they got back but he also knew that they were OK about it, after all every dog that goes to Rainbow Bridge lives the life of a strong and healthy dog and isn’t that what counts?

‘How do you reckon our lot will do?’ Bowie the white greyhound asked James.

‘Probably jump the barrier and roll in horse shit like they normally do’ James grinned.

‘Bowie, is farting still allowed in Rainbow Bridge?’ James asked Bowie.  Still being unsure of the rules, he thought it best to ask.

‘Farting?’ Bowie laughed and then added ‘Yep, louder the better and you won’t get told off for it either’.

‘Great’ James barked and then let out such a loud fart that several dogs stopped chasing butterflies and clapped in appreciation.

Rainbow Bridge – the rules are that there are no rules aside from laughter and that of course, is mandatory.

Until next time…

Dedicated to James – the mini wire haired Dachshund who is now bossing everyone around at Rainbow Bridge and farting with the best of them.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright March 2015

A Day at the Dog Show (where the dogs talk)

Name: Western Classic Dog Show

Venue: Dogs West Show grounds, Western Australia

I have been to dog shows before and have worked at Crufts Dog Show as a veterinary nurse but the Western Classic Dog Show had to be the most enjoyable show I have ever been to.

Since meeting certain people in Australia, my imagination has taken on a whole new level and I freely admit to blaming Lexie, Denise Pringle, the Italian Greyhound Club of Western Australia, Fran in QLD with the QLD Iggies, and all the other doggy people that I hang around with and count as friends.


Denise and Pippin – the influence to my imagination aside from Lexie

I did not know what to expect with this show but one thing that took me by surprise, well actually grabbed me by the arse I should say and that is how well all of the dogs were conversing and how much I was privy to overhear.

On arrival

I held Pippin while Denise took the crate from the car and loaded it up and then we made our way to where we would be setting up our stuff.

Pip selfie

Time for a selfie with me and Pippin!

It was a beautiful setting and there is something quite luxurious about going to a dog show that happens in the evening in an outside setting.

The cool temperature, the flood lighting which enables you to get good photography and there is no heat of the day to make it uncomfortable either.

Dogs trotted confidently up and down on the grass, the smell of perfumed grooming products filled the air, owners dressed in suits ready to show their dogs, dogs being wheeled by in their crates and the sounds of dogs barking to let everyone know that they were ready to do their best and that they had ‘arrived’.

Team Jeni Headquarters

We were to be placed in the same area as Jeni and her dogs, which was rather nice as I struck up a bit of a ‘thing’ with Dickens the white poodle who won me over with an accent just like ‘Manu from My Kitchen Rules’ (I have heard it is a fake French accent but I am not sure as it sounds pretty good).

‘Bonjour mon petite rosebud, ‘ow are you on zees wonderful evening’ Dickens asked me. He smelt of expensive aftershave and French cigarettes.

‘I am very well thank you’ I smiled politely.

‘I want to lick your neck, can I lick your neck, I do like a bit of neck before I go in to the show ring’ Dickens said in his smooth French accent.

‘Oh if you must’ I replied and before I knew it, Dickens was washing my neck and wafting his expensive aftershave in my face and asking for my mobile number.

Next to Dickens was a large black Afghan hound sitting on the table while Jeni preened and groomed him ready for his show.

Wearing flared trousers, and looking like a suave and sophisticated 70’s kid, you could almost envisage him listening to ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and doing a fabulous dance-off with John Travolta or something.

‘The name is Logan, how are you?’ He said politely and then as if bored by the whole situation; he didn’t wait for an answer and rested his head on his paws and went back to sleep while his Mum continued to groom him.

Also in Jeni’s section was a very handsome Italian greyhound called ‘Sting’ with genitals bigger than Brutus, actually Brutus would have severe genital-envy as this boy would make any boy-dog jealous.

Sting sat in his crate with a pink blanket and each time a dog walked by, he would growl, bark, attack his blanket and call it a ‘bastard’ and had I not seen it for myself, I would never have believed it.

‘What are you looking at ugly face? I shall kill you!’ Sting yelled at a pug and then promptly attacked his pink blanket and shook the life out of it until it had ‘died’.

‘Bastard, I hate you, you looked at me funny, you are nothing but a blanket to me and you will never take the place of my dear mother!’ Sting growled as he frantically shook his blanket and murdered it in between calling it rude names.

As a group of pugs walked by, Sting yelled at them for having no snouts. The pugs looked angry and flashed their pug bottoms at Sting causing him to kill his blanket again which made the pugs laugh at him and call him a ‘girl’.

Conversations Overheard

Sometimes in life it is not always what you see that makes it interesting but often what you overhear and my goodness I overheard stuff at this show that was said by the dogs in fact I had no idea that dogs could be so gossipy.

My head was buzzing because in my true ‘Dr Doolittle’ style, I could hear hundreds of canine voices all trying to talk over one another and there was no way of shutting them out either.

‘I think the judge may have been blind, I mean she walked like a donkey’ A female voice barked from her crate.

‘Well did you see the size of her belly, she has had far too much dog chow’ another voice growled.

‘That collar was SO last year, hasn’t she heard about Dee Cole’s Canine Company collars – they do ‘Fifty Shades’ collars you know, my Mum is buying me one’ said another dog.

Honestly, it was like the back of a catwalk show with the female dogs all discussing normal stuff like weight, appearance, ability or inability to walk, who had the latest collars, eating disorders and who was who in the dog world.

A Maltese with neatly trimmed furnishings (Lexie the dog groomer taught me that word), glided past as though she were on an electric rail.

‘Do you like my furniture?’ She asked passers by.

‘Don’t you mean FURNISHINGS darling!’ a Chinese crested giggled to her friends causing the Maltese to blush at such a public faux pas.

‘Do my thighs look chunky?’ a greyhound asked me as she walked past. Telling her that no, they didn’t look chunky at all, the greyhound smiled gratefully and then stared longingly at a little boy who was eating a sausage roll.

Talking of food, it was hungry work taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the dog show and I was already thinking about what to eat so Denise had very kindly bought me some hot chips and a can of energy drink to keep me going for the evening.

As I settled into my chair, I clutched my can and balanced my chips on my lap ready to replenish some energy; when I became aware that someone was staring at me.

‘I would like one of those chips, do they have salt on them?’ a beautiful keeshond asked me.

Then catching its owner looking, the keeshond suddenly said in serious voice ‘Are we showing yet?’

When the owner looked away, the keeshond glared at me and willed those hot chips almost to its mouth ‘Please give me some hot chips, I love hot chips’ and then pretended to admire the fluffy bits on a gang of Chinese crested whenever its owner looked in our direction.

I carried on eating my chips and tried to ignore the keeshond that was pleading with me to part with my hot chips but let me tell you it was no easy task as those eyes could have melted the contents of my entire freezer.

Team Pippin

‘Pippin, do you think you might win your class?’ Bronte asked her brother who was standing around taking in the scenery but inwardly was terrified, as he always got scared before a show.

‘I don’t know but please don’t keep on about it Bronte, I have enough to worry about.

‘The other dogs are talking about next weeks lure coursing already and I haven’t even got that organized’ Pippin sighed fretfully.

But there was no time for Pippin to fret any further as Denise wanted to take him to Dee’s stall – purely for a ‘look’ at the collars you understand.

*Please note that Denise is totally incapable of ‘just a look’ when it comes to buying doggy stuff and more to the point, she has got me at it too as I have earmarked a very nice Hells Angels cap for my Brutus*

Despite Pippin having a collar and leash collection to rival that of a rich girls wardrobe, he still came away with a collar somewhat resembling something out of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ only we called it ‘Fifty Shades of Pippin’.

Actually I saw one in purple and gold with leather lining for Brutus to give him the ‘Hugh Hefner’ look but didn’t have the cash to get it, which is as well as my husband would have disowned us all and blamed Dee Cole for her influence. We won’t tell my husband that I am in discussions with Dee as I type; for a bespoke collar for my Brutus, we shall keep that all to ourselves.

‘Does it suit me do you think?’ Pippin asked me, as he looked very self-conscious and more than a little proud.

‘You look very sexy, all the bitches will want you’ I reassured him.

‘He doesn’t want the girls, Pippin only likes boys’ Bronte giggled and then covered her mouth with her slender paw to hide the comment that slipped from her mouth because she had embarrassed her brother.

‘I think it suits you’ Dee’s rather handsome ridgeback barked giving an approving nod in Pippin’s direction.

Wearing what had now been officially termed his ‘Fifty Shades of Pippin’ collar, Pippin was proudly taken around the show grounds and his collar was admired by many and not just by the female dogs either.

‘Hello sweet thing’ A very camp Afghan said to Pippin, ‘Would you like to come to my kennel one day, loving the collar darling’ He shouted to Pip who was now more than a bit mortified and hid behind Denise as he was not used to big dogs fancying him.

Team Kim and Ian

I had decided to catch up with the lovely Kim and Ian Cross with their Afghan Eugene and Archie their Azawakh.

Eugene the Afghan was standing outside the ring being preened ready to go in. It is quite common for Afghans to wear 1970’s flared trousers, and dance across the show ring like John Travolta out of Saturday Night Fever. Basically they are 70’s children and bring an air of glamour to the scene that makes you stop and stare whether you want to or not.

If you don’t believe me, when you go to the next dog show, seek out the Afghans and start singing ‘Night Fever’ and watch those Afghans start wriggling their Afghan hips and waving their feathers and stuff and clicking their paws because these dogs are just born to dance.

‘Excuse me, but is my saddle fully plucked?’ Eugene demanded to his Mum Kim who was busy chatting to me.

‘I said is my saddle fully plucked?’ Eugene repeated as he did not like being ignored.

‘Looks OK to me mate’ a blonde Afghan shouted as it was trotted up and down in the ring and gave the thumbs up.

‘Thank you very much’ Eugene smiled politely at the blonde Afghan that looked like something out of a shampoo advert.

Archie the Azawakh was laughing with some other Azawakh’s at the side of the ring. Although still a puppy really, he looked like a giant with his long legs like a gazelle and slender brindle and white body with not an ounce of fat on him.

‘Is it time to play yet?’ Archie cried to Kim.

‘Shhh! Eugene is showing’ Kim whispered to him and beckoned for him to be quiet.

‘Nice saddle Eugene!’ Archie yelled to his brother.

Grinning at Archie, Eugene shouted back ‘You are just jealous, you can’t beat a nice saddle!’ which caused Logan to bark with laughter.

It was true as well, the Afghan coat is something to be admired and according to Eugene, hairdressers from all over the Universe seek to do hairstyles like a well-groomed Afghan. I am almost tempted myself to walk into my local salon and say ‘Can you give me the Afghan look please’ and then allow her to pluck my saddle and give me a good set of furnishings.


The sheer elegance of a dog and handler working together

It’s a beagle thing

It is no secret of the fact that I love beagles, I love their soft velvet mouths, their ears, their facial expressions and their ability to look super innocent while being super naughty at the same time.

As Kim was showing me around the grounds, we had stopped to admire the beagles as it would have been positively rude not to admire them when they were so cute.

The beagles were standing in the show ring looking perfect in their pose but still with an obvious look on their faces that there was food somewhere in the vicinity somewhere and it had their name on it.

These beagles looked like something out of a science fiction film where one cute beagle had been cloned several times in a bid for world and food domination.


The Beagles – don’t be fooled by their dignity, they just want your food

‘I can smell something like sausage, I really ought to go off and investigate’ said one beagle who was waiting for his turn to be judged.

‘Five more minutes and you can snout out the sausage’ the beagle next to him barked.

Several beagles in a crate were trying to bite the bars to get out. A rumour had been circulated that there were hot chips, sausages and everything that a beagle would love. Not to mention deliciously interesting scents around the grounds that would make for a good ‘snouting’ session.

‘You chew the bars and I will pretend to have diarrhea to cause a distraction’ a beagle whispered to his friends as another beagle bit on the bars of the crate in a bid to get out.


Causing a distraction!

On hearing sounds of baying/howling, Kim and I turned to see a solitary beagle in his crate being wheeled across the grass while singing the song of his people and baying his head off.

‘Save your family, there is going to be a famine unless that sausage finds its way into my mouth right now!’

The owner ignored his cries and carried on wheeling him across the grass while he continued to shout for help.

‘Bring me here, bring me there and bring me back!’ he shouted in a deep voice.

‘Excuse me lady, I haven’t been fed in twenty years and unless you let me out, the whole world is going to end’ sobbed the beagle and then continued to howl to anyone that would listen and anyone that wouldn’t.

‘Famine! Famine I tell you!’ his cries could be heard across the grounds until he was wheeled past a group of whippets who giggled at such dramatics and called him a ‘big girls blouse’ for all the noise that he was creating.

Meanwhile the beagle clones in the show ring maintained their dignity while the beagle in the crate continued to do the song of his people.

But please don’t think that the beagle clones never picked up that scent of the sausage just because they didn’t portray any emotion, because if you looked carefully, you would have seen their noses twitching in a way that would rival that of military radar picking up the enemy.

Team Poodle

Kim had kindly offered to take me to see the poodles and I will admit that going in to this area was like stepping in to another world entirely.


The glamorous and fabulous world of poodle (and lots of hard work)

The scent of expensive grooming sprays filled my nostrils while my eyes were met with the sight of impeccably groomed poodles being prepared to go in to the show ring.

I saw the most stunningly beautiful dogs that could be comparable to any work of art – it really was dog showing in another dimension.

White poodles and black poodles all wearing the finest of collars and leashes; sat either in their crates, or lay on grooming tables as they were in various stages of being perfected. Their owners were oblivious to everything around them except for doing the last minute finishing touches to their coats.

I overheard one lady saying how many hours she had spent working on her poodle and I didn’t doubt it either because the time, hard work and dedication that the owners put in sure was reflected in their dogs appearance.

The poodles were gossiping, sipping water and keeping a constant check on what was going on in their surroundings.

‘Did you see the kind of clip she turned up in, she looked as though two badly eaten doughnuts had been trimmed on to her rump’ a poodle giggled.

‘Oh my goodness gracious me, are you serious?’ another one replied.

‘Totally, it would have been quite adorbs (adorable) had it not been so funny’ growled the black poodle.

I stood there momentarily unseen by the others until one of them turned round and realized that I was there and then all of them turned round and stared at me in amusement because I had given them a temporary distraction.

‘Who are you? What are you doing in our tent?’ A beautiful white poodle with an accent like Joanna Lumley asked me.

‘Who is she? Who is SHE?’ Another poodle demanded in a shrill voice and then fanned her face dramatically.

The other poodles raised their heads briefly before losing interest and getting back to discussing diamond collars and stuff.

I have never heard such posh accents before and I don’t know what accents poodles normally speak in but this lot had full public school accents and sounded very nice with it although I will say that I felt quite common and somewhat grubby in comparison.

There was certainly no denying the glamour of the poodle tent, it was 100 percent ‘show dog’ and a bit like the back stage of a Moulin Rouge style show for dogs with regards to glamour and beauty.

And for me, it was a privilege to sneak in those couple of minutes watching the skill of the owners that work so hard to make their dogs look that way as well as getting a glimpse into the magical ‘world of Poodle’.

Team Kelpie

Four of the cutest beautifully conditioned kelpies I had ever seen were sat in their respective crates and in true kelpie fashion were all talking exceptionally fast and trying to out-talk one another.

‘Excuse me sweetie, you don’t have a spare sheep in your pocket do you?’ Asked a black kelpie.

‘Don’t be cheeky, that is SO cheeky!’ Snapped a chocolate kelpie who I learned was the alpha bitch.

‘What? I only asked for a spare sheep’ the kelpie responded looking mortally wounded at being called ‘cheeky’.

‘As if she would carry a sheep in her pocket’ the chocolate kelpie growled and then mouthed the words ‘sorry’ to me and shrugged her shoulders and then whispered ‘don’t suppose you have some hot chips in your pocket?’

‘Give us a kiss!’ a little black kelpie with the cutest ears I have ever seen; shouted through his crate and because I have a weakness for kelpies as I have one of my own, I found myself being lured into temptation so the black kelpie could give my hands a wash and tell me all about his day.

As I got up to leave; the kelpies went back to discussing sheep, toys and food and were talking so fast that I could barely understand them but that is the thing with cattle dogs, sheep dogs you see – too busy to let time stay still and if they can’t herd it, they talk about it instead.

Irish Wolfhound

‘Watch out people, I am coming through!’ barked a deep booming voice of an Irish wolfhound.

Trotting along like a small pony, this stunning Irish wolfhound commanded respect, while swishing his tail just because he was so pleased to be there and thought everyone was there just to see him.

‘Hello, look at me, look how big I am, who wants to play with me?’ he shouted as he greeted everyone and anything that crossed his path.

The little dogs barked their heads off and told him to ‘bugger off their patch’ and then hid behind their owners for bravery as the gentle giant went by.

‘I could eat you if I wanted to!’ A Chihuahua yelped at him, and he meant it too – well in his dreams anyway.

‘Yep and I could shit you out again buddy!’ laughed the Irish wolfhound in a good-natured voice.

Feeling suitably crushed at that response, the little dog pursed his lips into a ‘cat bum’ shape of disapproval and then pretended that he was invisible because there is nothing more insulting for a tiny dog than being compared to the turd of an Irish wolfhound in terms of size.

Team Pringle

After visiting and speaking to lots of dogs around the show, we had gone back to where Pippin would be showing as I had promised him that I would cheer him on in the show ring.

‘Bronte is my face clean?’ Pippin asked his sister.


Pippin asks if his face is clean

‘Yes Pippin, you look perfect’ Bronte growled back at him and he did as well, perfectly groomed as an Italian greyhound can be, fresh clean coat and neatly clipped nails – he could not have looked any more handsome.

‘Can you send a Facebook message to the Iggy gang as well as Amex in QLD?’ Pippin asked me in a grateful voice.

Reassuring him that I would be on top of his social media campaign, I promptly took a photo of him and posted it to Facebook advising his peers that he was going in to the ring shortly.

Pippin was desperate to do well in the show not just for himself but to make his Mum proud of him. Little did Pippin realize that Denise was already proud of him, no matter how he did or no matter what – except for the times that he rolls in horse/fox/dog shit and then the pride is somewhat retracted until he at least has a bath.

Jeni’s dog Sting; who is a professional show dog with a splendid pair of testicles, had been coaching Pippin on how to stand, trot and look gorgeous.


Sexy Sting sticking his tongue out!

‘Now remember what I say, you have as much right to be here as anybody so do it for all the Iggies in the club and remember Amex in QLD is waiting on the results and all of us love you no matter how you do’. Sting whispered in Pippin’s ears and then patted him on the back with his long slender paw.

Pippin nodded and bit his lip and tried not to cry, dancing from one paw to the other, he muttered to himself repeatedly ‘I am a show dog, I AM a show dog, I am a SHOW DOG, I CAN do this and I WILL do this’ as he tried to drum Sting’s message in to his head and ultimately, his self belief.

‘Good lad!’ Sting grinned at him and nodded towards Bronte ‘He will be OK’.

‘Break a leg and good luck my friend’ Chewy the Tibetan shouted to Pippin.

‘Shhhh, never mention broken legs to an Iggy, we have legs that snap like carrots!’ Bronte growled at Chewy and then started to fiddle with her handkerchief because she was so nervous.


Chewy gives his support to Pippin

Luckily I managed to get a couple of photographs of Pippin in the show ring being trotted around and standing on the table while the judge checked him over.

Pip in the ring

Pippin – a brave boy doing his best

Doing a quick update to Facebook with the photos of Pippin, Fran from QLD quickly replied after a few minutes ‘Well?’ as she wanted to know how Pippin had done and it was to be an agonizing wait for Fran while we waited for the judge to make her decision.

Pippin stood nicely while the judge made her decision and you could just see the focus in his little face.

‘Sting said I am a show dog, I am a show dog and I am as good as any show dog’ Pippin shut his eyes tight while he waited for the judge,

‘I deserve to be here in my own right and winning is not everything, Mum loves me no matter what’ Pippin said under his breath.

Pippin was so wrapped up in his little mantra that Sting had taught him, he did not even see the judge award him Best Neuter in Breed – our dear little Pippin had won his class.

‘Pippin, you have won my love’ Denise whispered to her little dog as he walked out of the show ring.

‘I am sorry I let you down, I get so nervous when I have to stand that my legs shake and I cannot stop them, I am so sorry but I am a good boy aren’t I?’ Pippin asked Denise, totally not hearing what she said.

‘Pippin, you won – you did it!’ Denise hugged and kissed the tiny little Italian greyhound as he trembled with nerves.

‘I tried to stand still and I tried to trot nicely and I know I dance around a bit, what did you say?……..’ Pippin’s voice trailed off as Denise’s words started to sink in.

‘I knew you could do it, totally knew it – well done lad!’ Sting barked loudly and then told a Chihuahua to ‘piss off’ for looking at him wrong.


Sting – shows how proud he is of Pippin!

Bronte had no such restraint and was crying unashamedly and yelling ‘This is MY brother, he has just won Best Neuter and he has no testicles!’


Bronte – tells the world that Pippin won his class (and has no testicles)

‘Of course he has no testicles silly, that is why it is best neuter!’ Woody the Iggy piped up from the background.

‘What, I won, are you sure?’ Pippin stammered to his friends that were all standing there proud as punch, even little Chewy was joining in on the clapping and celebrations.

Soon every dog in our area was congratulating little Pippin and all you could hear was the sound of barking and if you ‘speak dog’, it translated to ‘Well done Pippin!’

Pip the winner

Pippin the winner!

I didn’t hear the rest of what the dogs were saying, my ears and senses were burnt out from the privilege of being in their world for the evening, but I didn’t need to hear them anyway because their actions spoke far louder than their words (or barks).

I could just make out Pippin being lifted on to the shoulders of Woody, Sting and Chewy while the other dogs clapped and Bronte led the procession in a display of high kicking of her slim legs.

‘I won, I really won!’ Pippin said in a mixture of shock, amazement and pride.

Yes Pippin, you did win and in so ways as well – a true champion and with that I updated my Facebook status to Fran in QLD to tell her that Pippin had won.

The End

Thanks and acknowledgments

I think that many people do not realize the time, effort, skill and dedication that go into exhibiting dogs at dog shows.

The night I spent at the dog show I saw some incredible specimens of various breeds of dog with owners spending hours making sure their pets were in their finest form to be shown in the ring.

I saw that owners/exhibitors that spend far more time, money, love, care and effort on their dogs than they do for themselves.

I found the dogs to be friendly, well socialized, in beautiful condition and lovely examples of their breed and the owners had every right to be proud of them.

The exhibitors freely allowed me into their areas and I was able to watch them grooming their dogs, I was also allowed to take photographs and where possible, pet and grab a quick smooch with them (the dogs of course!).

This show was very different from what I had been to before in the UK. It had a friendly atmosphere with everyone only too willing to explain to you or help you if asked and I would say, would be well worth a visit purely for the experience.

I left the Western Classic Dog Show with an exceptionally high opinion and the belief that if anyone knows how to do a great dog show, it is the Australians and in this case, WA that also made me very proud to call myself Australian.

So with that in mind, I would like to thank the exhibitors/owners/breeders for making me feel so welcome and allowing me to take photographs of their gorgeous dogs – your skill and dedication to your animals is amazing.

Dogs West – fantastic show, really something to be proud of and I look forward to the next one.

Denise Pringle – for allowing me to follow Pippin and make him the star of my stories.

Jeni Sach, Dee Cole, Chewy’s owner – Sarah, Woody’s owner – Lyn, and Kim and Ian Cross for all allowing me to use your wonderful dogs for my stories.


No offence is intended by this story and I just write things down as they come in to my head.

Whilst the dogs in my stories are in fact real, the dialogue that I give them is invented and any bearing or resemblance to the real dogs is purely coincidental and is in good fun and from my imagination only.

Samantha Rose (C) All writing and photography is Copyright March 2015