(Photograph by John Mitchell)
As you will remember from a previous blog, Toppa the Italian greyhound from Perth has been sent to QLD so that Fran Forbes can use him for showing – well actually snuggles, treats, sleeping on the bed as well, but mainly showing.
It was the day of the dog show and Toppa had been bathed; his nails clipped and he was well and truly preened all ready for his first QLD show.
The rumours on the circuit were rife that this young WA stud muffin with testicles like two firm apricots in a handkerchief had come to QLD to steal the ribbons from the judge and the hearts of the bitches and it was understandable that the QLD show dogs were somewhat nervous.
At the Show grounds
‘Who is he? Who does he think he is?’ A Yorkshire terrier with a red silken bow in her hair demanded as she checked out her appearance in the reflection of a car.
‘I don’t know but I intend to find out, he can’t just go marching here and taking our prizes’ growled another Yorkie who had furnishings so neat and perfect that he positively glided along the grass.
The other dogs growled loudly in agreement while one Yorkie flicked her head in disgust so violently that her ribbon fell on the grass and a nearby Griffon pissed on it.
‘Do you mind, that was my ribbon you have just urinated on, what are you going to do about it?’ Cried the Yorkshire terrier with her fringe flopping over her eyes like Bon Jovi.
The Griffon looked down at the urine soaked ribbon and looked up at the Yorkie, ‘I can wipe my anal glands on it too if you like’ The Griffon nodded towards the ribbon.
Leaving the Yorkies looking ever so offended, the Griffon walked off while cocking his leg to pee on everything just to prove a point and when he had emptied his bladder, he just pissed invisible urine instead.
‘That is so uncouth, the dogs of today have no manners’ the Yorkies all muttered to one another while furiously nodding their heads because there is nothing like furiously nodding your head to give such a public gesture of disapproval and if you can purse your lips in the shape of a cat bum while doing it – all the better.
The sights of the showgrounds
Dogs of all shapes, sizes and varieties sat around either in crates, standing up, walking and just ‘doing their thing’. Dog shows are like entering the ‘secret world of dog’ and the more you look through that window, the more you get sucked in and feel compelled to watch it.
A small group of Japanese Chins sat in their crates chewing their show leads and playing with toy ducks, ignoring their surroundings except for occasionally looking up and swearing at passers by in Japanese.
The Chihuahua contingent were sparring with each other in their crates and calling bigger dogs ‘Wankers’ if they got too close. ‘Your Mumma she eat cat turd’ shouted one of the Chihuahua’s shouted to a solid looking staffie who sniggered and replied simply ‘Well hello there breakfast’.
‘I could eat him if I wanted to, I could so eat him’ the little dog growled to a nearby Jack Russell who started barking in support and insulting the staffie further.
You see at dog shows; usually every dog is highly brave in his crate and suddenly becomes Super Dog able to take on the world and if you look closely at the dogs that are in their crates, they will all have their own routine as to how they behave and it is very funny.
Toppa suffers from nerves
‘Oh god I am so scared, what happens if they don’t like me, do you think the judge will speak English?’ Toppa growled to Fran Forbes who was trying hard to calm him down.
‘Don’t be silly, of course the judge will like and as long as you do your best you will be just fine’ Fran soothed him, ‘and yes, the judge will speak English despite what Vader and Brutus have told you’. (Brutus and Vader had convinced Toppa that dogs in QLD do not speak English, just some dodgy kind of dialect)
A large gang of pugs sat in their crates contemplating their snouts and as to where they had disappeared to because there is nothing like standing next to a ‘dog of substantial snout’ to make a pug feel bitter.
‘Oh my goodness, where has your nose gone?’ Toppa gasped in amazement at the gang of pugs that looked totally boot-faced at Toppa and his snout that resembled the nib of a fountain pen.
‘Yeah, at least I don’t have a nose like a military aircraft’ barked a chunky pug with thighs like a prolific muncher of cakes.
‘There is nothing wrong with my snout and in my gang everyone has a snout like mine’ Toppa cried back sounding mortally wounded.
‘If you say so – big nose’ giggled the pugs.
Toppa put his head down and bit his lip, he thought of saying something about the size of the pug’s anus which looked like a badly tied laundry bag but decided against it, as he didn’t want to embarrass his foster Mum Fran and to insult a dogs anus was an insult saved for only big arguments.
Toppa felt quite lonely and believed that if Sting his Iggy friend was there, then he could savage them like he does to his pink blanket and then they would be sorry.
It was a busy show and like any dog show, the scene was like something out of a fashion show with the finest and most beautiful dogs exhibiting themselves to win ribbons and display the perfect examples of their breed.
Greyhounds trotted up and down in effortless fashion, whippets gossiped about the latest collars, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels kept themselves to themselves and bitchily compared ears as to who had the best ones.
The smell of grooming sprays and cologne filled the air, owners/exhibitors were busy doing last minute touch-ups to tidy their dogs up. Toppa had been through it all before in WA and was a show dog himself but it felt quite strange to be in QLD to do it – besides, the accent was very different and Toppa was grateful about the dictionary that Brutus and Vader had given him to help him understand the QLD dogs.
Never mind the very fact that the dictionary that the boys had given Toppa was completely invented after Brutus and Vader had a few beers one night and had caused gulps and snorts of laughter at their own creativity and ability to write in a notepad.
Nervously taking his dictionary from his show bag, Toppa wondered how he could politely ask where he could cock his leg to go for a pee.
‘Ah, there it is, goodness me – is that how I say it?’ Toppa said to himself as he saw Brutus’s messy handwriting, which read ‘How to ask where to cock your leg’, and beside it was the translation.
‘Excuse me….’ Toppa asked a miniature Schnauzer who was walking past with his friend.
Turning round to Toppa the Schnauzer replied in a strong QLD accent ‘Yeah mate, what do ya want?’
‘Can I point my sausage on yer leg?’ Toppa said proudly, he was getting the hang of this QLD accent thing and would be fluent before he knew it – Brutus would be proud of him.
‘What did you say?’ one of the Schnauzers spluttered in response.
‘I said can I point my sausage at yer leg, I need to take a leak!’ Toppa barked confidently.
The whole thing was rather like teaching a poor foreigner your favourite naughty words and then giggling when they get it wrong. I say this as I taught my foreign husband how to say ‘Give over’ and ‘Don’t be daft’ in a Yorkshire accent when I first met him and would laugh my head off when he did. I then graduated to far naughtier stuff for which I am truly ashamed but that is another story.
‘I’ll shove yer piss down ya throat ya country bumpkin bastard!’ the Schnauzer growled back while his friend looked as though someone had shit down his back as he was so offended.
‘Perhaps I have got it wrong, that isn’t what I should have said’ Toppa thought to himself and then glanced back at the dictionary. ‘I shall try another word’.
‘Your mother sleeps with Tony Abbott’ Toppa said nervously to the two Schnauzers who now looked as though they might explode in a flurry of beards and angry eyebrows.
‘What was that you just said?’ one of the Schnauzers growled dangerously while his friend nudged him to calm down.
‘It means that your Mum buys you the best toys – that is what my mate Brutus told me’. Toppa was blushing now and had suddenly realized that the dictionary that Brutus and Vader had lovingly put together, was nothing more than made up twaddle for their entertainment purposes.
The Schnauzers had faces like they had sucked lemons and just as Toppa was going to try some more words from the ‘dictionary’ he thought better of it and mumbled ‘Sorry guys, only joking’ before scuttling off taking his splendid testicles with him.
‘Where on earth was he from? I could barely understand him?’ one Schnauzer asked the other.
‘Some dodgy place called Perth so I hear’ the other Schnauzer replied.
Then both dogs walked off muttering something about ‘Country bumpkins and bloody foreigners stealing our ribbons’.
After the incident with the Schnauzers, Toppa thought it best to stay with Fran and patiently wait his turn to go into the show ring.
A couple of other Iggies were busy checking their bottoms, sucking in their ribs and asking one another if the other looked fat.
‘I would vomit up my lunch but it was rather yummy and contained pumpkin which is my favourite’ one Iggy said to the other.
‘I would have vomited up my dog biscuit but it is so darned expensive I thought it to be a huge waste and decided to keep it in my tummy where it will be safe’ the other Iggy replied.
Toppa listened on in amazement because had never considered sicking up his food to fit in with anyone and both he and Amex had discussed this before how it was a waste of a good meal, Nica however would beg to differ on that one and could vomit to order.
The Wonderful World of Dog Shows
I don’t know how many of you have been to dog shows but it really is like stepping in to another world and I personally really enjoy it. Not that I have my own show dog but I do like the atmosphere, the banter from both the dogs and owners alike.
There is always someone that resembles their dog in some way or another and please don’t take that the wrong way because I mean it in the nicest possible way.
One year when I worked at Crufts Dog Show as a veterinary nurse I saw several people that looked just like their Afghan hounds.
I have seen people with as pointy features as their greyhounds and I have even see owners that looked like their pugs.
I would like to say that I look like my Brutus but Brutus looks like Scooby Doo and I can’t say that I look like Rocky but would be more than proud to be compared to him any day.
Toppa takes to the ring
After patiently waiting for his turn, Toppa had been smoothed, groomed, primped and preened within an inch of his life before his foster Mum Fran Forbes took him in to the show ring to show QLD what he was made of.
It didn’t take long for the other dogs to gossip and first in line were the two Schnauzers who had not forgotten the dictionary incident.
‘Who is he?’ a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel asked one of the Schnauzers.
Smoothing down his beard to try and look more distinguished, the Schnauzer replied ‘I don’t know but he speaks in a funny accent and he has insulted us’.
‘He is very handsome though’ squeaked an Iggy in the trade-mark high pitched helium sounding voice.
‘You are such a flirt, isn’t she such a flirt?’ growled another Iggy who was looking boot-faced at the attention Toppa (and his testicles) were getting.
‘Marvelous testicles my good man, are they home grown?’ barked a brindle whippet who had trotted past to see what the commotion was.
‘Yes, I was born with them’ Toppa replied and then instantly felt silly – of course he was born with them, what on earth made him say something so silly? Toppa wished Amex was there to support him and tell him what to say because he really was no good with being quick on his feet for witty answers.
‘Did you hear that, he was born with them!’ the whippet sniggered to its friend. But Toppa was to have the last laugh as it was his turn to be called up.
Toppa does his bit for Perth!
Fran walked Toppa into the ring and calmly stacked him in to position. On the sidelines, the Schnauzers, some pugs, some cavalier’s, a couple of whippets, a chunky staffie plus the other Iggies had gathered round to see Toppa move for the judge.
‘He is a good looking boy’ one Iggie said to the other who nodded approvingly.
‘I will give him that but I think he is showing off’ the other Iggie replied.
‘I would have his babies any day of the week – excuse me fella, but can I have your babies?’ shouted a flirtatious Iggy bitch as she watched Toppa trot up and down.
Toppa tried not to snigger but could not resist giving a flash of his testicles to her which caused the boys to look more boot-faced than ever and call him a ‘show off’.
The two Schnauzers were gossiping by the barrier hoping to distract Toppa, but what they didn’t know about Toppa was that once he was in the ring, he didn’t really give a shit what was said to him along the way.
Neatly stacked on the table, Toppa stood proud and tall for the judge to examine him. The other dogs were now silent, holding their breaths in anticipation for how this ‘country bumpkin’ dog would do in QLD.
The judge gestured for Fran to move Toppa up and down and as Toppa trotted very nicely, he took his testicles with him causing a flurry of testicle-envy amongst the other dogs.
‘Bloody hell they are enormous!’ the pugs shouted and then not used to seeing such golden nuggets, they all went in to a flurry of anger, loud barks and heated discussions as to why they didn’t have gonads that big.
‘What the hell do you think you are doing?’ one Iggy growled in disbelief to the other.
Trying to turn round to check his own rear end and hold a compact mirror to see, the other Iggy was staring at his own testicles looking visibly hurt and ‘short-changed’ by Mother Nature as to why Toppa appeared to have the ‘man-sized’ pair over every other boy dog.
‘I think they are not real, they can’t possibly be’ One of the Schnauzers barked to the other.
Looking every inch the show dog, Toppa trotted neatly and professionally around the ring and he could not help but notice that all the other dogs that had taken the piss out of him, were now watching him in awe.
‘Eat my dust boys!’ Toppa thought smugly to himself and then made a mental note to tell Amex about the whole affair when he got back.
‘Who is that?’ whispered a Samoyed to the group of pugs that were watching.
‘That my friend is Toppa Testicles all the way from WA’ one of the pugs said in amazement and then added ‘And he is not a bad mover either’.
(Photograph by John Mitchell)
‘Right, stack your dogs’ someone instructed the exhibitors for their dogs and before Toppa knew it, Fran had him neatly stacked ready for judging.
The schnauzers, the pugs, some whippets and some Iggies were all watching Toppa and his testicles that had been so neatly arranged, that they almost required their own dressing room.
(Photograph by John Mitchell)
After the initial hostilities, the QLD dogs now had a bizarre kind of affection for the little red and white Iggy that had flown from Perth to ‘steal their ribbons’, not to mention more than a little testicle-envy to throw into the bargain.
‘Oh god I wish they would hurry up and decide’ Toppa thought to himself, he was getting stressed and this was the bit that he hated.
‘Oh god, if they don’t decide soon I am going to have to fart’ one of the pugs whispered to his friend.
‘That is disgusting, you are so disgusting’ the friend replied and then grinned and said ‘Go on then, I dare you’.
‘Oh my god, the judge has placed Toppa!’ one of the Iggies squealed in her helium-high pitched voice.
‘He has got a ribbon, he has done it – I think he has Challenge Dog!’ shouted one of the pugs.
‘That is marvelous – for an outsider of course’ the other pug nodded approvingly and then unable to contain his wind any longer, let out a huge fart which went right in the face of a standard poodle wearing a diamante collar.
‘Not bad lad, not bad – for a country bumpkin’ a Schnauzer growled at him while his friend agreed.
And that as they say, was as close to acceptance as Toppa was going to get but as he walked off with Fran to be taken home to Amex, Shine and Gracie, what he didn’t see were the other dogs enthusiastically clapping their paws at the Iggy that flew from one side of Australia to another to take the ribbons and take the ribbons he did.
‘Fran?’ Toppa asked Fran in the car on the way home.
‘Yes Toppa?’ Fran replied, she was rather proud of him and couldn’t wait to get him home to give him a treat for being such a good boy.
‘Did I do OK?’ Toppa asked Fran.
Glancing down at his ribbon and remembering how nicely he stood for the judge and how well he moved, Fran replied simply ‘Not just OK Toppa, but brilliant and I can’t wait to tell Jeni as well’.
Toppa blushed and put his pointy snout down on his paws. Aside from ‘dictionary incident’ which was totally Brutus and Vader’s fault, he hadn’t really shamed himself too much. And as for the jealousy about his testicles, well he couldn’t help it if Mother Nature had blessed him so accordingly in the gonad department.
Amex was waiting by the gate trembling with excitement wondering how his friend had done in the show.
‘Well, what happened?’ he demanded impatiently to Toppa who was by now so exhausted that he only just managed to get out of the car.
Proudly displaying his ribbon to Amex, he was soon joined by Shine and Gracie who wanted in on the action.
‘Oh my days, you brought home a ribbon and you got points!’ Gracie barked and then planted a kiss on Toppa’s cheek.
‘Did you manage to use Brutus and Vader’s dictionary?’ Shine asked him while Keno listened intently to see what Toppa had to say.
‘Now, about that dictionary……’ Toppa started to tell them.
The dogs were all tucked up in their respective beds, Toppa who really wanted to sleep but couldn’t, was relaying to Amex about the days events.
‘Toppa, are you going to miss us when you go back to Perth?’ Amex asked Toppa in a hopeful voice.
Toppa stared at Amex, his expectant little face stared back at him pleading for an answer, Gracie, Keno and Shine were also looking at him waiting for his resonse.
He thought back to Jeni and his family in Perth, he thought back to Pippin, Bronte and the gang and all of his Perth friends on the show circuit. He would most certainly be glad to go home and see them.
However, he now had QLD family in the form of Toppa, Keno, Gracie and Shine and of course his new foster Mum – Fran. Fran who had grown to love him, care for him as one of her own and proudly take him to the show ring to win ribbons.
‘Well, are you going to miss us?’ Amex barked impatiently.
Toppa tried to imagine how it would be when he flies back to WA and leaves them all behind, he tried to imagine not having his bedtime gossip with them every night which is something they all did.
The ritual of throwing toys around the garden, the fun at meal times, the play fighting, Amex teaching him how to speak in a QLD accent. He also tried to not remember how much fun it was to savage Tony Abbott and Julie Gillard which Fran had so lovingly bought as presents for them.
‘Yes Amex, I am going to miss you – I shall miss you all’ Toppa said quietly and then curled up into a tight ball and pretended to be asleep.
Silence filled the air as the other Iggies did the same and hid their snouts by stuffing them into their bottoms in true Iggy style.
‘Toppa?’ Gracie said quietly.
‘Yes Gracie?’ Toppa whispered.
‘Are you OK?’ Gracie asked him.
Wiping his eyes and taking a deep breath, Toppa replied in a shaky voice full of emotion; ‘Yes, of course’
And in the dark of the night, Toppa felt a reassuring paw from Amex as he reached over and one by one, Gracie, Keno and Shine all joined him on his bed so that they were all squashed together in one big ‘furry hug’ – just like family should be
(Photograph by Fran Forbes)
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright May 2015