This story is about Dash the Italian greyhound. Dash was one of the characters in my book Planet Iggy and his real life naughtiness and escapades have kept his humans on their toes and the vets busy.
A very special little dog deserving of this tribute.
At Dash’s house
Dash and his brother Augie were at home. Augie was lying on his back playing on his mobile phone. He was obsessed with the ‘who’s who on the show circuit’ page, he enjoyed checking out which dogs were doing well and who had the biggest testicles. It made him miss the days when he had a splendid set of gonads himself – those were the glory days!
“I say Dash, have you seen this Iggy, he is pretty new to the circuit?” Augie asked him without even looking up.
Dash didn’t reply, he was busy gazing out of the window. He could just see the BBQ outside and it reminded him of all the times that he had stolen food from it – something he was pretty proud of. Had food theft been an Olympic sport then he would have surely won a Gold.
He hadn’t been well for a while and had been diagnosed with a serious liver issue that he knew would not allow him to live as long a life as a healthy dog. Although he wanted to have a full life with his humans, he knew it wasn’t possible and he was just waiting for the right time to leave them.
His humans had been warned that he may have to go to Rainbow Bridge at any point. It didn’t make it easier mind you, but they did understand and were trying to make each day with Dash count.
“Dash, I am talking to you!” Augie nudged him with his pointy snout.
Giving his head a little shake, Dash turned around and gave Augie a tired smile. “Sorry Augie, what you were saying?”
Augie frowned, his little face looked troubled, probably not helped by him having more grey hairs than Dash, who simply refused to age in both appearance and attitude. “Oh, never mind, it doesn’t matter. Are you OK Dash?” Sitting up, Augie picked up his drink and took a mouthful and dabbed his snout with his handkerchief to remove the coffee froth.
“Sort of, I will be….” He replied simply and then added, “Hey, do you remember the time I sneaked into the kitchen of the dog café when nobody was looking?”
Augie snorted his Dog-o-Cinno coffee through his nostrils. “Do I remember? How could I forget! Do you remember the tomato incident, nobody could believe it!”
“Oh my days! That was talked about for ages afterwards.” Dash laughed.
“Talked about until this very day and will be forever more I reckon.” Augie added.
“I remember how we used to stand on Brutus’s back so that we could reach the café table and steal the food!” Augie wiped his eyes as he roared with laughter. “Dear old Brutus, such a good boy for letting us use him as a ladder.”
“Actually Dash, isn’t there a photo somewhere of you and Brutus getting cosy together at Chewie’s birthday at the dog cafe?”
Dash cocked his head to the side. “Might have been!” he said knowingly. “Photographic evidence is kicking around somewhere I do believe.”
“You haven’t had a boring life have you Dash?” Augie poked him playfully with his paw.
Dash grinned, “No, I most certainly haven’t and I have kept my humans on their toes that’s for sure!”.
“Dash?” Augie asked him quietly.
“Yes Augie?” Dash stared at his brother.
“Are you OK?” Augie asked him again. His eyes bulging, his ears flat back on his head, the tiny Iggy trembled as he asked Dash the question, because he kind of already knew the answer. He was just hoping by some miracle that he was wrong.
Taking a leap on to the sofa, Dash then gestured for Augie to sit next to him. “I need to have a chat….”
“I don’t want to hear it Dash, please don’t make me hear it, I am not ready to hear it!” Augie rushed his words out all at once and spoke so quickly that it was almost hard to understand him. But all the same, he jumped up and sat next to his brother to hear what he had to say.
Dash gently explained to Augie that it was now time for him to go, what was going to happen next and how he was relying on Augie to take charge of the family afterwards. He told him how he was a big brave boy and that he would be just fine.
“Dash?” Augie asked him after a few minutes.
“Yes Augie?” Dash replied.
“Are you scared?” Augie’s eyes stared intently at him.
“No Augie. We all have our time with our humans – be it a day, a week, years – whatever. But when it’s up, it’s up. Besides, I am tired of being unwell and if I can’t steal my human’s food with the stealth and professionalism that I am used to, then that means it’s my time”.
Augie huddled up to his brother. “Will you be able to steal food at Rainbow Bridge?”
“I bloody well hope so!” Dash growled and both dogs burst out laughing.
Later that day….
Bowie the large white greyhound and gatekeeper of Rainbow Bridge stood outside the entrance with his regulation clipboard and a chewed-up pen in the shape of a large bone. It was a bad habit chewing his pen and he knew that, but he still enjoyed doing it.
“Hi Bowie, who are we waiting for today?” An important looking Scottish terrier named ‘Bertie McTavish’ asked in his strong Scottish accent. He looked quite dapper wearing a red tartan collar with a whistle clipped to it, which he was not afraid to blow to regain any order should it all kick off with any newbies. Not that it ever did of course but Bertie did like that whistle and the power that it gave him – think about the policemen in the UK when they had whistles in the olden days and you will just about get the picture.
But nobody ever kicked off at Rainbow Bridge and aside from a bit of exuberance when reunited with old friends, there was never any trouble.
“Someone pretty special who is going to keep us all on our toes, that is all I can say.” Bowie gave a curt nod to Bertie.
Bertie who had seen it all before – or so he thought, sighed, “There isn’t anyone we can’t handle here and should anyone be naughty then I have this!” He pointed dramatically to the whistle clipped on his collar.
Bowie raised his eyebrows and smirked, “Are you sure about that?” But before he got chance to say anything else, he could hear a commotion of an incoming new resident.
It’s a great source of excitement for new animals coming to Rainbow Bridge; it’s like being given a new lease of life and getting reunited with old friends at the same time. They tend to make a bit of noise on arrival but it’s all high jinx because they are so happy to be there.
“Excuse me, but where is the food? I am bloody starving!” Dash suddenly appeared out of nowhere. They always do that on entry to ‘The Bridge’. They transition through and appear very quickly. It never fails to make Bertie startle and say ‘Now then, there will be none of that here!”
“Hello Dash old boy, how are you doing?” Bowie said affectionately.
Dash’s tail wagged furiously, so hard in fact that it smacked the Bertie in the face and made him sneeze. “I could murder a chocolate muffin my friend!” Dash grinned.
“Why does that not surprise me?” Bowie laughed, “Let me get someone to escort you through the gates. You are the only one coming in today.”
“Who is going to take me through, I can’t see anyone around, are you going to take me?” Dash asked Bertie.
Bertie shook his head, “Not me pal and I don’t want any funny business from you!” he said sternly and then catching Dash’s worried face, he gave the little black dog a cheeky wink to show he was joking.
“Come on my friend, follow me.” Bowie reassured him.
“Wait a second!” Dash shouted and quickly lifted his leg to pee on the gatepost. Bertie rolled his eyes at Bowie and muttered something about it being ‘highly inappropriate’ and should he blow his special whistle to control the situation?
Dash hesitantly walked through the gates to the other side when he was suddenly bowled over by another Italian greyhound. “Darling, you are here! I thought you would never arrive!”
He looked up and saw Madam Gigi looking absolutely gorgeous with a pair of oversized sunnies and an Italian silk scarf tied around her neck. The two Iggies hugged each other tightly, that was after Gigi had done the European thing of kissing the cheeks of course.
“Follow me, everyone is waiting for you! Fat Harry is eating everything in sight and it’s high time that you came to redress the balance!”
“It’s so good to finally be here Gigi. Tell me, do they have tomatoes where we are going?” Dash asked her.
“Tomatoes? Darling, there are more tomatoes than you would know what to do with!” Gigi barked at him and waved her front legs in the air – Pippin always said that if you cut off Madam Gigi’s front legs, she would be speechless.
The further he walked the more energetic he became and the better he felt until all evidence of pain and illness had vanished. Across the field, Dash could just make out the rotund figure of Fat Harry frantically waving his stuffed hamburger toy in the air to get his attention.
Nearby a black kelpie dog with an Australian neckerchief tied around his neck was sat on the grass reading a newspaper titled ‘The Kelpie Times’. He stopped reading and folded up his paper on his lap and glanced up. With his tail wagging slowly in recognition, he walked towards Fat Harry and said, “Is that who I think it is?”
“Yes Rocky, I think it is! – Isn’t it brilliant?” A huge grin appeared on Fat Harry’s face.
Rocky nodded, “Yes, it is absolutely marvellous. We all meet up here in the end, that’s what is so special about this place – there is no such thing as goodbye.”
“Is that it for today Bowie, shall I close the gates?” Bertie asked him.
Bowie looked on as little Dash was welcomed into the next level and final part of his life surrounded by his friends. “Yes, that’s it for today, close the gates. Oh, and Bertie?” Bowie asked him.
“Yes Bowie?” Bertie turned around to answer him.
“You can put your whistle away for today, maybe you can use it tomorrow?” Bowie winked at him leaving Bertie McTavish to reluctantly tuck his whistle under his collar for another day.
At Augie’s House
Augie was sat on his bed looking out of the window. He didn’t know how long he had been there for but it must have been a while. Dash’s bright red collar was on the coffee table and his toys were where he left them, Augie stared at them sadly and briefly wondered how he would manage without him. He would of course, but it would take time to adapt without Dash.
There was one more thing left to do and Augie had been putting it off. Taking a deep breath for bravery, he picked up his mobile phone and dialled Pippin’s number.
Pippin had been having a wonderful time lately. His sister Latte had recently had puppies and you all know how Pippin loves his puppies. One time both he and Brutus did some ‘doggy day care’ involving looking after Bronte’s puppies and it all ended in a flurry of talcum powder and diapers put on the wrong way – but that’s another story.
“Pippin, will you stop disturbing the babies!” Latte barked at him.
Pretending that he hadn’t heard, Pippin nudged the puppies with his pointy snout in the hope of waking them up so that he could justify a cuddle with them.
Pippin had actually grown quite distinguished as a senior dog and his grey fur had blended in quite nicely on his face. Unlike his friend Brutus who was looking pretty grizzled with age, but hey, we all get older right?
“Pippin, it’s for you?” Bronte handed him his mobile phone.
Looking boot-faced at being taken away from the pups, Pippin grabbed the phone from Bronte and took it into his office.
It all happens in Pippin’s office – good news, bad news, naughtiness, reprimands and everything in between. The large regal looking chair, the huge leather topped desk, a brown china pot with all of Pippin’s pens and pencils in it and his bright red lounge coat with golden trim, hanging up on the door. This office has seen it all and could tell a thousand stories about the Iggy gang and the life of Pippin.
Pippin sat in his chair clutching his phone and after a few minutes replied quietly, “Thank you, I will let the group know.”
Then as per tradition and the rules of the gang, Pippin sent a group text simply saying, “Dash has landed.”
A few hours later
Latte had just finished feeding her puppies. Pippin was standing behind her watching the babies trying to snuggle up to her.
“I shall miss Dash you know.” Latte said to Pippin, “Will you miss him?”
Pippin gave a little nod, “Yes, I shall miss him greatly. He was a character that’s for sure with all the naughty stuff he got up to.”
“What’s this tomato incident that everyone always talks about?” Latte asked him.
“OMG, Pippin you MUST tell her about that, please tell her – you tell it best!” Bronte barked excitedly.
A smile spread across Pippin’s face as he curled up next to Latte and Bronte and began telling the greatest story ever told about a dog café, a group of Italian greyhounds, a tomato and a little black dog called Dash.
Our pets may not live forever but the memories of their antics and naughtiness will remain alive for as long as we tell their stories.
This blog is dedicated to Dash.
Written and published with the kind permission and blessing of Dash’s human Kylie.
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright October 2020