Brutus learns the real meaning of Christmas

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Brutus

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Brutus and Rocky were in the living room discussing Christmas and their shopping list. Gordon had just done an Exorcist style vomit over the dining room and had gone back to his food bowl to ‘replenish what had been lost’ much to Rocky’s disgust and Brutus’s admiration.

‘So what do you want for Christmas Brutus?’ Rocky asked him.

Brutus looked thoughtful ‘I don’t want much really, I would like a honking pig as Mum killed mine in the garden, I would like some more flappy toys, a spare gingerbread man, maybe a squeaky Santa and another snake, I would like a new collar and ID tag – not one of those crappy collars, perhaps a doggy stocking, a new camp bed for my bedroom and a new stuffed rabbit’ he finished looking absurdly proud of himself for being what he thought was ‘restrained’.

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Brutus with last years gift that ‘exploded’ all by itself in the garden

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Rocky gasped ‘Not much? That is a huge amount Brutus and most dogs don’t get that much and some dogs don’t get anything at all’.

Gordon said nothing but stopped eating to listen to the boys talking. Inwardly he was shocked though as Brutus had lots of toys, admittedly some had ‘exploded’ all by themselves in the garden but he never went without that’s for sure.

‘What about you Rocky?’ Brutus asked him. Stretching out on the sofa, Brutus snuggled his head down on the red pillow and waited for Rocky to tell him his Christmas list for Santa Paws. Brutus loves Christmas and every year in the three Christmas’s we have had him, he makes me tell him bedtime stories about how Santa Paws visits all the dogs and leaves them food and bones that their owners have bought them and given to Santa for storage.

Rocky shrugged his shoulders ‘Well last year I wished for my hips to be not so painful and a bit better, but I have already got that present now because Mum bought me special powder to go in my food and they are so much better although I still can’t walk as far as normal kelpies’.

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Rocky is a simple kelpie dog with simple needs

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘But I would like some new tennis balls to replenish my collection, I would like a generous slice of turkey if Dad can spare it, I would love to be able to get on the sofa with Mum and Dad and maybe even play with my fluffy penguin after lunch.

‘Of course we usually get a collar each year and I love the Rogz collars and always have a red or a blue one and an ID tag is nice as we usually get one every year as well.

But my best gift is when Mum does her Skype call to the UK and gets to talk to her family and I get to talk to her Daddy – AKA John Stocken because I have met him, I think he could be referred to the doggy version of our Grandad if such a thing exists’, Rocky said knowingly. A wise kelpie beyond his years, Rocky just knows ‘stuff’ and is an oracle of information.

‘You know John Stocken? How?’ Brutus demanded, feeling more than a little jealous of this as he only ever hears my Dad over the phone when he calls me.

‘I have met him’ Rocky said smugly, ‘He came to Perth once and threw my tennis ball and rubber chicken for ages, we had fun, we had cuddles and everything and I slept outside his room for 3 days after he flew back because I missed him so much’.

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Rocky, Dad (AKA – John Stocken/Daddy Stocken, and the rubber chicken – Rocky on the left looking camouflaged!

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

The two dogs fell silent for a bit and all you could hear was the sound of Gordon occasionally crunching his cat biscuit.

‘But Rocky, I don’t understand – most of your presents are not sold in the shops so where would you buy them? How would you get them?’ Brutus asked looking puzzled.

‘That’s just it Brutus, Christmas isn’t about how much money is spent on things or how many toys and bones your owners buy for you, it is about the stuff that money can’t buy.

‘Time with those that love you, video calls to friends and family, nice food, cuddles, turkey dinner, the stuff you can only do or speak about with people you love. You can’t buy any of that in the shops.’

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Rocky creating his own memories on one of our road trips

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Sure having toys and stuff is great but those memories last a whole heap longer than any toy that explodes in the garden’. Rocky finished.

‘But what about my toys, I love opening my toys?’ Brutus frowned.

‘You know out of all the stuff on your list Brutus, the one that is the most important above everything else?’ Rocky asked him.

Brutus shrugged because he didn’t know.

‘The collar and ID tag that Mum gets us and pays to have engraved to say we have a home and family of our own. The rest doesn’t matter’ Rocky said.

Brutus quietly walked off to his bedroom and stared at his bed which contained one of his fluffy blankets, his beloved Tony Abbott doll, his stuffed rabbit, his penguin, his honking hedgehog, his bear, baby teething ring and his deer antler.

It wasn’t a too shabby collection of toys, next to it was a bowl of fresh water and a food bowl, his camp bed and behind that a cupboard containing some more freshly washed blankets in case he shit the bed (don’t ask!) and needed his bum washed and fresh bedding.

He walked back into the kitchen and stared at Rockys bed which had been hand made by Cuzz Bro’s Creations, covered in a red blanket, a Julie Gillard doll, another Tony Abbott doll and a gingerbread man which Brutus thinks is his but it really belongs to Rocky, plus a deer antler, bowl of water and food bowl.

Walking into the dining room Brutus noticed a selection of leashes, head collars, a collar, Rocky’s muzzle and Brutus’s camo harness. Brutus also took in the toy box in the garden packed to the top with toys and his recent birthday present of Fat Cat (flappy cat) and his snake he got from Dee Cole at the Funky Dog Company, as well as shit loads of tennis balls scattered around the garden.

Nothing more was said that afternoon about presents from either of the dogs. Gordon never asks for anything anyway and still has toys from when he was a kitten, even his plastic bed belonged to our cat before him – Bruno and is about 20 years old and Gordon loves it. Gordon likes simple things like bird feathers or being allowed to chew my bras (bastard).

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Gordon  – almost 15 years old and an all round naughty boy and member of the ginger club

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

So today I had to go and do my Christmas shopping and I hate shopping, like really hate it unless I am in a pet shop and then I love it.

‘What would you like for Christmas boys?’ I smiled at them as I was about to leave.

‘Tennis balls would be good and a new ID tag’ Rocky smiled at me.

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I shall have a tennis ball please Mum and lots of cuddles and turkey

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘But if we can go to the farm area on Christmas Day so I can catch up with the sheep that would be good as well’ Rocky added.

‘How about you Brutus?’ I asked him.

Brutus stared at me, his red/brown eyes bore into mine, expecting a long list I got ready for his demands of toys/bones etc.

‘If you can see fit to buying me a new honking pig to replace the one you squished in your car that would be nice, and a new ID tag because I have scraped the writing off mine on the wall when I rub myself against the bricks every morning’ Brutus growled.

‘Is that all? Are you sure?’ I asked him, this was news to me – Brutus is the King of Christmas lists and has even resorted to writing his lists on an entire roll of toilet paper to fit in what he wants which involves half of City Farmers.

‘Some turkey dinner would be nice and if I can be with Rocky when you Skype Daddy John Stocken and everyone else that would be brilliant’ Brutus barked at me.

Shrugging my shoulders I smiled at them and went off to do my shopping while secretly wondered if someone had swapped my dog with a newer angelic version.

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Brutus the Good Boy

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

After I had gone shopping

‘Did you mean that?’ Rocky asked Brutus, he could barely believe what he had just heard.

‘I’ve got loads of toys, I’ve got pretty much everything really and as you say, the rest of the stuff can’t be bought’ Brutus said firmly.

Rocky looked at his brother in admiration, nudging Brutus affectionately with his snout, Rocky grinned ‘Except for the honking pig – they are $11.00 in the supermarket because I have checked on Mum’s computer’.

Brutus laughed and wagged his tail ‘Yes, let’s not forget the honking pig’.

Driving

Going in the car to look at the sheep – cost? Priceless

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Gordon sat washing his anus from the other chair, at almost 15 years old he had seen many Christmases as you can imagine and he had realised long ago that the best Christmas is one that creates memories and not shopping lists, like the time he ate tinsel off the tree and had to shat it out with my help pulling it from his bum (now THAT is a memory!).

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You thought I was joking about the anus!

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Three hours later I returned with very little in my bag as shopping had been a total nightmare, we don’t have children so not much to buy anyway really. But what there was in my bag; was a packet of tennis balls and a honking pig.

And in the post winging its way to me is an envelope with two bone shaped ID tags for the boys all engraved with the best present a dog could want – their owners details and enough phone numbers on there to show the world we love them.

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The most important things – the famous honking pig, collar, ID tag and a bone. These were Brutus’s first things bought for him when he came out of hospital after being critically ill.

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Merry Christmas everyone, thank you for the lovely comments and support so many of you have given this page over the years.

Samantha, Gordon, Rocky and Brutus

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright December 2016

A Forbidden Love (Bronte and Rocky)

It was Sunday afternoon and Rocky was in a bad mood as he hadn’t had a good walk in ages, he was also pissed off because he doesn’t have any friends because he hates everyone, including his invisible friends that all dogs have – just ask Rocco about that.

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Rocky in his Kelpie Spectacles

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘What are we doing today?’ Brutus demanded in a bored voice. Brutus always assumed things had been organised for him and kind of expected it.

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Brutus always expects stuff to be organised for him

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Rocky shook the absurdly large newspaper that he was reading, taking a deep breath he peered over the top of his kelpie spectacles which are just like Harry Potters spectacles except that they are for kelpies.

‘We are probably doing nothing, I hate everyone and I hate everyone even more today’ Rocky snapped and then bent down to chew his anal glands.

Brutus who is not good at ‘reading’ other dogs, shrugged his shoulders and trotted off to Rocky’s bed to steal his gingerbread man who had taken Tony Abbott’s place for suckling time when he needed a comforter.

Unknown to Rocky I had been messaging Denise Pringle asking if she fancied going to North Lake for a walk with Pippin and Bronte and I would bring Rocky.

Telling me that yes she would meet me in the car park I then set about breaking the good news to Rocky that he was to be meeting Pippin and Bronte and Brutus would be staying home with Dad to ‘help in the garden’ (dig the crap out of it).

‘What do you mean I can’t go? I always hang out with Pippin?’ Brutus protested with his bottom lip quivering.

‘What does she mean I can’t go?’ Brutus repeated to Rocky who grinned and replied simply ‘You go everywhere, it’s my turn now – catch ya later alligator!’ Rocky barked back at Brutus.

‘Come on Brutus, go to your room – I have put some treats in there’ I reassured him.

‘Not going, won’t go, can’t make me’ Brutus said in a high pitched voice and then promptly threw himself to the floor (I am not joking either)

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Brutus – an expert on sulking

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

The large brown dog buckled to the floor and started to howl. Now the reason for him not going was because I am working on Rocky’s behaviour and confidence around other dogs and he is far better when he is not with Brutus and Pippin has a calming influence on him.

Eventually I got Brutus to his bed and placated him with a carrot but not before he threatened to do rude things with it and the last I heard of him was him threatening to self harm as I drove off with Rocky in the car.

‘Yeah, this is so cool! Do you mind if I drive?’ Rocky grinned at me.

‘No, you are not driving’ I said firmly.

‘Oh well, I shall yell stuff out of the window then’ Rocky shrugged and before I could stop him; he was calling a Jack Russell terrier a ‘flea bitten stumpy legs’.

Soon we pulled up at North Lake and Denise, Pippin and Bronte arrived minutes after we did.

‘Hi Rocky!’ Pippin’s face beamed through the car window as he steamed it up trying to talk and greet Rocky.

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Rocky and Pippin – members of the Sensible Club

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Rocky who is so sensible and full of self control, tried to contain himself but as he doesn’t have any friends except for Lexie’s Tess and Pippin and Bronte, he was absurdly pleased to see the two little dogs. He was especially pleased to see Pippin as on the whole and when they are not being corrupted, are both very sensible dogs that wear spectacles and read large newspapers with big words and get on very well together.

‘Hi Rocky, do you think I have my figure back after my babies?’ Bronte said flirtatiously to Rocky who looked approvingly at her skinny bum.

‘Bronte, don’t be so forward!’ Pippin reprimanded her. Bronte looked boot-faced at Pippin and winked naughtily at Rocky causing him to blush and look away.

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Rocky and Bronte – a forbidden love

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Call me’ Bronte mouthed and did a phone gesture with her paws before running off ahead so that Rocky could get the full benefit of her svelte figure and pretty purple outfit.

‘Girls, I will never understand them’ Pippin sighed to Rocky, ‘Now – shall we discuss what has been happening in the UK as I understand they have voted out and I am not sure what that means for exporting dog collars and clothes’

Rocky pretended to listen but kept a beady eye on Bronte who kept turning round to see if he was looking and remaining in one place just long enough to catch his glance.

It was a very pleasant walk and aside from discussing politics, Rocky and Pippin had a jolly nice time that involved treats from Denise’s pocket, discussing the benefits of making ones bed explode and the glories of rolling in horse shit.

‘You see this is the equivalent to Facebook, if I pee on that post then you have to pee on where I have peed’ Bronte said confidently to Rocky as they trotted beside each other.

‘Oh I see, let me see if I can get a bit more out’ Rocky replied and then cocked his leg up a tree and was followed by Pippin who had enough pee for all three of them which made them all laugh.

Anyway the rest of the walk went very well, treats were given and eaten, bottoms were sniffed and the three dogs just enjoyed each others company.

At the End of the Walk

‘Oh I wish I didn’t have to go home I have had so much fun’ Rocky said to Pippin while looking longingly at Bronte who was smiling back at him and doing her ‘call me’ gestures again and was frantically sending Rocky a text. They always have had a bit of a forbidden crush on one another much to the horror of Nica, Zara and the rest of the girls.

‘We can meet up next time old chap’ Pippin patted Rocky reassuringly on the back. Knowing that Rocky had bad hips, Pippin always liked to do his bit for the disabled and felt that it was no trouble helping Rocky as the two had become quite good friends and members of the ‘sensible club’ – well we won’t count the time that Pippin ended up in a lap dancing club run by whippets as that is another story.

Rocky was reluctantly put in the back of the car. With his black snout pressed against the window, he yelled out through the gap ‘Catch ya later Pippin’ and before Pippin could see him, Rocky gave a cheeky wink to Bronte who waved back at him.

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Sweet Kelpie Dreams (of Bronte)

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

In Denise’s Car

‘What a lovely boy he is, so polite and handsome’ Bronte sighed as she settled into her bed.

‘Bronte!’ Pippin chastised her.

‘Well, he is jolly handsome’ Bronte barked back and then huffed some steam on the window and drew a love heart on it with her paws.

‘Rocky is too sensible to have flirtations with Italian greyhounds’ Pippin said firmly.

‘Yeah, I guess he is – but a girl can try….’ Bronte said quietly.

IMG_0639Bronte the pretty girl

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Back at Home

‘You are such a bastard, I hate you, I am never talking to you again!’ Brutus sobbed as Rocky jumped out of the car.

Ignoring him Rocky took a pee up the garden pot, well he had actually used his pee allocation while out with Pippin and Bronte and was now doing invisible pee, but even invisible pee counts when it comes to dogs.

‘I said I hate you and I am never talking to you again’ Brutus said loudly and as if to prove a point, he squatted down and pissed down his own legs. Brutus always looks as though life got a bit too much for him and when he gets upset he gets very loud and very cute.

‘You just did talk to me silly’ Rocky laughed.

‘I said I am never talking to you again, that’s it!’ Brutus started to cry and remained by my car as Rocky marked his spots around the garden to make sure that strange invisible dogs had not infiltrated our security system while we were out and my husband was in bed or whatever he did while we were out.

Later that afternoon

Having thawed out somewhat and deciding that he was totally unable to ignore or be ignored, Brutus decided to ask Rocky about how it went with Pippin and Bronte.

‘Well she is very nice isn’t she, she looked so beautiful in that purple outfit and she has lost so much weight – you wouldn’t believe she had not long had pups’ Rocky said as his face softened at the memory of the afternoon.

‘You fancy her don’t you?’ Brutus burst out and then catching Rocky blushing furiously, he stood up and farted with excitement. ‘You do, you fancy her, you fancy Bronte Pringle!’

‘You are SO childish, I don’t know why I bother with you’ Rocky growled and nipped Brutus smartly on his brown bum to shut him up and made him cry.

Curling up on his bed Rocky hid under his blanket and pretended to be asleep.

‘Rocky, are you asleep?’ Brutus whispered, ‘I am sorry, I didn’t mean to say you fancied Bronte, I know you prefer sheep to girl dogs, I was just joking’ Brutus who was mortified that he had upset his brother.

Rocky stayed silent and kept his eyes tightly shut until he was sure that Brutus had gone back to his own bed. But clutched tightly between his paws was a photo of Bronte that she had texted him plus her mobile number with a message saying ‘Call me’.

But the question is – will he?……

To be continued…..

 

The Christmas Nativity Iggy style- Part One

Pippin Pringles House

It was two weeks before Christmas and Pippin Pringle had called a meeting at his house, he had important things to discuss and barely any time left in which to do it.

It really was a full house as Iggies and non-Iggies sat around doing their thing, chatting, farting, gossiping and drinking dog beer.  It promised to be a rowdy meeting that’s for sure.

‘I think everyone is here’ Bronte said breathlessly.  She totally loved these meetings and holding court in her home which for Bronte meant showing the girls her wardrobe, her bum and stuff.

Vader the boxer and Brutus sat in the corner playing a game of strip poker with Zara, Olive and Ayla who being very innocent, did not grasp the severity of removing ones collar in front of the boy dogs.

Mako was sitting in a padded chair with a large stool to support his broken leg for which the plaster on it, was bigger than he was.  Surrounded by squishy cushions that Bronte had tucked behind him, he had Gigi, Nica and Lily fussing round him.  Ari had offered to pop dog biscuits into his mouth but Nica had said that was a step too far and stopped him.

Augie and Dash were playing a game called ‘Find my testicles’ which quickly ended when Shelby presented his and smacked Augie in the face with them which resulted in Pippin having to intervene as things always got messy when testicles were involved, especially when Phoebe made attempts to tie red ribbons round Shelby’s balls and sang ‘Jingle Balls’.

Fletch, Apollo, Woody, Cino, Pino, Carlo, Chewie, Starbuck, Bambi, Soobi, Rocco and Fat Harry were practising for the Iggy Choir and were taking it in turns to sing the high notes.  I would like to tell you that it sounded beautiful but ever since Brutus had told them to try and sing in a deep voice, it had completely changed direction  and they sounded more like they had bloat.

‘Twinkle twinkle little star, I think Ayla wears a bra

‘Up above the bone so dry

‘Anal glands have made me cry,

‘Twinkle twinkle tell my mum

‘That the vet did poke my bum’

Iggy ChoirTestThe Iggy Choir

(photograph by Google and the heads of the dogs by their owners)

Staring up from his computer with a pained expression, Pippin looked horrified.  What on earth was happening to them, they all had such angelic voices at one point but they have not been the same since Brutus and Vader came on the scene and taught them how to change the lyrics to songs and sing like Forrest Gump.

‘Right everyone, I have an announcement to make’ Pippin yelled as his glasses slid down the end of his pointy snout.

‘A Christmas announcement’ Bronte piped up and grinned to everyone.

‘How exciting, I totes love Christmas!’ Zara squeaked (using ‘teen’ speak) and then elbowed Ayla in the ribs and made her cough up some dog chow which shot across the room and was quickly gobbled up by Dash.

‘First of all, I would like to open the meeting by confirming who is officially in the Famine Club which for those of you that don’t know, is the diet club that our owners have put us in because they think we need to lose weight’ Pippin said in a firm voice.

Several dogs shook their heads in horror, shock, disgust and sympathy as it was every dogs nightmare to be in the ‘Famine Club’ – well except for Nica as she quite enjoyed a good vomit on a Saturday night, well she enjoyed shitting the bed as well but that’s another matter.

The Famine Club was Pippin’s favourite subject because ever since his Mum Denise had discovered he had been stealing the cat food and had put him on a diet, he had a bee in his bonnet and was determined to rally up all those on a diet and start a revolt with a plot to take over fridges all over Perth.

Fat Harry, Brutus, Dash and Pippin all put their paws up as Pippin nodded approvingly at the support.

‘I can see my ribs’ Fat Harry said fretfully as the other dogs in the Famine Club nodded their heads vigorously (snouts like angry biro pens).  Fat Harry pinched lumps of fat on his belly and wiped a tear from his eyes, ‘See – look how skinny I am’.

‘I have eaten my ribs as I ran out of food’ Brutus added and then demonstrated his situation by patting his belly and telling everyone how ‘sucked in’ it was.

‘I have had to steal the food from the mouths of small children’ Dash said in a wobbly voice as he fought back the tears.

‘I have eaten table legs and toilet rolls’ Pippin blurted out as he didn’t want to be outdone but then remembered that he is head of the group and should really know better about exaggerating.  Still, it was desperate measures and all that but it was a good job his Mum Denise hadn’t heard all of this as she would have been horrified.

The Iggies were muttering about how dreadful it all was and even dogs that were not in the Famine Club were starting to get distressed out of sympathy.

Once it had been established that several Iggies and Brutus were in the Famine Club, Pippin nodded in Bronte’s direction to take notes about strategies and how to raid the fridge and blame it on the cat.

‘Right, next on the agenda is our annual Christmas event and this year we are going to do the Christmas Nativity’ Pippin beamed at everyone.

‘Christmas nativity? Are you sure?’ Madam Gigi asked Pippin in a shocked voice.

‘Oh my god how exciting!’ Zara and Olive said at the same time.

‘Bloody marvellous, can I be the donkey?’ Fat Harry shouted.

‘I can play the camel’ Brutus barked hopefully.

‘All this enthusiasm is very encouraging, but Bronte and I have to discuss this first with Nica who will be helping with the casting but even if you don’t get a part in it, you will play your own part by supporting everyone else and cheering’ Pippin said to the group.

‘If I can’t play the camel, could I be one of the stars in the sky?’ Brutus said in a quiet voice.  Knowing that Brutus couldn’t read very well and was dyslexic, Pippin was well aware of how hard Brutus would find it to learn complicated lines.

‘You are already a little star Brutus’ Nica reassured him kindly and washed his face with her pink tongue, making Brutus blush.

‘Madam Gigi, do you have anything to add on this?’ Bronte asked Gigi who was now pouring herself a large glass of dog wine and wiping her forehead as she took a swig.

‘Yes, I have something to say’ Gigi said in a shaky voice, and taking another slug of wine she replied ‘God help us’.

‘Good, great to see such enthusiasm – I have an idea for parts and I shall announce it later on and the play will be at the end of the week’ Pippin smiled and then asked Bronte to hand round some carrots and dog chow, carrots to the Famine Club of course and dog chow to the rest of the group.

‘I think I would make a good little star’ Brutus whispered to Vader.

‘I could be a wise man’ Vader replied just as Rocco snorted dog beer up his nose laughing.

‘I reckon I could be the baby Jesus!’ Chewy shouted to everyone and at that point even Vader burst out laughing.

And so the Christmas play was cast, Pippin remained tight lipped about the situation right up until the end of the evening and as the dogs left Pippin’s house, there was much excitement in the air and the dogs all had their script and some had even started to learn their lines.

‘This is going to be, well how do you say it, interesting?….’ Nica said to Madam Gigi as the girls waited outside Pippin’s house for their lift home.

‘That is one way of putting it’ Gigi hiccuped in a drunk voice, ‘As I said, God help us’.

Pippin’s House

‘Are you sure you know what you are doing getting our lot to do a Christmas Nativity?’ Bronte asked Pippin who was trying to open the fridge with his snout because he was peckish.

‘Of course I do Bronte, a Christmas Nativity for the Iggy club, what could possibly go wrong?’

To be continued……….

 

Law and Order at Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge – a place behind that rainbow

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Always something behind that rainbow Photograph by Samantha Rose

Rainbow Bridge – every pet owner will have heard of it, no-one will have seen it but we all just know it is ‘there’.

It is a place where our pets go when their time with us has come to an end for whatever reason that may be.  It is also a place where no animal suffers, where there is no human intervention because quite frankly, there is no need.

It is without a doubt THE place to be for our pets when they have passed on.

Bowie who is a big white greyhound is the Gatekeeper to Rainbow Bridge and greets all the dogs upon entry.  He stands tall and proud with his clipboard and ticks the animals off as they arrive at the gates and greets them reassuringly.

The dogs have to cross a boundary line and once they get over that line that is when they get their new lease of life.

It can be hard to persuade animals to cross over and sometimes a bit of bribery is required in the form of a group of naughty rabbits that gossip, giggle and hop around to distract the nervous dogs as they cross ‘The Bridge’ and this is usually a success. But if on the rare occasion that a dog is not interested in chasing rabbits, then there are toys, food or tennis balls to name but a few.

At Rainbow Bridge; Animals soon forget their illnesses, their old age, their sore bones and injuries when they get to The Bridge and although it might take a few minutes, they start off nervously limping for fear of the pain that they left behind in the human world, to slowly trotting and then building up to a run as they chase the gossipy rabbits who are never caught because they too are fit and healthy.

No animal goes hungry, no animal suffers pain, the elderly regain their youth and what is so marvellous about this place is that there is enough space, friendship, love, food and squeaky toys to suit everyone.

Order of the day

Each day at Rainbow Bridge, Bowie the white greyhound gets the roll call sheet as to who will be joining them.  There are always heaps of animals – some young, some old, some taken too early and some were just not meant for a life with humans.

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Bowie – official ‘Gatekeeper’ of Rainbow Bridge (Photograph by Fran Forbes)

On 2nd November 2015; Bowie was talking to a Jack Russell Terrier called Danny about the list and whether or not it had been updated.

‘Are you sure this is the whole list?’ Bowie asked Danny.

Bristling with his own importance, Danny clutched his clipboard and said ‘Quite sure thank you’.

Danny actually had what is known as ‘Short Dog Syndrome’ where as he is only a few inches tall, he feels he needs to make up for it with attitude and he does that very well thank you.  He also has an exceedingly large penis for such a small dog which has earned him some respect with the other dogs as well as the nickname ‘Donkey Kong’.

‘Well, if you are sure then I will take my place and wait for the new arrivals’ Bowie smiled at Danny.

Suddenly a huge chunky boxer dog called Lampard came skidding round the corner at full speed while gasping for breath and and farting at the same time.  As he clutched a piece of paper in his mouth he panted  ‘Sorry Bowie, we forgot one – here you go!’ and gave Bowie a rather soggy piece of paper.

Lampard

Lampard the boxer Photograph by Sandra Winn

‘Let’s have a look then lad’ Bowie grinned and as he studied the name, he nodded curtly and took a few moments to compose himself.

‘You OK Bowie?’ asked Lampard the boxer.

Taking a deep breath Bowie replied ‘Yes, yes I am fine’ and looked at the list again and the spare piece of paper with the final name on it.

‘The first one is arriving now’ Danny the Jack Russell barked at Bowie.

An elderly grizzled Labrador limped up to where Bowie sat.  His eyes cloudy, joints stiff, his muzzle and fur around his eyes almost snow white from age, he looked tired and barely glanced up to look at the rabbits who were primed to do their bit to entice the dogs over the boundary line and over The Bridge.

‘Hello my friend’ Bowie said gently to the senior Labrador who was so grey that his owners must have loved him a huge amount to get him like that.  Mind you, the pink lipstick on his head and muzzle was a pretty good indicator of how much he was loved.

‘Just stand over there – where the rabbits are’ Bowie nodded towards a group of rabbits that were wriggling their bums at the Labrador.

‘I can’t walk that far, my joints hurt’ The Labrador said in a sad and tired voice.

The rabbits shrugged their shoulders, it was time for ‘Plan B’.

‘How about over there?’ Bowie said to the Labrador and nodded over to a coffee table that had magically appeared out of nowhere, was a huge meaty bone and a bag of Schmackos dog treats.

The Labrador strained his eyes and looked back at Bowie, ‘Are they for me? Can I eat them without getting bloat?’ he asked nervously.

‘Try it and see’ Bowie laughed and then nodded to the direction of the coffee table.

Taking slow and rather unsteady steps, the Labrador moved towards the coffee table which was just over the boundary line to The Bridge.

The food looked so good that the Labrador tried to walk faster.  Waiting for his hips to hurt and his legs, he was surprised to see feel that not only did they not hurt him, but they actually felt better.

‘There you go lad, just one more step’ Bowie said quietly to the Labrador.

‘One more step’ Danny the Jack Russell said encouragingly, ‘Go on, you can do it’.

It was with some courage that he took that step, that last step that saw him over The Bridge and within seconds he was alternating between chewing the bone and eating the Schmackos which were the finest things that he had ever tasted.

After he had eaten; he looked around and saw other dogs running around chasing toys, swimming in the crystal clear waters of the river, playing with tennis balls, chasing butterflies and really just having a good time.

‘I would like to do that, can I do that?’ The Labrador asked Bowie.

‘You sure can – if you want to that is’ Bowie nodded towards him.

And want to he did because within a few minutes he too was chasing butterflies, balls and toys with a fitness and vitality that he had thought he would never regain.

Last but not least…

‘When is the last one due here?’ Danny the Jack Russell asked Bowie.

‘When his time is right’ Bowie growled softly.

Somewhere in Perth, Western Australia

WA Police Officer Cop Dog – Rumble the German Shepherd had been very unwell with viral meningitis and when I say unwell, he spent quite a while in hospital fighting it and fight it he did because he was sent home was to be retired and live with his handler.

Dog lovers from all over Australia had sent their love and good wishes to Rumble as he was in intensive care fighting something far more formidable than the criminals he used to catch.

Everyone was thrilled when Rumble went back home to his ‘Dad’ and although many of us knew he wouldn’t go back out on the ‘beat’ so to speak, we knew he would enjoy his retirement and being able to give out police advice to the younger police dogs if they needed it.

Rumble had not been feeling well again and whilst nobody loves a life-challenge like Rumble, he had decided that day; that enough was enough and in doggy terms, that translates to ‘It is time’.

When any animal decides that ‘it is time’, it is a decision that is made firmly in their mind and they are ready for to go over The Bridge and Rumble, well he was ready for it.

And so Rumble left his tired and sick body that had caught so many criminals as his Dad was by his side and said goodbye.

As Rumble left this world and those that loved him, step by step he walked closer to The Bridge; while secretly wondering if he would be able to bite intruders there or if they had intruders at all.

Welcome to Rainbow Bridge

‘Police Officer Rumble, we have been waiting for you’ Bowie smiled to welcome the eight year old German Shepherd dog.

Rumble wagged his tail and like a typical cop, looked around to assess his surroundings and to see if he could smell any criminals.

Bowie laughed ‘You won’t find criminals here, nothing bad ever happens’.

‘Are you serious?’ Rumble said in a shocked voice, ‘I am here to maintain law and order’.

Bowie nodded towards the boundary line of The Bridge and then looked back at Rumble.

‘Go on Rumble, walk over there my friend as there are some meaty bones waiting for you’ Bowie said to him.

‘I have been feeling ever so sick so I might pass on the bones but I am always up for criminals’ Rumble said firmly.

‘Try it’ Bowie urged.

‘If you insist but I have already said, I haven’t been feeling well’ Rumble sighed and then walked over to the boundary line to The Bridge.

As Rumble crossed over the line, he was surprised that he found those meaty bones looking rather tasty and that he did not feel quite so nauseous.

Glancing up at Bowie, Rumble said in a somewhat vulnerable voice ‘If I am no longer a cop dog here, then what I am I and what do I stand for?’

Bowie looked thoughtful ‘You stood for and will always stand for what is right and you are Rumble, that is who you are.  You have not lost anything, you have merely moved into a different life and you stand for yourself’.

Rumble smiled back and then looking forward he could see Max – one of the boxer gang, who was chasing invisible things that only boxers can do while the naughty rabbits kept tripping him up by hopping around him.

Max

Max the boxer Photograph by Lexie Goldsmith

‘Oh and Rumble?’ Bowie said as Rumble slowly walked towards a group of German Shepherds who were heatedly discussing criminals.

‘Yes Bowie?’ Rumble barked.

‘Thank you Officer for your service to the community in Perth, they won’t forget it and nor will they forget you’.  Bowie stared intently at Rumble.

Rumble nodded and as he turned round to carry on walking until he disappeared from Bowie’s sight.

‘Won’t take him long to fit in’ Danny said to Bowie who nodded in agreement, ‘Oh hello Netti, how are you doing my friend?’ Danny asked a little white terrier who had come to join them.

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Netti Photograph by Samantha Rose

‘Fine thank you, I have chased rabbits this morning so thought I would sit with you guys to relax’ Netti replied.

‘Sounds like a plan Netti and rather a good one.  As it is quiet with no more expected arrivals,  I think it is time for a bone perhaps?’ Bowie said to Netti and Danny.

But before they could answer;  Lampard the boxer came galloping up to them with his jowls flapping in the wind and boxer snot festooned all over his face.

‘Bowie, you are going to have to go to the main paddock, it is all kicking off’ Lampard said breathlessly.

‘Watch the gate Netti and keep an eye on things’ Bowie ordered Netti a little white dog who was now busy chewing a bone in between reading a magazine titled ‘Who is who at Rainbow Bridge’.

‘No worries’ Netti grinned and then secretly relished in having such power and briefly wondered if she would be brave enough to say ‘Sorry mate, we are full’ to any newcomers – perhaps not but it was a fun thought to have.

Bowie galloped over to the main paddock where everyone was barking in protest. ‘Oh my goodness what on earth is going on?’ he demanded.

Lampard shrugged his shoulders ‘I don’t know, this is how I found them’.

‘Well don’t just stand there, we have to do something!’ Bowie ordered.  Really this would never do, Rainbow Bridge was always so relaxed and this was highly irregular.

Dogs were lined up by the trees, cats were lined up on the trees and anything smaller than that were lined up on the tops of trees with military precision except for a few chickens that were just rebels as chickens are.

Verdell the Griffon was not enjoying being ordered around by this large German Shepherd at all and was desperate to fart.  Shuffling from one leg to the other, he tried very hard to stay focused but in the end had to let one go which he proceeded to deny and blame on a chunky pug called Beryl.

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Verdell Photograph by Samantha Rose

Anyway, the dogs were all nervously lined up and standing in front of them all was Rumble looking tall and proud while blowing a whistle and calling for ‘law and order’.

Cop

Rumble keeping law and order Photograph by a secret source to keep the policeman’s (rather fit) body anonymous. Rumble’s head taken from WA publicity photo from Facebook.

‘Right, nobody move until I have searched you’ Rumble said in his best cop voice.

‘He still thinks that he is a cop’ Lampard whispered to Bowie.

Trying not to laugh, Bowie walked up to Rumble and gently whispered ‘At ease Officer Rumble’.

‘Oh don’t panic, I’ve got this’ Rumble barked back without turning around.

‘Yes my friend and so have I’ Bowie barked back in a calm voice.

Looking a bit put out, Rumble nodded ‘Well, if you are absolutely sure……’

‘Absolutely sure’ Bowie smiled reassuringly at all the animals that were looking boot-faced at being lined up.

Relaxing somewhat, Rumble had to have the last word and said to the group ‘Right you lot, you are off the hook but don’t think you can be naughty on my watch’

‘You can take the dog from the police, but you cant take the police out of the dog’ grumbled Verdell the Griffon who farted again causing Rema the whippet to grip her snout in disgust and Beryl the pug to blush and say ‘That was not me’.

Rumble looked around the paddocks, the animals had gone back to what they were doing and no grudges were held (well except for the chickens).  It was at that moment that Rumble realised that he really did not need to keep law and order, because everyone knew how to behave here and were happy to do so.

There was nothing left for Rumble to do except to just enjoy being a dog, and you know what – that suited him just fine.

Team Pringle’s House

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Pippin Pringle (Photo by Samantha Rose)

Pippin Pringle was sat in his office making notes for the Italian Greyhound Christmas party with his spectacles perched on the end of his snout as he tried to concentrate.

‘There are quite a few people coming to the party Bronte’ Pippin yelled to his sister who was totally not listening and was busy chatting on the phone to Zara about the latest Christmas outfits.

‘Oh who can that be I wonder?’ Pippin sighed as his mobile phone rang.

‘Hello, Pippin Pringle here….’

Five minutes later, Pippin emerged from his office still clutching his mobile phone.

‘I will call you back Zara’ Bronte said quickly as she noticed the distressed look on her brothers face.

‘What on earth has happened?’ Bronte asked him.

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Bronte – a fashionista with a heart of gold Photograph by Samantha Rose

‘We need to call a meeting and we need to call Brutus and quickly before he sees it in the press’ Pippin said with his voice quivering.

At Brutus’s house

Brutus was in the garden playing with his green furry snake, throwing it in the air and catching it in between bouncing sideways and knocking his brother Rocky over.  Full of the joys of life and Spring, he really is a pleasure to watch because he is such a happy dog.

Happydog

Brutus the happy boy Photograph by Samantha Rose

‘Brutus, come here boy’ I called out to him.

Looking confused he cocked his head to the side still with his furry snake in his mouth but obligingly walked over to me with his bottom wriggling because he was so pleased to see me after my day at work.

‘Love you Mum’ Brutus said happily and washed my face to demonstrate that fact.

‘Love you right back Brutus’

‘Brutus, I have something to tell you.  You know Rumble was in hospital because he was very sick?’ I asked him.

‘Yes but he is better now, I sent him a get well card that I made myself’ Brutus said proudly.

‘Brutus, Rumble crossed over to Rainbow Bridge today because he just got too sick and couldn’t fight it any more’.

Brutus dropped his green snake and looked at me with his bottom lip quivering.  ‘But you said that he would get better?’

‘Well he did for a while but he could only fight it for so long’ I said to him.

‘But he can’t be gone, he was my hero?’ Brutus stuttered looking totally devastated.

‘He can still be your hero Brutus, that doesn’t have to change.  You wouldn’t want him to suffer would you?’

Trying to be brave, Brutus replied in a quiet voice ‘No, no I wouldn’t have wanted that’.  Then shoving me out of the way, Brutus made his way in to the house and back to his bedroom and picked up his fluffy rabbit and started to chew on it for comfort.

Brutus crying

Brutus looking devastated Photograph by Samantha Rose

‘You OK buddy?’ Rocky asked Brutus who now had his back turned to us and was facing the door in his room.

‘Yes, I am fine’ Brutus said in an uncharacteristically formal voice.

Staring at him for a few minutes, Rocky nodded ‘Well if you are sure…’ and then walked away to his bed while occasionally looking back at the large brown dog curled up in a ball on his bed.

Brothers

Rocky shows concern for his brother (see brown feet above) Photograph by Samantha Rose

Later that night

Everyone was asleep except for Brutus who was curled up under his blanket while clutching a photograph of his hero in one paw and his Tony Abbott doll in the other.

‘Who do I have now? Who can teach me to be a good boy?’ Brutus asked himself, ‘How will I know how to be a good boy now that Rumble has gone?’

In Brutus’s eyes, you have to have someone to look up to, someone that you aspire to be like.  I didn’t dare shatter his illusions and tell him that he wouldn’t ever make police dog grade but hey, he did no harm in his hero worship of Rumble.

And there he remained, curled up in a tiny ball on his bed fretting over who would guide him now?

Brutus crying in his toys

Brutus gets comfort from his precious Tony Abbott doll Photograph by Samantha Rose

The next morning..

Rocky and Brutus were having their breakfast, Gordon was reading his newspaper ‘The Ginger Times’ and doing the crossword.  Being an elderly cat, he had taken to wearing half rimmed spectacles to help him see better.

Gordy and Rocky

Gordon and Rocky read the newspaper Photograph by Samantha Rose

‘Here Brutus, have you seen this?’ Rocky barked to his brother.

‘Seen what?’ Brutus sighed, he was exhausted from lack of sleep from the previous night.

‘See for yourself’ Rocky said firmly and handed him our local newspaper (yes – dogs read newspapers).

‘What, I can’t see anything?’ Brutus said in a disinterested voice.

‘Look closer’ Rocky replied.

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Photograph screenshot of the WA news

Brutus took a closer look at the newspaper and read about how WA cop dog Jimmy had caught yet another criminal and had even shrugged off a kick in the head and carried on until the criminal had been restrained.

‘That is impressive’ Brutus nodded approvingly, ‘Oh my god he took a kick to the head and still caught the guy, now THAT is hard core’.

Brutus and Rocky then huddled up to discuss the heroics of Jimmy the cop dog and what they would have done had it been either of them taking a kick to the head.

‘I would have bitten his arse off’ Rocky said angrily.

‘I would have ripped his leg off’ Brutus agreed, ‘And eaten it’.

‘You would have cried and gone running to Mum and you know it’ Gordon shouted and totally ruined a special moment between two dogs where they can imagine that they are tougher and braver than what they really are.

‘So, who is this Jimmy then?’ Brutus muttered to himself as he grabbed his iPad to check out more on this cop dog.

‘Wow, Rocky – sounds like this Jimmy is pretty good’ said Brutus but quickly added ‘but not as good as Rumble’.

Later that afternoon I walked past Brutus’s bedroom which was messy as usual.  Tony Abbott lay on the floor with a partially chewed deer antler, his puppy teething key ring, the fluffy turkey and the penguin, his rabbit, pink fluffy pig, small bear and hedgehog in camouflage gear were scattered on the bed.

On the wall by Brutus’s bed were his favourite photographs that had been stuck to the wall in messy fashion.

Pictures of Brutus and Pippin Pringle drunk in a skimpies bar with whippet with no collars on, photos of Brutus and Vader having jowl licking contests, photos of Brutus at various Iggy parties and even some of him at Furbaby pet cafe with all the Iggies using him as something to climb on.

Even more photos of Brutus with all of his friends – Bundy the Samoyed, Benny and Isis the Pharaoh hounds, ‘Z’ the cop dog, Rocco, Fat Harry, Gigi, Bronte, Zara, Nica, Ayla, Ari, August, Dash, Mako, Bambi, Olive, Carlo, Cino, Pino, Fletch, Woody, Taia, Chewy, Starbuck  – to name but a few.

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Brutus’s photo collage in his bedroom Photograph by Samantha Rose

After spending about ten minutes checking looking at his photographs and laughing at one of Pippin and Brutus trying to do selfies but ending up with one of their genitals, I then noticed that next to a crumpled photograph of Rumble, was a new picture stuck to the wall – of Jimmy the cop dog.

Saying nothing, I closed the baby gate and walked back to the living room and watched Brutus and Rocky playing a game of chase outside.

‘Try and kick me in the head and let me see how I can fight back’ Brutus instructed Rocky who looked at him as though he were mad.

‘I can’t kick you in the head, I have dodgy hips – you know that, besides you would cry like a wimp if I did’ Rocky shook his head in disgust.

‘Jimmy the cop dog took a kick to the head and he still caught the bad guy’ Brutus said looking offended at being called a wimp.

‘Jimmy is like Rumble, he can do anything he wants to’ Brutus added and then squatted down to the floor and urinated down his own legs.

Rocky was about to reply with a suitable insult but then realised that after the devastation of Rumble dying and Brutus losing his hero, he had indeed found another one to look up to in Jimmy the cop dog.

And there is nothing wrong with that because after all, we all need a hero to look up to don’t we?

Dedicated to Police Dog Rumble

RUMBLE

Photograph taken from WA Police Facebook page

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright November 2015

 

Walk with me to the bridge (and by your side I’ll be)

Any pet owner that has had to have their animal euthanized can testify as to how difficult that decision was to make, but to stay by their beloved pets side while this is being done can prove to be too much for many people.

Some owners choose to leave their animal with the vet and some owners choose to stay with their pets when the time has come for them to be put to sleep.  There is no right or wrong decision, everyone has their own way of dealing with their own emotions and what one person can cope with, another can’t.

My first cat Bruno was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer while undergoing surgery to see why he was vomiting.  There was no option but to have him put to sleep and as I was a veterinary nurse at the time, I got to see him on the operating table to say goodbye before the vet sent him on his way to Rainbow Bridge.

I could not face staying with him as it was done, I don’t know why but I just couldn’t and that is something I never quite forgave myself for.  I know that he was asleep and knew nothing about it and yes, I know that I did the right thing – and the kindest thing, but it still to this day haunts me that I wasn’t there until the end.

For months afterwards I was haunted with images and nightmares that my precious Bruno was not really dead even though the rational side of my brain knew he was.

My second cat Juniper was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct just less than two years after we lost Bruno, she was also undergoing an exploratory operation to see why she was vomiting and once again we were cruelly hit with the cancer diagnosis.

‘Would you like to stay with her while I do it?’ The vet asked me.

There was no question about it, of course I had to stay with her.

Juniper was lying on a knitted multi colored blanket, still fast asleep from her anesthetic and her IV drip taped onto her leg.  I took in her soft and gentle face, pink nose leathers and stunning tortoiseshell markings, I felt the cool pink pads of her paws with the feathering in between the pads and memorized every inch of her while inside my heart was breaking at the thought of what I was going to witness.

Would she know I was there, would she know if I wasn’t?  Half of me wanted to run out of the surgery so that I couldn’t see the vet purposely ending my cats life.  But the other half was still hanging on to the pain of walking away from Bruno nearly two years before.

Why did I want to run away – self preservation for me? Why did I want to stay – to put right about how bad I felt for leaving Bruno or was it because it was the right thing for Juniper?  Who knows, possibly all of those reasons I guess.

I kissed her and hugged her as the vet injected into her IV drip and within a few minutes I could feel her tiny heart slow down until it stopped and that my friends, was my first ever time of what I term ‘walking my pet to the bridge’.

I recall crying so hard that I could barely breathe but I also remember feeling an immense sense of relief because it meant that cancer could no longer rob my tiny little cat of her health and cause her any more pain and suffering.

That was my first experience, the second was with my elderly whippet Rema who was in renal failure and although she looked healthy, she really wasn’t and on the day she went ‘to the Bridge’, she turned down a beef sausage and that was totally unheard of.  She looked into my eyes and silently screamed ‘I have had enough’.

I held her in my arms as the vet put her to sleep and once again I took in her scent, her fur, her grey muzzle and cloudy opaque eyes and then broke my heart as her larger than life character left her body at the same time that her heart stopped beating, leaving nothing more than a frail grizzled and skinny whippet lying on the table.

Was that really my dog?  She looked so tiny, I was sure she had been bigger than that or was that just her character?

Did Rema care that I was there?  I like to think she did.  She didn’t fight it, she relaxed in my arms and gazed up at me – and you can bet your sweet life she knew I was there and I like to think that she knew I had walked her to ‘the Bridge’.

Once again my heart was broken, the pain inside was tangible – why the hell was I putting myself through this again with Rema when it hurt so much with Juniper?  Now that begged a question.

I did it because I felt I had to, I did it because I regretted not doing it with Bruno, I did it because it was the final journey and I did it because I knew if I collapsed alone at home my pets would probably rather sit and die with me than escape to look for food elsewhere for their survival.

Now I am not judging anyone that feels unable to be with their pet on their final journey, it is a totally personal decision that only you as a pet owner can make.

I am purely describing it as someone that has not been there and also as someone that has been there.

For any pet owner, it is a painful and emotional thing to go through. Whatever you decide to do, I can guarantee that it will either hurt like hell to walk away and leave your pet with the vet, or it will hurt like hell to hold them as they die in your arms.

The right to say goodbye is denied to so many pet owners when their animal suffers a traumatic death and for me personally, if my pet has to go to Rainbow Bridge, then I will walk by their side to the gates.

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My precious little cat Juniper

The End

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright September 2015

Lure Coursing, breaking barriers and greyhound dramatics

10330344_10204119960096596_7112504982245364946_nThe poster that we all love to love and look forward to

(West Coast Dog Sports)

The day they had all been waiting for had arrived – yes you got it, it was lure coursing day at Kings Meadow Polo Grounds, Guildford.

As the last event had been cancelled, the dogs were more than ready for this and all you could hear was barking, yelping and sounds of boxer dogs flicking their snot everywhere and cries of ‘Vader has your tongue grown?’.

Because at this event there were more boxers than ever before and to be quite honest – the boxers stole the show.

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Vader the boxer (and his tongue)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Brutus was upset that his Pharaoh hound boyfriend ‘Benny’ wasn’t there and even more so that Mouse wasn’t. They all get attached to each other you see and the slightest change in their routine can have them getting into more states than Australia.

‘Hi Mac, Hi Bailey’ Brutus said confidently as he rocked up to where they were crated.

‘Piss off’ Bailey snapped and put his head down – he was in a bad mood as Dee had foiled his plans to pull of a sausage heist and had made sure that whatever would blow over, it would not be their crates to enable their bid for freedom and food.

Brutus and Vader had turned up wearing their finest clothes – Vader was dressed as Superman and Brutus was dressed as a life guard which was laughable really as Brutus has all the buoyancy of a house brick and the only thing he could save is food and even that is questionable.

Brutus lifeguardBrutus the life saver (in his dreams)

(photo by Dee Cole)

10592950_10152334849148317_338218557600371576_nBrutus ‘the brick’ (in reality)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

‘Vader! Over here!’ three boxers belonging to Vicki Clements were all dressed up in their costumes.   Yelling at Vader to get his attentions; Vader looked round they all flashed their bums at him and started farting, boxers are like that you see – they have farting contests and can generally emit foul smells to order, usually in a car with the windows closed on Tonkin Highway (ask Lexie).

‘Vader – let’s have a turd competition!’ Dibbley the boxer shouted to Vader who grinned back at him just as Lexie said that no, there would be no ‘turd competition’ and to stop being so disgustingly juvenile.

Vader superdogVader as ‘Superdog’

(photo by Dee Cole)

You know that all boxer dogs speak in the same kind of slow voice, as though their tongues don’t fit in their mouth? (which of course they don’t), well imagine when a group of boxers meet and all of them talking in the same ‘full tongued’ kind of voice, all sounding slow and very special in a boxer kind of way and you will just about get the idea.

10551033_683596241728425_297137429613025875_nVader’s special magic ever-growing tongue 

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

I will say that in their favour; Boxers try ever so hard to be good but most of the time it just doesn’t happen – you can ask Dozer the boxer as he ate his way out of his soft crate and escaped to the sounds of the other boxers cheering and clapping and Vader yelling ‘Go on my son!’ and wriggling their bums as Dozer ran around the polo grounds shouting ‘Boxers rule the world!’.

Vicki boxer

Dozer the boxer (and crate breaker)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

But as you know, at every single lure coursing meet at least one dog has to escape and if at all possible, roll in horse shit for good measure – it’s The Law and today there was going to be more than one escapee and I shan’t tell you who it is as yet, you will have to be patient and wait.

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No such thing as a mature/sensible boxer!

(Photo by Dee Cole)

The Iggy Stand (hub of activity and generally where it all happens)

Rocco was sitting in his crate and swearing as usual, each dog that dared to go past him was duly told to ‘Piss off’ and insulted and even when no dogs walked by Rocco, he decided to swear at the invisible ones instead. IMG_6577

Rocco (fights with his invisible friends)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

All dogs have invisible dogs to swear at and blame for things so just in case you see your dog barking at fresh air, it is probably an invisible dog that has wound them up or something.

‘You know if I wasn’t in this crate I would eat you and rip your legs off limb by limb!’ Rocco shouted at an invisible American Staffie who just looked back at him and said ‘Yeah, really? and I could pull your legs apart like a wishbone’

‘Your mother is nothing but a street mongrel from Battersea Dogs Home!’ Rocco yelled before Madam Gigi had to gently remind him that Battersea Dogs Home was in London and that invisible dog friends had no parents.

‘Do you like my dress?’ Bronte asked Fletch who blushed before checking to see if Pippin was watching – he wasn’t so Fletch took an admiring glance up Bronte’s dress and nodded in approval.

‘Very nice, SpoiledBratz?’ Fletch asked knowingly – he is SO ‘up’ on his fashion is Fletch and what he doesn’t know about Prada or Gucci is not worth knowing.

Fletch can often be seen in his home with a tape measure around his neck and holding pins in his mouth as he measures the other Iggies for outfits – a bit like a doggy version of that guy Gok Wan the fashion expert.

‘Of course, where else?’ Bronte grinned and then immediately spotted Brutus in the distance and very quickly decided to turn her attentions to him as she had developed quite a crush on the big fella.

‘Brutus! Over here!’ Bronte shouted in her high pitched Iggy voice. Putting her slim paws in her ears; Madam Gigi shook her head and muttered something about ‘there is no need to shout’. Madam Gigi

Madam Gigi (not impressed with the shouting)

(Photography by Gwynneth Cavilla)

Ignoring Madam Gigi’s look of disgust, Bronte galloped across the grass to see Brutus so that he too could take a peek up her dress, after all with a bottom as cute as hers, who wouldn’t want to have a look?

‘Really she is such a flirt’ Fletch said with his lips pursed into a disapproving shape – a bit like a cats bum. Fletch

A disapproving Fletch (look at that cute little Iggy bum!)

(Photography by Denise Pringle)

‘I think it is time for me to faint’ Nica said and then looked around for her team to assist her by holding her ears back.  Apollo was even trained to carry bone flavoured smelling salts to bring Nica round, providing a suitable audience was there of course as Iggies love dramatics and a good audience is essential. Nica

Nica (can faint and vomit with the best of them)

(Photography by Francesca Perino)

But soon all thoughts of fainting went clean out of Nica’s head when she sighted Enzo in the car playing Pavarotti and pretending to be Italian.

Standing there with his tiny Iggy chest puffed out, he waived his arms about and sang in his best opera ‘Pavarotti’ voice while playing ‘Nessun Dorma’ on the car stereo.

The other Iggies clapped and cheered and some of the girls even threw their panties at him and those that were not wearing panties threw their collars instead. Enzo

Enzo (talks Italian and likes Pavarotti)

(Photography by Gabrielle Gill)

‘Enzo darling – how are you?’ Nica shouted as Enzo grinned back and kissed her on both cheeks in a very European way. ‘Looking fabulous as always my beautiful girl, let’s talk opera’ Enzo said in his fake accent.

‘Yes let’s’ Nica said and then clicked her paws to a random whippet and shouted ‘Can someone get us some dog-o-cinnos please’.

By the way, please don’t be surprised at Enzo’s love of opera, all Iggies love opera and singing and can do it beautifully.

Pippin happens to run the Iggy choir where they all gather once a week to practice their singing and in a gang of pointy snouts, they sing their souls out whilst wearing tiny starched white ruffles around their necks like the choir boys at Christmas.

One time Brutus was invited to the Iggy choir at Pippin’s house but only once as it didn’t turn out very well when Brutus ruined the whole event with his ultra deep voice.

By the time the song had finished, there was just Brutus left singing ‘All things bright and beautiful’ with such enthusiasm that he hadn’t noticed that the other Iggies were standing there looking on in horror at him singing in his deep voice with enough volume to fill St Pauls Cathedral.

‘Could you hear that OK?’ Brutus grinned proudly afterwards. choir dog

Brutus singing choir songs (better suited to the ridgeback choir – according to Pippin)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Poor old Pippin had stuffed toilet roll in his ears and gave Brutus a pained smile and replied ‘Yes Brutus, we heard it’ and then gently advised him that whilst he isn’t suitable for the Iggy choir, he could probably join the ridgeback one.

Rocco had no such tact and told him that he sounded like an elephant being castrated and as Brutus is still at the sensitive stage, he didn’t take it very well at all.

But that – as I often say, is another story entirely and as usual, I am digressing (so much to write you see and so many characters banging in my imagination to get out).

*Back to the race day*

Bronte had taken a momentary break from flashing her bum and was standing with a whippet looking at a catalogue for new clothes.  She was hoping that her Mum Denise would go on the next SpoiledBratz auction to get her some more cool stuff.

Actually Bronte would have rather liked some clothes from London and had seen a very nice dress with the Crown Jewels on it amongst other trendy clothes; but she hadn’t worked out a way to get Denise to buy them for her – yet.

‘This is all highly naughty, disorganised and irregular’ Pippin said fretfully as he tried to get the Iggies to behave and have some respect which was hard when Nica was flirting with Enzo and Bronte was still looking at the catalogue for new clothes while Brutus was admiring her ‘lady-garden’ under her dress.

Really when did they get so naughty and perverted? Talking of perverted, we won’t discuss Pippin’s penchant for humping male dogs in any which way he and because that would embarrass Pippin and I wouldn’t want to do that but I have actually seen it for myself.

‘Excuse me everyone, let us have a ‘pre race’ meeting so we can get organised.  Let’s stop all this nonsense and line up’ Pippin said using his ‘Don’t mess with me’ voice.

‘Rocco, what on earth do you think you are doing?’ Pippin demanded as he saw Rocco rolling around in his crate snarling like something rabid and angry.

‘Bashing the crap out of this invisible dog’ Rocco shouted ‘He is trying to kill me, but don’t worry, I got this covered’

Shaking his head in disbelief, Pippin picked up his mobile phone and resigned himself to a game of Candy Crush while he sat at Denise’s feet as she rubbed his ears. Hannibal Rocco

Rocco fighting with his invisible friends

(Photography by Jeni Sach)

Brutus – (high school jock and a letterman sweater)

It was to be Brutus’s first time doing the full course and whilst I would like to tell you that he took those corners like a gazelle and ran like a professional, that would be lying. Because I very quickly learned that not only does Brutus not ‘do’ corners; but he doesn’t appear to have a ‘stop button’ either. 10369915_665925536828829_4846034155693857016_n

Brutus (finger clicking flirter)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

He has also developed this rather embarrassing habit that I am almost too ashamed to admit to you but hey, you guys are like my family so here goes nothing.

Brutus is reaching sexual maturity and has just discovered that young hot bitches like him despite the fact that he has no testicles.

He is a very handsome dog and he incites giggles and flirtatious behaviour from the lady dogs wherever he goes.  (Some have even thrown their dog collars at him to get his attention). 10447056_663023523785697_7934537613617115507_n

Brutus (taking names and taking numbers)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Well when he did his solo race, he galloped by the side of the barrier and was clicking his fingers like one of the ‘High School Jocks’ in the movie ‘Grease’ – you know the ones on the sports pitch that wear Letterman sweaters.

‘Hey ladies, how are you doing, lunch tonight – my place?’  Much to the amusement of the group of female dogs at the side.

A Scottie dog called Penny pursed her lips to a ‘cat bum’ shape and said ‘Ohh, he is a bit forward isn’t he?’ in her Scottish accent and then immediately blushed when Brutus clicked his fingers, pointed at her and said ‘Loving your beard Ms Scotland!’

‘Oh you cheeky wee thing’ Penny the Scottie dog giggled and then remembered her breeding and that ‘nice dogs’ didn’t flirt back, at least not on the first date and they certainly never removed their collars for a boy.

Now I have no idea who has been teaching Brutus this but he is like a walking ‘chat-up’ machine as he runs along, winking, waiving and collecting phone numbers, panties and pink collars.

On one occasion a pretty female dog even threw her dog collar with address tag at him and said ‘Hey, call me!’ Someone told me that it was Rocco that taught him this trick, but others have said it was Vader which I don’t believe as Vader couldn’t possibly make clicking noises without his tongue falling out and slapping him violently.

So my money is on Rocco as I heard Pippin reprimanding him for teaching Brutus how to say ‘Show us your teats’.

Anyway, the second run for Brutus was with his beloved friend Vader and is always good for a laugh.  It was their first time running together on the full proper course and Brutus was showing off doing star jumps and press ups to make himself ‘match fit’ while Vader allowed his tongue to fall out and then lift it back in while insisting that it surely constituted as a warm up?

Dee Cole released Brutus and Lexie released Vader and I just stood there nervously with the camcorder so I could video the whole ‘event’, or should I say ‘scene’ as that is a far more suitable word. Brutus and Dee

Brutus and Vader – ready to race!

‘Ready Brutus?’ Dee asked the big clumsy brown dog.

‘Yep, bring it on – I am going to ‘do the Mouse’ and set the field alight (Mouse Norris taught him to say that).

‘Ready Vader?’ Lexie asked Vader who was trying to organise his tongue in his mouth so he didn’t trip over it.

‘Yeth’ Vader replied – ‘Yeth’ is said with your fat tongue between your teeth and if you say it now, you will know how Vader talks.

Suddenly the lure started and the boys were released!  My heart was bursting with pride, praying that Brutus would not social butterfly with the other dogs and do his embarrassing winking thing.

‘Ohhh, it’s Brutus!’ Penny the Scottie dog said in an excited voice while some whippets giggled near by and clapped.

PennyPenny the Scottie dog (a ‘Tartan’ breed of dog according to Vader)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Now if you imagine a Scottish person saying ‘Brutus’, it would be said rolling the ‘r’s and sound something like ‘Brootus’.  If you have trouble saying it in a Scottish voice, just ask a nice Scottish person to say it for maximum effect.

It all started off well, my heart was bursting with pride but then suddenly Brutus shouted ‘Oh shit, it’s a corner, what do I do?’

Brutus and Vader

Vader and Brutus (a promising start – where did it all go wrong?)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘You turn it Turd Legs’ Mac shouted from the distance while Bailey spat his water all over the puppies while laughing.

‘Did he just ask what to do with a corner? Are you sure he is half ridgeback?’ Mac asked Bailey who replied ‘Yes he did ask, yes he is half ridgeback but you have got to admit the lad is funny’  Mac nodded his head and agreed.

Mac and Bailey playing

Mac and Bailey (they love Brutus really)

(Photography by Dee Cole)

‘How do you do a turn Vader?’ Brutus asked but Vader was long gone and had taken to the course like a natural and had secured his tongue in his head and ran his heart out to the cheers of Vickie Clements boxers who were shouting their support in very slow but loud voices as boxer-snot was flung everywhere.

‘Someone help me, I can’t stop!’ Brutus cried and then ran straight under the barrier to the amusement of everyone watching while Penny the Scottie dog covered her eyes and said ‘Oh dear, Oh dear – poor Brootus!’ (Brutus)

The Samoyed who is a regular fixture on the lure coursing circuit and is the self appointed ‘Town Crier’ was now shouting ‘stampede, loose dog!’ and barking her head off to everyone telling them to get to the shelters to save their own lives and that of their puppies.

Brutus fence breakerBrutus – unable to take a corner and unable to stop

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Does anyone know where I am?’ Brutus yelled as his legs carried him outside the containment fence. Galloping along resembling a wonky donkey, people were laughing and cheering him on. ‘Vader, where am I?’ Brutus shouted, pretending not to be embarrassed, as though it were all part of the ‘big plan’ but secretly he was farting himself with nerves as his legs wouldn’t stop running and he found himself chasing the lure from the wrong side of the fence.

Brutus fence breaker Aug 2014Brutus (where am I?)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Yeah! go on my son!’ A large Saluki shouted from the sidelines as a gang of terriers barked insults at various invisible dogs, but don’t mind them, they were just having a ‘short dog syndrome’ episode.

Several of the Iggies had gathered round to watch Brutus joining the ranks of the ‘break free’ club which was started by the black Afghan that my husband compares to a black silken cloth floating down the race track.  Now when that dog escaped it was quite spectacular – especially when it rolled in horse shit, my husband still laughs about that.

Cloth dog Aug 2014The famous Afghan hound – AKA ‘the silken cloth dog’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Brutus has broken out!’ Fletch shouted excitedly as Pippin looked up from what he was doing and tried to keep a straight face.  This was the one thing that every single dog aspired to do and that was to break out from the containment fence and have a good old run round a polo field and if they can find horse shit to roll in then that is a bonus.

‘Good job!’ Pippin grinned and then remembered his position of sensibility in society and that he had a reputation to uphold.

(sounds of Italian greyhounds giggling)

‘Oh my god our very own Brutus has broken out’ Rocco roared and at that point was so proud that he forgot to argue with his invisible friend and started to bark with excitement.

‘Brutus where are you?’ Vader shouted while looking round for his friend.

At that moment the girls opened the barrier for Brutus to run back in to and rejoin Vader.  As he went back in everyone clapped and cheered him while Brutus muttered ‘Thank God for that, I thought I would never find you!’

‘Let’s play!’ Vader grinned and then flicked his tongue on Brutus’s back leaving a trail of mucous and snot that could easily stick up wallpaper.

‘Yee ha! Did I win? – this has to be worthy of the Good Boy Award!’ Brutus shouted happily as he and Vader ran around each other joyously oblivious to everyone else.

‘That was so much fun, can we go again?’ Vader replied and then tried to pick his tongue back up as it fell out of his mouth on to the grass.

Vader snot Aug 2014Vader and Brutus playing on the race track – check out the snot on Brutus

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Now that, was priceless!’ Bailey said to Mac who was laughing so hard that he actually pissed himself.

‘Who is due to escape next?’ Bailey asked Mac who was cleaning himself up.

‘Oh that’s easy – It’s Melissa’s Staffords’ Mac nodded, ‘Can’t wait for that one’

Bailey laughed and took a drink of water from his bowl before spluttering it out through his nostrils as he was still laughing about Brutus.

Penny the Scottie dog (the pelmet on wheels with a fine set of ‘furnishings’)

Penny the Scottie dog who has been mentioned before was turning out to be quite a character on the race circuit.

With what can only be described as an ‘angry’ beard and a ‘furious’ set of eyebrows, the solid little black terrier stood proud in her white collar with red trim and black Scottie dogs printed down the side, finishing the look with a black and pink harness on her back.

Whilst our little lure coursing club is very multi cultural in terms of doggy nationalities, very few of the other dogs had heard a Scottish accent before and when Penny started to talk, they all stopped to listen.

(Imagine the following being spoken in a soft Scottish Highlander accent)

‘Well it is all very nice here isn’t it, what are we meant to do – chase that plastic bag?’ Penny asked and then started to rifle around in her handbag and offer some Scottish treats around to the other dogs.

‘Would you like a sweetie?’ Penny asked the other dogs who were looking back in amusement.

What on earth is a ‘sweetie’? – they were all wondering but if it went in your mouth then it couldn’t be that bad, unless it was a heart-worm table and then you had to be pretty desperate to enjoy one of those (OK, Brutus enjoys them but don’t tell him I told you that).

Before Penny had the chance to hand out any more ‘sweeties’ as she called them, she was led up to the starting point to start her race.

‘Excuse me young man, could you not look at my bottom!’ Penny said in a firm no-nonsense Scottish accent at a young ridgeback that had never seen such a furry anus in all his life.

‘OK, how hard can this be, hold on a minute, could somebody please tidy up the course, there is a plastic bag left lying around’ Penny demanded to nobody in particular.

‘The plastic bag is meant to be there, that is what you chase!’ shouted one of the greyhounds while the others laughed.

‘Well if you don’t mind, it is all very untidy and I like to keep a clean house’ Penny replied.

Penny actually reminds me of my Scottish friend Sandra and trust me on this, there is nothing quite like Sandra when she is on a cleaning mission and once the cleaning mission has ended, she is on an ironing mission and even irons underpants, in fact she would iron visitors if they stood still long enough and nobody had facial creases in her house.

You simply do not mess with a Scottish person on a cleaning mission because there is nothing quite like being told off by someone with a Scottish accent.

Before she knew it Penny’s owners had released her to chase the lure and all thoughts of handing out ‘sweeties’ and tidying up the grass had gone out of her head and she ran as fast as her stumpy legs would carry her.

‘Oh dear, oh dear, where did the plastic bag go?’ Penny squeaked in a high pitched voice as she glided down the track looking like like she was on wheels where her legs were hidden by the ‘Scottie dog’ traditional ‘furnishings’.

‘That looks like a curtain pelmet on wheels’ Rogue the staffie said looking highly confused.

‘You leave her furnishings alone!’ said a miniature schnauzer looking somewhat insulted as he had some pretty fine ones himself.

Rogue looked at Millie who was staring at Penny in awe and whispered ‘Pelmet on wheels’ and then added ‘But super cute all the same’. Penny 2

‘Penny – the pelmet on wheels’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

And for her first time at lure coursing, she did very well indeed and by the time she had finished her run, quite a gang of dogs had gathered round the barrier to cheer her on.

‘Well that was very nice thank you’ Penny gasped as she was led off the track looking somewhat dishevelled, and then added ‘Can I do it again?’

‘What breed of dog is that?’Millie the border collie asked Vader.

Vader who was trying hard to impress Millie, replied confidently ‘A tartan one’. Looking more than a little puzzled, Millie mouthed the word ‘Tartan?’ and wondered whether or not to question Vader but decided not to.

After all Vader was a dog of the world and had been in Star Wars movies and even Superman movies, that is what he told her and if he said it was true, then it had to be.

Astro the greyhound (AKA – the ‘pole breaker’)

Astro the greyhound is as serious about lure coursing as Abigail who won the ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ contest.

Nothing stops Astro and when I say nothing, I mean it literally as Astro is a true sportsman as most greyhounds are.

I was standing by the fence and actually saw this happen and it was almost in slow motion for me as I prayed that this dog would not hurt himself and how he didn’t is nothing short of a miracle.

Astro ran with such passion and all the other greyhounds were cheering him on as they always did when quite suddenly he hit one of the plastic poles that had a wooden stick inserted through it that was stuck in the ground.

‘Oh shit!’ Astro shouted and before he could say anything else, he jumped high into the air as the stick snapped in half through the tubing and part of it came out.

‘I can’t look, is he OK?’ Brutus asked Vader nervously. Vader didn’t reply as he had covered his own eyes while little Millie the border collie was nervously looking around wondering whether or not to go down and help but as her Mum had just bought a bacon roll, Millie thought it safer to remain where she was and ‘assist’ her Mum in eating it.

Astro Aug 2014

Astro – the pole breaker!

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘It’s OK everyone, it’s OK!’ Astro shouted as he quickly regained composure, looked at the broken fence post as though it had assaulted him before continuing the course like a ‘boss’ as the other dogs clapped and cheered in support.

‘Impressive, highly impressive’ said Mac as Bailey nodded in agreement.

‘It’s turning out to be quite good today I reckon’ Amira the ridgeback thought to herself before leaning around to wash her arse in a most un-ladylike fashion.

‘Nice one Astro, nice one!’ Brutus and Vader congratulated the greyhound as he was led off the course after finishing his run.

‘Phew! that was close – nearly made myself into a spit-roast’ Astro laughed nervously as his long legs were literally shaking from shock as his owner took him away to get a drink and thank his lucky stars he was OK.

‘Did someone say food?’ A chunky Labrador that had heard the words ‘spit-roast’; asked  after being momentarily roused from his slumber as all good Labradors have to be on the lookout for food in whatever form it takes.

Abigail – (it’s only a flesh wound)

Abigail as you may remember, won the Fastest Dog in Australia competition.  A senior greyhound with a passion for lure coursing, food and cuddles from her Mum. Abigail 1 Aug 2014

Abigail – ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ title holder

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Are we good to go, can I go yet?’ Abigail said in a manic voice as the other greyhounds had formed a crowd by the fence to support their friend.

When greyhounds do lure coursing, there is always a crowd at the side and it is usually a flurry of pointy snouts nodding sharply to the point they could almost be weapons of ‘snout destruction’.

‘Remember, if in doubt – chase it, if it doesnt stop chase it and if in doubt chase it again and if not, piss on it’ One greyhound said confidently while the others agreed passionately.

‘Good luck Abigail!’ Pippin shouted and gave the black greyhound the ‘thumbs up’ sign.

‘There goes our pride and joy of WA’ Pippin said proudly and suddenly wished that Mouse Norris was here to add her support.

Actually Abigail is a joy to watch on the track and really does enjoy the whole lure coursing experience. She and Mouse Norris have been known to meet up after dark and discuss racing tactics and ways of improving themselves.

When Mouse did her entry for Fastest Dog in Australia, Abigail broke free from her owner and gatecrashed Mouse’s session as she ran and while Mouse tried to ignore her, Abigail wasn’t having a bar of it and and thoroughly enjoyed herself running up and down trying to get the lure while Mouse told her to ‘piss off’ and pretend she wasn’t there.

Abigail fastestAbigail with her trophy – age is no barrier for this girl

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

Abigail was released for her turn and as the lure went past with Abigail in hot pursuit; I had the pleasure of watching her gallop with ease across the track whilst shouting ‘Catch me if you can losers!’

At first I didn’t realise what she had done but I saw her suddenly limp with her front left leg and then with her right hind leg.

‘I am OK, I am OK!’ Abigail cried as she lifted each leg in turn to try and carry on while shouting  ‘Shit that hurts, I am OK! let me at that lure!’

It didn’t take a genius to see that she had really hurt herself but the adrenaline had kicked in and Abigail wanted to complete her race.  Thankfully she was caught and reluctantly forced off the course, I say reluctantly – she was swearing her head off and using worse language than Rocco fighting a team of invisible dogs.

‘Oh no, she has hurt herself!’ One of the greyhounds gasped and then beckoned Pippin over to take control of the situation.

Grabbing his mobile phones and a tiny Iggy sized first aid kit containing nothing but a bandaid as that was all he could carry, Pippin ran down to the track just in time to see Abigail being carried off by her owner to the car to be driven to the emergency vet.

‘It’s OK, it’s just a flesh wound – I will be fine, who needs toes anyway, they are overrated!’ Abigail ranted loudly.

The Samoyed (AKA ‘The Town Crier’) was already on the case and had invented her own version of events and was shouting ‘The greyhound has lost all of her legs but don’t worry, she can still win the greyhound Derby!’ Samoyed 2

The Samoyed – ‘Town Crier’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘What – all of her legs, really?’ Monty the Brussels Griffon gasped.

The Samoyed nodded and replied firmly ‘Yes Abigail has lost at least 6 of her legs in that race’.

Monty ran up to his brother Dozer the boxer ‘Dozer, do dogs have 6 legs?’ Dozer couldn’t think of a reply so he choked on his tongue as he tried not to laugh as that was a question that made even a boxer sound intelligent. MOT

Monty – a dog of many legs

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Lure coursing newsflash – greyhound injured, call the medics!’ the Samoyed shouted to a puzzled audience of Italian greyhounds and of course all the dramatics were enough to make Nica faint in a ‘pile of Iggy’ and Enzo bring her round with his handsomeness.

Things were somewhat more subdued after Abigail was carried off, even the Samoyed had stopped announcing stuff and couldn’t think of anything to talk about and that my friends is saying something.

The Great Iggy Run

Every lure coursing meet the Iggies have their own race ‘The Great Iggy Run’ which usually has a few humans in it for good measure.  It is the highlight of the day watching these tiny fragile dogs run at various speeds down the track and when their humans compete, it totally ‘makes’ it. Diana Anderson

Humans are welcome in the Great Iggy Run

(Photography by Diana Andersen – Animal Images Photography)

Brutus being their staunchest supporter, is always by the fence cheering them with his loud booming voice yelling as they run past.

It is always good to watch – especially Rocco who is known to shout ‘Bollocks, you are all fat and you are all ugly’ as he runs past the dogs watching at the side.

Bronte has been known to flash her ‘lady-garden’ and Pippin having won the Fastest Iggy in Australia, gets the cheers for doing the Iggy group proud. So it is good to watch and the little dogs look so comical as they run along, Fletch always waves to everyone as he goes by and the other Iggies just squeal with delight as this is THEIR time to shine.

If you ever get the chance to go to see them run, you will hear them squeaking in their high pitched voices – a bit like the little people in ‘Wizard of Oz’ where they sound as though they have breathed in large volumes of helium, really it is quite fabulous.

‘Your arse is grass’ Bronte said to Pippin, vowing to steal his title of fastest dog.

‘Who on earth taught you that profanity?’ Pippin demanded as he stretched ready to be released for the race. ‘Or don’t I need to ask that?’

‘Don’t look at me, why are you looking at me, I always get the blame!’ Rocco shouted in a voice that screamed ‘Guilty as sin’ and then shouted ‘Anal gland face!’ while Bronte giggled as it was indeed Rocco that taught her to say that and much more that Pippin didn’t know about yet.Iggy race

 The great Iggy race – highlight of the day

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Bronte actually beat Pippin in this run and did very well indeed.  Pippin cried ‘foul’ because Bronte wore such a short dress that it was suggested that the boys were led into temptation.

Madam Gigi and Nica were on Bronte’s side but Enzo and the rest of the boys were on Pippin’s but they have all insisted that there is no need for Bronte to stop wearing such short dresses as they are all entitled to a nice ‘view’.

Bronte Dress Aug 2014

Bronte in her dress

(Photography by Studio Joy)PippinPippin doing his race (the little dog with a big heart)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

 After the Great Iggy Run, all the Iggies all went back to the Iggy tent to regroup and Pippin was to be awarded his certificate for the Fastest Italian Greyhound in Australia and had to walk up to accept the certificate which made him blush as he was a humble dog that did not like ‘bigging’ himself up so to speak.

‘Speech! Speech!’ Rocco shouted while Fletch slammed his water bowl on the floor and replied ‘Here here!’ ‘Come on Pippin, give us few words!’

Madam Gigi smiled at the little Iggy that ran his group with a paw of iron but also looked on them as his family and he would do anything for them.

Bronte sat proudly in the corner wiping tears from her pointy face and tried hard not to openly cry.

Such displays of restraint did not go unnoticed by Nica who loved a bit of dramatics and decided to dig out a white silken handkerchief and cry as well.

‘You are not going to vomit are you?’ Bronte asked Nica, really there was no place for vomit at lure coursing because there was always another dog to eat the offerings and that ruined the dramatics of it all.

I mean what is the point in vomiting if some scabby dog is going to snarf it down straight afterwards so nobody sees it?

‘I would like to thank my servant (Mum) who buys me nice clothes from Spoiled Bratz and loves me.  I would like to thank my sister Bronte and everyone in the Iggy group and their owners that love me as much as I love them’.

Pippin looked round at the ‘Pointy snout brigade’ as he fondly referred to them –  greyhounds, whippets and Iggies all standing there to see him get his certificate and he was so proud he felt sure that his chest would burst.

‘Who wins the ‘Good Boy Award’? Bronte asked.

‘The same dog that always wins it as he is the only one that he can win!’ Rocco said while laughing.

‘Don’t be horrible Rocco, it’s his award and he loves winning it!’ Madam Gigi replied, Nica and Fletch nodded in support.

Pippin smiled and said in a voice loud enough for Brutus to hear ‘And the Good Boy Award for this month, goes to Brutus!’

Brutus who was washing his bottom, suddenly lifted his head up and said ‘Did someone say my name? Have I won the Good Boy Award, that is awesome!’

The Good Boy Award is something that has been invented just for Brutus as he doesn’t win any other awards and as he is so naughty to the point of cute, he qualifies for the Good Boy Award.

This gentle giant of a dog that doesnt have a bad bone in his body, he is scared of his own shadow and especially scared of the Iggies and although this dog has made my garden resemble a desert and eaten my plants, he is my ‘Good Boy’ and deserves this fictitious award.

‘To Brutus the Good Boy!’ Bronte shouted to Brutus as the other dogs all clapped for him.

Good boy

My favourite ‘Good Boy’ photo of Brutus

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Although the other dogs had to endure this pretend award at each race meet, not one of them really begrudged Brutus because it was worth it to see his face each and every time he received it because never has a dog been so grateful for recognition and acceptance as Brutus. Pippin and Brutus

Pippin checks out Brutus on the computer for the Good Boy Award

(Photography by Denise Pringle)

Pippin was about to finish up his speech but then remembered something important he had to say.

‘But one thing before before we all go home, please can we spare a thought to Abigail who has been rushed to the veterinary hospital with her injury that she got doing what she loves best and the reason why we are all here – lure coursing’.

One by one the greyhounds, the whippets, and the Iggies all started to clap and shout out ‘To Abigail!’. What started off as a smallish gathering started to spread as other dogs gathered round and they too started shouting ‘To Abigail’ until every dog on the track was saying it and it became so loud that any human would have had to be deaf and daft not to have heard and more to the point, understood what the those dogs were saying.

‘To Abigail!’ Brutus and Vader said to each other while Millie the border collie wiped the tomato sauce off her face from robbing her Mum’s burger, so that she could also pay her respects to the senior greyhound that injured herself that day.

And that was how the lure coursing day ended.

Abigail Update

Abigail was taken to the vet and given pain relief and X-rays which revealed two badly dislocated toes on her left hind and one minor dislocated toe on her front left foot.  She was sent home with her injuries strapped up and the injuries would be monitored. Abigail strapped

Abigail (strapped up after her injury)

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

Sadly for Abigail; a couple of her toes did not heal as well as was hoped and on the 25th September, she had to have her two middle toes amputated in order to give her the best chance of mobility and a normal life. Abigail Xrays

Abigails initial X-Rays

(X-Rays – Malibu Veterinary Hospital Radiology)

Like any finely tuned athlete, Abigail was somewhat pissed off with this, especially when Mouse Norris, Barbie and Bender offered to make her some callipers to assist her. This was made worse by Brutus offering to push her around in a wheelchair with a tartan blanket around her legs while Rocco could stand next to her with a tin demanding money for ‘dogs for the disabled’.

Bentley had gone one better and was suggesting that the Iggies tell everyone that Abigail lost her toes in the war but that idea was quickly quashed by Pippin.

Abigail recovery 2

Abigail after her anaesthetic (has anyone seen my tongue?)

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

 ‘How on earth will I manage without my toes?’ Abigail sobbed when some of the dogs came to visit her after her surgery.

Mouse was busy throwing dog biscuits at Rocco to incite a reaction so that she could tempt him into arguing with his invisible friend for a laugh while Bender was asking Bronte to pull his paw so that he could fart a selection of nasty smelling guffs.

Really though; it was no good trying to console Abigail about her missing toes, she was still drowsy and in pain and could not yet understand that the surgery had been done for the best.

‘Will you all still be my friend when I have my toes chopped off?’ Abigail asked Barbie. ‘Of course I will, don’t be daft – I don’t mind being friends with an amputee’ Barbie said firmly – she had actually decided that it would be quite trendy doing her bit for the disabled.

‘I can’t do lure coursing any more’ Abigail muttered drowsily to Pippin.

‘You might not be able to do it but you can still come and be the team mascot’ Pippin said thoughtfully.

‘That’s not a bad idea actually’ Rocco grinned, ‘We can put her high on a stretcher decorated in gold and carry her around’.

‘We can buy her a buggy and make it look like the Pope Mobile!’ Vader shouted, forgetting that he had put his tongue away for the night as it fell out and hit his chest.

‘Would you do that for me?’ Abigail said in a weak and tired voice, really her friends were just the best.

The dogs all looked at one another and smiled as Pippin said ‘Of course we would, you are our friend, why would we not help?’

‘You can sit at the Iggy stand and be like the Queen’ Bronte said excitedly.

‘And I can teach you how to vomit for effect’ Nica added.

‘Nica – no!’ Fletch and Apollo shouted out together just as Rocco rubbed his paws in glee at the thought of all those hungry dogs that could benefit.

And that was that, it was decided that one way or another Abigail would still go lure coursing and her friends would always be there to support her – just as it should be.

Thanks and acknowledgements

I would like to thank each and every dog owner and their dogs for coming to the lure coursing event and inspiring me to write about them.  I do try to include as many dogs as I can in different stories.

Thank you to West Coast Dog Sports for organising this wonderful sport and giving our dogs the chance to take part and for the owners to socialise and make such good friends.

Thank you to the Italian greyhound community as this breed of dog gets to my imagination more than any other breed.  Little dogs with huge characters and yes, Rocco really does argue with himself and Pippin is the organiser of them all.

Thanks to everyone that has supplied me with their photographs because they truly make the story come to life when you can put a face to a name.

Amy Joy – Studio Joy Photography

Amy Joy is one of the regular photographers at West Coast Dog Sports and works tirelessly to get the incredible and unique shots of our beautiful dogs.

Amy kindly allows me to use her watermarked photographs for my blog and for that I am grateful as she captures the moments that I describe just perfectly – for example, what happened to Astro the greyhound and Brutus when he escaped, not to mention Penny the Scotty dog floating down the track like a curtain pelmet.

Amy is a student at Curtin University studying Digital Design and Illustration and Photography Design. Not only is she building up her portfolio for her coursework but she is also now offering a professional service as a pet photographer.

This talented young photographer has made so many people happy with the outstanding photographs of their dogs, that owners are requesting personal shoots for their pets.

I have the pleasure of watching Amy work at lure coursing events and get to see the quality of the photographs that she takes and I would not hesitate to recommend her services.

If you live in Perth and are interested in booking a photo shoot for your pet, Amy’s details are as follows:

Amy Joy

M:                    0430 549 346

E:                      amyjoy2213@gmail.com

Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyStudioJoy

Charges are:  $100 for a 30 minute – 1 hour session which includes a disc with all the edited images on there. Amy will go to a location that suits the clients i.e. a park, beach, etc.

Help for Abigail and her Owner – Hannah Ruth Ogden

Abigail Aug 2014Abigail – any help appreciated

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Abigail’s veterinary bills as you can imagine; are very high – the amputated toes alone cost in the region of $1,000 and that is not including the initial emergency visit to the vets, strapping and follow up visits, pain relief, dressing changes and antibiotics etc.

Although Abigail’s owner has not asked for any financial help, I do happen to know that Hannah is struggling to find the money to cover the bills and when you don’t have a lot of money for whatever reason, this amount is a huge expense.

I also happen to know that Hannah loves her dog to distraction and if there is one thing that I will never forget and that is seeing Hannah’s face when she realised how badly Abigail was injured and watching her struggle as she carried her precious greyhound to the car.

Greyhounds are so easily discarded in the racing industry and Abigail is one of the lucky ones to have a good loving home with Hannah who obviously treasures this senior greyhound and the bond between them is clear for all to see.

Anyway, if you would like to help towards Abigail’s veterinary bills, any donations would gratefully be received.  Hannah’s bank account details are as follows:

Bank:              Bankwest

BSB:                306 097

Account No:    0377985 

As I have said, Hannah has not asked for anything; this is purely my idea.  I just know that things are hard for her at the moment and I also know what it is like to struggle.  It doesn’t mean we don’t love our pets any less, it doesn’t mean we are neglectful, it just means our situation has changed and we could use a little help.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright Sept 2014

All photographs remain the copyright of the photographers – please do not use, print or reproduce any of them without the consent of the photographer concerned.

The Night Before Lure Coursing August 2014

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It was the night before lure coursing and every dog in Perth had nervously gathered round their computers checking the weather on Facebook while praying that the rain would hold off so that their day of fun, hot dog consumption and ‘social butterflying’ could take place.

Bearing in mind that the last event was cancelled due to bad weather, the dogs still hadn’t gotten over that little episode as the whole thing was rather dramatic, especially when the ridgebacks crates were blown over and Dee’s ridgies escaped and were found in the kitchen along with a few substantially sized sausages but that is another story entirely.

At the House of Mouse

Mouse, Barbie and Bender had just come back from their extended holiday in kennels and having stuffed their faces and been rather lazy, it was decided that Mouse would not be competing in the lure coursing as she was out of condition.

10501703_718650281511884_4420443276249970110_nMouse Norris – threatening a hunger strike

(Photography by Jet Ska)

‘But I want to enter, they cannot possibly run the course if I am not there’ The little white greyhound sobbed dramatically and threw herself on the floor and pretended to faint while Barbie fanned her with a bit of paper and muttered ‘Now see what you have done!.

The mere thought of NOT lure coursing on Sunday was too much for Mouse to contemplate, perhaps they could erect a life size cut out in her absence or maybe she could be placed in a buggy and paraded up and down so people could cheer her on? She would ask Brutus and get his opinion.

It took a whole heap of comforting from her owner in order to calm her down and even the promise of another exploding bed could not placate her, she wanted to go to lure coursing and that was that and Mouse had already decided to go on a hunger strike for 2 hours to make a few ribs stick out – that would teach them!

Pippin’s House

Pippin was on his computer checking the weather page for updates.  As the last meeting was cancelled, every dog known to man had gone in to a serious decline as it had been so long since their last lure coursing meet up, would they even remember each other?

‘Well, it says it will be OK in the morning but in the late afternoon there could be showers, but nothing is carved in stone as they say!’ Pippin said firmly and then took a delicate sip of water followed by a wiping of his pointy snout on his fleecy blanket.

‘I heard at the last meet, that all the dogs were blown away and that Vader and Brutus were actually blown along with Melissa’s Stafford’s down the Nullabor’ Bronte said in a matter-of-fact voice.

Pippin rolled his eyes and replied ‘Don’t exaggerate Bronte, everyone knows that Melissa’s Stafford’s floated away across the field on a bench and that Dee’s ridgebacks ended up in QLD’.

Bronte sighed and peered over Pippin’s shoulders to check out the weather for herself, after all – if this event ends up getting cancelled, she might be forced to do ‘whizzies’ round the garden, but then again, she does that anyway so perhaps not.

(sounds of Pippin’s phone ringing)

‘Hello? Mouse, good to hear from you, how was the holiday – all ready for Sunday?’ Pippin said in a super efficient which he reserved as a ‘special phone voice’ to impress people.

‘What do you mean?  That isn’t possible – out of condition?, you have to come, even the lure won’t run without you!’ Pippin squeaked, his normal ‘cool’ reduced to flustered.  Pippin hated it when his routine was messed up, he was ‘Mr Organized’ personified and if Mouse wasn’t going to lure coursing then he would have to re-organize everyone’s diaries.

Placing his fountain pen behind his ears, Pippin pursed his lips and started checking his iPhone to see just what he could do to make things ‘fit’.  Actually Pippin didn’t need to make anything ‘fit’ as the day would run wonderfully – providing there was no rain, but you all know Pippin, he is a super organized ‘Personal Assistant of Life’ and would have God himself organized if he could, actually I believe he does have God organised as God told me he did.

But that was OK, Pippin still had Brutus and Vaders diaries to re-arrange not to mention keeping the other Italian greyhounds in order – especially Rocco who has dreadful Tourettes and can be seen on the lure coursing grounds swearing and barking at any dog that cares to listen and any dog that doesn’t and his favourite word is ‘bollocks’.

Pippin was secretly very excited about lure coursing because there is nothing quite like a gang of Iggies trying to run down the track, well we can’t count Fletch in this as Fletch makes it his mission to go as slow as possible.

It will also be Pippin’s first race since the ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ competition and the other Iggies have planned to cheer him on when it comes to his turn to run so as you see, it is all going to kick off on Sunday at lure coursing – providing of course, it does not rain.

IMG_6184Pippin – in charge of everything really!

‘Pippin?’ Bronte asked her little brother.

‘Yes Bronte?’ Pippin replied.

‘Do you think it will rain?’ Bronte sighed, her little face so pointy that you could have dipped her snout in ink and written the word ‘Iggy’ with it.

‘Don’t know Bronte, I just don’t know’ Pippin sighed and crossed his little paws so tightly and secretly prayed that the rain would limit to falling on Tony Abbott’s head.

At Vader’s house

Vader and Brutus were having a play date which normally involves pulling down the underwear on Vader’s toys (yes toys wear undies), running round the garden, humping one another, arguing over a cows hoof and urinating over each other.

10606318_684483248306391_3219564786319427487_nCaught with its pants down and yes, the dogs did it!

‘I don’t know what I will do if it rains, is there any way we can stop it?’ Brutus asked Vader before pissing on his head.  Brutus was feeling quite fretful and totally devastated at the thought of not seeing his friends, let alone trying out the full course which involved corners/turns.

Vader lifted his head and stared at his new invisible boxer friend that he called ‘Frugal McGuff’.

Yes, I am afraid that Vader has an invisible friend that he often barked with, played with and argued with and his name was Frugal and I can testify that as I often hear Vader barking at fresh air in his garden and have come to accept the fact that dogs have invisible friends too.

And please don’t laugh at this, I bet you all had invisible friends as a child – I know I did, mine was called ‘Mr Manager’ who lived in Switzerland which was actually a camp that my Dad built out of sticks in the lane.  I used to ride invisible horses around the estate with my best friend Nicola and we had the rising-trot down to an art form as well as slapping our thighs with a stick, but let’s not go there please as it is quite frankly embarrassing.

‘Vader do you love Frugal McGuff more than me?’ Brutus asked Vader.  That was a hard one as Vader really did seem to enjoy arguing with his invisible friend and could be heard from over the fence barking and growling at him or with him and this made Brutus feel very insecure indeed.  Brutus doesn’t have an invisible friend as such, but he does have a strange relationship with his toys and can be heard growling at them so I guess it is the same really.

Vader looked at Frugal and then at Brutus, he couldn’t quite make his mind up as Brutus was not with him 24/7 but Frugal McGuff could be wherever he imagined him to be.  Frugal never judged him for making his beds explode and Frugal even took the blame for Vader’s naughtiness and Frugal never took the piss out of Vader’s exceedingly long tongue that was comparable to a slice of Christmas ham – as to quote Denise Pringle.

10577070_10152272532608317_899915858575841282_nVader – tongue like a Christmas ham!

However, Brutus was his best friend and nobody pissed on his head quite like Brutus did so that had to be something to consider surely?

‘I love Frugal’ Vader said with his huge fat tongue getting in the way.  Brutus’s face crumpled; did he love him (Brutus) as well?

‘But I love you more and we will be best friends forever and ever!’ Vader grinned and then washed Brutus’s jowls which made Brutus so happy that he had no choice other than to piss down his own legs with excitement.

10551075_683596318395084_4256826329900557973_nBest friends forever and ever!

‘Vader?’ Brutus asked the little boxer.

‘Yes Brutus?’ Vader replied while trying to reorganize his tongue and make it fit in his mouth.

‘Do you think it will rain on Sunday?’ Brutus asked again, thinking if he asked the question often enough, it would emphasize just how important it was for it to NOT rain on Sunday.

 Vader looked thoughtfully at Brutus before picking up one of his toys, ‘Nope, I don’t think so’

‘But how can you tell?’ Brutus demanded impatiently.

‘Because it’s lure coursing day!’ Vader replied simply.

And nothing more was said on the subject as both boys decided to sniff the same spot of dirt to find out if anything exciting had left its mark since they last sniffed it five minutes ago.

Dee Cole’s House

Dee was busy making some of her famous cakes which she knew would go down well as they always did.  There are absolutely zero calories in her cakes, once you cut the cake the calories fall out and that has been scientifically proven by some expert so I hear.

Dee’s ridgebacks were pretending to be good dogs but secretly Mac was planning how he could do ‘the great escape’ again and was trying to orchestrate an enormous large gust of wind to tip the crates over.

This was proving a problem as gusts of wind are not that easy to come by and it is not as though you can buy them in ‘Big W’ either.  Then it was suggested that Brutus be fed some Savoy cabbage and baked beans so that he could create a suitable gust of wind.  But as Brutus is known to follow a fart by explosive diarrhoea, Bailey quickly corrected Mac and the idea was canned.  It was no good, they would have to find their way to the kitchen by other means.

‘I am so excited I might be sick’ Mac muttered under his breath so that the puppies couldn’t hear it.

‘I hope we have nice weather’ Bailey replied.

And with that both dogs said nothing, they just sat there staring at Dee as she baked cakes, while making secret plans for a mass crate escape and a hostile takeover of the kitchen area and BBQ and taking all the sausages hostage.

At Sandra Burrow’s House – QLD

Kath the greyhound, Barney the big brindle horse/dog mix and Ruby the kelpie were having a chilled night in round Sandra’s house while playing the ‘Guess who?’ game.

All the dogs had a piece of paper stuck to their forehead while the other dogs had to give hints as to what or who was drawn on the paper, it is actually a very popular game amongst the dogs you know.

‘It’s white, woolly, makes a baahahahah noise and it gets its feet nipped’ Ruby the kelpie yelled in excitement to Barney.

‘A tampon on a string!’ Barney shouted with such excitement that he let out a huge fart which embarrassed him so much that he started noisily cleaning his genitals so Kath couldn’t see him blushing.

‘Barney you are SO disgusting!’ Kath said and wrinkled her long slender nose in disgust.  Greyhounds simply do not fart, they let out ‘puffs’ of air that smell of Sunday dinner farts, or if you don’t have Sunday dinner, then compare it to pumpkin farts as they too can be quite vile to inhale.

‘No it’s a sheep silly, not a tampon!’ Ruby sighed impatiently and then ran around the living room to herd up the cushions to show Barney how it was done.

‘You lot are SO childish!’ Kath said, shaking her head in disapproval before jumping off the sofa totally forgetting that she had a white sticker on her head with ‘Celine Dion’ written on it.

‘Don’t you want to know who you are meant to be?’ Barney shouted to Kath who was now in the garden behind her favourite bush squatting down to take a piss.

Barney and Ruby were patiently waiting for Kath to finish her toileting so they could get on with their favourite game.

Kath sighed ‘If you must, give me a clue’, then proceeded to dig up the grass with her hind legs and scatter soil everywhere.

‘Horse face Titanic Canadian’ Ruby the kelpie giggled as she said the clue to Kath.

Looking confused Kath replied ‘What the heck are you on about Ruby?’

‘Horse face Titanic Canadian’ Ruby repeated.

‘I know, I know! Black Caviar the racehorse!’ Barney shouted.  Not being the brightest dog on the block and a little bit ‘Brutus’ in the way of ‘gentle giant but not so smart’ title, Barney was so excited that he could even put out a clue, despite him not grasping the game that it wasn’t his turn to guess.

‘I give up, let’s go inside – ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ is on shortly and I want to watch Dr Harry’ Kath said firmly and walked inside with her sticker still on her head.

Ruby looked momentarily boot-faced but then agreed that they should go in as it would soon be tea time and she too liked watching Better Homes and Gardens especially when sheep and naughty dogs were involved.

The three dogs took their places on their favourite chairs, Kath had put her spectacles on so she could watch TV, Barney was lying on his back while flashing his genitals and periodically farting in between washing his anus and Ruby the kelpie was cuddled up to her toy sheep and occasionally nipping it to ‘keep it in its place’.

‘You know what day it is tomorrow?’ Ruby asked Kath.

‘Sunday’ Kath replied without looking up and then said ‘Why?’.

‘It’s West Coast Dog Sports lure coursing day in Western Australia, remember the last day Noah had to get his arc out as the day was a washout and dog were blown away and were seen floating down the Swan River on wooden crates, that is what I was told’ Ruby replied.

Barney stopped washing his bum and looked up ‘Oh yes, I heard they were meeting up, I had forgotten about that’.

Kath nodded approvingly and said ‘Well I hope they have a good day, it is a total tragedy when these events get cancelled and dogs can go into full depression when their lure coursing days don’t happen’.

‘Well I hear that it is going to be a beautiful day in Perth that day, wish I could come and meet all those Perth dogs, don’t you Kath?’ Ruby sighed and then went back to chewing on her toy.

‘Right everyone, quiet now – Dr Harry is on and I want to see the segment on stopping dogs digging the garden’ Kath said firmly and then spread her hind legs out like butter and her front legs to the skies like Superman as she stretched out in true greyhound fashion.

(Sandra Burrows walks in the door)

‘Hi dogs, I hope you have been good – who has been farting in here, is that you Barney?’ Sandra greeted the dogs that she had so lovingly trusted to have a ‘doggy night’ on their own.

‘I’ve got it, I’ve got it!’ Barney shouted at the top of his brindle voice.

‘What have you got – fleas?’ Kath said impatiently.

‘Titanic Horse Face Canadian – Celine Dion’ Barney snorted with laughter and carried on snorting despite Ruby nipping his feet to make him shut up.

‘That is SO not funny, I hate Celine Dion’ Kath said sounding totally fed up, her pointy snout appearing more sharp with ‘pissed-off-ness’, pulling the note off her head with her front paws, Kath looked the epitome of a dog with all the wounded pride of being called ‘Celine Dion’.

‘I know, I know, Barney shut up, that is SO not funny’ Ruby said to Barney while trying not to laugh.

‘Yes it is’ Barney snorted with laughter and ran inside before Ruby could nip him again.

Suddenly Kath received a text message on her mobile, this was most unusual for so late this evening but it must be urgent.  Glancing down at her phone she saw the message ‘It’s me Pippin, I need to speak to you urgently!’

Kath who had Pippin’s number on speed dial, called the Italian greyhound to find out what the problem was.

‘Hi Pippin everything OK?’ Kath said in a concerned voice and then yelled ‘Barney will you stop it, I am trying to have a serious discussion with Pippin’ Kath said in her best superior voice.  She was looking over the top of her spectacles now which always heralded that she was cross.

‘Kath, I have just had some bad news – thought you should know….’ Pippin said trying very hard to be strong.

Barney and Ruby could see Kaths face change from her normal greyhound expression to one of great sadness and it was a look that each and every dog knew and understood and nothing more needed to be said.

‘Oh Pippin, I am so very sorry – give my regards to the group’ Kath said now looking visibly upset.

‘We have only just found out ourselves this evening Kath so it is a shock for all of us but I will keep you posted how it goes tomorrow, it is going to be quite a sad day and even the humans don’t know about our plans as they have been so last minute but suffice to say that tomorrow we will be officially racing for a reason’.  Pippin replied.

‘Well it is lovely what the West Coast dogs are planning, but I don’t envy you on keeping it together, I know I couldn’t’ Kath said quietly.

‘I am sure you could Kath, I am sure you could – anyway, speak soon’ Pippin nodded trying not to show any emotion but we all know Pippin, the harder Pippin tries to be, the more we know that he is hurting.

‘Oh, Pippin, just one more thing before you go!’ Kath shouted at the computer.

‘Yes Kath?’ Said Pippin.

‘Good luck mate – with everything and do it for all of us in QLD!’ Kath nodded and just for once, Ruby and Barney sat quietly behind her and said nothing.

‘You OK Kath?’ Ruby asked Kath.

‘Yep, just got something in my eyes, that is all – I think it is a bit of grass or something, damn grass gets everywhere’ Kath said quietly and shuffled off to her bed.

Ruby and Barney nodded in sympathy because if you looked at them; they also had ‘something’ in their eyes and they too, needed a quiet moment to reflect, remember and wish with all their hearts that they could be in Perth on Sunday to join their friends in what was going to be a remarkable act of canine solidarity and support.

At Vader’s House

Vader sat subdued by his bed – nothing interested him, not even his toys.  He didn’t know what to say so he said nothing and even saying nothing, even doing nothing – hurt him.

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Vader 

At Brutus’s House

Brutus and Rocky had also heard the news that had filtered via Pippin that evening and unable to process it, both dogs had gone to their respective beds to make sense of it all.

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Brutus and Rocky discuss the news

Brutus was hugging his Tony Abbott doll and Rocky was curled up with his gingerbread man, both boys were uncharacteristically quiet.

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When only his Tony Abbott toy will comfort Brutus

‘Rocky?’ Brutus whispered quietly.

‘Yes Brutus’ Rocky replied.

‘Will I be a brave boy tomorrow?’ Brutus asked.

Rocky took a deep breath before he replied ‘Yes Brutus, I am sure you will, and Vader will as well’

‘I don’t want to cry, what happens if I cry?’ Brutus asked Rocky.

You could just make out the shadows of Rocky’s huge kelpie ears as he sat up, the moon shone brightly into the living room making ‘kelpie shadows’ by Rocky’s bed.

‘All dogs cry and providing you cry when it counts, it makes you a brave dog so please don’t worry about it’ Rocky said to reassure Brutus.

‘I don’t care about the race, I just hope I am a brave boy tomorrow – that is all’ Brutus sighed.

‘I am sure you will be’ Said Rocky.

‘Goodnight Rocky’ Brutus sniffed a few minutes later.

‘Goodnight lad and do us proud tomorrow’ Rocky replied.

But Brutus never heard that bit as he was fast asleep while clutching his Tony Abbott doll and dreaming about lure coursing, how painful life can be and absent friends.

Winston

This story is dedicated to Winston who crossed over to Rainbow Bridge far sooner than he should have done.

I would like to thank Winston’s owner Vanessa, for kindly allowing me to pay this tribute to Winston whom I had the pleasure to see at the recent Lure Coursers Anonymous lure coursing event at the Naval Base near Rockingham.

Winston had such fun with his lure coursing and was a joy to watch and even won a trophy on the day.

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Winston proudly displaying his trophy.

(Photography by Vanessa Pusey)

Racing for a reason

So tomorrow we shall go to our lure coursing event, we shall have fun, we shall catch up with friends.  Our dogs will have fun and enjoy themselves and no doubt have a blast as they chase the lure.

But when they do it, my guess is that if I know the characters that frequent my stories and I think I do, they will not only run for themselves – but they will sure as hell do it for Winston and they will ‘race for a reason’.

Next instalment to follow.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright August 2014

All photography is copyright by myself, Jet Ska and Vanessa Pusey.