The Day Brutus Found His Bark

Brutus finds his bark

You may remember a story that I wrote about the garbage truck and how Rocky would start the ‘Dog Choir’ in notifying the dogs on our street that the evil garbage truck was out to eat all the dogs and their families.

Brutus would wait for Rocky to start and as soon as that pesky truck came from round the corner, Brutus would dance and prance around the garden and give his best bark to assist Rocky in the warning that everyone would be eaten and turned into recycling material.

It was serious stuff and it didn’t matter how well the dogs knew and recognised that this was a weekly thing, each and every time it happened, they would treat it like a new event.

Well since my darling Rocky has crossed over to Rainbow Bridge, Brutus has been lost in a way I have never seen him lost before. Even worse than he was with Gordon, my big brown gentle giant doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.

On the Tuesday after Rocky died, we heard the garbage truck coming and wondered if Brutus would bark at it. But no, Brutus tucked himself away in the kennel and you could just see the tips of his paws sticking out as he pretended that he was anywhere but the garden that provided him with so many memories of his kelpie brother.

The boys

Brutus and Rocky in happier times

Well a couple of weeks ago something happened and I am not going to kid you, it brought a tear to my eye and trust me there have been quite a few of those happening to me lately let me tell you.

Brutus was out in the garden just before the garbage truck was due. He really didn’t want to go out at all and I had to force him, after all there is only so long one can hold ones urine for.

‘Let him out, it’s for his own good’, my husband insisted as I was getting dressed.

Brutus looked so pitiful curled up on the sofa – which has now become his bed. Yes I know, it’s a new sofa and slowly getting wrecked by Brutus and Kevin but hey ho, this sofa isn’t a patch on my Rocky dog who will hold far more fond memories and love than any leather sofa ever could.

Brutus alone

Brutus in his chair

Anyway, I digress.

Forcing Brutus to go out into the garden for his morning pee, I left him standing outside for a few mins before he walked to his kennel, climbed in and went straight back to sleep (without taking a pee I might add).

You could see his little black eye tufts covering the slits of his eyes as he tried to imagine what his brother would be up to at Rainbow Bridge – playing with Gordon probably, or tennis balls because Rocky’s life always involved tennis balls as you well know.

‘Pssst, Brutus! It’s time!’ Vader the boxer’s voice came from behind the fence.

Brutus ignored him, sighed and tucked his snout up against his bottom.

‘Pssst, Brutus – the truck is on its way, you have to start the dog choir off! We can’t do it without you, it’s the position you see – you are first in line!’ Vader barked firmly.

‘I am scared of that truck, I only barked at it because Rocky did, I can’t do it Vader, just get someone else to do it – you can do it, you have a good bark on you’, Brutus replied just quietly enough so that Vader could hear him.

Sounds of frustrated snout snuffling could be heard at the fence from Vader, ‘Brutus we depend on you bro, you have to sort this garbage truck out, for all of us. Remember what Rocky said about them eating our families and stealing our toys?’

Brutus buried his head between his paws, ‘I can’t hear you so there is no point in asking me!’.

Vader growled in frustration, it was no good, he had to do something.

A few seconds later several parrots jumped on to the fence, a lorikeet landed just by Brutus’s kennel but not quite close enough for Brutus to eat him as a snack which was quite possible.

‘Brutus my friend, you have to defend your garden and start off the suburban dog choir. Our lives depend on it’, the lorikeet said gently.

‘Go away, I could eat you if I wanted to’, Brutus said in a sad voice and he was sad, so very sad.

The brightly coloured bird stretched out his wings and admired his wing span. The lorikeet suggested to Brutus that if he was too scared to start the dog choir and bark at the garbage truck then it was highly unlikely he would be brave enough to eat a small parrot such as himself.

‘If you must know, I am scared to start it off. What if I am not up to the job, in case you haven’t noticed I am not Rocky you know!’

The lorikeet hopped on to Brutus’s paw and stared at him straight in the eyes, ‘We know you are not Rocky, nobody is saying otherwise but this is YOUR home and this is YOUR family, this is YOUR garden and now Rocky is not here, you have to defend it all and by defending your garden, you remind us to defend our gardens!’.

‘I mean how on earth are we all meant to know about everything if you don’t start the dog choir off and protect us from the garbage truck?’

‘Come on Brutus, you can do it!’ Vader shouted from his garden.

‘Come on lad, we are all going to be eaten at this rate, don’t you love your Mum and Dad and Kevin the cat enough to defend them?’ Another dog piped up from a house opposite – he had moved in a few months ago.

The sounds of the garbage truck grew closer and it would have been about this time that Rocky would have gone running round his garden while yelling ‘Save us all, save your souls and save your family! The garbage truck is here!’

This of course would have escalated the whole thing and set Vader off and dogs in the surrounding areas and a whole domino effect would have occurred and all the dogs in the suburb would be singing the songs of their people.

‘I can’t, I just can’t! I am scared! I want my brother, I want Rocky, he always knew what to do!’ Brutus sobbed.

The lorikeet flapped his wings just as a wagtail bird landed by Brutus’s kennel. ‘Well do it for Rocky, if you can’t do it for any of us, do it for Rocky’, the wagtail butted in as he hopped from one foot to the other.

‘Yes, do it for Rocky!’ Vader snorted and one by one, the dogs of the street echoed one another until all you could hear in various doggy voices was ‘Do it for Rocky!’.

Brutus stepped out of his kennel and slowly stretched his hind legs. He glanced around and could hear the dogs barking ‘Do it for Rocky’, he could now see several wagtails, about ten lorikeets, a few black cockatoos plus some doves, three galahs and two Corellas cockatoos in his garden – something Rocky would have gone ballistic over. Birds always did make Rocky furious because they had a tendency to gossip and exclude Rocky from it all.

‘Do you think he can do it?’ Vader asked the dog opposite.

‘Not sure, he seems to have fallen apart since Rocky went!’ the dog shrugged.

And as the garbage truck went past the house, the dogs waited with baited breath for Brutus to take over the warning signal which would in turn, tell them that the awful garbage truck had come to eat them and their loved ones plus steal their bones and toys like a thief in the night.

Suddenly a quiet ‘woof’ sounded, so quiet that you could barely hear it, followed by a slightly louder ‘woof’.

‘Did you hear that?’ Vader cocked his head to the side.

‘No, I don’t think so’, the dog opposite replied.

But before he got chance to say anything else, the ‘woof’ got louder and louder until there was no mistaking it.

‘Come on Brutus, you can do this my friend!’ one of the galahs encouraged him.

‘Is that Brutus?’ Vader demanded and tried to peak through the fence.

For there standing behind the wall for protection, but peaking out just enough to see the garbage truck, was Brutus. He was shaking so badly that he had urinated himself.

The ridge was up on his back as he forced himself to let out a series of barks aimed at the garbage truck.

‘They are here to kill our families, eat us all, take our toys and steal our bones, tell everyone you love, warn them so it doesn’t happen!’ Brutus’s bark got deeper as the truck got closer.

‘The truck is here! It’s going to take us all!’ Vader yelled, ‘Save yourselves and your owners, take your toys and your treats!’.

‘Save our souls! It’s a thing of evil!’ shouted the birds.

Before long every single dog and bird was shouting and chanting about the dangerous truck in the vicinity.

Meanwhile I was inside sorting some stuff out. ‘Did you hear that? I think he has found his voice!’ I said to my husband while trying not to cry. Because believe me when I say that Brutus really has lost himself since Rocky died and in so many ways.

‘Yep, it sounds like he is barking again’, my husband smiled.

‘Well done lad, well done! We all get to live another week thanks to you!’ the dog opposite barked approvingly through the fence.

‘Do you really think so?’ Brutus asked him.

‘Totally!’ Vader wagged his tail and looked absurdly proud and somewhat emotional, ‘You rock Brutus, you are our new hero!’

‘Same time next week?’ the wagtail grinned at him.

Brutus took a deep breath and nodded firmly, ‘Same time next week it is’. Then without saying another word, Brutus got back into his kennel and curled up in a tiny ball – almost as though his sudden burst of bravery had exhausted him.

‘I did it Rocky, I saved everyone and I wished you could have seen me do it’, Brutus whispered to himself.

Brutus Oct

Brutus the brave

But what Brutus didn’t see was Rocky standing behind ‘The Brutus’ tree (Brutus’s favourite Conifer tree) and wagging his tail. He didn’t appear to have any pain his hips, he looked young, fresh and full of vitality and health and judging by the proud look on his face, he had seen everything.

Picking up his beloved tennis ball from the limestone wall, Rocky gave Brutus one more glance before trotting off and disappearing as quickly as he appeared.

Our wonderful pets never leave us, their habits and behaviours can live on in so many ways and more importantly, our memories.

Dedicated to dogs everywhere – especially those that defend their families against garbage trucks.

Rocky Farm

Rocky – forever watching from wherever he is

 

Samantha Rose Copyright © October 2018

Where Did You Go My Friend….

Rocky Farm

My Best Friend – Rocky

It was Friday evening on 7th September, Rocky and I were curled up on the sofa on one end, Brutus and Kev were on the other. I was ruffling Rocky’s neck and tickling his ears when I felt a lump that I had not noticed before, my first thought was a cyst and I had seen many of those in my career as a vet nurse when I lived in the UK. ‘What’s that on your neck?’ I asked him. Staring back at me with his beautiful brown eyes now so cloudy with age, he shrugged ‘You know, I am a lumpy old dog – comes with age’.

With just the minimal pressure I had applied to the lump, I felt warm blood trickle down my hands, feeling somewhat concerned, I cleaned it up and made a mental note to book the vet the next day to get it looked at.

The next day at the vet

‘That’s not a cyst, I don’t know what that is but it’s not a cyst and it needs to be removed’, the vet looked concerned as she told me and after a discussion, Rocky was booked in for the following Tuesday for surgery to get the lump removed and biopsied to see what it was. The vet asked me to check him that evening for any other lumps and bumps so that they could investigate those while he was asleep.

We were both off on annual leave that week so at least we could be at home to look after him, we had plans to go on holiday but had shelved them – thank goodness and that was a decision that was a blessing in disguise because I shudder to think what might have happened had we gone to our usual ‘middle of nowhere’ type of trip.

Either way, it was a strange moment and even stranger feeling that I can’t explain in my usual way as you will probably gather from reading this.

We were in the car park at the vets and I was about to get in the car. Rocky looked at the car and sighed, he looked exhausted as though life had just got too much all of a sudden, or perhaps it had been a while and maybe I hadn’t noticed it. Gently lifting him on to the back seat, I kissed his head, smoothed his erect triangular ears and buckled his safety belt to his collar.

Rocky and I have always enjoyed music in the car so I turned on my Usher CD and made a face at Rocky to warn him that I would probably start singing – badly. He gave a ‘Must you Mum?’ kind of look and we both laughed.

Reversing out of the car park, I was about to indicate right but at the last minute, indicated left and engaged to go.

‘Shall we take the long way home, by the coastal route?’ I asked Rocky. It added about 15 mins on to the journey but I knew he liked it, I liked it too – the ocean always looked so spectacular at that time of the morning, well at any time of the morning really.

‘Lovely day for it’, Rocky said as he pressed his snout on the window adding to the vast selection of ‘nose art’ that I simply could not be bothered to wash off.

‘Lovely day for what?’ I said, not taking my eyes off the road but tapping my fingers on the steering wheel to the music.

Rocky shrugged, ‘I love this stretch of coastline, my favourite beaches and everything. How lucky we are to live here. Do you remember when I was on South Beach as a pup and started barking at that German man’s dog for not giving me his ball and the German man told you to stop me from shouting?’

We both laughed at the memory, it was hilarious and I could still here that miserable bastard saying ‘Your dog is shouting, you must stop him now!’ in his German accent. Of course I didn’t help matters by laughing which made him go bright red with anger, we actually thought that he might explode.

Then after the German guy had gone, Rocky managed to herd up a few other dogs and cause a canine uprising on the beach where all the dogs had refused to go back to their owners, preferring to run into the ocean in an act of rebellion instead.

Happy days they were, naughty days but happy all the same.

‘My favourite beaches!’ Rocky repeated with a smile on his face as he wistfully stared at the beautiful ocean as we drove past.

blog

Rocky’s pained expression at me singing along to Usher

We arrived home about twenty minutes later and I opened the car door for him to get out. ‘Come on Rocky, Brutus is waiting for you and you know how he likes to hear about your car journeys’, I said to him.

He went to stand up in the car that he so easily got into an hour or so ago, he couldn’t get out.

Rocky looked at me all confused as though he wasn’t quite sure where he was. ‘Sorry Mum, if I could just have a few minutes that would be great’.

I could see Brutus’s anxious face pressed against the living room window, his tail which was initially wagging at high speed, slowly dwindled down to a swish. His brown forehead creased with concern at why his brother hadn’t jumped out of the car with the same enthusiasm that he had got in to it.

Initially I had thought he may have wrenched his hip as he has bad hips and so carefully lifted the senior kelpie out of the car where he just stood on the ground and looked at me. He wasn’t really there, it was like part of him had suddenly left me. I grabbed his tennis ball and threw it at him, he half bent down to pick it up and then looked back up at me and said ‘No thank you’ and stood there looking confused in an ‘Are we there yet dear?’ sort of way.

That was when it hit me, he had started to shut down and I shall explain more about that later.

I took him in to the living room where he managed to get himself on the sofa and settle down. He didn’t want his tea which was a first – ever, there was no vomiting, no drinking, no salivating, no diarrhoea, but no appetite either (he did have his breakfast that morning though).

Later that evening

We were all curled up on the sofa – me, Rocky, Brutus and Kevin, all snuggled up under a blanket. As the vet had shaved round the lump on his neck near his gland, I was able to get a good look at it and it looked nasty, it did not look innocent by any stretch of the imagination. It looked as though a hard piece of meat had erupted through his skin and I could see why the vet was concerned.

Now a few months back, Rocky presented with rapid respiration and fast heartbeat and as an ex veterinary nurse, I was quick to ask for Xrays and bloods – all were normal except for an ever so slightly enlarged liver and spleen (as reported by a radiographer), which was listed as unremarkable as that can happen in older animals having general anesthesia. His breathing settled down again and everything was fine – until now.

And it was now that Rocky’s belly looked swollen – not bloat swollen, but like it was ‘full of something’ swollen and it had only just happened on the journey home. He couldn’t really get comfortable. But in hindsight though and in recent months Rocky had started to adopt a strange position on the sofa where he would lie on his chest with his head propped up on the back of the chair, funny to look at but just another Rocky type quirk we put it down to – a bit like him barking at the stars at night for daring to shine in his garden.

‘Mum, what’s up with Rocky?’ Brutus asked me. He looked concerned and confused.

Rocky looked at me and I looked at him, his eyes were changing, it was like he was packing to leave his body, to leave me, to leave us.

Rocky’s eyes starting to glaze over

‘You’re leaving me aren’t you?’ I blurted out at him and then burst into noisy sobs as I clung on to his little body. In between my sobs, I could feel Brutus trying to lick my arms while saying ‘Mum, is Rocky going to wear tweed?’ (animals do tend to wear tweed when they cross over to Rainbow Bridge).

When my husband arrived home later that night, he was visibly shocked at the sight of our little kelpie dog who appeared to be shrinking in front of our eyes.

‘Tomorrow we book him in at the vets’, I said to my husband. ‘I shall sleep in the spare room with him tonight in case he needs me’, I added.

As for Rocky, he gave a tired smile and mouthed the words ‘Thank you’ to both of us.

That night my little ‘beetle dog’ (as I called him), snuggled up to me in the spare bedroom, he felt cold so I covered him with my duvet. As he slept and relaxed a little, I stroked him over his abdomen where to my horror, I could feel a firm lump and the surrounding area did not feel right either. No wonder this dog had been uncomfortable and no wonder he had tensed up on examination but one thing was certain, whatever had happened, had occurred quickly.

Sunday Morning – 9th March

It was my husbands birthday and we had planned to go out for breakfast and then take the boys out. Obviously that had been cancelled and we were now at the vets.

The waiting room was empty except for us and a small dog and his human. The little dog was doing rude gestures at Rocky and barking at various things that had upset him. Normally this would have been enough to set Rocky in to a full on aggression frenzy of rude words and insults, but today Rocky just ignored him which surprised both us and the vet.

I won’t go into the full conversation between us and the vet, it is too painful for me to talk about let alone even think about and go over. But I will tell you that when Rocky had his chest X-rays all those months ago, I made a comment saying to the vet that it wouldn’t surprise me if Rocky had cancer and there was something nasty going on.

Don’t ask me what made me think it, it was a feeling that I had and I have always been intuitive with my animals and those in my care when I worked as a veterinary nurse. Rocky’s gums were a bit pale but his bloods came back normal.

We even paid extra to have the X-rays reported on by a radiographer and as I mentioned earlier – they came back ‘unremarkable’ – normal, except for a slightly enlarged liver/spleen which can happen when old dogs have anaesthetics. Yet despite those normal findings, my gut instinct and the way in which Rocky was looking at me, told me that something was seriously wrong. We just couldn’t put our finger on it and believe me it wasn’t for the lack of trying and veterinary check ups/tests either.

The tumour on Rocky’s neck looked nasty, his belly was now firm and very sore and when the vet went to palpate it, my husband said his face showed tremendous pain and discomfort.

His eyes had started to glaze over – well they had actually started doing that the day before as the vet had noticed something wasn’t right but again, things had escalated overnight.

Suddenly things had started to make sense, in recent weeks Rocky would go from trotting around to walking oh-so-slowly past the window, looking visibly uncomfortable and I had assumed it was his hips bothering him. His breath had started to smell foul – it wasn’t his teeth because they were excellent for a ten year old kelpie that had 4 monthly checks at the vet for his hip injections, his yearly boosters/health checks – we were on top of that stuff and always had been.

The vet had noticed that Rocky for the first time ever, had ignored a dog in the waiting room and shown no interest in it and more concerning, it was a dog that was barking and growling at him. Rocky usually has to be taken to a separate room when there are other dogs around, but on that day it was like that other dog did not exist, he simply did not see him.

How did we miss it? How did we not see his suffering? Perhaps we did but as the vet said, kelpies are excellent at hiding their illness/injuries until by the time they are showing signs and symptoms, they are at crisis point.

This was a different vet to the one we saw on Saturday but she quickly agreed that the growth on Rocky’s neck (by his lymph glands) had appeared quickly and seemingly at an alarming rate and on closer inspection, did not look harmless.

I will never as long as I live, forget Rocky’s tired expression as he sat in that consult room, how bad his eyes were, his face, his pain when his abdomen was palpated, but most of all, his face the day before when I threw his tennis ball to him and he had decided that enough was enough, no more ball, no more fluffy penguin, no more games – he was done.

My Rocky

My Rocky – ready to cross that bridge

I swore blind that I would be more observant with my pets after letting Gordon go on for longer than was fair to him, I swore and promised that it would never happen again. But my Rocky was so good at hiding stuff and I certainly recall asking my husband last week if we were being cruel with Rocky as lately even since his last vet visit, he seemed to be uncomfortable and his breathing was at times, becoming a struggle again and had started to not want to get off his bed to go out for a game in the garden.

‘Are you coming for a game of ball Rocky?’ I would say to him, he would just blink at me and remain where he was and I would make a joke about him preferring his bed to our company. Why did I not pick up on that?

My head could not grasp how well he could be one moment and then the next, barely be able to walk and look so unwell.

The hardest decision for us but the kindest for Rocky

After an in depth discussion with the vet, we made the heartbreaking decision to let him go. The tumour on his neck was most likely to be cancerous and I think that was just the tip of the iceberg to be truthful. The enlarged spleen/liver although reported as normal, the tender abdomen and the lumps that had been felt, his whole appearance, behaviour and eyes completing the bigger picture. The fact that he had stopped eating, no longer wanted his ball and no longer gave a stuff about a dog having a go at him in the waiting room.

The vet was honest enough and said they could go out to investigate and open him up, remove his tumours – test them, and if required or appropriate, give him chemo – we were insured and even if we were not, we were going to pull money from our house (we have done that before).

I made a point of asking the vet that if she thought it was the wrong decision, would she tell me, be honest with me because although I am an ex veterinary nurse, the boundaries often become blurred when it comes to letting go of your pets when the right time comes and the decision has to be the best one because it is not something you can take back.

The vet agreed that it was the kindest thing to do and she would not even contemplate it had she not believed in it. And looking at Rocky at that precise point, we decided to let him go with what dignity he had left rather than put him through surgery, scans and treatment to extend his life for what? And more to the point, for whose benefit?

Goodbye my beautiful, special darling dog – Rocky

Rocky was taken out the back to have his IV line put in, he willingly went off with the vet, he has known the staff for ten years, they know him well and vice versa. He is more than comfortable with them.

He walked back in albeit a little stiffly, you could see his abdomen was uncomfortable, his eyes were tired, the bald patch where his neck had been clipped to show the tumour from the day before.

My last kiss

Right to the end he comforted me

If you looked ever so carefully and had my kind of imagination, you could see Rocky wearing an old tweed suit, while clutching a tatty brown briefcase and a peaked tweed cap.

My heart was pounding in my chest, I wanted to vomit – dear God what was I doing? Should I put him through surgery, chemo, could I continue to turn a blind eye to his discomfort, how much more should I or could I put him through? I didn’t want him to leave but I knew he couldn’t stay.

The vet had the two syringes in her hand, these syringes contained ‘Rainbow Juice’ which is what I call the drug that sends our pets to Rainbow Bridge. Rocky sat on some comfy soft blankets on the floor and I sat beside him and my husband sat in front of him. This was so we could be the last people he saw, felt and heard.

‘So, this is it then, I must admit that I am looking forward to not feeling quite so rubbish’, Rocky gave a half smile to me. His kelpie spectacles were neatly perched on the end of his nose, his peaked cap and tweed suit looking quite dapper but smelling of mothballs.

‘I am so sorry Rocky, I am so very very sorry I didn’t realise how sick you were’, I cried into his fur, memorizing every single part of him. I had taken photos earlier but now I wanted more memories because in a second they would be all I had.

‘Yeah well, these things tend to creep up on us, tumours are a bugger like that’, Rocky shrugged and licked my face as I cried (see photo above).

‘I love you so much, I don’t know what I am going to do without you, how will I manage without you?’ I stared at him – oh my god, how the hell did I miss not realising how sick this dog was?

‘You are going to have to keep Kevin in line, he is a bully and he walks all over you!’ Rocky laughed. Actually there was no love lost between him and Kevin to be honest. Rocky had gone for Kev a few times and Kev had given as good as he got but that very morning we took Rocky to his final journey, Kevin sat close to Rocky and Rocky allowed him to.

Kev and Rocky

The way Kevin looked at Rocky that morning, he knew he was sick.

I felt his little body start to relax against mine – the ‘Rainbow Juice’ had started it’s journey into Rocky’s body and in turn, Rocky had started his journey over the bridge with the people that he loved the most right beside him – his human family.

‘Oh Mum, look at that – tennis balls and sheep! They are everywhere, can you see them? Oh my god, it’s Gordon, can I go to him? This is fantastic, I feel fantastic! Can you see it all?’ Rocky said sleepily, ‘Can’t you see it?’

But before I had the chance to answer, Rocky had left me and was running over the bridge to where Bowie the white greyhound and ‘Gatekeeper’ of the bridge was waiting to welcome him to a new life of where pain and illness do not exist and animals can have a life that only you and I can dream about.

The last thing I saw before it all disappeared, was my old cat Gordon gazing up at Rocky as they both trotted across the bridge to where a group of sheep were cheering at Rocky’s arrival.

R and B

Rocky and Gordon together again

I pleaded with him not to leave me – long after he went. I cradled his little body and broke down. I cried until I thought my heart would break and three weeks on as I write this, I am crying now.

‘Please don’t leave me Rocky, I love you so very much’ I sobbed, but he had gone and it was looking at his worn out and sick body lying on the blankets, that I knew my little old kelpie deserved better than biopsies and chemo/invasive surgery and bad hips.

I don’t know how long I remained on the floor holding my boy, but I do know it was for a while as I repeatedly said sorry to him. I don’t even remember getting up to leave either, but as I did, I glanced round and I swear to God I could imagine that old tweed suit crumpled up on the ground, with the peaked cap and kelpie spectacles on the floor next to the tatty briefcase.

Pippin Potter the Italian Greyhound’s house

Pippin Potter the Iggy – Brutus’s good friend had taken a telephone call. Bronte and her new sister Latte were having coffee in the garden while discussing puppies and stuff.

Suddenly Pippin’s phone rang, picking it up and dabbing his pointy snout, he replied ‘Pippin Potter here’.

Bronte looked up at her brother through the window and saw Pippin take a deep breath and compose himself.

‘I see, yes, we shall be right there’, Pippin said curtly and without saying a word, he and his Mum Denise quickly got into the car and drove off.

My House

We arrived home from the vet and I cannot even begin to explain to you how hard it was to drive back into my garden and see Rocky’s kennel and toys where we left them. The tennis ball that I threw to him the other night when he refused it was exactly where I left it, the garden looked so empty.

Brutus’s face pressed against the sliding door, he looked as anxious as when we had left him. His tail no longer wagging, his eyes frantically darted round to find his brother.

‘Mum, where is Rocky? Where is Rocky?’ Brutus barked loudly again and again.

Getting on to the sofa with Brutus, I clutched my big brown dog as I explained that Rocky had gone to Rainbow Bridge.

For some time afterwards, Brutus searched for Rocky, getting quite distressed when he saw Rocky’s collar and leash. My poor sensitive and gentle dog could not and would not settle and to this very day, he appears lost without Rocky.

Brutus toy

Brutus the day after Rocky died with his toy that our friend bought him.

Pippin Potter

Pippin is the head of the Iggy Club, he runs pretty much everything in it really and if you have followed my stories about the Italian greyhounds, you will know him very well.

Pippin arrived at my house with his Mum, I opened the door to let them in and Pippin took Brutus aside to talk to him.

‘I don’t think I know what to do without my brother?’ What do I do Pippin?’ Brutus said to his little friend. He tried so hard to be a brave dog but a life with Rocky was the only life he had ever known, he did not know how to ‘dog’ without him.

Placing a paw on Brutus’s head, Pippin then bent down and gently licked Brutus’s face, ‘You take charge of your garden and house, you put one paw in front of the other and you slowly but surely carry on. Your Mum needs you’. Pippin said firmly, ‘You’ve got this Brutus, you’ve got this’.

Brutus said nothing, Pippin said nothing but both dogs just sat there quietly while the tiny Italian greyhound frequently touched Brutus with his paw just to let him know he was there.

Pip and Brutus 1

I’ve got you buddy, I’ve got you

The kiss

This was taken a couple of hours after Rocky went, Pippin cleaned Brutus’s snout

‘Pippin?’ Brutus asked him a few minutes later.

‘Yes Brutus?’ Pippin replied.

‘How will I know how to protect my house without Rocky?’ Brutus sniffed and wiped his eyes.

Pippin looked at him thoughtfully before responding, ‘One day it will come to you and one day when that time is right, you will do it’.

Nothing more was said between the two boys but Pippin managed to send a group message to the Iggy club saying ‘Rainbow Bridge update – the Kelpie has landed’, while discreetly dabbing his eyes with his silk handkerchief.

Rockyfarmdog

The Kelpie has landed

So what now?

The house is different, Kevin seems to have taken over everything and I mean everything. He initially was unsettled, unhappy and more aggressive than normal but is getting better.

He and Brutus play fight more now, they chase each other round the house, Brutus has started to pounce like a cat which is a bit ridiculous and Kevin is back to humping his blankets with his toys in his mouth which is even more so.

Will we get a second dog? No, I don’t think we will. But I would be lying if I said that I miss having a kelpie because that is my favourite breed of dog ever. My health isn’t good enough for two dogs but if (and it’s a massive ‘if), we were to get another dog, we would look at a middle aged rescue kelpie in need of a loving home rather than a pup.

The harsh realities of pet bereavement

Losing Rocky has broken me and I don’t mind admitting it. Now I don’t give a stuff if someone thinks it is an over reaction or it is ‘just a dog’ because it is dogs that give us companionship, loyalty, service (as working dogs), and trust, and they expect nothing in return. So I make no excuses or apologies for the grief that I am showing for my kelpie because he was my dog, my mate and I was lucky to have had him in my life.

Thanks to…

Thank you to Spearwood Vets (once again), for their kindness, care and compassion that was shown to Rocky, my husband and myself on that day and thank you for the beautiful flowers as well.

Flowers

Flowers from our lovely vets

Paw print jpg. 2

Sent to us by our vets – a lasting memory

Samantha Rose © Copyright September 2018

All rights reserved.

Dogs Do Denmark – The Adventures of Rocky and Brutus

Boyscarhome

Brutus and Rocky love their road trips

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

This is a story that I wrote a couple of years ago when Brutus was only a young dog and Gordon was still alive. So much has happened since I wrote it that it forgot about it on my hard drive and I never bothered finishing it.

After going through my computer last night, I found this story and read through it again. It brought back so many memories of that trip that I had to finish it as it seems a waste not to.

It’s about when we took Brutus on his first ever holiday with Rocky down South to Denmark, WA and of course it is about their adventures and what they got up to.

Like many of my talking animals stories, this contains adult humour and some adult language – nothing too bad but it isn’t really be suitable for children. No offence is intended and all characters except for my boys, are fictitious and any resemblance to any talking cattle, dogs, horses etc either living or dead is purely coincidental. Unless of course, you know of a few horses that can talk – in which case send them to me as I would like to interview them.

This is a long read of nearly 15,000 words so you may as well put your feet up, grab a drink and some snacks, shut the door and take your time. If anyone asks you what you are reading, don’t tell them it’s about talking animals – they will think you are nuts.

Hope you like the story.

We’re all going on a Summer holiday! – Packing for the trip

Brutus was busy packing his bags for his first ever holiday trip away with his family.

Having decided that at two years old he was quite old enough to go on a trip away, we were still concerned as to how Brutus would take being away from his home comforts. And although Tony Abbott was coming, none of us knew how it would pan out.

‘Right, are you ready Turd Legs?’ Rocky grinned to Brutus. Rocky was totally a ‘country dog’ and actually the perfect dog to take travelling. Coming from a working farm, there was little if anything that Rocky didn’t know about the country and was a seasoned traveller/camper and expert of all things cows, pigs, goats, horses and sheep.

‘Do they speak English down South?’ Brutus asked Rocky, he had packed his own English dictionary just in case they didn’t.

Giving Brutus a withering look, Rocky smirked ‘Of course they speak English, even the sheep’.

‘What’s a sheep?’ Brutus asked Rocky looking totally confused.

Ears2

‘What’s a Sheep?’ says Brutus

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

But before Rocky had chance to answer, it was time to get loaded up into the car with Gordon who was going to be dropped off at the vets.

‘I am so excited, are you excited Gordon? I am so excited I might shit myself.’ Brutus said nervously.

481191_10153297712933317_8546320291490447036_n

Gordon was not amused at going to the vet

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘From the smell of it you already have. No I am not excited because unlike you, I have to stay at the vets for the week and Mum has warned them about me so I suspect they will hide all the towels from me.’ Gordon said fretfully.

‘You mean you are not coming away with us?’ Brutus asked looking upset.

‘Nope, I always stay at the vets when Mum and Dad go away on their holidays.’ Gordon sighed.

Twenty minutes later we had arrived at the vets and Gordon was handed over to the capable hands of the nurses to be taken to the cattery where he would spend the next week in the company of other cats, where they would discuss the tactics of carpet shredding, anus washing and dietary habits.

‘Love you Gordon!’ Brutus yelled out to him as the nurse carried him off in his cage.

But Gordon didn’t answer him and the last Brutus saw of him was his fat ginger bum squishing through the squares in his wire cat basket.

‘I love my brother Gordon.’ Brutus said quietly to himself and strained his eyes at the vet surgery until we had turned the corner to take the road to ‘holiday’.

On the road

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus asked impatiently. Totally unused to being in the car for anything longer than a trip to the polo grounds for lure coursing, 90 minutes in the car seemed like days to him.

Raising his eyebrows, Rocky shook his head and wished that he were an only child for once. He loved his road trips and this was his third time in Denmark.

A totally self-sufficient kelpie, he had also been to Cervantes, Margaret River, Pinjarra and twice to Dwellingup and could even put up the tent himself and set up the BBQ for everyone.

‘If you need me to take a turn with the driving I am quite happy to’ Rocky said obligingly. And he could as well; Rocky was well-known for his driving skills and used to be a regular feature in Fremantle driving my Yaris when I had it.

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus asked again and then promptly farted.

 

20160306_122014

Rocky – a well-travelled kelpie

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Disgusting bastard, you are so uncouth!’ Rocky growled and turned around to face the window to do the ‘I am an only dog’ thing that he did when Brutus shamed him.

We stopped about 2 hours into the journey for a coffee and the boys had a drink of water and a leg stretch before we got back in the car for the next session of the journey.

It was all getting rather messy and by messy I mean the car. Having carefully placed the (brand new) seat protector cover on the back of the car seat to protect it from dog hairs, Brutus spent just seconds roughing it up, lifting it off and generally making the back of the (new) car look like a ‘rug of Brutus’ with his fur.

‘Vader taught me how to remove car seat covers; Vader said that seat covers are for girls and guinea pigs.’ He said proudly.

Sighing impatiently his exuberant young brother, Rocky pressed his snout on the window – it was going to be a long journey.

‘I know, let’s play a game! I spy with my brown eyes, something beginning with ‘G’ and you will never guess what it is!’ Brutus squeaked in a high-pitched voice, which indicated that he was already over excited.

‘I give up.’ Rocky growled as he was in no mood for this game.

After several failed guesses and threats to throw Brutus from the window for being annoying, Rocky really did give up and I could not be bothered to enter into the spirit of things either and just let the boys squabble and argue in the back of the car.

‘Can’t you guess?’ Brutus barked.

‘No, I can’t – you will have to tell me.’ Rocky said firmly. Rocky being a peaceful kind of road-tripper, liked to alternate between sleep and looking out of the window on his car trips, not making small talk.

‘Genitals, as in look at the size of mine and you thought I never had any!’ Brutus laughed raucously.

Glancing down at Brutus’s, Rocky looked part horrified and part jealous as Rocky is not blessed in the genital department and never has been. Up until now, he had always thought that Brutus had no penis because one would never guess otherwise by looking at him.

‘Brutus, that is disgusting! Mum, Brutus is being so disgusting that he is THE most disgusting dog ever!’ Rocky shouted to me sounding so offended that I thought he might vomit and trust me nobody does ‘offended’ quite like Rocky.

‘Oh Rocky, it can’t be that bad’ I soothed the furious little black kelpie dog who had now pursed his lips together and looked the epitome of disgust, disapproval and envy.

I looked at Brutus to see what Rocky was so upset about and I saw it for myself and had I not seen it, I would not have believed it because I sure as hell don’t know where he has been hiding such a thing all this time.

There on the back seat sat Brutus with his legs apart, looking absurdly proud of himself with his genitals on full display and without going in to too much detail, Brutus’s manhood was hanging out in all its glory.

Rocky is a bit of a prude as you will have gathered, he goes to Church on a Sunday, is friends with the Vicar, subscribes to ‘Your Cattle Monthly’ and ‘How to herd sheep in twenty minutes’, so you can imagine how offended Rocky was to see such a thing with Brutus looking proud as punch in to the bargain.

‘I am not talking to you, you are just showing off.’ Rocky said looking as though Brutus had shit on his monthly sheep magazine.

But Brutus said nothing, he didn’t need to really – his genitals had spoken loudly enough for everyone.

The Stopover

We had hoped to stop at a cafe somewhere, but drove straight past where we wanted to go and couldn’t be bothered to turn round, so we pulled into a side turning and found a decent secluded bush to let the boys cock their leg or in Brutus’s case, squat and urinate down himself.

‘Brutus, can you go for a pee please?’ I said firmly as he hadn’t urinated since we had left the house that morning.

‘Don’t need to go because I have a bladder like the size of a watermelon.’ Brutus barked proudly (don’t know where he got that saying from), ‘Oh my god, this smells good – let me roll in it!’  Frantically circling a patch on the grass, Brutus attempted to lower his head to smother himself in whatever delightfully disgusting scent he had found.

I didn’t immediately see it but by God I could smell it and when I looked at the direction of the smell, I saw a large kangaroo carcass at the side of the bush and Brutus was joyously about to roll in it.

‘Oh Pippin would love this, come on Rocky – fancy a go, we can roll together!’ Brutus shouted to Rocky who threw him a dirty look.

‘What do you think you are doing?’ Rocky growled, ‘Stop it right now, you will rot the car out.’

‘I am getting back to nature, this is what dogs do in the wild, I am getting in touch with my wild side and we are having roo tails tonight for tea so I thought I would roll in what we will be eating.’ Brutus tried to reason.

‘Pippin would indeed be proud of you Brutus but no, you are NOT going to roll in this kangaroo.’ I insisted and tried not to breathe in as it smelt vile as you can imagine but I did marvel at the skeletal system of the animal.

After Brutus’s non-existent pee, we got the dogs back in the car and safely strapped in for the last part of the journey.

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus asked Rocky.

‘No, Brutus, but we are nearly there.’ Rocky replied.

‘How do you know?’ Brutus demanded.

‘How? Because I can smell it, that is how.’ Rocky said smugly and being a country dog at heart and viewing Denmark as his second home, I totally believed that he could ‘smell it’ as well.

‘The only thing I can smell is my farts.’ Brutus said impatiently as Rocky shook his head and pressed his snout on the glass.

Rocky wasn’t sensible for the entire journey I might add because by the time we took our turning to Denmark, he had de-thawed his frosty attitude somewhat and both boys were happily singing ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday’ in between Rocky telling Brutus about the wonderful time he would have and if he was a good boy, he would even show him how to herd sheep.

Denmark (Home Sweet Home)

 The only time I see my little black kelpie show emotion is when he gets to places that he loves – the beach or the countryside. For me personally, I love the countryside and the forest.

As we pulled into the road that led to our Chalet, Rocky started to cry and Brutus not knowing why his brother was crying, decided to join him. I can’t actually fault him on that because whenever any of my friends cry, I also cry with them without even knowing the reason.

‘Where are we?’ Brutus demanded in between howling, sobbing and twitching his snout trying to pick up the scent of the area.

‘Home, is where we are my friend – home.’ Rocky said wistfully.

The house

‘Can I have this bedroom?’ Brutus shouted as he ran from room to room.

‘No Brutus, your bed will be in the corridor – no way would I trust you to be left alone in here.’ I had visions of waking up the next morning to see Brutus cooking breakfast after draining the bottles of wine that we had bought with us.

I have to say that the house had a beautiful big garden, like so enormous it could have had a few goats in it and probably a sheep as well.

Rocky who has hip dysplasia and has a limiting life as he cannot go off leash and have his beloved tennis balls thrown for him, was thrilled to have such a large garden to trot around.

‘Mum! Mum! We have sheep, we have cows, we have alpacas, we have chickens and we have ponies and it is MY job to look after them!’ Rocky barked with excitement. Trotting around and full of his own self-importance, he took in the sights, sounds and smells of the livestock.

Looking up at me with the biggest smile on his kelpie face, Rocky nodded towards the livestock and said ‘Give me ten minutes and I will just bring this lot in for you.’

Rockyfarmdog

Rocky checking out the garden

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Running up to the fence to try to intimidate a cow and its friends, Rocky sized up the enormous beast and her mates and quivered at the challenge of herding them up.

‘Who the hell are you?’ yelled the cow from the other side of the fence, ‘And what do you think you are doing?’

Cow

Cows can be so judgemental

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘I am what is known as discipline that is WHO I am and I am here to show you some!’ Rocky said confidently and then proceeded to trot around the perimeter of the fence  while the other cows just looked on and laughed at the little kelpie who had been on their farm for just ten minutes and had tried to take over in true kelpie fashion.

‘Oh god, another one who thinks he is in charge.’ giggled a group of chickens in high-pitched gossipy voices. Rocky glared at them and had a particular grudge against the hens from that day on and they became known as “the gossiping chickens”.

There is nothing more powerful than a gang of farm animals when an intruder comes on to their property and it really is like the movie ‘Babe’ in terms of clique.  Sheep will laugh, cows and ponies will snigger and as for the chickens, they will make you feel very small with their shrill voices.

TheJUlies

Alpacas – They can be bullies you know

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

But the worst of them all, the absolute worst ever are the alpacas and if you don’t believe me, I shall elaborate.

On this farm were herds of alpacas, black ones, white ones, dirty looking ones, brown ones – there were heaps of them.

Julie2

‘The Julies’ – now visualise them with pearl necklaces and woolen jumpers, or doing their cardio in the mornings while wearing leotards and leg warmers

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

We had decided to take both boys on a long walk on the farm as the owner had shown us the paths we could take. It was a good walk with livestock either side of the path behind their fences and of course, our boys were on the leash at all times (you will have to use your imagination for some parts of the story).

The alpacas on this farm were in their own gang called ‘The Julies’. Now I don’t know if they were male or female but I am going on the assumption that they were female.

In my eyes and imagination ‘The Julies’ on this farm all wore sensible woolly jumpers, pearl necklaces and had haircuts from the early 80s with a tight poodle perm on top of their heads between their erect ears that were not unlike Rocky’s kelpie ones.

They followed each sentence with a giggle and a snort and chewed gum in insolent fashion as they blew large bubbles and popped them from their mouths and if you upset them would spit at you and call you a ‘loser’.

Brutus had never seen farm animals before and especially had never come across a group like ‘The Julies’.

I do need to stress that there is actually a stark difference between Brutus and Rocky in terms of how they perceive farm animals. Rocky looks at any farm animal and thinks ‘Let’s get this lot in order’ and has a burning ingrained desire to herd them up, tidy them up and bring them in.

Brutus on the other hand sees farm animals and thinks ‘lunch’.   So you can imagine his face when he saw ‘The Julies’ who glared back at him accusingly.

‘What on earth is that meant to be – a dog or a kangaroo?’ One of ‘The Julies’ gasped to the rest of the herd as they stared at Brutus who was trying to work out if these strange animals tasted as good as dog chow.

‘God knows but I think it could be a mix of both.’ said another Julie in the group.

‘Whatever it is, it’s a Townie.’ a large cow said to a black horse who sniggered in response.

‘How can you tell?’ One of the Julies asked the cow, ‘That it’s a Townie?’

‘How? Because no self-respecting farm dog would be seen dead in one of those head collars!’ The cow grinned which made The Julies giggle loudly.

‘Now THAT however, is a proper farm dog.’ said the black horse to the other animals who all nodded appreciatively at the sight of Rocky who was proudly wearing his Australian flag neckerchief while fixing his gaze on the Julies, cows and horses in the field and trying to do a head count.

Rocky1

Rocky – the perfect farm dog

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Kelpie!’ The cow yelled to Rocky who looked up and gave a ‘thumbs up’ signal back to the cow.

‘Any sheep for me to back-in or shall I concentrate on you lot?’ Rocky asked confidently and he meant it too. Rocky is a proper farm dog and would totally live on a farm if he could.

‘No Kelpie, no working dogs here but if it makes you happy you can herd us from your side of the fence’ shouted the black horse back to Rocky who looked thrilled with being given such a task.

‘Who is the Townie?’ One of The Julies shouted out to Rocky.

‘That is my brother Brutus, he isn’t a farm dog.’ Rocky said apologetically to The Julies.

‘Oh we have gathered that.’ one of the cows said firmly.

‘How can you tell?’ Rocky laughed.

‘How can we tell? THAT is how we can tell!’ yelled the black horse to Rocky and nodded over to Brutus who was chasing some of The Julies from his side of the fence while clutching a knife, fork and plate and shouting ‘Don’t panic, I just want to see what you taste like!’

Brutus3

Brutus – not a farm dog

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

The Julies were making high-pitched squeals and were scattering in all directions while clutching their pearl necklaces around their necks and pulling ‘Queen Elizabeth’ pouts with their lips as Brutus ran from the other side holding his cutlery and plate and shouting something about ‘Rump or breast?’

Shaking his head apologetically, a somewhat mortified and embarrassed Rocky shouted ‘Sorry about my brother!’

Anyway, it all ended quite abruptly when one of the cows said to Brutus that he was totally embarrassing himself and if the word got out in Perth about what had just happened, he would make sure that he never lived it down.

‘Get back to the house now!’ Rocky growled at Brutus who looked upset at not being allowed to catch a Julie for supper and for his brother reprimanding him so publicly. I know how that feels as well because if my Mum reprimanded me in public, I would blush and cringe with embarrassment.

As the boys walked back to the house, the cows had gathered by the fence and glared at them, and trust me on this one; nothing gives a dirtier more judgmental look quite like a cow.

The Julies were mortally offended at being chased by Brutus; were busy straightening their pearls and pushing their hair back between their ears. ‘Bloody Townie, we shall make him pay for that!’ One of The Julies muttered to the others.

‘Let us teach him a thing or two about herding.’ the brown shaggy looking Julie squeaked back.

‘Yes – lets!’ The Julies all responded together in robotic fashion until enough momentum had been gained to make the entire herd of cows nod in agreement.

‘Revenge like a boss!’ A huge bull shouted in his deep voice, which sort of finalized the fact that Brutus was going to pay – big time.

But what form that revenge would take would not only shock you and I, but it would totally backfire on them as well.

Grumbles and Rocky

Rocky is not good with other dogs at all as he has been attacked on several occasions not to mention about the amount of un-desexed male dogs allowed to ‘free-range’ in our suburb and charge at him through his own fence and shout obscenities at him which never goes down well as you can imagine.

The farm that we stayed on has a dog called ‘Grumbles’ who looked something like a Labrador/Border collie mix of some sort, Grumbles is like many farm dogs whose bark is worse than his bite and gives out a ‘token guard dog bark’ to look the part when it counts when really it cannot be bothered to do anything other than gossip with visitors and the farm animals.

One day Rocky saw him through the fence and Grumbles stood up with the fur on his back erect. ‘Intruders, they have guns, they have weapons, and they are going to kill us all!’ Grumbles barked furiously towards the farmhouse to tell his owners of the impending danger in the form of a black kelpie dog.

Some hostile barking took place, Grumbles did the warning bark that heralded danger which is a bit like Rocky’s warning bark that he does when the garbage truck comes on a Tuesday but at the end of the day they both meant the same thing ‘Danger – but not really’.

Rocky’s fur also went up on his back and he barked back but straight away, he noticed Grumbles was different from the dogs in our suburb. He was actually very chilled out and although he barked to warn his owners of invisible intruders, both he and Rocky had something in common – they were farm dogs.

The hostilities that would normally have resulted in a fight back at home, ended up with urinating on each others heads, tails held high in a delightful display of high-speed tail wagging, sniffing of each others bums through the fence and a wonderful introduction.

‘So Kelpie, what’s your name?’ Grumbles asked Rocky and then shouted towards his owners cottage ‘Intruder in the garden, don’t worry Mum, I’ve got this covered.’

‘The name is Rocky, what’s your name?’ Rocky smiled back and then cocked his leg to do an invisible piss as he had run out of urine from peeing so much earlier.

‘Grumbles, my name is Grumbles and this is my farm.’ The old dog barked back and in those few moments, my normally dog aggressive kelpie who was suspicious of every dog that he meets, had finally found a friend to talk to that he had something in common with – the world of livestock and farming territory.

‘Tell me Rocky, where are you from? Tell me all about yourself, tell me everything because my world begins and ends on this farm.’ Grumbles stared at Rocky while digging the soil with his arthritic paws.

‘I am from Perth and my life begins and ends in my suburb. In the Summer I go swimming both in the ocean and a special swimming pool for dogs.

‘Every week I protect my street from the garbage truck that threatens to eat us and our families.’ Rocky washed his paws as he told his story.

‘Those garbage trucks are dreadful for eating our families aren’t they? And who is that?’ Grumbles asked nodding in the direction of Brutus who was in his own little world bouncing around the garden trying to catch flies, butterflies and invisible fairies – oblivious to everything around him.

‘That is my brother Brutus’ Rocky growled firmly, ‘He is not a sheep dog but he is very good at lure coursing providing no corners are involved and Mum is at the end to tell  him that he is a good boy and hug him.’

‘That’s very nice indeed. We are all good at something and having a Mum that loves you makes it all rather perfect doesn’t it?’ Grumbles smiled and then pulled out two doggy catnip cigarettes from his pocket and offered one to Rocky.

Rocky took a cigarette and Grumbles lit it for him, it was a private moment between farm dogs, where they didn’t need to say much because they just didn’t need to.

Blowing smoke out of their nostrils in the ‘shape of dog’, Rocky and Grumbles stood either side of the fence and compared their lives – a suburban kelpie and a farm dog.

‘Rocky are you happy where you live?’ Grumbles asked Rocky who was staring wistfully at the cows in the field.

Rocky didn’t answer for a moment as he pondered on his answer. Taking a deep breath he replied ‘I am happy if I am with my family, but……’ his voice tailed off.

‘But what? It is an easy enough question, are you happy in the suburbs?’ Grumbles asked again, his greying face stared at Rocky, his eyes opaque from ageing but still with a marvelous ability to ‘soul search’ if he stared at you hard enough.

‘My heart belongs to the farm – and I share my heart with my family because I love them – does that make sense?’ Rocky shrugged.

Rocky2

Rocky pretends the countryside belongs to him

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Perfectly’ Grumbles replied and then spotting his owner come out of the cottage, he said quickly ‘Better go and do my guard dog thing, catch you later.’ Stubbing his cigarette on the floor with his paws, he then started his obligatory guard dog bark.

‘Intruders, there are intruders in the garden, I shall kill them if you like!’ Grumbles barked loudly at nothing in particular until his Mum called him inside to acknowledge his ‘guard doggy-ness’ and stop him being a nuisance and shattering the peace and quiet of the farm.

Rocky remained outside for a bit and took in the sights and the smells. Oh how he wished he could have his own place like this, he would sure show The Julies a thing or two about respect and as for those chickens, they wouldn’t laugh at him and threaten him with a good pecking, they would respect him.

Still, he was there for a week and for that week he could share the farm with Grumbles, he was sure of that and in his own mind, Rocky could pretend the farm was his.

‘Rocky, Mum is calling us in for tea and we have some kangaroo tail waiting for us, are you coming?’ Brutus barked.

Rocky stared at Brutus who looked so out-of-place on the farm, a cross between Scooby Doo and a kangaroo with a bark that could be heard in the next town and a nature as gentle as any dog owner could wish for in their dog.

Smiling at his brown brother, Rocky shouted ‘Coming, I will race you to the door and the winner gets the biggest bit of roo tail.’

Knowing that Brutus was exceptionally fast and would win paws down, Rocky delighted in watching the clumsy Brutus run to the door and almost smack his snout on the fly screen in order to ‘win’ his supper.

‘I won, I won!’ Brutus said happily as the door was opened for him and both boys waited patiently for their bit of roo tail – Brutus having the bigger bit of course.

Five minutes later all you could hear were the contented sounds of the dogs crunching on their food. Half an hour after that they were fast asleep on the verandah, the only time they moved was to swish their tails to swat the flies.

Rockyrootail

Rocky enjoys his roo tail

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Eau de ca dog (manure)

Grumbles and Rocky were in the barn discussing how to win the girls over using doggy type aftershave.

‘Are you serious, do you prefer that one?’ Rocky gasped as Grumbles rubbed some cow shit on his wrists and stuffed it under Rocky’s nose for him to smell.

‘Yep, you have no idea – the bitches love it!’ Grumbles said in a matter-of-fact voice.

‘How about this one?’ Rocky asked as he smeared some alpaca manure (from The Julies) behind his ears.

‘I have tried theirs before but it is a bit of a specialized scent, I have heard that dogs in London would pay handsomely for some turd from The Julies.’ said Grumbles.

‘Now this, is my favourite of all time and reminds me of my farm days in Bunbury.’ Rocky said happily and then proceeded to rub some good old horse shit all over his neck.

‘You can’t beat a bit of horse shit that’s true.’ said Grumbles who then added ‘Have you ever tried turd from a Highland cow?’

Rocky shook his head ‘No I haven’t but I know dogs in London roll in fox shit and that is said to be rather marvelous. Mum’s old whippet bitch Rema almost turned green from rolling in fox so often.’

‘Now fox, that is something I would like to try.’ Grumbles looked jealous.

‘I will try the Highland cow tomorrow if that is OK?’ Rocky asked Grumbles who was busy sniffing different sections of his own body to see which bit of turd worked best.

‘Yes, that will be fine. I shall stick with horse turd for now – you just can’t beat tradition’ Grumbles finalized and then he and Rocky inhaled deeply to enjoy the scent of ‘Eau de Ca horse shit’.

One of The Julies who had been listening in on the boys conversation; peered over the fence and shook her head. She had never understood why dogs enjoyed rolling in turd of various kinds and actually found it all quite uncouth really.

But then again, dogs like Rocky didn’t really see the point in The Julies because they would not be herded up and would be up at stupid times of the morning wearing leotards and leg warmers to do their cardio workout.

That evening Rocky came inside and curled up next to Brutus. ‘Oh my god you smell of horses, Mum! Rocky smells of horses!’ Brutus barked at me.

He did as well and I am not even joking, he smelt like a stable and looked ridiculously proud of it as well. ‘That my friend, is the finest aftershave a dog can have and will guarantee to get you the bitches.’ Rocky said confidently.

‘I think I prefer the dead kangaroo that we saw on the way down.’ Brutus replied but made a mental note to go and see Grumbles in the morning to get some to take home and so he and Vader the boxer could attract the girls in the local park.

Brutus – a country dog in the making

Brutus as I have mentioned is not a farm dog and he is not a country dog. Brutus is in fact a home-comfort-loving dog, a suburban dog that loves his routine, his toys, his family, his bed and his best friends Vader the boxer and Pippin the Iggy.

The only other thing that Brutus loves as much as the above, is lure coursing with his Italian greyhound gang that he hangs around with. But don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t tried to fit in with the country life and despite wanting a taste of The Julies, he had gone to extraordinary lengths to be a country dog.

On one particular morning Rocky had woken up and had planned to go and spend some time with Grumbles.

Rocky noticed that Brutus was not on his bed, which was unusual for him as he is notoriously lazy for getting out of bed in the morning. Perhaps he had gone for a pee or something, who knows but either way Rocky needed to find out where his brother was.

Walking in to the yard, Rocky said good morning to the two Shetland ponies and told the chickens to ‘piss off’ and made comments about ‘roast chicken dinner on Sunday’ causing them to shake their heads and gossip because chickens are excellent at gossiping.

These chickens really bothered Rocky, especially since ‘Dad’ (my husband) was going in to see them every morning to get their fresh eggs and had declared a liking for ‘his girls’ and said that they had a ‘mutual understanding and respect’ for each other.

The girls

Gossiping chickens wearing (imaginary) frilly aprons

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

On hearing sounds of giggling and raucous laughter, Rocky walked to the next field to see what was going on, only to be greeted by The Julies, some cows, the Highland cow, some goats and the black horse.

‘What is going on guys, have you seen my brother?’ Rocky asked the others.

The Julies were in the paddock doing their morning cardio workout to music while wearing their leg warmers and leotards, sweat bands around their heads and their tight curly fringes completing the look. Giggling loudly, they pointed towards a large brown figure in the distance – the unmistakable shape of Brutus.

‘Is that Brutus?’ Rocky strained his eyes.

Grumbles nodded his head and looked embarrassed and replied ‘Yes, I am afraid it is.’

There was Brutus looking larger than life and twice as clumsy, wearing one of those English ‘Deerstalker’ outfits and doing his very best to look like an English country gentleman out on a hunt.

‘Come on you cows, who would like to be tonight’s supper?’ Brutus shouted in his best English accent, which of course he doesn’t have. Brutus has a strong Australian accent but thought an English accent would go with the deerstalker outfit.

Watching him march along the field like an eccentric Englishman, the cows in the field laughed and made rude gestures with their hooves.

‘Brutus, what the hell are you doing?’ Rocky shouted, ‘You are totally embarrassing yourself!’

‘I am trying to fit in with the countryside and blend in, that is what you wanted wasn’t it?’ Brutus barked back looking upset and then shouted ‘Come on, jolly good effort my good man!’ to a fat black cow with a white bow tie mark on its head.

‘You are not blending in Brutus, quite the opposite!’ Rocky hissed at his brother who was blushing at being told off in front of the cows.

‘You look like an idiot’ The Julies all shouted and started giggling loudly while some of them even took out mobile phones to take a video. One can’t even make a fool of oneself these days without someone recording it on their phone.

‘Who asked you? And you are a fine one to talk, look at the state of your fringes!’ Brutus squealed back at them and flash his arse off at them all making them purse their lips in a ‘cat bum’ shape because they were so offended.

‘Did you hear that? Did he say that? He insulted our fringes!’ Several of The Julies all cried together.

‘How disgusting, that is SO rude.’ One of the cows whispered to the elderly Highland cow who was totally in a world of her own and was busy admiring her horns that she was sure would make good coat hooks.

HighlandCow

‘Did you say something dear?’

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Did you say something dear?’ The cow said absent mindedly in her soft Scottish accent.

‘Well technically he is right, your hair is a bit ridiculous, like something out of the eighties with those perms.’ Grumbles butted in the conversation causing them all to shut their mouths as Grumbles never gets involved unless he is really angry.

‘Does my hair look like a poodle perm?’ The head of The Julies asked the horse who was trying not to snort with laughter.

‘Well now you have come to mention it, yes it does.’ the horse replied and then whinnied at his own daring while the bull in the next field started laughing and shouted ‘Nice one my friend!’

And the talk of poodle perms continued long after Brutus was dragged back home by Rocky and Grumbles to get him out of the Deerstalker outfit before anyone else could laugh at him.

As for The Julies and their fringes, well suffice to say that they never wore their hair down to do their cardio ever again.

Beginners Guide to Backing Sheep

One evening Rocky and Brutus were on their beds while we were watching TV. Brutus had his head buried in a book, which automatically got Rocky’s attention as Brutus never normally read books – he usually ate them instead.

‘What are you reading?’ Rocky asked his brother.

‘Beginners Guide to Backing Sheep.’ Brutus said without even looking up. He looked rather engrossed with his book as well.

Boysinbed

The boys often had bedtime discussions

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘You what? Are you serious?’ Rocky laughed.

Clutching his book close to his chest, Brutus blushed ‘You are not the only one that can be a sheep dog you know, my Dad is a kelpie so technically that makes me half a sheep dog.’

Trying to keep a straight face, Rocky raised his eyebrows and fought back the urge to laugh.

‘OK, tell me what you have learned so far then?’ Rocky insisted.

Brutus stuttered and tried to think of something to say but instead held the book even closer to his body to stop Rocky from reading it.

‘Give me that book!’ Rocky growled and snatched the book from Brutus’s paws and as he did so, another book fell out of the middle on to the floor.

‘Ten ways to cook beef’ Rocky read the cover of the second book and then looked at Brutus ‘are you for real?’

‘I can’t help it, I only have to look at those cows and my mouth waters and I don’t want to herd them up, I want to bite chunks off their bottoms and eat them!’ Brutus burst into tears with shame and embarrassment.

Rocky sat down next to his brother and closed the book up. ‘Look, it is all very well wanting to eat beef, I mean I love beef as much as the next dog but it is not appropriate to stay on a farm and secretly plot recipes on eating the cows that are not ours to eat.’

Brutus said nothing but wiped his eyes and hung his head in shame, ‘You won’t tell them that I wanted to eat them will you?’

Brutusthegoodboy

But why can’t I eat the cows Mum?

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Rocky nudged him affectionately with his snout and said ‘No, of course not but please put those recipe books away as if this gets out they will make your life hell.’

‘Rocky, have you ever wanted to eat anything from the farm?’ Brutus asked his brother.

Thinking how much he would like to eat all of those chickens purely to shut them up, Rocky responded simply ‘Let’s just say that sometimes I would like roast chicken, do you get my drift?’

Brutus laughed and went to the bookcase, a few minutes later he handed Rocky a recipe book titled ‘Ten ways to stuff a chicken.’

‘Where did you get that from?’ Rocky checked out the book.

‘That was my plan B in case the beef recipes didn’t work out’ Brutus laughed, ‘I have one for goats as well.’

And with that both boys snuggled up on their beds to study chicken recipes.

The Revenge of The Julies

Nothing harbours a grudge as much as a pissed off alpaca and The Julies were no exception with this. The rude comments about their fringes plus threats to eat their bottoms had really upset them and the day had come for them to get their revenge on Brutus.

One morning Rocky and Brutus were playing in the garden together when one of the chickens shouted ‘Brutus, you are going to learn how to herd up cattle, I hope you are ready for it!’

‘Who me? Really?’ Brutus gasped with a big smile on his face.

‘Are you sure?’ Rocky asked looking puzzled, after all – trying to teach Brutus to herd up cattle was like trying to polish a turd.

‘Yep, meet us in the far paddock in ten minutes.’ The hen said firmly and then waddled off gossiping to herself because that is what hens do and if they have nobody to gossip with, then they do it with themselves.

‘Gosh I am really going to learn how to herd up cattle like my father – he is a kelpie you know.’ Brutus said to Rocky. Whenever Brutus needed validation of his parentage or to try to reassure himself of his breeding, he would say ‘My father is a kelpie you know’.

Rocky was puzzled, ‘Yes you are and God knows why though, they must be mad.’

While waiting for the livestock to get ready for Brutus, Rocky busied himself around the garden while lifting his leg to take a pee up every single tree and then kicking back with his hind legs to spread the ‘love’, he was enjoying his freedom on the farm and being able to get back to his roots as well as piss on them.

When they got to the field where Brutus was to have his herding lesson, a gang of cows and The Julies were standing around smoking cigarettes and chatting. They had such an air of menace about them that Rocky could not help feel a bit uneasy about what might happen to his brother.

‘Rocky, you can blindfold Brutus and spin him round 300 times and then remove the blindfold and he has to come and find us and herd us up’. One of The Julie’s asked him.

‘That is not how I learned to herd but hey ho, I am used to sheep and not cows and Julies.’ Rocky replied uneasily.

‘Well, this is how we do it on this farm’ A large cow reassured him while The Julies all giggled in high-pitched voices in between puffing on their cigarettes and chewing gum.

‘Are you sure this is right? It is highly irregular and I have never seen this before.’ Rocky barked.

‘Are you a PROPER farm dog or a city dweller?’ One of The Julies snapped bitchily as she noisily popped her bubblegum and checked her manicured hooves.

Rocky snapped that he was a ‘proper farm kelpie and was not a city dweller’ as being referred to as that is a huge insult to any farm dog.

But inwardly this felt wrong to Rocky and in hindsight he should have listened to his gut instincts. He wished that Grumbles was around to ask but so far the farm dog was nowhere to be seen.

So against his better judgment, Rocky blindfolded Brutus and spun him around 300 times. Brutus giggled in his innocent and trusting puppy voice but after a while he squealed ‘I might actually vomit up my dinner if you keep doing that.’

‘Right, let’s hide.’ The Julies whispered and before Rocky could do anything, he was dragged roughly by his collar and hidden behind a tree to watch Brutus try to find his way around in the field.

The Julies and cows scattered far and wide across the field and hid behind suitable trees to watch Brutus. I say ‘suitable’ trees, some of those cows were so fat that a tank could not have disguised them but hey, I am just pissed off with them that they did that to my Brutus.

‘Can I take my blindfold off now?’ Brutus patted his eyes gently with his paws. The sound of silence greeted him and not getting any reply, Brutus pulled off his blindfold and looked around for The Julies and the cows to herd up.

‘We need to tell him where we are.’ Rocky insisted to the cows who did a ‘hush’ gesture with their hooves to make Rocky be quiet as one of The Julies gripped Rocky’s snout firmly so that he couldn’t make any noise.

‘Where are you all?’ Brutus started to panic when he realized that he had been left alone in this field, and then it dawned on him that he was actually quite terrified.

‘Rocky? Where are you? Are you there?’ Brutus looked around for evidence of The Julies or the cows and his brother Rocky.

‘Mum? Are you there? Dad – come and get me, can I go home now? I need a to go for a pee, can you clean my eyes?’ (Brutus always presents his face to me when he wants his eyes cleaning)

‘Where is my Tony Abbott – can I have my Tony Abbott, what about a carrot? I like carrots.’ Brutus rushed his words as he became more frightened.

‘I am a good boy, Brutus is a good boy!’ Brutus kept saying loudly to himself, ‘I won the Good Boy Award at the Iggy club, I know I am a good boy – Denise said I am’ Brutus recited to himself in reassurance that he was in fact a good boy.

He was getting upset now as he kept thinking that he could see some of The Julies behind trees but his eyesight was not brilliant so he couldn’t be sure. Although he was right and it was some of The Julies hiding behind trees but they were just stealth-like in disguise and looked like branches with leg warmers.

‘Guys, this is not funny – he is my brother!’ Rocky snapped when he finally managed to get his snout free from one of The Julies grip. He was getting angry now and as much as Rocky could take the piss out of his brother, nobody else could.

‘Mum? Where are you? Is anyone there? I want my Mum, I want my brother!’ Brutus squealed and then quite suddenly he started to cry.

A loud and very deep voice echoed across the land that morning as Brutus curled up on the floor in a submissive position and howled like a baby – his whole was body rigid and his hind legs twitching and Brutus could not have moved even if he had wanted to.

The farm animals looked uncomfortable as they watched the gentle giant lying on the floor howling and shaking, thinking that he had been abandoned hundreds of kilometers from his home.

The Julies fiddled with their pearl necklaces, bit their lips and looked pretty guilty, the cows had the grace to blush and even the black horse in the next field shook his head at the practical joke that had gone wrong and twitched his back angrily in response and swished his tail.

‘That is my brother in that field and this has gone far enough.’ Rocky growled at a fat cow that at least had some common decency and hung its head in shame.

Grumbles who had just appeared on the scene, had no idea as to what had happened but judging by how distressed Brutus was and how angry Rocky was, it was not good. Leaping over the fence and then limping with his bad hips from the effort, Rocky ran over to Brutus and washed his ears to reassure the brown dog that no, his family had not left him.

‘I thought you had gone, I thought I was going to learn to herd sheep, I thought I had been a bad boy, I don’t think I will make a farm dog, I am so sorry to let you down!’ Brutus sobbed. He was so distraught and upset that he had actually wet himself.

‘Sheep are so overrated Brutus and you are my brother and I would never leave you’ Rocky whispered in his ear, while inwardly seething at The Julies and the cows for their cruel trick but also angry and embarrassed at himself for allowing it to happen.

‘Sorry Brutus, sorry – we can teach you next time about herding. It was only a joke – no harm done mate.’ Stuttered the fattest of cows who was shocked at how upset Brutus was and quite scared of the angry little black kelpie who was ready to not only nip their hooves but bite their bums as well.

‘Back off right now!’ Grumbles shouted to the cows and then growled to The Julies ‘how dare you do that to him, how dare you!’

‘It was a joke.’ The Julies giggled nervously but suffice to say that they felt pretty darned ashamed of themselves.

‘Can we go back to the house?’ Brutus asked Rocky, his voice coming out in loud howls and sobs as Rocky placed a firm black paw on his shoulders to comfort his brother.

‘Yes, we will go back to the house and if you like, we can play with your Tony Abbott doll together.’ Rocky smiled at Brutus who managed a little grin in response.

‘That would be nice.’ Brutus sniffed and wiped his eyes.

TugofTony

Nothing like a game of ‘Tug-of-Tony’

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Rocky?’ Brutus asked – his voice still trembling from all the crying, he had literally run out of ‘sobs’ and his voice was husky from shouting.

‘Yes Brutus?’

‘I wasn’t really scared in that field.’ Brutus whispered.

‘Of course you weren’t, I know that.’ Rocky playfully nudged Brutus with his snout.

Nothing more was said that evening about that incident until both boys were in bed snuggled up. Brutus was wearing his purple spotted pyjamas and was curled up on his bed and Rocky lay on his own bed next to him.

Brutuspyjama

Brutus in his purple pyjamas

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Rocky?’ Brutus asked him.

‘Yes Brutus?’

‘I know I can’t be a farm dog but I am good at some things aren’t I?’ Brutus whispered to his brother.

Rocky didn’t reply straight away but tried to rack his brains as to what Brutus was good at.

‘You are an excellent brother and that is what counts – not sheep herding.’ Rocky replied truthfully.

And that was all Brutus needed to hear, after all it was far better to be a good brother than a sheep herder – according to Rocky and his opinion is what mattered.

Grumbles dealt with the cows and The Julies in his own way and nobody ever knew what he said to them but the shame that they felt for what they did to Brutus was never ever forgotten.

Those darned chickens!

 If I have led you to believe that Rocky had a perfectly harmonious relationship with all the farm animals then I am sorry because although Rocky is a farm dog living in the suburbs and is very good with livestock, he does actually harbor a deep resentment towards chickens as you may have gathered.

The chickens on this farm were like a bunch of old women and would gossip about everything and anything and they would all interrupt each other and discuss their day, which was always the same a bit like ‘Groundhog Day’– except for chickens.

They would dust down the guinea pigs and tidy them up even though they never actually needed to be tidied up. Those poor pigs would make guinea pig noises in protest, as the chickens would organize them like china ornaments.

‘Someone took my eggs this morning, they stole them from my bed and ate them and now I will never have babies of my own and will have to lay more.’ One of the chickens would say every single day without fail, sometimes several times a day in boring repetition.

The other chickens would burst into tears and say in a shrill voice ‘Oh my goodness, that is dreadful – they ate your babies, that is murder!’

Then would come the mammoth egg laying session and each chicken would be highly competitive and see who could push out the largest most fattest egg from wherever they push their eggs out of.

‘Hold on girls, I have a big one here, it is a dinosaur egg, call the Guinness Book of Records!’ one of the girls would shout and the others would all start yelling encouragement.

‘Oh my god, how I pushed this baby out is a miracle I am still alive!’ The chickens would cry and then the others would all stare at the eggs to see which was the largest.

Other stuff like ‘Push that mo-fo out sister!’ or ‘Oh my days you are SO loose down there, you could push out an ostrich egg’ could be heard in the barn as the chickens got over excited by the egg laying process.

Then someone (in this instance my husband) would come along and take the eggs and we would cook them for breakfast and the whole thing would start again with accusations of stealing and eating babies and who could push out the biggest egg or had the ‘widest lady-garden’ (genitals).

Rocky brutally reminding the chickens that as there was no rooster in the pen to give them babies and that the best use of the eggs was in the frying pan and in our bellies. This of course would send the entire gang of chickens into noisy sobs, chickens fainting over the guinea pigs and cries of murder and baby-snatchers.

Why did this bother Rocky? Well because Rocky is a respectable kelpie and cannot stand noise and disorder with chickens. They also never respect the working kelpie and on some farms have even been known to give rude gestures to the most senior of working farm dogs. So that my friends, is why Rocky has no time for them.

‘Do they ever shut up?’ Rocky asked Grumbles the farm dog one evening.

Staring at the group of chickens who were yet again screaming that someone had stolen and eaten their children, Grumbles shook his head and replied simply ‘Nope, and even when I threatened to eat them, that didn’t work either.’

‘Chickens, I just can’t understand them.’ Rocky growled.

‘But they sure taste good roasted.’ Grumbles added and both dogs burst out laughing.

Brutus has his day

The boys

Brothers – through thick and thin

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

It was the day before we were due to go home and Brutus and Rocky were outside. Brutus was in the garden chasing butterflies oblivious to everything else except ‘Planet Brutus’, while Rocky sat on the verandah and kept an eye out for the resident brown snake that lived under the house.

‘Oi, Rocky – you and Brutus have to come to the barn now!’ squawked a green parrot that had just landed on our verandah.

‘Why? Who is asking?’ Rocky replied without even looking up.

‘The bull in the next field and if you know what is good for you, you will get down there quick’ said the parrot and then quickly flew off.

Rocky looked at his brother who was still chasing butterflies and staring up at the sky with his reddish-brown eyes shining, his red-tanned body shining beautifully in the sun, his ears erect, his black snout like well nourished leather, he looked very handsome. Rocky hoped that the farm animals had no more cruel tricks planned for Brutus.

‘But I don’t want to see them, last time they made me cry and I don’t like crying as it makes my heart hurt.’ Brutus stuttered when Rocky told him.

‘I won’t let them do that to you again, I think they have something to say to you.’ Rocky barked.

‘Promise you won’t let them hurt me?’ Brutus’s voice wobbled.

Staring at Brutus who was visibly shaking with nerves, Rocky vowed then and there that it would be over his dead body that anyone would ever hurt him again.

‘I promise, now come on we can’t keep them waiting.’ Rocky held out a slim black paw and placed it on Brutus’s shoulder.

The little kelpie and his giant brown brother walked slowly to the field. ‘I will be OK won’t I?’ Brutus asked Rocky.

Taking a deep breath, Rocky stood next to his brother and growled softly but firmly – ‘I will make sure of it’.

Trusting his brother, Brutus walked with Rocky and took slow steps towards the field where The Julies, the cows, the black horse and Grumbles were waiting for them.

The Julies were huddled together. Looking strangely naked without their leg warmers/sportswear and pearl necklaces or knitted sweaters they stomped their legs in anticipation.

The cows looked pretty serious as well, no horrible comments from them either and even the black horse gave a nod of respect to Brutus who looked back at Rocky for reassurance that everything was OK.

‘So what is this about then?’ Rocky asked Grumbles who was staring hard at The Julies giving them a look that said ‘Don’t stuff this up’.

The biggest of The Julies stepped forward and spoke for the group. ‘As a way of an apology for making you cry the other day, we would like to offer you the opportunity to herd us up so that you can have the experience of being a proper farm dog.’

‘Cry? I did not cry, my eyes just leaked a bit that was all!’ Brutus protested and  whispered to Rocky ‘I SO did not cry, I didn’t you know, my eyes just got wet that was all.’

‘Are you serious, you are going to let Brutus heard you up – YOU – The Julies?’ Rocky asked and then stifled a snigger because it could only end badly.

The Julies all nodded as did the cows, the black horse and Grumbles the farm dog.

‘Oh my god, what do I do? How do I herd them up?’ Brutus panicked when he asked Rocky.

That was a question that Rocky had also asked himself but knew The Julies and the gang were up to something and this time, he totally had to trust him because he trusted Grumbles and he knew Grumbles wanted to make amends on behalf of his livestock.

‘Right, everyone except for The Julies must gather at the end of the paddock and Rocky can give the signal for Brutus to do his bit.’ Grumbles instructed.

It was big news let me tell you now, even the gossiping chickens had stopped talking about their stolen eggs and were hanging round by the fence to see what was happening and the Highland cow had stopped talking about square sausages and other Scottish stuff to have watch the event because that was exactly what it was – an event.

‘He will never do it, he won’t be able to resist wanting to eat them.’ One of the young cows in the field opposite said to its friend who agreed.

A group of green parrots had gathered on the fence to have a look and even the goats in the next field had tried to stuff their heads through the fence to get a good view.

‘Go on lad, this is your time and you can trust me, you can trust them – there will be no tricks.’ Rocky said solemnly to his brother.

‘I am a good boy, Mum said I am a good boy, Rocky am I a good boy? I won the Good Boy Award at the Iggy club that was made for me didn’t I?’ Brutus asked Rocky and in turn tried to reassure himself.

Rocky smiled at the large clumsy young dog and remember the times that he had to hump him to put him in his place, the times that he pissed on his head or bit him to tell him off and made him cry. Yes, he most certainly was a good boy and a good brother.

‘I know you are a good boy, now go and show The Julies how good you are.’ Rocky said and taking a big breath, gently pushed Brutus towards The Julies who were taking deep breaths to calm themselves.

‘I am scared, I hope he doesn’t eat my bum, I quite like my bum.’ one of The Julies whispered to the other.

‘Come on girls, you know what you have to do.’ Grumbles said to them and at that point, all the other animals stepped back leaving Brutus to have his day.

‘After a count of three, I want you to scatter’ Grumbles shouted, ‘One, Two, Three – Scatter!’

The Julies scattered and ran in different directions round the field like a bunch of woolly jumpers on legs.

‘Brutus – off you go lad – round them up now and do your best.’ Grumbles said to Brutus and then winked at him.

Brutus froze on the spot, his huge eyes darting around for an escape and torn between being half kelpie and half Rhodesian ridgeback, he didn’t know whether to herd them up or eat them.

‘He can’t do it, he is too scared – he has lost it now, I knew he would but hoped he wouldn’t fall apart.’ the black horse sighed and shook his head at such a lost opportunity.

‘Come on Brutus, you can do it’ Rocky said under his breath and willed the big fella to snap out of his fear and prove the others wrong.

Brutus could see the top of Rocky’s huge ears that all kelpies had and even Brutus had inherited his fathers kelpie ears, so surely that meant he could be as good as anyone in herding?

‘I am a good boy, I am a GOOD boy, I AM a good boy!’ Brutus repeated to himself and as he glanced up, he could see the faces of The Julies, the cows, the black horse, the parrots, the goats, the cows in the other field, Grumbles the farm dog and most importantly – Rocky, his brother who loved him no matter what.

The other animals looked almost resigned to the fact that Brutus would waste this opportunity and let fear and nerves get the better of him and were about to walk away and give up on the big brown dog.

As they slowly started to walk back to their trees in the paddock, only Rocky remained firm. Staring at Brutus so hard that he could have almost bore holes into him; Rocky willed the dog to act.

‘I think it is time to go and I must say I am quite relieved’ one of The Julies said gratefully and patted her curly hair between her ears just like some elderly women pat their curls.

‘Come on Rocky, it’s not going to happen – he simply is not cut out for it.’ Grumbles the farm dog said quietly to Rocky.

But the little black kelpie totally believed in his brother and refused to move until Brutus proved him right.

‘Jesus Christ, he is coming!’ said another one of The Julies.

‘I don’t know what to do, do you think now would be a good time to pray?’ asked the smallest of The Julies as she gripped her bum in anticipation of it being bitten.

Slowly but surely, there was Brutus trying so hard to remember what Rocky had taught him when he showed him to herd up tennis balls and toys in the garden.

‘Hold on a minute Grumbles, didn’t you tell The Julies to herd themselves up and let Brutus think it was him? I thought you said the big brown fella was as good a herder as a chocolate fireguard?’ The black horse demanded.

‘Yes I did tell them to herd themselves as he hasn’t a clue about herding.’ Grumbles said in a shocked voice.

‘Well he has had you fooled, because he looks like he has done this before.’ a green parrot piped up from the fence.

‘Well I will be damned, you are right, here he comes!’ Grumbles said triumphantly and one by one the other farm animals turned back round to see Brutus and what he was capable of.

‘Go round the outside, bring them in tight, make the circle small and always watch out for the outsider.’ Brutus said loudly to himself.

‘Bugger me, he has remembered, I never thought he even listened, let alone remembered.’ Rocky barked.

‘Well I thought The Julies were going to herd themselves in, I never thought that Brutus could do it either!’ Grumbles looked shocked.

The gossiping chickens were so taken aback by what they were watching, they stopped accusing people of stealing and eating their babies and were now talking about Brutus who would no doubt, provide them with enough to chat about for months to come – or at least until their eggs were removed the next day.

‘That is my butt, you leave my butt alone!’ The Julies all squealed, as Brutus got a bit over enthusiastic about nipping their bums.

‘You are meant to nip their feet not their arses!’ Rocky shouted to Brutus who yelled something back about him being too tall to bend down and get their feet plus their bums tasted quite nice thank you.

‘One has got away!’ Grumbles shouted to Brutus who clearly didn’t hear him, ‘I wonder if he will notice?’

Rocky’s heart was beating so fast that he thought it might stop, ‘Please notice Brutus, The Julie is behind the tree.’

As if reading his mind, Brutus looked round to see one of The Julies trying the stealth trick of hiding behind a tree and immediately recognized it as the one that was really horrible to him and made him cry the other day.

‘Move and I will eat your bum and use your wool as a cat blanket for my brother Gordon!’ Brutus hissed to The Julies that were already in a tight circle from where Brutus had herded them up.

Disgusted at such language and terrified of the threats, The Julies remained in their circle, too scared to move or talk as he meant business and they knew it. Then running up to the tree Brutus walked purposely to The Julie that was hiding from him.

‘What you did to me was nasty and cruel and I did not deserve it. If I wanted to eat you right now, then I could do so quite easily.

‘And whilst I know I am not a pedigree farm dog, I will have you know that I can run in a straight line in lure coursing and I have also won The Good Boy Award and if you don’t believe me, you can ask Pippin’s Mum.

‘So you can jolly well respect me and get your fat woolly butt back to the others and do it now please.’ Brutus growled at The Julie.

Without saying a word The Julie immediately ran off to the rest of the group but not before Brutus took a good nip at her bottom, purely as payback for making him cry.

‘Did I just see that? He has only gone and done it.’ Rocky gasped as Grumbles wagged his tail furiously.

‘He has done it! He has brought in The Julies!’ shouted the black horse to the Highland cow who had fallen asleep and missed it all (old ladies do that you see – fall asleep at critical moments and they also fart as they walk along to the toilet and smell of wet bum).

The cows were all cheering, the goats, the two Shetland ponies and the sheep in fact everything including the green parrots on the side of the fence. Brutus ran back towards Rocky as the other farm animals clapped for him. Rocky who has bad hips and can’t walk very fast let alone run, had started to run towards Brutus to meet him halfway.

Limping and with stiff gait, Rocky didn’t care about his own discomfort, he cared about nothing except getting to his brother – HIS brother and he was proud of him. He hobbled up to Brutus and greeted him by cleaning his ears, wagging of tails and urinating on his head.

‘This is my brother Brutus!’ Rocky shouted to everyone as he fought back the tears and stood as close to Brutus as he could. Their tails wagged fast and high and just for one second, they were oblivious to every farm animal around them and only had eyes for each other and what Brutus had achieved.

‘Am I a sheepdog now?’ Brutus asked Rocky.

‘Well you can herd up The Julies and that is close enough.’ Rocky laughed, ‘and what is more you should be very proud of yourself’.

The Julies remained in the tight herded circle in the field, too scared to move after Brutus had threatened to eat them.

‘Are you OK?’ one Julie said to another.

‘I think so, I have some wool taken off my bottom, and does my bottom look bald?’ The Julie asked the rest of the group.

‘It just looks like you have been Brutus-fied!’ Snorted the black horse as the other animals all burst out laughing at the new term ‘Brutus-fied’.

‘He’s not bad your brother.’ Grumbles admitted to Rocky.

‘Yes, he is a good lad is Brutus.’ Rocky agreed.

The chickens who were still hanging out by the edge of their chicken run, rather reminded me of old ladies wearing feather aprons while gossiping at church about the evils of unmarried mothers.

‘Someone stole my babies.’ one of the chickens clucked loudly causing the others to shout in sympathy that their babies had also been stolen and eaten.

Rocky walked past just as the chickens were about to launch into a meltdown and growled at them ‘Two words – roast chicken!’

‘Did he just say roast chicken?’ one chicken screeched to another who fanned her beak with her wing feathers and pretended to faint.

Rocky didn’t wait to see or hear the aftermath about his ‘roast chicken’ comment but from what Grumbles told him, it kept them busy for a few days until they got back on the topic of egg-theft again.

And just as it all ended, the Highland cow decided to wake up. Looking confused and sleepy, she said in her gentle Scottish accent ‘what have I missed my dear, is it time for tea?’

Later that night

 Brutus and Rocky were in bed – both of them full of the excitement from the day. Brutus could not wait to see his beloved friend Vader the boxer to tell him about everything.

‘Rocky do you think I could turn professional and do herding for a living, The Julies loved me I am sure.’

Rocky remembering that several of The Julies had gone back to the stable with bald bottoms after being ‘Brutus-fied’, thought that the word ‘love’ was perhaps too strong a description for Brutus’s herding skills.

‘Oh you don’t want to be professional, it is too much like hard work and you would have to work sheep in the rain and you would have to be up super early and you know how much you hate early starts.’ Rocky said convincingly.

‘Oh I don’t mind that, no pain no gain as they say.’

‘You can’t take Tony Abbott herding you know, they would laugh at you.’ Rocky added quickly.

Brutus frowned ‘Yeah you are right, but I guess it is a skill I can always fall back on.’

And with that Rocky had to be satisfied as every alpaca in Western Australia would also be grateful at that decision.

Going home

 ‘Have you got everything?’ Rocky asked Brutus as the bags were packed to go home.

‘I think so, hold on – where is my Tony Abbott doll?’ Brutus panicked.

‘It is in the bag, Mum packed it ages ago along with my gingerbread man.’ said Rocky.

Brutus nodded gratefully and then glanced around the house to see that nothing had been forgotten.

‘Right then boys, come to the car as we have a long drive ahead of us.’ Brutus’s Dad said firmly.

‘I don’t want to wear my harness.’ Brutus cried as he was strapped in. ‘Rocky doesn’t wear a harness, he has a seat belt clip – can I have a seat belt clip?’

‘That is because Rocky sits nicely in the car and you don’t and as the journey is 5.5 hours, we can’t have you fidgeting around in the car.’ I replied and made sure his harness was secure.

Doing his usual pout, Brutus looked sulky as he stared out of the car window while making doggy ‘nose art’ on the windows. As he stared longingly at the vast expanse of farm land, he spotted Grumbles the farm dog, the gossipy chickens, The Julies, the black horse, the cows, the Highland cow (with horns you could hang a coat on), the bull, the Shetland ponies, some sheep, some goats and several green parrots all lined up outside the house to wave goodbye.

‘Rocky look at this!’ Brutus poked Rocky in the ribs to get his attention.

‘Don’t push your luck by poking me Turd Legs; you know I don’t like it. What do you want me to look at?’ Rocky growled. He always hated it when he had to go back home for any of his holidays.

‘The animals!’ Brutus pointed to the fields and the yard.

‘What animals?’ Rocky barked.

‘THOSE animals!’ Brutus banged on the window to show Rocky.

As the car slowed down, Brutus and Rocky stuck their heads out of the windows and strained their necks to get a good look.

Grumbles the farm dog fronted up the gang and walked up to the car and said ‘It’s been good having you on our farm lads, you are welcome any time.’ and then nodded his head firmly as a mark of respect.

One by one the animals all nodded in agreement and started to cheer their support. Even The Julies were joining in except for occasionally grabbing their bottoms at the sight of Brutus.

‘Even me Grumbles? Am I welcome back here?’ Brutus asked Grumbles.

Grumbles looked long and hard at Brutus, remembering how hard he tried to fit in, how he stood up to The Julies and how he had such faith in his brother Rocky, he tried his best and managed to herd The Julies in the field.

‘Especially you Brutus.’ Grumbles smiled.

Looking embarrassed as he always does when someone pays him a compliment, Brutus put his head down in the car so the others couldn’t see him blushing.

‘Watch those hips kelpie boy, they are your only mobility so don’t you go mad chasing those tennis balls.’ Grumbles waved at Rocky.

Rocky grinned ‘I will be back next year and I will have those cows organized in no time.’

‘Catch ya later Julies’ Rocky laughed at The Julies, ‘And keep up the cardio work!’

Waving so vigorously that their leg warmers slipped down, The Julies giggled at Rocky ‘It’s been lovely having you!’

Brutus and Rocky kept their snouts stuffed out of the window as we drove the car out of the driveway away from the farm.

Several of the animals trotted after it until they reached the fence until it was only Grumbles and a couple of parrots that followed us until the end of the driveway as the car rattled along the unsealed path to the main road and eventually disappeared.

‘Back to normal I guess.’ sighed Grumbles.

‘Yep, let’s go and wait for the next lot of visitors – I wonder what they will be like?’ one of the parrots asked.

‘Not like Brutus, that’s for sure.’ Grumbles replied.

And that was something they all agreed upon.

Back home

 After the five-hour drive back home, the boys had run straight out into the garden to check that nothing had been moved and no invisible dogs had pissed on their favourite trees.

‘That invisible GSD has been digging again!’ Rocky looked accusingly at the hole he had completely forgotten digging before we went.

‘Brutus is that you? Are you back?’ A voice came from behind the fence – it was Brutus’s friend Vader the boxer who spoke with a fat tongue which has been compared to a Christmas ham.

10551075_683596318395084_4256826329900557973_n

Brutus and his friend Vader

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Vader! Yes, we had a marvelous time. You will never guess what I did?’ Brutus blurted out, unable to contain himself. You know what it is like when you come back from holiday, you can’t wait to relive every single detail several times until your friends have virtually relived the experience in your stories.

Brutus chattered away to Vader through a gap in the fence, telling him all about his time with The Julies, the cows, the horses and Grumbles the farm dog. Vader of course hung on to Brutus’s every single word.

By the time Brutus had told his story, he had convinced both himself and Vader that he was a fully trained up farm dog with an ability to herd up anything on the farm and was now in demand for the ‘Herding Championships’ (Brutus invented that).

Rocky briefly thought about correcting him, but only briefly as he already had plans to tell Gordon that he had driven the tractor and had conquered the chickens.

Dreams – they are free and we can all have them, especially our pets.

Rockytractor

Rocky driving a rusty old tractor – so he believes

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

The End.

Samantha Rose – Copyright August 2018 ©

 

Dogs, Owners and Look-alikes

pexels-photo-406014.jpeg

Free stock photo provided by Pexels

We have all heard the saying that some owners look like their dogs and as I write this, I alternate my gaze between Rocky and Brutus wondering which one I resemble. I do have to agree though, because I have seen lots of people in my life that do a fabulous ‘look-a-like’ when it comes to their pets and I don’t mean that in a bad way, after all I think that our pets are perfect in their own individual way. I just find it amusing that some people really can pull it off.

blog

Rocky is not amused at being compared to me

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

schnauzer-miniature-schnauzer-dog-running-59849.jpeg

Schnauzer – I love these dogs, such characters

(Free Stock Photo Provided by Pexels)

For instance I have seen some elderly men that actually look like their Schnauzer, complete with grey bushy/tufty eyebrows and grey beards and I am not even joking. Next time you see an old man with an abundance of grey wiry facial and eyebrow hair, think Schnauzer and I bet he has one at home if he isn’t out walking it.

When it comes to giving the standard description of a person, I am pretty rubbish and the best I can come up with is ‘Short/tall, fat/thin, grey hair’ kind of thing. But I do wonder if I said ‘Elderly Schnauzer looking man’, if that would that cut it with the cops when describing a suspect? Maybe the cops could introduce a doggy comparison chart for us dog lovers that see a breed of dog in everyone. (Well I find it amusing but then I am a bit wierd like that).

Can you just imagine it in a police line up where there is a GSD, a greyhound, a pug and an Airedale terrier, ‘Officer he looked like number three’, you say firmly as you point to the pug.  God that would make life so much easier.

The Afghan Incident

I still hold the mental scars and embarrassment over this, it is so raw that I blush at the mere mention of it so please be patient with me as I relive the shame.

We were living in Devon in the UK at the time and I was walking in to town when I spotted a car parked on the side of the road by the pathway. The window was completely down and partially sticking out was the glistening golden head of a gloriously well-kept Afghan hound.

Now in those days I could never resist a dog, especially when it is so tantalizingly close to me like this one was. Stretching out my arm, I stupidly went to pat the dog on the head (I say stupidly because now I would never touch a dog without the owners consent – ever). ‘Aren’t you gorgeous!’ I sighed and patted the dogs silky fur.

‘Excuse me, do you mind!’ A furious voice piped up and the glorious ‘Afghan’ that I had touched, moved its head, looked up and revealed an obvious human face instead of a canine one as a pissed off looking female glared at me.

Feeling my cheeks burning with embarrassment, I muttered something about being sorry and poor eyesight and needing new glasses. This was and still is true, as I do recall when we were on holiday in Namibia in 2007, I mistook a pile of black rubbish sacks in the distance for a group of ostriches and wanted to go and take photos – but let’s not discuss that as my husband still reminds me of that one.

I quickly walked off and left the ‘Afghan’ woman with her lips pursed tightly like a cats anus and a look of disbelief at what had just happened and as for me, well I just pretended that it never happened. She should be flattered really, does she have any idea that goes into making an Afghan hounds coat stand out like that? I think not.

I thought I had put all this behind me I really did but only this week as I was driving to work I saw a guy walking his greyhound. Well of course I had to have a good look at the dog, you all know I am a sucker for a pointy snout brigade (whippet/greyhound/Iggy).

Unable to believe my eyes, I blinked a few times and looked again – well it was at a red traffic light so I could get a few glances in. This man had a nose just like his greyhound, he had sharp chiselled features and I could have sworn he was walking in sync with his dog with that delightful bounce that greyhounds sometimes have when they walk. The only thing missing was that the guy wasn’t brindle and shiny like his dog but then you can’t have everything.

As for me…

I definitely don’t look like my kelpie Rocky and I don’t think I look like Brutus either. My hair which is a huge mop, could possibly do Afghan when I straighten it or Briard if I go wavy – who knows, but the next time I go to my hairdresser I might just ask her to ‘Do an Afghan’ and just enjoy the moment, providing nobody ruffles my hair through my car window of course.

 

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright April 2018

 

Brutus and the Pigaloo Tree

IMG_5200

From little things planted, mighty dogs do grow – according to Brutus

Photograph by Samantha Rose

It was a beautiful sunny day and Brutus was round his good friend Pippin Potter’s house for lunch and a long overdue catch up. Brutus always feels very grown up when he hangs out with Pippin. He looks up to the little dog and even puts on a pair of spectacles (with no lenses) and a bow tie to give the impression of being a university educated dog like his brother Rocky.

Rocky University

Rocky teaches Maths in his spare time

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Today was no different because Brutus was sat at the table pretending to read a copy of ‘The Daily Dog’ newspaper which is a publication for all educated canines and has lists of doggy universities and stuff in it. Except that Brutus can’t read as he is dyslexic and has to use colours, symbols and photos on paper to help him understand. Don’t feel too sorry for him though as he manages very well with the help of Pippin’s sister – Bronte who has endless patience when she gives him lessons.

Brutus sat there with his big boofy head buried in the newspaper while Pippin sat opposite him reading a book on ‘Showing for the Neuter Champion’. He kept sneaking quick glances of Pippin to watch him reading and felt envious at how quickly Pippin could scan a page.

Pippin Reading

Pippin has always been an avid reader

(Photograph by Denise Pringle)

You know what it’s like when you want to be like someone, sometimes you copy their mannerisms or perhaps how they dress and generally try and mimic the qualities that you admire, well dogs do the same and like us, they all have their hero to look up to.

Pippin looked up at Brutus and smiled at him and then removed his half rimmed spectacles, huffed on them and cleaned them with his silk handkerchief.

Brutus stared at Pippin and then removed his own spectacles to clean them. As he gave giving them a big huff, he nearly sent Pippin off his chair – Brutus is a big dog you know and has enough ‘huff’ in him for several dogs. He suddenly remembered that he didn’t have any lenses in them, feeling embarrassed, he quickly put them back on his face.

‘Oh I know what I meant to tell you’, Pippin nodded in Brutus’s direction as he picked up a dog biscuit, took a delicate bite and then dabbed the crumbs off his snout afterwards.

‘What’s that Pip?’ Brutus replied and folded up his newspaper, pretending that he had read it even though he had been holding it upside down without realising.

‘Mum has pulled a big tree from the garden for you to put in your garden, I think they are dropping it round this week’, Pippin grinned, ‘But tell Rocky that he must not dig it up or your Mum won’t be happy’.

Brutus looked thoughtful but said nothing, he didn’t really know anything about trees and unlike his brother Rocky, was always far too lazy to dig anything in the garden. He did have a habit of claiming Rocky’s garden holes as his own and for years we actually believed that the holes in the garden were Brutus’s. That was until we found Rocky looking breathless with dirty paws, short stubby nails and a shelf of soil on his snout.

‘Pippin?’ Brutus asked him.

‘Yes Brutus?’ Pippin took a sip of his drink.

‘Can I give my tree a name?’ Brutus wagged his tail in excitement, he always gets excited when anything new is brought to the house. Brutus has such a good imagination, that he had already convinced himself of all kinds of magical stuff about the new tree.

‘Well you can give it a name, I don’t see the point myself but whatever makes you happy’, Pippin smiled, ‘Fancy a pigs snout? Mum bought some the other day and they are rather delicious’.

The two dogs said nothing further about the tree or whether or not Brutus was going to name it but knowing Brutus, he probably would give it a name and fabricate an entire story to go with it.

The Next Day….

‘What did you say?’ Frugal McGuff the boxer snorted with laughter, ‘The Pigaloo Tree? What the hell is a Pigaloo Tree?’

Brutus stood next to a group of dogs in the park. Unable to stop himself, he blurted out ‘It’s a special tree that grows friends when you need them’.

Frugal McGuff looked at a chunky pug sat next to him. The pug shook his head and wiped the skin folds in his neck with his paws and stared at Brutus, ‘Run this by me again lad, you have a tree called Pigaloo; that grows new friends?’.

Brutus had been backed into a corner, he really didn’t know why he had just made that up but he couldn’t back down now. Besides, he had always wanted an Iggy brother or sister to live with and how marvellous would it be to have a tree that actually grew Iggies and as his nickname had always been ‘Brutus Pigaloo’, then it kind of made sense that his new tree should be named after him.

‘Yes’, Brutus faltered, ‘And I have wished for an Italian greyhound (Iggy) brother or sister and my Pigaloo tree will grow exactly that’.

Frugal McGuff wiped the snot off his face and smirked in the direction of a couple of Maltese terriers who were busy laughing and taking the piss out of Brutus.

‘Well, if we don’t see it then it didn’t happen, so we shall be at your house at 11am tomorrow morning then?’ Frugal replied – it wasn’t a request either.

Shrugging, Brutus looked stubborn, ‘You can see my Pigaloo tree but you are in for a shock!’.

‘Catch ya later loser!’ Frugal yelled as he waddled off – he was a big overweight you see and couldn’t move as quickly as some boxer dogs. He was followed by the pug and the two Maltese terriers, the other dogs had quickly dispersed a few minutes earlier.

‘Oh god, what have I done?’ Brutus said to himself, perhaps if he wished it hard enough it would happen but if it didn’t then he would never live it down.

At Pippin’s house

You know how I have told you about Pippin knowing everything? Well he honestly does and he really does carry several mobile phones and two iPads as well as a Filofax with ‘stuff’ in it. Pippin is in fact a canine Oracle and has been known to mark the papers for the local universities.

Anyway, let’s get back to the story. Pippin was on his phone talking to someone, I don’t know who it was but what I do know is that he looked troubled and it was something to do with Brutus and his Pigaloo tree.

‘Oh dear, well of course it could all go very wrong once Frugal McGuff and his mob find out that Brutus has a fertile imagination and his precious Pigaloo tree is the Frangipani that my family have given him’, Pippin sighed and rubbed his paw along the desk to remove some crumbs.

Bronte was curled up on the sofa reading her monthly magazine. She was half halfheartedly listening to the conversation and felt quite sick at the thought of Frugal the boxer and his mates bullying Brutus. Having fiercely defended the giant dog in the past and assisted him with his dyslexia, she simply could not stand it if he was bullied again.

Pip was now off the phone and looking concerned. ‘Pippin, we must be able to help him, we can’t let Frugual McGuff find out that Brutus’s Pigaloo tree isn’t magic, it would simply destroy him’. Bronte said anxiously.

‘Yes, I was thinking the same’. Pippin agreed.

‘So what are we going to do about it?’ Bronte demanded.

Grabbing his car keys, Pippin picked up his mobile phone and called Rocco, ‘Hi Rocco, I need your help – round up the boys and I will meet you in the park in 10 mins’, Pippin said in a gruff voice – well gruff for an Iggy anyway.

The next day

‘So, is this the so called Pigaloo tree then?’ Frugal McGuff barked.

‘Doesn’t look much to me, looks like the same sort of thing that my Mum has in her garden’, shrugged a pug in a leather jacket (Pugs always wear either leather or denim jackets and chew gum to give them more attitude).

The two Maltese terriers were there and there was also some dogs that Brutus didn’t recognise but was too scared to ask them to leave. In fact he didn’t want any of them there but he had to prove to them that his precious Pigaloo tree was real and Brutus felt that perhaps if he believed in magic hard enough then surely something had to happen?

Brutus stood by his tree while Frugal McGuff, the two Maltese Terriers, the pug and a GSD checked out the garden and in particular, Brutus’s toy box. ‘I say, that’s a shitty selection of toys in here!’ Sniggered the GSD as the other dogs joined in laughing.

Brutus looked upset, he was proud of his toy box and generous with it too and was known to share his toys around to dogs less fortunate than himself and it upset him to hear of his toy box being disrespected in such a way. Too scared to argue back, Brutus stared at his toys and in particular his new honking pig and hoped that Frugal wouldn’t puncture it out of spite which he had been known to do in the past.

But Frugal was busy making a point by urinating up every tree in the garden and kicking up the soil which is a total insult to any dog – having a strange dog piss up your tree is second only to stealing ones bones in terms of doggy crimes or in Brutus’s case – insulting his toy box.

Brutus felt nauseous, his nerves were building up and the more Frugal strutted around his garden, the worse he felt and the more he wanted to cry.

‘Well come on, show us what your tree can do!’ Shouted the pug. The other dogs all nodded in agreement.

‘Don’t dare me, you will be sorry!’ Brutus barked defiantly but inwardly wishing that this blasted Pigaloo tree would eat him up. He wanted so badly to believe that his tree could grow friends that he had almost convinced himself and had Frugal and his mates not been in the garden, he could have carried on believing it as well and just made up invisible friends like Rocco the Iggy who regularly fights with his pretend mates.

‘Looks like we are wasting our time guys’, Frugal laughed and beckoned his mates to leave the garden while Brutus sat hunched up by his precious tree with his bottom lip trembling. He would never live this down – ever.

Suddenly there were sounds of squeaking, high pitched voices, spluttering and muffled barks coming from the ground.

Frugal turned round with the other dogs and saw that the soil by the tree was moving. ‘What the hell……?’ Frugal gasped, ‘Hey you lot come and check this out!’.

The other dogs gathered round and stared at the soil as tiny little paws frantically dug their way out of it.

One by one four little Iggies popped out of the ground, coughing and sneezing and wiping the soil from their faces. Brutus didn’t recognise any of them and it was at that point he truly believed that his Pigaloo tree had grown him some friends.

Little did he know that Pippin had rounded up some young pups that Frugal had never seen so could not recognise and it was an easy task to correspond with Rocky who is a champion digger, to dig holes big enough to accommodate four baby Italian greyhounds.

Brutus stared open mouthed at the Iggies as they emerged fighting their way through the soil barking loudly.

‘Well I’ll be damned! He wasn’t lying after all’, Frugal McGuff shook his head in disbelief, ‘Am I dreaming? I said AM I DREAMING?’ Frugal repeated to the pug who assured him that no, he wasn’t dreaming.

Once the four Iggies had dug their way out of the soil and had wiped the mess from their faces, they wagged their tail at Brutus and grinned at him.

‘Wow! My Pigaloo Tree really does grow Iggies!’ Brutus said happily, his tail wagging so hard that he knocked the pug over, ‘Now do you believe me Frugal?’ Brutus barked with a sudden display of confidence.

Brutus April 18

Brutus does ‘confused’ so well

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Frugal looked boot-faced and decided that he had been seen quite enough and it was time to go. Signalling to his mates to leave, they all turned round and left the garden with the pug being last in line, farting with each step as he waddled off down the driveway.

‘Well I have never seen anything like it….’ Frugal McGuff muttered to nobody in particular.

Rocky and Pippin

Rocky and Pippin

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Brutus was so overwhelmed with the Iggies that had seemingly sprouted from his tree, that he farted which of course caused the pups to giggle and let a few off themselves.

‘Got to admit Pippin, you were right’, Rocky whispered to Pippin from their hiding place at the side of the house.

‘I usually am Rocky, I usually am’, Pippin said smugly, ‘Now let’s get out of here before Brutus spots us’.

That evening..

Brutus and Rocky were curled up on the sofa with Kevin the kitten. They were discussing their day and what they had got up to, Rocky could see that Brutus was bursting to tell him about his Pigaloo Tree.

Brothers April

Discussing The Pigaloo Tree

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Rocky you will never guess what happened today?’ said Brutus.

Kevin the kitten nearly gave the game away had it not been for Rocky giving him a sharp nip on his bum.

‘What’s that Brutus?’ Rocky asked with feigned innocence – pretending that he knew nothing. Except Rocky does actually know everything as he has been to kelpie university and is very smart indeed.

‘You know my Pigaloo Tree?’ Brutus nodded in the direction of the garden.

‘Yes Brutus, I know your Pigaloo Tree’, Rocky glared at Kevin daring him to ruin the moment while Kevin made rude gestures with his paws.

‘We all know about your Pigaloo Tree, it’s all you have spoken about since it was planted!’ Kevin growled threateningly. He is such a naughty bastard and has no verbal filter – ask anyone. I got out of the shower the other day and he actually laughed at my bum, he is so rude for a kitten.

Kevin April 2018

Kevin – so much disrespect in that ginger body!

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Ignoring Kevin, Brutus said ‘Well it grew four Iggy puppies, I saw it with my own eyes and so did Frugal McGuff and his mates, you can ask them!’ Brutus nodded a few times to reaffirm his big announcement.

‘Bloody hell Brutus, that is jolly impressive!’ Rocky smiled at his brother and when Brutus wasn’t looking, he quickly sent a text to Pippin to tell him that ‘operation Pigaloo Tree’ had been a success.

Later when the dogs were in bed, Brutus was curled up with his toys thinking about his day. ‘Rocky?’

‘Yes Brutus?’ Rocky signed – Brutus always has his million questions at bed time.

‘Now I know that friends can grow on trees, does that mean all the dogs with no friends can grow them as well so they never have to be lonely?’ Brutus nudged his toys in order on his bed.

Rocky remained silent, he had no answer to that question but it certainly got him thinking, how nice would it be if everyone had their own Pigaloo Tree to grow friends from.

I mean, can you just imagine it….

The End

Copyright © 2018 Samantha Rose

All rights reserved.

 

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and situations within its pages and places or persons, living or dead, is unintentional and coincidental – except for my own animals and we all know that they talk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brutus learns the real meaning of Christmas

img_4810

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’.

IMG_3151

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’.

img_4760

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’.

img_0477

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.’

20160306_122014

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).

img_4868

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.

img_4733

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.

img_4843

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!).

img_4859

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.

549216_489448227786320_1397826679_n

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.

Glasses

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.

IMG_3681

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)

Brutus sulking twice

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.

Rocky and Pippin

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.

Bronte and Rocky

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.

20160306_122014

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…..

 

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.

1962675_609347279153322_1827559036_n

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.

10496924_687941054627277_1634787307464121344_o

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.

10616404_10152744310382652_2553356192245478977_n

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

10330344_10204119960096596_7112504982245364946_n

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.

IMG_6292

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.

1555567_686108731477176_3335147694028628897_n

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.

10557318_10152286936003317_3056136339060035171_n

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.

10527793_10204208507160793_4253338970763154421_n

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.