The Fastest Dog in Australia 2015 – First Heats

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Pippin Pringle talks to Gordon about lure coursing

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Firstly I would like to apologise in the delay of the Toppa in QLD story, I am halfway through that but have had a few personal things going on. Toppa has done very well in QLD in the show ring and his testicles are the talk of the town but that is another story and I shall get that finished as soon as I possibly can.

The Fastest Dog in Australia Heats 2015

This years contest is bigger than last year and the following clubs are now also competing which is fantastic news.

Adelaide Lure Coursing and Lure Racing are taking part as are the Yarra Valley Whippet Social Racing Club, Victoria so four states are competing this year.  So come on Northern Territory, I have made up stories for your crocs, dingoes and kangaroos but having your dogs on board would be fabulous!

The Big Day Arrives

It was Good Friday and the day for lure coursing and the first set of heats for West Coast Dog Sports for the Fastest Dog in Australia for 2015.

It was also being held at a new venue – Dogs West Show Grounds in Southern River, instead of our usual Kings Meadow Polo Grounds site which was actually quite nice for a change although some of the dogs were a bit nervous about having their routine changed – well Brutus in particular.

‘Will the grass be as nice?’ Brutus sobbed to me that morning as I got him ready, he was panicking at the slightest change and for Brutus; another venue may as well mean the end of his big brown world. IMG_0054

Poor old Brutus – doesn’t take much to confuse him!

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Did you just ask if the grass would be as nice, did you just really ask that?’ Rocky demanded in amusement. IMG_0276

What did you just say? said Rocky

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Vader told me that the grass on the South of the River is brown and the grass in the Polo Club is a nice green colour and if we run on different grass then our legs will fall off’ Brutus protested.

He quite liked his legs and really did not want them to fall off. Rocky bit his lip to avoid responding but Gordon who had no such self-restraint muttered stuff about Brutus falling from the idiot tree and banging his head on every branch as he fell down. J6

Gordon can give a dirty look that shrivels grown men

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Don’t worry Brutus, you will not lose your legs’ I reassured him and gave Gordon a dirty look which was totally wasted as he was washing his bum and ignoring me.

‘Good luck Brutus!’ Rocky waved to us as we pulled out of the driveway.

Brutus pressed his face up against the car window leaving nose art smeared on the glass and waved back at Rocky until he disappeared out of sight.

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus demanded as we got on to the main road.

‘No Brutus, we are not there yet’ I replied. ‘Have you farted?’ I demanded to him as I smelt the familiar smell of ‘gastro-pup’ fill the car.

Sniffing his own bum Brutus then looked at me and said flatly ‘Yes, I have’.

And with that reply I had could say nothing.

On arrival at the lure coursing grounds (Dogs West)

The Italian Greyhound gazebo was already set up with several of our group already settled.  The first dog we saw was Chewy who was full of excitement at what the day had to offer him.

‘Hi Brutus, how’s it going?’ Chewy grinned to Brutus.  Wearing his finest pants (pantaloons), Chewy the Tibetan, looked quite splendid in all his ‘smallness’ and for such a small dog, exuded presence that demanded that your admiration.

When Chewy runs down the track his sole aim is to get you to admire his coat, the fact that he looks uber cute as he runs is a bonus. IMG_0356

Chewy – the big dog in a little body with cute pants

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Hi Chewy, have you seen Vader – he came with his Mum and Dad and Tess in their car?’ Brutus asked nervously.

‘Nope, he isn’t here yet’ Chewy replied and then stuffed his nose up Poppy’s bum to see where she had been.

Deciding to have a look around to see who was there, Brutus left the Iggy camp and went for a walk.

Sighting the Mouse Norris the greyhound who was there with her sister Barbie and some other greyhounds, Brutus went over to say hello to them.

Mouse is officially head of ‘The Cool Gang’ and always does cool stuff like travelling, kayaking and just going everywhere and anywhere including riding in her own trailer at the back of her Mums bike.

Someone said that Mouse actually has her own passport and has been around the world but that is just a rumour although it wouldn’t surprise me. 10517584_662020460552670_2824292422610396961_n

Brutus and Mouse Norris in the early days of their friendship

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Hi Mouse!’ Brutus shouted.  At one point Mouse would have ignored such a strange-looking dog but Brutus had been on the circuit enough to have proven himself and Mouse now greeted him like one of her cool gang.

Nodding at him and smiling, Mouse replied ‘Hi Brutus, good luck for today!’ while Barbie looked round and gave him the paws-up symbol for good luck.

Brutus was absurdly pleased and tried to look ‘cool’ at such an acknowledgement. As he walked off, he turned round and smiled back at Mouse and at the same time tripped over a blade of grass but thankfully nobody saw it except for a chunky looking Pug that snorted with laughter but everyone else thought that was just his breathing and totally ignored him.

Team Pringle

Brutus was now back in the Iggy section and Vader had arrived with his sister Tess who was air-kissing Woody and Hamish and telling them how marvellous it was to see them. 10641229_10152780218323317_2720869455981626668_n

Brutus and Pippin discuss race tactics

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘It felt wrong us not being in the car together this morning’ Vader whispered to Brutus who agreed with him, although it was for the best as three dogs in the car and three humans would be far too much even by Brutus’s standards.

‘Haven’t seen you in years, shall we chew each others jowls?’ Vader asked Brutus who obliged by cleaning Vader’s mouth which caused Tess to wrinkle up her snout in disgust at such a public display of snot exchange. 10256912_638694072885309_8121693479915909382_n

Brutus and Vader – Jowl lickers forever

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Pippin was busy on his iPad trying to liaise with Nica and Zara who had gone with their Mums down South for the Easter break. He wanted to find out how things were going down there and so that he could give Nica all the updates and although they were on holiday; the girls were still expected to keep up with the lure coursing gossip. 11065898_10152780095983317_4961539582172621579_n

Pippin trying to organise everyone

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Rocco and Madam Gigi were also absent as were Olive and Bambi and several of the others so the Iggy contingent were pretty thin on the ground although Woody made up for it with his stealth like ability to get on the knees of everyone that he met and would come off smelling of various perfumes from intense cuddle and petting sessions.

Brutus got quite excited at the little Dachshund and almost asked for its mobile number until Poppy told him that he was in fact a boy, not that it bothered Brutus as Pippin told him little things like that don’t matter.

‘Did your Mum get you that?  I would SO love one of those’ Poppy the Chinese Crested gushed at Bronte who was showing off her beautiful collar that Dee Cole (The Canine Company) had hand-made for her.  Pippin also has one – ‘Fifty Shades of Pippin’.

‘Yes she did and she has ordered me some other clothes as well’ Bronte said confidently. Bronte had the best wardrobe for miles only rivalled by that of Tess, with a rich selection of dresses, skirts, tops and collars to name but a few.

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The latest on the catwalk – according to Bronte

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

In fact rumours had it that even the top fashion designers from Paris, New York and Rome would come to Bronte’s house for ideas for Paris Fashion Week and consult with the tiny Italian greyhound about ‘what is hot’ and ‘what is not’ in the world of Iggies.

‘Do you like my pants?’ Chewy barked loudly, feeling a bit left out; he wanted to direct the conversation towards himself to show off his ‘pantaloons’ which looked just like the baggy Arabic dance pants and very good they looked too.

‘I wouldn’t mind a pair of pants like that’ Brutus nodded approvingly and then asked Vader for his opinion on Chewy’s pants. ‘I could shit in those and Mum would never know, how much fun that would be!’ Vader replied momentarily excited at the thought of having some pants to store turd in.  He could use them as weapons to flick over the fence to hit next doors cat, now that would be fun.

‘Please excuse my brother, he is quite revolting’ Tess sighed and then went back to discussing joint issues and the benefits of supplements with Woody. IMG_7905

There are two Woody’s in Tess’s life – here is the toy one

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Millie the border collie, Poppy and Bronte were busy looking through some samples of dog collars and clothes. ‘I wouldn’t mind one of those collars’ Millie said pointedly at her Mum who must have overheard as the next minute she was rifling through the box looking for something to order her.

‘I wish my Mum would buy me one of those collars, I tried a Hugh Hefner style collar on at the last event and thought I looked quite mature for my age’ Brutus said wistfully to Vader who giggled as the words ‘mature’ and ‘Brutus’ simply did not go in the same sentence.

‘My Mum said there is no point in wasting one on me, she reckons I would break it in seconds’ Vader laughed truthfully.

Brutus just hung his head and said nothing.  He thought he looked jolly nice in the collar he tried on and would have loved one for himself but a new collar was certainly not on my priority list for him when I had other things to think about financially.

The Cloth Dogs and the ‘Crate of Barks’

You have all read about what I describe as ‘The Cloth Dogs’ which are Kim and Ian Cross’s Afghan hounds. I use the term ‘Cloth Dog’ as when they run down the track they look like a piece of silk cloth floating along the grass and the image can be very suddenly ruined when they decide to roll in horse shit which although hilarious to watch, must take ages to get out of the fur.

One of the Cloth Dogs is called Eugene and he also plays the piano and enjoys a bit of 70s dancing but once again, that is another story. 603870_10152780096713317_6197082827611651898_n

Eugene – The Cloth Dog

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Eugene like Rocco, Bentley and Sting the Italian greyhounds, suffers a bit of Tourette’s and is prone to outbursts of bad language and insults and can always be heard from his crate yelling stuff to other dogs as they go by.

Today was no different and surrounded by his wives, Eugene was absolutely furious at every dog that had the audacity to walk past his crate.

Eugene has a strong foreign accent that gets harder to understand the angrier he gets and when he is in his crate with his wives, it can get quite heated.  The crate I might add is known as ‘The Crate of Barks’.

‘Your Mumma she eat turd for her breakfast!’ Eugene yelled in broken English to a couple of Ridgebacks that walked by while Lucy – one of Eugene’s wives giggled behind him and hid behind her fringe for anonymity .

‘Your Mumma she lick the cats bottom!’ shouted a grizzled looking dog in a fake Italian accent back to Eugene while a group of Weimaraners looked horrified at such words and shook their heads in horror. (dogs will often talk in fake foreign accents purely for effect)

All you could hear was the exchange of angry words between the grizzled dog and Eugene with stuff like ‘Your Mumma she did this’ and ‘Your Mumma she did that’ and my personal favourite ‘Your Mumma has a snout like my Mumma’s anus!’.

‘I eat your family for breakfast!’ growled Eugene and then whispered to his wives in the crate ‘You girls can bark as well and make it sound scary’.

‘This is the bad-ass crate for the bad dogs, you are in my hood now!’ the angry Afghan barked.

‘Yeah, I could eat you for breakfast you big fat hairball!’ squealed a Jack Russell Terrier who looked a bit like Danny De Vito, ‘I have contacts you know and I could snap you like a twig!’

‘You have been watching too many movies little dog, I shit things out of my bum bigger than you’ Eugene barked.

‘I will come back with my friends’ spluttered the Jack Russell angrily and then realised that he hadn’t actually brought any friends and would have to round-up some invisible ones instead.

‘And that man-bun on the top of your head makes you look like a hairy sumo girl!’ snarled the Jack Russell which caused Eugene to stop yelling and ask Lucy if he really did look like a hairy sumo girl.

‘I don’t look like a girl do I?’ Eugene asked her. Lucy flicked her fringe dramatically and replied soothingly ‘Just ignore him, he is jealous’.

‘Big fat hairy sumo girl!’ barked the Jack Russell and then started to flash Eugene his bum to antagonise him.

The thing is with little dogs, the smaller they are the bigger that they think they are and the more you reprimand them and hold them back, the more they say ‘Let me at it, I shall eat him alive’ – even if the dog is the size of a small snack, it simply won’t stop them thinking how big and tough they are.

Just as it was about to all kick off, Brutus walked past with Millie and grinned at Eugene ‘Hi Eugene, how’s it going?’

‘Piss off and don’t ruin my moment’ Eugene growled harshly at Brutus.

‘He is such a kidder, he is a teddy bear really, I love him’ Brutus said confidently to Millie (Brutus loves everyone and thinks everyone loves him which is not strictly true).

‘I am not so sure about that Brutus’ Millie said nervously as Eugene flipped Brutus the bird through the bars of his crate and gave a flick of his ‘man bun’ which is the hair on top of his head all pinned up so that it doesn’t get knotted.

Leaving Eugene and his wives to defend his ‘crate of growls’, Brutus and Millie made their way to the sausage sizzle because Millie wanted to give Brutus a lesson in how to vacuum off a sausage from the counter in one easy step while ignoring the onions.

Millie I should add, was an expert in this as she had already inhaled her human brothers cheese and salad wrap from the table leaving no evidence except for a bit of cheese on her black and white snout.

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Millie the border collie and expert inhaler of food

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

A Hot Dog Affair

‘So you see what you do is to pretend you are asleep but have the sausage firmly set in your sights and when your parents are not looking you quickly lean up with your head to the side and inhale the sausage’.  Millie whispered to Brutus.

‘But watch you don’t choke on it and always run away and eat the evidence so they can pin nothing on you and never eat the onions as they are poisonous’ Millie added confidently.

Brutus was taking on board everything Millie told him but then he realised that we never actually have sausages in our house so he would have to try something else.  He briefly wondered if hash browns would be as good but if he swallowed one of those whole he would end up with a triangular shape in his throat (or so I can imagine).

Bundy – The Town Crier and Brutus The Good Boy

You all know Bundy the fluffy Samoyed otherwise known as the Town Crier, he announces everything and anything and nothing but does so with such passion and enthusiasm that the title cannot possibly be removed from him.

Bundy and Brutus have become good friends after Bundy came to Brutus’s birthday party and the boys always enjoy catching up. IMG_8830

Brutus and Bundy – the Town Crier

(Photography by Sam Rose)

Dogs have been known to watch Bundy to see what he has to say and even clap afterwards despite his speeches making no sense whatsoever.  Bundy is what you might call the Martin Luther King of the dog world when it comes to giving speeches.

‘Here I am everyone, I am here, I am there and I am everywhere!’ Bundy barked to everyone that would listen and anyone that wouldn’t.

‘Race for your lives, race for your families, race for the world and then spread the word that lure is the cure!’ Bundy barked hysterically working himself up to fever pitch. A small crowd of dogs had gathered round Bundy who was totally not stopping for breath.

One husky wagged his tail enthusiastically, proud to be part of such a gathering while Millie and Brutus had left the sausage sizzle and had joined Bundy to hear what he had to say.

‘Brutus you must go back to Team Pringle at the Iggy stand at once!’ Bundy barked in a firm voice. ‘Yes, you must go at once’ the Husky added to the instruction and then every dog in the area had added their part ‘You must go at once’ until it became so loud that ignoring it was simply not an option.

‘Goodness what on earth could this be about?’ Brutus asked Millie who shrugged her shoulders as she had no idea at all.

‘Your Mumma eat the shoe off my foot!’ Eugene shouted from his ‘Cage of Barks’ and as Brutus and Millie walked by he added ‘Go to Team Pringle at once!’ followed by ‘Your father eat mouldy socks for tea’ while a tough looking Dachshund standing next to him did a ‘cut throat’ sign with his paw for effect and nodded so vigorously that his head nearly fell off.

‘What have I done wrong? I only washed Pippin’s genitals once and I haven’t chewed Mum’s bras in ages’ Brutus thought nervously.  He had been a good boy, or at least he thought he had.

It was very important  for Brutus to be a ‘good boy’ and it had got to the stage where Dee Cole and the Iggy crew had even awarded him a certificate for a pretend ‘Good Boy Award’ because it meant so much to him.

On arrival at the Team Pringle tent, Pippin was holding court to the group who were all whispering and nodding and doing the usual stuff that is indicative of gossip.

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Pippin Pringle calls the meeting

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Shhh, here he is!’ Bronte hissed to Pippin who blushed and then picked up a piece of paper with a speech written down on it.

‘Oh I can’t wait for this one!’ Woody grinned to Vader who was now trying to persuade his tongue to get back into his mouth and stop interrupting.

‘Can I stand next to Brutus so that he can sniff my bum?’ Poppy the Chinese Crested asked Pippin who frowned at her and told her to remember her manners. Tess had no such self-control and was flashing her pink paws and tidy bottom at Brutus who was so scared of what was to come that he never even noticed.

Chewy, Millie and Taia sat impatiently waiting for the announcement and Bronte was whispering stuff in Pippin’s ear as he went through what was written on the paper.

‘What’s going on? What have I done?’ Brutus asked Pippin who had put his half rimmed spectacles on (with no glass on them but they make him look smarter) to read the speech.

‘Sit down Brutus please’ Pippin ordered the big brown gentle giant who was so nervous that his bottom had started to have a party all by itself by farting.

Wrinkling her delicate nose, Poppy said ‘What on earth is that smell?’

Vader whispered ‘He has farted, we always fart when we are nervous – it is a medical condition you know.

‘Right, let’s get started!’ Pippin coughed to clear his throat and then clapped his skinny paws together to get everyone’s attention.

‘We – the Iggies and honorary Iggies would like to award you The Good Boy Award for being a good boy and would very much like you to have this collar – hand-made by Dee Cole (The Canine Company) which means you are officially a Good Boy and an honorary Iggy’ Pippin said proudly.

‘But Rocco said that the Good Boy Award was just made up to keep me happy’ Brutus faltered, blushing and trying to make himself small as everyone was staring at him.

‘Yes that may well be so but you are OUR Good Boy, and you protect us Iggies and have become part of our little group so that makes the award official’ Pippin added.

‘And Dee Cole, Kim Cross and Denise Pringle say you are a Good Boy, so does Fran Forbes in QLD and all the others in the Iggie club say it so it must be true’ Bronte said in a tearful voice, (she always gets emotional at speeches and has been known to thank everyone including the Queen, Gucci, Prada and her Mum).

Looking down at the beautiful hand-made leather collar, Brutus examined it closely and admired the soft leather and the gold patterns on it.  It really was gorgeous and it was the Hugh Hefner collar that he had tried on and had always wanted but never thought he would have.

‘I don’t know what to say’ Brutus said quietly as he did his famous Brutus-expression with his bottom lip hanging down like a coin slot.

‘Well you could try it on for starters!’ Chewy laughed at the big brown dog who was going red and clearly about to go ‘Full Pippin’ and burst into tears.

*Pippin Pringle is prone to bursting into tears when he is tired or emotional – hence the term ‘Full Pippin*

‘I shall help you put it on’ Tess said gently to Brutus and then stood on her little white hind legs as Brutus bowed his head down to have his Good Boy Collar placed on his neck and it fitted him very well I might add and made him look very handsome. 11107735_10152780219063317_6938734160774915211_n

Pippin presents Brutus with his ‘Good Boy Collar Award’

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Speech! Speech!’ Bronte and Millie squealed together as Woody, Tess and the others all started to join in with a slow and deliberate clap of paws.

‘I do feel like you are my family really and I know that you are all smarter than me and I am a bit clumsy but I do love you all and would like to thank you for my lovely collar’ Brutus stuttered as he tried to find his words and not quite knowing what to do next; he farted and then turned round and checked his bum for stains.

‘Good lad!’ Vader said with his voice full of pride as Tess poked him to be quiet,

‘And I know that I am not a pedigree or a show dog but winning The Good Boy Collar Award means so much to me’ unable to find the words to say anything else, Brutus was so overcome with emotion, that he hung his big boofy head down and couldn’t think of what else to say as he took little gasps of breath while trying not to cry as tears poured down his brown cheeks. 11129350_10152780217533317_1478480799006317683_n

Brutus displays his collar and tries to stand like a show dog

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Here’s to Brutus the Good boy!’ Eugene shouted from outside the Iggy tent as the other dogs clapped and cheered. Having dragged his Mum Kim down to the Iggy camp.  Eugene was wearing his 70s flared pants and still proudly sporting his ‘man-bun’ above his head.

Not used to seeing Brutus show so much emotion, Pippin decided that a diversion was in order to get things back on track and to save the big brown dog from further embarrassment.

‘Come on you lot, rumours have it that Brutus and Vader are going to be called for their first trial for the Fastest Dog in Australia contest, so let’s get these boys ready!’ Pippin shouted to his team.

Standing there wearing his ‘Good Boy Collar’, Brutus stared round at his friends.  They were all smiling at him and wagging their tails.

Even Eugene had stopped his bout of Tourette’s and was wagging his big fluffy tail in response, but don’t be fooled by that – he was back to swearing and shouting ‘Your Mumma eat turd for breakfast’ a few minutes later.

‘My friends – they are all my friends and I love them’ Brutus thought to himself and remembering just a year ago when he first went lure coursing and hadn’t met the Iggies, now he could not imagine his life without them in it.

And let us not forget Vader, his trusty ‘special’ mate that body slams him, that engages in mutual cleaning of the jowl flaps and enjoys bad habits with, now that is a friendship that is truly special.

The Fastest Dog in Australia – Brutus and Vader do their bit

‘Oh god I am nervous, what do I do, where do I run?’ Brutus cried as Lexie took his leash – she was going to release him and I would catch him at the other end.

This time he had to go through narrow timing gates to get a precise timing for the competition. ‘You know what to do, you have done it before and however you do I am proud of you’ I reassured the trembling dog who just a week before had been laid up with gastro due to some dodgy kangaroo meat.

Making my way down to the other end I nervously bit my lip waiting for him to be released. ‘Is that Brutus, who normally crashes the barrier?’ laughed the lure operator and feeling my cheeks burn, I said that yes it was.  (Brutus can’t turn corners you see and just thinks it is easier to crash the barriers).

Within seconds Lexie had released him, the lure had been set off and Brutus shot forward with his mates cheering him on shouting ‘Go on Turd Legs, you can do it!’.

He ran so well and was right on the lure and totally ignored me – he was fixed on it like a good boy.  Usually he looks for his Mum (me) but this time he knew what he had to chase and was hell-bent on getting it.

Vader stood at the side waiting his turn and shouted ‘Go on Brutus, you can do it!’ in between choking on his tongue and farting with nerves and excitement.

Brutus I must add; has a fabulous imagination and each time he runs he has the ‘Chariots of Fire’ theme tune in his head as he imagines he is running is own Grand National.

Although you and I both know that he is running alone chasing a plastic bag on a lure, in Brutus’s eyes he is a professional racing dog. FD6

Brutus taking his turn for the Fastest Dog in Australia competition

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

He has been known to get so emotional that he cries down the track and imagines people cheering him and congratulating him for ‘winning his race’.

I am not one for ruining his dreams as we are all entitled to those but I do get fed up with the Chariots of Fire theme tune though that Brutus insisted on playing in the car on the way down to get him in the mood.

I was very proud of him though as this was a new venue and Brutus ran straight through the timing barriers like a champion and in true Brutus style ran straight past me and then came back for me to put his leash on. FD8

Brutus going through the timing gates at the finish

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

‘Did I win? Did I win?’ Brutus panted and as usual I did not have the heart to tell him that it was more a timing thing than a race and that he wasn’t racing against anyone but let him enjoy his moment all the same.

Then it was Vader’s turn and in a true Jowls of Fire event, Vader, his tongue and his jowls flapped their way down the track in a flurry of snot as the chunky boxer dog also ran like a champ.

Being a total pro at turning corners, Vader was only mildly disappointed that there were none there but did very well all the same.

The dogs were all watching Vader while chanting the Chariots of Fire theme tune which sounded hilarious if you can imagine a gang of dogs shouting ‘Da da da da da da, da da da da da, da da da da da da, da da da da da’ (I bet you have just sung it yourselves haven’t you!)

‘Look at that tongue!’ Bundy shouted and then started to bark frantically to announce the arrival of Vader’s tongue. Vader 2

Vader – (Jowls of Fire) does his heat in the Fastest Dog in Australia competition

‘Go on flappy jowls!’ the Irish terrier growled in support as he did like to cheer on the other dogs and was a passionate lure courser himself.

Vader thundered over the finish line to be met by his mates who all congratulated him for his effort.

‘Proud of you Vader, you did well.  Where is your tongue?’ Brutus asked his friend.

Opening his mouth, Vader displayed his enormous tongue and said ‘I think it is here’.

‘Good, now keep it tucked inside safe before someone mistakes it for a Christmas ham’ Brutus told him as both boys walked back towards the Iggy tent while trying to talk over one another as to who ran the fastest and it was decided that Vader’s tongue won by a metre. 10551075_683596318395084_4256826329900557973_n

Never underestimate the power of Vader’s tongue

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Bundy has his turn

As Bundy took his turn to run it was soon realised that there was no-one to announce it so Bundy decided to do it himself.

‘I am running now, lock up your families and feed your children, I am about to set the grass on fire’ Bundy barked to everyone.

He got so excited that he actually almost pulled his Mum round the wrong way and nearly ran in the wrong direction. ‘Let me at it, where is that lure?’ Bundy demanded angrily.

‘It’s behind you, if you run in that direction you shall end up in the ladies toilets!’ Eugene barked while Lucy his wife tried not to laugh.

‘I knew that, I totally knew that’ Bundy said in an embarrassed voice before his Mum had managed to turn him in the right direction.

‘And he is off!’ Eugene nodded approvingly as Bundy set off like a cotton ball shot out of a cannon as he chased after the lure while continuing to bark and announce himself to the world. 10401947_1633567683539045_2585048158794137530_n

Bundy the Cotton-Cannonball takes his turn in the contest

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

The importance of friendships – both real and invisible

I have said before that every dog has an invisible friend for the days when there is no-one else to fight or argue or play with and the power of these invisible friendships should never be underestimated.

If you look around the grounds at any doggy event be it a dog show, agility or lure coursing, you will see dogs playing with their invisible friends.  You will see dogs barking at nothing – except that it isn’t nothing, it is their invisible friend.

You will see tails wagging at nothing in particular but what you won’t see is the invisible dog that is inciting that reaction.  It really is a marvellous phenomenon, not to mention the fact that when your dog does something naughty in the home, the invisible dogs are always to blame.

Anyway back to lure coursing where one dog was having a fight with his invisible friend over the lure and threatening to bite him.  Growls and barks filled the air as the terrier insulted his invisible friend and threatened to piss on his head until his owners came and got him for his turn to race and then it was ‘game on’ as the little dog ran its legs off. 11115714_1633571233538690_1237426702309039608_n

All dogs have invisible friends you know

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

A beautiful chocolate colour kelpie called Bruiser didn’t appear to have any invisible friends.  It was his first time at lure coursing and he was busy taking in the atmosphere while trying to work out who was what and whether or not Bundy was a sheep that needed to be herded up. 18489_10152780096273317_2704418740714725084_n

Bruiser the Kelpie‘s first time at lure coursing

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Hi, the name is Brutus’ Brutus barked at Bruiser the kelpie and offered his bum to be sniffed as a greeting which Bruiser did quite happily.

‘You look just like my brother Rocky except you are chocolate colour’ Brutus said in his special voice – he is a bit of a Forrest Gump is my Brutus.

‘Pleased to meet you’ Bruiser grinned, ‘So, tell me what all this lure coursing is about then’.

‘Well, it’s like this…..’  Brutus started to say.  As the two boys sat side by side, Brutus patiently explained to Bruiser about how lure coursing is a sport for both dogs and their owners to enjoy, a day out for everyone and a display of  fitness and endurance.

Not just limited to Australia, lure coursing is also popular in many countries around the world and the day is made extra nice if you can scrounge some treats from your Mum/Dad.

As quickly as Bruiser thought he had come to the event with no friends, he had made a new one in Brutus, Vader and the rest of the gang.  That is how it is at lure coursing you see, you are never without a friend for long be it invisible or real.

Bronte and Pippin – Their entries for Fastest Dog in Australia

Bronte was now at the starting line waiting to be released as Denise waited at the finish line to catch her.

‘That’s my sister that is!’ Pippin nodded to a Borzoi who was standing next to him.

In a strong Russian accent the Borzoi replied ‘Zat is a tiny leetle dog with a long snout, I bet she go very fast’.

But before they had chance to discuss Bronte further, she had already reached the finish line in such good speeds that the dogs around the barriers had taken out their calculators to see whose time she had beaten.

Looking the epitome of elegance and beauty, the Borzoi who called himself Valdov, was oblivious to all around him except for Bronte.  Who was this beautiful little red and white dog with long legs and he wondered if he could he take her back to Russia to be his wife?

‘I did it! Did I do it well?’ Bronte panted as Denise proudly carried her away from the track.

Pippin was not happy at the way Valdov was eyeing up his sister and he especially wasn’t happy with the way the giant dog was swigging Russian water from a hip flask either.

‘Pippin, it’s your turn’ Bronte said breathlessly, ‘Hello, I am Bronte – pleased to meet you’ she added holding out her slim paw to acknowledge Valdov who was boring his eyes in to her.

‘Hello Bronte, Vood you like me to teach you how to speak Russian?’ Valdov asked Bronte  causing her to blush. (Imagine that sentence in a Russian accent to get the idea)

Before she had chance to answer, Pippin whispered to the Borzoi ‘I know some Russian’.

‘Eeez zat right?’ Valdov smirked.

‘Yes’ Pippin said firmly and then stood up on his hind legs to make himself bigger and said loudly ‘Leave my sister alone or I shall piss in your vodka bottle’.

And with that Pippin walked off and took his position on the starting line to do his entry for the Fastest Dog in Australia while secretly shitting his pants as he had been so brave in standing up to the Borzoi.

But that is what you do for those you love, you stand up for them even when it scares you.

‘Go on my Pippin, you can do it!’ Bronte squealed as the little dog ran for his life towards his Mum Denise.

Brutus was cheering him on in his deep voice from the sidelines. He looked on Pippin and Bronte as family and loves to see them racing, especially as this contest is a big event for any Australian lure coursing dog.

Jumping into his Mum’s arms, Pippin was every inch the hero as he was carried off the track.

Winner of the Fastest Iggy in Australia last year, the Iggies were very proud of Pippin and how passionately flew the flag for the club in the competition for 2014 and had equally high hopes this year.

However, we shall not say anything about his secret penchant for ballroom dancing though and his liking for tight satin pants because you shall find out all about that another time and without saying too much, Eugene is heavily involved in that as well which kind of makes fun of his ‘Crate of Barks’ and ruins his reputation but there you go, we all have a guilty secret somewhere.

Lucy – Wife of Eugene and ‘Cloth Dog has her turn

Lucy the Cloth Dog was about to take her turn for the run and as usual provided some fabulous entertainment as she ran down the track in elegant fashion whilst resembling a piece of black silk cloth in the wind.

With the Cloth Dogs it is not the actually race that people come to see, it is the show they put on at the end which usually involves leaping over the barrier, joyously running around and if there is some horse turd to roll in then all the better.

The trouble was is at Dogs West Show Grounds there is no horse manure for them to roll in but that did not stop Lucy standing there after her race and saying ‘Who has hidden the horse shit?’ while the Dachshunds yelled things like ‘Little dogs have rights too’. 644434_1633568180205662_383941116012881424_n

Lucy the Cloth Dog floats down the track

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

This of course set everyone else off including Bundy who was barking away shouting ‘I am the fastest cotton dog in the West!’

Satisfied that Lucy had caused enough of a rumpus with her antics, Eugene had gone back to the ‘Crate of Barks’ and was busy trying to find his own bottom amongst all that fur so that he could wash his anus.

The life of Tess

Tess had made herself comfortable in my chair and was busy discussing respectable things with Hamish and Woody.

‘I have two homes you know and in one of them I get to do as I like and have my own personal chef (my husband) and two leather sofas. (Tess looks on my house as her house and that is fine because Gordon loves her as well).

‘I have lots of laps to go on and I can get cuddles and pats whenever I want’ Woody added to the conversation.

‘I just love everyone’ Vader replied to nobody in particular and reached out to wash Brutus’s jowls which was quite a disgusting habit enjoyed by both dogs but really was not pleasant for public viewing.

The End of the Day

The exhausted dogs were resting around the gazebo, some were asleep, some falling asleep but those that were awake were discussing the day and the next lure coursing session.  Always planning in advance for their next social event, nothing excited them more than lure coursing (well except for a play date at the Furbaby Cafe). 11081436_10152780096433317_5482140589938400588_n

Tess being a social butterfly while the others rest after a busy day

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Brutus was sitting in my chair with his legs apart and his manhood rudely on display which of course had Vader making comments about sausages and stuff. (I never even realised that until after I posted the photo on Facebook). 19800_10152780095848317_6364989530331126065_n

Brutus on my chair – once you see it, you cannot ‘un-see’ it

(Photograph ignorantly taken by myself – Sam Rose)

‘Pippin?’ asked Brutus, ‘Will you be having lots of mobile phones like last year and talking to all the States in Australia?’

Pippin looked thoughtful and replied ‘Of course I will, in fact I have a new mobile phone as well – do you like it?’ whipping out a Galaxy Note 3, it looked as though he was holding a laptop.

‘That’s enormous!’ Bronte gasped, ‘We could watch TV on that’.

‘Oh yes and Barney, Kath and Ruby will be reporting for their side and Amex, Shine and Gracie will be helping them and I do believe Luciano will be the Karratha Correspondent’ Pippin added.

‘Will you be talking to the Northern Territory again like last year, I remember some, crocs, roos and dingoes were involved’ barked Vader.

‘Oh yes, we must not forget the Northern Territory, the crocs are hardcore supporters of lure coursing you know’ Pippin grinned.

‘Can crocs do lure coursing, I never knew that?’ Brutus piped up from his (my) chair.

Poppy, Chewy, Hamish, Woody, Bronte, Taia, Millie and the little Dachshund burst out laughing. ‘Crocs don’t do lure coursing silly!’ Tess shook her head while giggling at Brutus.

‘I knew that, I was just seeing if you knew that’ Brutus blushed as even Vader laughed at him.

‘Yes, more people are involved this year and each year will see it get bigger and better than the last as we learn from each event’. Pippin said firmly.

‘It’s good to be part of it though isn’t it?’ Millie barked as the others all agreed with her.

‘Do you remember us all sat at our computers last year for the finals, that was awesome’ Bronte reminded the others.

‘Oh yes, none of us got much sleep that night’ Pippin laughed, ‘But it was worth it though’.

‘Well, here’s to the next heat for the contest and let’s hope we can better our times and if not, we shall have a bloody good time anyway’ Brutus barked loudly.

‘Here here!’ barked the others and for a few minutes that is all you could hear – the sound of barking and the sight of tails wagging as the gang acknowledged that the Fastest Dog in Australia competition 2015 was well and truly underway.

At Barney’s House in QLD

‘So is everything in order then, what happens now?’ Kath the greyhound asked Barney who was sitting at his desk typing up notes for the Fastest Dog in Australia contest.

‘Let the competition commence and may the best dog win!’  Barney replied as he nodded to Kath.

At Amex’s House in QLD

As one of the official correspondents, Amex had been ready for this contest months. In fact he was born ready and being meticulously organised, had his office sorted, computer connected and webcam wired up for a live feed around Australia to keep up with the contest.

Remembering how much fun it had been last year Amex was really looking forward to it this year and had even purchased an ear piece so that he could listen to updates when he went outside for a pee.

Yes, Amex was ready for the competition and was proud to be a part of it all.  It was something that united the dogs of Australia and raised awareness about the sport and the great fun that dogs and owners can have together.

Back home at Brutus’s House

Brutus had shown his ‘Good Boy Collar Award’ to Rocky who although he had called Brutus a ‘Girls blouse’ for wearing such a posh collar, Rocky was secretly jealous that he hadn’t got anything.

I did actually remind Rocky that Fran Forbes from QLD had bought him a Julie Gillard doll and Brutus a second Tony Abbott doll but Rocky still maintained he deserved a Good Boy Award even though he hasn’t always been a good boy if you know what I mean. J4

Rocky and his Julia Gillard doll that Fran Forbes bought him

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘So, how fast did you go today Turd Legs?’ Rocky asked Brutus later that night.

‘Don’t know really but I had great fun’ Brutus replied simply.  Curled up on the sofa with Gordon the cat, Brutus was exhausted after his day.

Rocky looked thoughtful and barked ‘Yep and that’s what counts’

‘Here Brutus, tell me about your Good Boy Collar Award again’ Gordon asked.  Being an indoor cat he loved hearing about their stories. 10342001_10152782927138317_264238942954362727_n

Brutus winning his race (in his dreams of course)

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

But Gordon never did get to hear about it because when he glanced round to Brutus, he saw that he was fast asleep with his legs twitching.  No doubt dreaming about ‘winning his own race’ – which in my book, he does so well.

Until next time……..

Acknowledgements and Thanks The Australian Lure Coursing Association 

Thank you to the Australian Lure Coursing Association for their promotion of the sport in Australia at a National level and for overseeing that it is run fairly, appropriately and to a high standard.

Sandra Burrows and the team put in a huge amount of work to get the results of the Fastest Dog contest out to us, it is no small job either so thank you Sandra for all your hard work in doing this, we do appreciate it .

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1399559963621860/?fref=ts

West Coast Dog Sports

Thank you to Dee Cole and all of the team at West Coast Dog Sports for their hard work in organising their heats for the Fastest Dog in Australia competition and for the lure coursing events in general that give our dogs the chance to compete in the sport.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/242717789174231/?fref=ts

Amy Joy from Studio Joy

Thank you to Amy Joy for kindly allowing me to use her photographs for my blog to bring it to life. Amy is available to take stunning photographs your animals at very reasonable prices  and If you would like a photo shoot with her then please contact her directly:

Amy Joy tel:  0430 549 346

https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyStudioJoy?fref=ts

A  special thank you from Brutus

Thank you to Dee Cole, Denise Pringle and everyone at the Italian Greyhound Club of Western Australia and Kim Cross for Brutus’s Good Boy Collar.  He will be saving it for evening wear and lure coursing.

If any of you would like a ‘Good Boy Collar’ for your own dog, please contact Dee Cole at the Canine Company:

https://www.facebook.com/thecaninecompanywa?fref=ts

Disclaimer:

No offence is intended by this story and I just write things down as they come in to my head. Whilst some (not all) of the dogs in my stories are in fact real, the dialogue that I give them is invented and any bearing or resemblance to the real dogs is purely coincidental and is in good fun and from my imagination only.

And if my husband is reading this and you suddenly find a tuxedo in Brutus’s wardrobe, you can blame Lexie as she got me started on all this and said that Brutus needed formal wear and as for the Hells Angels cap – I am saying nothing.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright April 2015

Watermarked photographs remain the sole copyright of Studio Joy and unmarked photographs remain the copyright of myself.

The Night Before Lure Coursing – March 2015

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Pippin Pringle – The Organiser

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

At the Pringle Headquarters

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

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

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Bronte

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

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

(Pippin’s phone rings)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Race for a reason – James the mini wired Dachshund

(Photography by Kim Ian Cross)

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

Brutus’s House

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

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smiling Rocky

Rocky on holiday on the farm in Denmark 

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

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

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

Planet Iggy – Zara and Nica’s house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vader and Tess’s house

rifles

Vader – tongue firmly inside mouth (for now)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(sounds of fence snuffling)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked me.

‘Yes Brutus?’

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

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

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

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

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

‘Mum?’ Brutus asked again.

‘Yes Brutus’

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

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

Rainbow Bridge

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

https://jotitmedown.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/rainbow-bridge-just-a-nice-place-for-any-pet-to-go/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…

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

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright March 2015

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

Name: Western Classic Dog Show

Venue: Dogs West Show grounds, Western Australia

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

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

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

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

On arrival

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

Pip selfie

Time for a selfie with me and Pippin!

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

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

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

Team Jeni Headquarters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conversations Overheard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Pippin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Kim and Ian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The sheer elegance of a dog and handler working together

It’s a beagle thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Causing a distraction!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Poodle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Kelpie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irish Wolfhound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Pringle

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

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

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Pippin asks if his face is clean

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

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

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

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

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

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Sexy Sting sticking his tongue out!

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

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

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

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

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

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Chewy gives his support to Pippin

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

Pip in the ring

Pippin – a brave boy doing his best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sting – shows how proud he is of Pippin!

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

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

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

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

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

Pip the winner

Pippin the winner!

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

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

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

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

The End

Thanks and acknowledgments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

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

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

Toppa goes to QLD

22Toppa Fran ForbesToppa the Iggy strikes a pose

(Photograph by Fran Forbes)

The day had arrived for Toppa to fly to QLD to stay with Fran and her Iggies – Shine, Gracie and Amex and show Fran what he could do in the show ring.

For those of you that have not read the first installment of this story, here is the link if you fancied reading it.

https://jotitmedown.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/toppa-the-italian-greyhound-goes-to-qld/

Pippin and Bronte were round Toppa’s house to see him on his way and Pippin was doing the organizing and finalizing of the finer details.

‘Are you bags packed? Do you have your passport? Have you packed a clean collar?’ Pippin asked Toppa.

‘Yes, I have checked my bags three times, I think everything is there – I am a bit nervous though and I have a clean collar’ Toppa said fretfully.

‘Is your bum clean?’ Pippin demanded.

Toppa glanced round to his bum and had a brief check before replying ‘Yes, I believe so and my anal glands are empty’.

‘Good, because we don’t want the QLD dogs thinking we have dirty bottoms’ Pippin growled.

Pippin was in his element checking and organizing everything.  He had 4 mobile phones, an iPad, a notepad and a pen plus a packet of Schmackos to chew on for his nerves.

Bronte was looking boot-faced because she was not invited and we won’t even go into how upset Brutus and Vader were that that the invite had not extended to them because they had totally convinced themselves that they were also going on this little trip.

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Brutus and Vader the boxer wanting in on the trip to QLD

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘I have heard that you will have to wear a muzzle in QLD and that the cane toads are so big that they can carry you off to their homes and feed you to their families and everything’ Bronte said without looking up as she admired her nails.

‘Bronte – Toppa will not have to wear a muzzle and no, the cane toads do not kidnap dogs and feed them to their families and if you can’t say anything helpful then say nothing’ Pippin growled back firmly.

Doing a last minute document check, Pippin nodded towards Toppa.  This was it, the moment they had all been waiting for – Toppa going to represent the WA Iggies in QLD to help Fran Forbes in the dog show ring.  It was not just good news, it was positively exciting for all concerned and the QLD Iggies were also looking forward to meeting Toppa as well.

‘Right then my good man, are you ready?’ Pippin said in his best ‘BBC English’ type voice, took a deep breath and straightened Toppa’s collar as a last minute tidy-up and then put some saliva on his paw to wipe some dirt off Toppa’s face (the way your mother did to you when you were a child).

‘Yep, I think so – that’s it then, I shall call you from the other side’ Toppa said sounding far braver than he actually felt.  He wasn’t really a brave boy at all but he was determined to show Fran how what a handsome show dog he is and do his best in the show ring in QLD which incidentally; Brutus had convinced him was officially known as ‘The land of the banana, cane toad and Bindi Irwin’.

‘Brutus said that there are more bananas than people there and that they don’t speak English, is that so?’ Toppa whispered to Pippin who rolled his eyes and made a mental note to tell Brutus off next time he saw him.

‘Ignore what Brutus and Vader tell you, they are the ones that believed their muscles were called rifles and pistols instead of guns so the less you believe from them the better’ Pippin replied.

‘I’ll miss you Toppa, will you bring me back a present?’ Bronte said hopefully.

‘I’ll try and I will miss you too’ Toppa said as he hugged her.

‘Safe flight’ Pippin grinned and say hello to Fran, Shine, Gracie and Amex for me’.

Toppa was carefully loaded into his airline crate and placed in the car to go to Perth airport where he was to take his flight to QLD and he didn’t mind admitting that he was more than a bit nervous about the whole adventure.

‘Do you think he will be OK?’ Bronte asked Pippin.

‘Yep of course he will, he is going to be ace!’ Pippin said confidently.

‘Ace? What does that mean? Who taught you that word?’ Bronte demanded to know.  She had never heard that word used before except in the show ring.

‘Ace? Oh all the dogs in the North of England use it, Brutus told me’ Pippin said firmly.

‘You told me never to believe what Brutus says’ Bronte replied, ‘And how would he know what they say in England when he has never been?’

‘He told me he has seen the photos and everything, don’t ask such daft questions Bronte’ Pippin said dismissively and then grabbed one of his phones and sent a text to the entire Iggy group saying ‘The Eagle has taken off’.

And the last Pippin and Bronte saw of Toppa was him waving frantically from his cage as the doors to the van were shut.

Bronte hung her head down, she hated it when one of the Iggy gang left to go anywhere and QLD was so far away.

‘It’s OK Bronte, he will do us proud – now let’s go back inside and if you behave yourself I will share with you my Schmackos’ Pippin said affectionately to his sister who managed a grateful smile and wag of the tail.

On the plane a while after take off

Toppa Jeni SachToppa – flying high to QLD

(Photograph by Jeni Sach)

It was one hour after take-off and Toppa was in his cage in the hold of the plane in the special area that the animals go in to.  Humans don’t go in there and have no idea as to what goes on and I only know because I am a bit special like that and have an imagination as fertile as a female guinea pig.

‘Hello Toppa, would you like a drink sir?’ A beautiful blue whippet bitch stewardess stood next to Toppa holding a bowl of chilled water.

‘Hmm, no thank you – if it is all the same with you I am going to try and sleep’ Toppa said nervously.  He wasn’t sure what to do and through sheer nerves, he farted.  The whippet wrinkled her nose in disgust but quickly regained composure and pretended to not smell the horrible gas that was indicative of Toppa going on a bin raiding session the night before.

‘If you need anything please don’t hesitate to contact me and if you need the toilet – it is over there’ The whippet said pointedly while cupping her beautiful grey snout and staring at the toilet.

‘Thank you, perhaps later’. Toppa smiled and then shut his eyes to try and sleep, which he would have done quite happily had it not been for a couple of Schnauzer puppies arguing over a Kong toy and who was going to take a piss on the bedding in the cage.

Just as he was about to drift off he felt someone kicking the back of his cage, glancing round he could see a beautifully hand stripped Irish terrier wearing a neckerchief with the Irish flag on it.

‘Excuse me do you mind not doing that?’ Toppa asked politely.

‘Oh would you listen to that Aussie accent, I love the Aussie accent.  Will you not be so boring and talk to me, I am flying to QLD as well you know – I am going to be a show dog’ The Irish terrier said in a cheerful Irish accent.

Toppa glared back, who was this dog with the strange wired coat, neatly clipped furnishings on its feet and an angry beard and why was his snout not as refined as an Iggies or whippets/greyhounds?  As for being a show dog, would that mean he would be at the same shows as Toppa, surely not?

‘The name is Ronan and I am from Ballybunion in Ireland’ The terrier said in a high pitched ‘sing-song’ voice.  (I think the Southern Irish accent is my most favourite accent ever)

‘The name is Toppa and I am from Perth’ Toppa grinned, ‘Ballybunion? Did you just make that up?’ he added and then laughed mercilessly as the Irish terrier looked positively furious at such an accusation.

‘No I did not make it up, it is a real place I’ll have you know’ He snapped back at Toppa who was already making notes to ask Pippin if it really existed

(Actually it does exist because my good friend Joe from my veterinary nursing days lived there).

‘Would you like me to tell you some jokes, I have some good jokes from my Daddy – he is a top prize winning Irish terrier you know’ Ronan said happily, and he was happy as well as there was nothing nicer than meeting someone on the plane and making friends with them.

‘I am rather tired if you don’t mind’ Toppa sighed and then closed his eyes.  He couldn’t wait to see Fran and meet the other Iggies and then report back to Pippin and he had grand plans to display his ‘walnuts’ (testicles) to Gracie and show her his ‘Magic Mike’ impressions that Brutus had taught him.  (Brutus had a lot to answer for).

‘Did I ever tell you about my brother Justin, he was a Crufts champion you know and he liked a bowl of beer every week or he would simply not perform.  That is the truth you know’ Ronan said quickly without drawing for breath and adding ‘you know’ to each sentence while managing to sound like Mrs Brown from the show ‘Mrs Browns Boys’.

‘He was a right fecker though you know and he would take a shit on my bed, did you ever take a shit on someone’s bed?  I took a shit on my human sisters bed and my mother rubbed my snout in it, I was picking shite out of my beard for weeks afterwards’.

But that little story was lost on Toppa because the little Iggy had fallen asleep in his crate and was now dreaming of QLD, Fran and her gang and winning all the prizes in the show ring.

‘Oh he is such a dote, don’t you just love him?’ Ronan said to the whippet stewardess who had come to check on them.

‘I think he is asleep Ronan, best you leave him be’ The whippet smiled at the Irish Terrier who was quivering with excitement at the idea of having a new friend.

‘Well he is not very talkative but I think we are going to be great friends’ Ronan said to nobody in particular as the whippet had walked off and was using her pointy snout to do a head count as she nodded from left to write to make a note of who was sat where.

‘Would you like a Schmacko?’ Ronan asked a loudly snoring Toppa.

‘Perhaps not’ Ronan sighed and looked around for someone else to talk to and seeing that everyone else was fast asleep, he began to talk to his invisible friend about the time that his Aunty Coshene the Irish terrier had bitten the ankles of the milkman and pissed on his legs.

Welcome to QLD

‘Thank you for flying with us, hope to see you soon’ The whippet stewardess said in robotic fashion to each animal that was offloaded from the plane onto the tarmac.

Toppa was first off the plane and never got to see the Irish terrier, not that he cared really as he was so hyped up about meeting Fran, he had heard that she was really strict and Amex had said that Fran would not take any nonsense so Toppa was a bit scared really because Jeni (his Mum) and all the other Iggy Mums had all spoilt him at some point.

Most Iggies have ‘nonsense’ down to a fine art and have their humans so well trained that the humans don’t even know when ‘nonsense’ has crept up on them. But the rumors in QLD were as such that Fran wore a ‘no nonsense suit of Armour’ when it came to her Iggies.

(However, let us not talk about the prawns, smoked trout or sleeping on the bed which has since come to light since Toppa has been there, I am sure Fran can explain it all).

As Toppa was wheeled to the animal collection area he was greeted by Fran who looked absurdly pleased to meet him which was very nice and although Toppa scrutinised her, he could see no evidence of the ‘No Nonsense’ suit of armour he was told about.

She did have a funny accent though which Toppa later learned was a QLD accent but he was relieved to know that despite Rocco and Bentley trying to convince him otherwise, Fran did speak English as did all QLDers and there were no cane toads waiting for him in ‘Arrivals’ to eat him like Brutus had said there would be.

Toppa sat in his crate at the back of the car back for the journey to Frans house and took in the sights, sounds and smells as they left the airport.  This was to be his home for a while and he had to do his Mum proud not to mention show Fran what a good boy he is in the show ring.

But first he had to do the most important thing and that was to update his FB status to tell Pippin and the gang that he was OK.

Grabbing his mobile phone Toppa typed in the status update and the message was simple ‘The Eagle has landed’.

Back in Perth

Pippin’s phone bleeped, he did not hear it initially as he was snoozing but Bronte gave him a nip on the bum which woke him up.

‘What’s up?’ Pippin asked sleepily.

‘Your phone, it bleeped – I think it is from Facebook’ Bronte said and nodded towards his phone.

Pippin saw the message come through and grinned.  ‘Toppa has done his FB status update, he said that he is in QLD, that’s good he has got there safe and sound’.

Going over to his laptop, Pippin added to the status update ‘Remember to keep your bum clean and your walnuts tidy’ Pippin wrote back.

And within minutes some of the other Iggies had all responded to add their congratulations to the status including Brutus who posted something about not knowing any eagles and he thought that it was Toppa that had gone to QLD.

ECF

At Fran’s House in QLD

The first thing that Toppa noticed when he arrived was how beautiful the place was.  Fran’s garden looked beautiful and like a treasure trove fit for any Iggy, lots of places to hide, plants to dig, room to run – he was going to love it there, he was sure of it.

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Gracie introduces herself to Toppa

(Photograph by Fran Forbes)

‘How are you going, the name is Gracie, I have heard lots about you’ Gracie the Iggy introduced herself to Toppa in her strong QLD accent.

‘My name is Toppa and I am pleased to meet you’ Toppa stuttered nervously and then remembered this was the girl he was meant to be impressing with his testicles (walnuts) and doing Magic Mike impressions for.

‘You must be tired after your trip, allow me to show you round the garden and you can meet Shine and Amex’ Gracie smiled at Toppa.

Toppa suddenly felt homesick and a bit disorientated, he wanted his Mum, he felt lost and out of his depth and was sure he would never be able to converse with this confident little Iggy who was so proud of her home and family, let alone impress her with his testicles.

As Gracie led him to where Shine and Amex were standing, Toppa nodded politely as the two Iggies greeted him warmly.

‘Welcome to our home, hope you are not too tired as we shall be having a delicious feed later’ Amex said cheerfully to Toppa.

‘But I have heard that your Mum doesn’t spoil dogs?’ Toppa asked looking bewildered.

Shine snorted with laughter, Gracie giggled and Amex said firmly, ‘That my dear, is what we lead people to believe but you shall find out the truth later’.

Toppa did not need to wait long for the truth to come out either because not much later, the ‘truth’ involved smoked trout, prawns and power naps on Fran’s bed and as for cuddles and kisses – Toppa was positively overdosed on them and all worries of homesickness had gone as Fran loved him as one of her own.

Later that night

The three Iggies were curled up on the bed discussing the events of the day.

‘Do you think you will like it here Toppa?’ Amex asked him.

Toppa looked thoughtful, although he missed his Mum and all of his friends – even Brutus despite all the stories he had told him about cane toads and Bindi Irwin, he just knew he was going to like it in QLD and he also knew that he was going to love living with Fran and showing her about dog shows.

‘Yes, I think I will like it here and I especially love Fran’s version of ‘no nonsense’ Toppa replied.

Amex and Shine burst out laughing.

‘Yes but don’t you tell those WA Iggies, we have a reputation to keep up’ Amex barked in between snorts of laughter.

‘Goodnight, see you in the morning’ Toppa said to the others.

‘Goodnight Toppa, good to have you here’ Shine smiled.

What would tomorrow bring? Who knows, but Toppa was ready for it and his time in QLD was his for the taking – he could do with it what he wanted and not a day would be wasted either.

And within a few minutes, Toppa and the other Iggies had fallen asleep to dream about smoked trout, prawns and Fran’s bed.

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Amex, Shine and Toppa

(Photograph by Fran Forbes)

To be continued…..

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright February 2015

Italian Greyhounds and Nail Trimming (leg amputation)

IMG_9515Pippin Pringle knows the horrors of nail clipping

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Anyone that owns an Italian greyhound will testify that they are not the bravest of dogs and the most seemingly simple of things for any other dog, is a fate worse than death for an Iggy.

They will also tell you that there is nothing and I emphasize that word ‘NOTHING’ worse than the Iggy scream of death which is often performed during routine stuff such as expressing of anal glands, general restraint, being bitten by an insect and of course trimming the nails.

This scream of death can be heard in the next suburb and some say, in the neighbouring States of Australia but that is just a rumour which was actually started by Amex the QLD Iggy who claimed to have heard the screams of Nica one day.

Any activity that has resulted in the Iggy scream of death is usually followed up by accusing looks, long guilt trips and the classic hurt gaze of an Iggy where they stare at you with bulging eyes that almost look as though they have tears in them.

This blog entry is dedicated to Zara and Nica – two beautiful Italian greyhounds that are characters in my stories and owned by two lovely ladies that are the epitome of ‘coolness’ and look exceptionally trendy just by their presence so it is no surprise that their Iggies are cool as well.

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Francesca and Zara – part of the cool gang

(Photograph by Denise Pringle)

At Lexie the Dog Groomers House

Zara and Nica were due at Lexie’s this morning for a quick nail trim. Now please understand that when I say ‘nail trim’, in Iggy terms it roughly translates to having all four legs removed in the most brutal fashion and it jolly well sounds like it too.

Well today I was to witness it for myself as I was round Lexie’s to organise our afternoon play session with Brutus and Vader so I can totally vouch just how traumatic it is for Iggies to have their nails (legs) cut.

Their Mums pulled up in the tiny little car which is really an Iggy car and tiny like the Iggies but full of attitude and fun.

Zara who is a cheeky young pup and in my stories she wears one of those special helmets to stop her bumping into things and hurting herself – just imagine a tiny Iggy with a huge bobble head wearing a crash helmet and you will get the idea.

She was so full of beans and speaking in her super fast voice that goes up several octaves at the end.

‘Hi everyone, how are you all, we had such fun, we had breakfast, we played in the garden, I went for a turd, Nica vomited for attention, everything happened, how are you all?’ Zara said without drawing breath and totally forgetting why she was at Lexie’s.

‘Oh god, please don’t cut my legs off, don’t kill me, I need my legs!’ Nica sobbed dramatically into her handkerchief. Why she had started crying so soon was beyond me, she wasn’t even in the salon.

It was decided that Zara had to be done first so she would not be alarmed by Nica’s dying dog routine.

Nica was already looking distraught at the thought of her sisters legs being amputated and had started the warning system to try to ‘save her’ from the dog groomer.

‘Zara, call the police, if they cut your legs off tell the police, tell them that you need your legs!’ Nica shouted after Zara who was wearing her special helmet to stop her bouncing into things and hurting herself.

‘I will be OK Nica, I can do this!’ Zara said with a fake confidence which came from wearing her tough-girl harness.

‘I can do this, I can do this, who needs legs anyway, they are so overrated’ Zara said quickly in between making whimpering noises. ‘Where is Brutus, I demand to see Brutus, I know he is here somewhere!’ Zara shouted.

Brutus had been there twenty minutes before but I never told her that but as she has met Brutus before, she has decided that she quite likes him.

‘Oh my god, was that my leg? You chopped my leg off! Nica was right all along!’ Zara cried, ‘I am SO going to report you!’ Bashing her special helmet around as her head wriggled around like a bobble head.

‘That’s you done’ Lexie the dog groomer told Zara and carried her out to her parents.

‘I did it, I fought them and I won and I still have my legs, it didn’t hurt and I was a brave girl and everything!’ Zara reassured Nica who was having none of it as Zara was still trembling at being assaulted by the nail clippers which was a dead giveaway that she wasn’t as brave as she was making out.

Handing Zara over to her parents, a quick swap was done in return for Nica who was announcing to anyone that would listen and everyone that wouldn’t.

‘I have done my Last Will and Testament, I leave everything I own to Zara, including my collar selection, I leave my iPad to Pippin because he loves iPads and I leave anything I vomit to Brutus’ Nica howled.

‘And if I should survive this ordeal, I have ordered myself a wheelchair for when I am disabled and Brutus can push me around in it and I shall need a specially adapted house for disabled dogs plus a tartan blanket to cover my knees’ Nica said firmly as Lexie carried her inside the salon.

‘I love you all, never forget that and I hope you can love me too, even when all of my legs have been amputated in the guise of a nail clip’ Nica squeaked as Lexie shut the salon door so all Zara could see was Inca’s mouth opening and closing like two biro pens clicking together.

‘Love you Nica and I will love you with no legs as well’ Zara barked and then decided that she too had better check all of her legs were there and not amputated along with her nails. ‘Oh my god help me! That hurt!’ Nica squealed.

‘That’s OK Nica, I haven’t touched you yet’ Lexie reassured her.

‘Just testing’ Nica said with her lips pursed together, ‘Keeping you on your toes’. ‘Ouch, that was my leg, that was my other leg, that was all of my legs, that was my head!’ Nica cried and then started reciting various prayers that dogs do when they get desperate.

‘Oh my god, how in the name of god can you expect me to run around on stumps? Did you have to cut my legs that short?’ Nica said in a voice so high-pitched that she sounded somewhat like Aled Jones with his testicles slammed in the door.

‘Nica, don’t be so dramatic’ Lexie said firmly and then picked up the nail file to finish the job.

‘What are you going to do with that?’ Nica looked horrified as Lexie gripped the nail file.

‘Tidy up your nails’ Lexie laughed and then set about filing Inca’s nails down to make them tidy.

‘You can’t file my head off – I need my head!

‘Zara please come and help me, go and tell Brutus to come and get me!’ squealed Nica.

Brutus however was oblivious to the noise as he was helping his Dad to finish his toast next door.

‘I won’t be good as an amputee, do amputees lead next to normal lives?’ Nica cried fretfully.

Nica was soon finished and carried out back to her owners looking as though someone had bashed her and cut her own head off and used her snout as a fountain pen.

Fanning her pointy nose with her paws, she briefly glanced around to see if any of the neighbors dogs had seen anything.

‘I am never coming back; each time I come here my legs are amputated. I have to draw the line somewhere so I am never coming back’ Nica shouted with a new-found bravado.

‘And I am never coming back either!’ Zara said firmly and then shouted ‘Oi, you – brindle staffie over the road, what are you looking at?’ to our neighbors dogs over the road.

It was very easy for Zara to be brave with other dogs while snuggled up in her owners’ arms but she always feels tough when she wears her camo harness.

The girls were put back in the car and as quickly as the drama had started, it had all finished.

‘Are you OK Nica?’ Zara asked her sister. Dabbing her eyes and composing herself,

Nica cried ‘Yes, I think so – now. My legs have grown back which is something’.

‘That’s good, I think my legs have grown back as well’ Zara said gratefully and then bent down to admire them.

‘See you in three weeks’ Lexie waved to the girls and their mums.

‘Oh god, we have to go through this again?’ Zara barked in a horrified voice.

‘Awful isn’t it, it’s a wonder we don’t run out of legs’ Nica sighed.

As the car pulled out of the driveway I could just see Zara’s special helmet wobbling around and Nica was being quite animated as she was telling Zara her grand plans to vomit everywhere once she got back home – purely for attention.

Iggy nail clips – it is never ever just a nail clip; it is a partial or total leg amputation at the very least.  Never underestimate it.

10968054_10152605695961921_215579022_nNica (left) and Zara (right) – Trust no-one

(Photo by Francesca Perino)

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright Feb 2015

Chinese (Crested) Whispers and your dog

Pippin was sat at his desk wearing his half rimmed spectacles whilst attempting to do his spreadsheets on the laptop and yes, dogs can and do wear spectacles, even if they have no glass in them in a bid to look more intelligent and what is more, they can use computers as well but you should all know that by now, especially if you have dogs yourself.

Pippin and Brutus

Pippin Pringle at his computer

(Photograph by Denise Pringle)

(sounds of Pippin’s phone ringing) ‘Hello, Pippin Pringle here’ Pippin said in his clipped posh voice that sounds a bit like ‘BBC English’ in the way they announce a war.

10670274_746996402055075_82575937971292471_nPippin – speaks in a ‘BBC English’ accent you know, just imagine him with spectacles on the end of his nose

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Yes it’s Amex here, we have it on good authority that Toppa will be coming to QLD to show Mum the ropes about showing, can you pass on the news that he must have his bags packed ASAP and tell him whatever he does, he must not bring budgie smugglers’. Amex said full of his own importance at such wonderful news that would send the Iggies from all over Australia and Puerto Rico, completely into meltdown.

AMEX

Amex in QLD – giving Pip the good news!

(Photograph by Fran Forbes)

‘What? Are you sure?’ Pippin gasped causing Bronte to put down her edition of ‘Lure Coursing and the modern day Bitch’ and look up at him for answers. ‘Toppa is going to QLD to hang out with Amex and the gang’ Pippin mouthed to Bronte while covering the phone with his paw.

‘OMG, do you think I could come? I have always wanted to travel’ Bronte said excitedly as she had mental visions of her lazing on Surfers Paradise in a skimpy bikini purchased from a trendy surf shop, wearing over sized sunnies while sipping cold water and watching the hot-dogs go by.

IMG_9510Bronte (left) pleads to be able to come to QLD

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘No, the invite isn’t for you, it’s for Toppa and we had better get the word out ASAP so he can prepare himself for the QLD show ring’ Pippin said firmly, and then added ‘OK Amex, I’ll spread the word and will speak to you later’.

Within ten minutes, Pippin had circulated the news round the entire Iggy group, well with the assistance of Bronte who was ‘snap chatting’ on her phone and had even passed it on to the Texas Iggy Group who had promised faithfully to tell the Iggies in the rest of the USA.

‘I must tell Brutus’ Bronte said fretfully, she had run out of dogs to tell and still had a burning desire to tell someone – anyone, so she would tell Brutus as he had a tendency to hang off her every word purely because she was a girl and she was pretty.

Before Pippin could tell Bronte that Brutus is not a proper Iggy, only a pretend one, Bronte was on the phone to him.

‘Hi Bronte, how are you doing?’ Brutus said putting on his posh voice but really he sounded like Mick Dundee from Crocodile Dundee – in fact, that is actually Brutus, well it could be if Brutus were human.

Brutus 2Brutus – AKA ‘Forrest Gump or Mick Dundee’

(Photograph by Francesca Perino)

‘I am fine thanks, I’ve got some news for you’ Bronte said quickly, ‘Toppa is going to QLD to teach Amex’s Mum about the show-ring and they will be all sunbathing on Surfers Paradise with the hot-dogs’.

Now I have explained in my blogs/stories before that when dogs get news or one dog on the street barks at invisible intruders and garbage men, that ‘Canine Chinese Whispers’ always follows and what starts off as one conversation will end up in another entirely.

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Hamish the Chinese Crested dog and is in charge of all doggy newspaper releases for the CCW

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Canine Chinese Whispers or CCW are always started by Chinese Crested dogs – they are the best at it you see and even if you don’t have a Chinese Crested dog on your estate or suburb, you can bet your bottom dollar that one will have started the rumour from somewhere and spread it around for other dogs to feed on and enjoy.

Because really, what fun are the garbage men if they are just garbage men, when in fact if you ask a Chinese Crested, they can be garbage men with super bones in their pockets, out to eat your family and rip your toys up and shit on your lawn?

Chinese Crested dogs are such majestic and marvellous dogs, they can make any story worth listening to and everything so much more exciting in the ordinary world of a dog that may spend time on his own in the garden.

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A Chinese Crested – preparing for Canine Chinese Whispers

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Anyway, Brutus being Brutus totally got the wrong end of the stick and carried the ‘CCW stick’ and run with it like the Olympic Torch, because he really thought that both he and Vader were invited as Brutus only hears what he wants to hear.

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Brutus – he has selective hearing with those satellite ears

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘What? QLD? OMG, I think I might shit myself!’ Brutus yelled and then promptly farted before hanging up leaving Bronte open mouthed in shock at such a response.

‘Shitting oneself for Toppa going to QLD is a bit much don’t you think?’ Bronte said to Pippin and then shrugged her shoulders and wondered who else she could tell.

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Bronte – who else could she tell?

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Brutus grabbed his mobile and ignoring the surprised looks from Rocky, called Vader to tell him the news.

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Rocky is surprised by Brutus’s announcement

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Vader, it’s Brutus – we have been invited to QLD to be life guard dogs on Surfers Paradise and we have to wear board shorts which we can stuff with socks to make our genitals look bigger!’ Brutus said happily.

‘Oh my god!’ Vader barked and then choked on his tongue and had to sick it up again so that he could continue the conversation. ‘I must tell Tess!’

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Vader – am I really going to America?

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Tess, Brutus and I are going to America to see some Iggies from QLD so we can be film stars in a Bond movie and we get to wear a Tuxedo and budgie smugglers and hang out with Tony Abbott’ Vader said importantly while quietly farting in excitement causing the cats to cover their noses and say stuff like ‘Jesus Christ that stinks’.

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Brutus and Vader think they are going to be Bond Dogs

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Tess looked thoughtful and being rather different as a Powderpuff girl and having pink paws, she had never been one for Canine Chinese Whispers and thought she should do the sensible thing and call Bronte to get the truth.

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Tess – a Powderpuff but not into whispers

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Hi Bronte, it’s Tess – what’s this about the boys going to America to be Bond stars?’ Tess asked Bronte.

‘Oh dear, no it’s Toppa going to QLD to show Amex’s Mum about dog shows and stuff, Brutus and Vader are not invited’ Bronte said firmly.

‘Not invited?’ Tess gasped and then looked at Vader who was pretending that his tongue was a red Hollywood style carpet and trying to persuade the cats to walk on it.

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Vader using his tongue as a red carpet

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

‘Nope, this is Toppa’s adventure, good God, can you imagine Brutus and Vader on a plane?’ Bronte giggled.

At Toppa’s House

By now the news had got back to Toppa that he was going to QLD and he was busy packing his Iggy suitcase which consisted of some clothes, a selection of collars, his favourite toy, some dog magazines and a bone.

‘I-am-going-to QLD!’ Toppa grinned as he poked his reflection in the mirror.

Toppa

Toppa – going to QLD but will he pick up a QLD accent?

(Photograph by Jeni Sach)

He wondered if he would learn to speak in a QLD accent, perhaps he should start practising now in the hope that nobody would know any different when he got there.

He briefly toyed with the idea of being nervous of flying but then remembered how Brutus told him that he has flown around the lure coursing grounds before and he was OK, so quickly squashed those nerves on the head.

So Toppa is going to QLD to hang out with Amex and the gang, will he come back with a QLD accent? Will he start wearing Steve Irwin style shirts and shorts and will he develop a love for surfing and hot bitches on the beach?

Who knows, not me that’s for sure – I make it up as I go along so quite frankly, anything could happen.

To be continued.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright January 2015

All photographs remain copyright of the photographers, please do not use them or reproduce them without their consent.

Rocco’s Christmas

Rocco

Rocco

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Here is my Christmas story about Rocco the Italian Greyhound who learns about the true meaning of Christmas.

It contains mild adult course language and content and may not be suitable for children or those easily offended by adult humour.

There are also a couple of Christmas carols that have had the words substituted for doggy ones so this may offend you if you are particularly religious. (no offence intended but I thought I would warn you in advance)

This is a HUGE read of over 8,880 words and is probably best read with a cup of tea/coffee – maybe even several (if you are like me).

So now take a step into the secret world of Italian Greyhounds and if you would like your Iggy to be in one of my stories, let me know and I will write them in.

Christmas Party at Pippin Pringles House

It was Christmas Eve and the Iggies were at the Iggy Headquarters (Pippin’s house) busy preparing for Christmas and by that I mean decorating the tree, urinating up the tree, running round the tree doing ‘zoomies’, placing wrapped up doggy treats under the tree that invariably ended up being eaten by one of the puppies.

‘Zara and Olive, will you please stop stealing the dog treats!’ growled Pippin, really it was no good; as fast as Rambow, Fletch, Hershey and Woody were wrapping them, Olive, Soobi and Zara were unwrapping them and cramming them into their slender mouths which were could hold a surprising amount of food.

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Olive – the raider of the Christmas tree 

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘If you have it in your mouth they have nothing to pin on you, just make sure you have no evidence’ Soobi whispered to Zara.

‘Treats? What treats?’ Zara replied innocently in a voice that sounds like it had just swallowed a Schmacko – which of course it had.

‘Mouth! Crumbs around it!’ Olive hissed to Zara who quickly wiped her snout and then got back to looking innocent.

‘Did you get me any biscuits?’ Fat Harry asked Zara, not that he needed any food but if it was under the tree then it was fair game because Harry is convinced that there is a constant famine going on and it is every dog for himself.

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Fat Harry and the famine!

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Don’t know what you are talking about Harry’ Zara said in a breezy voice and then turned her back on the chunky Iggy to try and hide the guilt that was clearly written all over her snout in the form of crumbs.

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Bronte (left) and Zara (right)

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘A dog could starve to death around here!’ Fat Harry growled at nobody in particular and then sat down to keep an eye on a tray of Denise’s delicious famous ‘satin balls’ that had been made up for Mako to help him gain weight.

Actually Fat Harry was convinced those satin balls were for him and no amount of persuasion could convince him otherwise not even the fact that Harry didn’t need to gain weight as he could technically be classed as two very cute Iggies rolled into one.

Fat Harry 1

Fat Harry (I love him)

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Rocco had his ‘grump on’ and was not joining in the festivities at all, he didn’t believe in the ‘Santa Paws’ Christmas thing, and certainly didn’t believe that some fat bastard went around on a sleigh giving out toys to the dogs that had been good. He just assumed that the gifts under the tree ‘just got there’ although he always did enjoy ripping them open.

Rocco loves his mum

Rocco loves his Mum

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

After having a fight with his invisible friend over the situation which involved Bentley joining in and attacking ‘fresh air’ to make Rocco feel more supported, both Rocco and Bentley were now sat in the corner furious over everything and nothing.

‘It’s all a load of old bollocks’ Rocco growled to Bentley who nodded in agreement, aside from the gifts and the food that is – they totally believed in getting their ‘food on’ when it was on offer and unlike Nica, never vomited afterwards on grounds of there being many a starving dog in Africa that would be glad of a hot meal.

‘If I see Santa Paws I will bite him’ Bentley said angrily.

‘Santa Paws my arse, how can anyone believe in such a thing?’ Rocco snapped.

‘But you have to believe in Santa Paws!’ Soobie barked looking upset; ‘Every animal believes in Santa Paws’.

‘Yeah right’ Rocco muttered and placed his snout between his paws. Honestly, there was no such thing and the rest of the Iggies were so gullible in believing otherwise.

‘Rocco, just because you are in a bad mood, don’t ruin Christmas for the puppies, now please everyone will you gather round the piano so we can practice for the choir’ Pippin said in his firm voice, which he tried to save for special occasions that involved naughtiness, farting and trying to gain order.

Wearing his half rimmed spectacles and his silk ruffle around his neck, Pippin sat bolt upright at the piano while frequently peering above his glasses to see that the Iggies were concentrating. He could already see Gidget trying to distract the girls by showing off her new outfit.

‘Gidget will you stop showing off now!’ Pippin said sounding exasperated.

‘I’ll try but I can’t promise you!’ Gidget giggled as Nica gave her the thumbs up to encourage her.

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Gidget – can’t promise anything about behaving!

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

The Iggy Christmas Choir I’ll have you know; is the most important event of the year and involves all of the Iggies wearing ‘ruffles’ around their necks and standing round the piano which is always played by Pippin while Madam Gigi tries to get them to hit the high notes.

‘Right everyone, take it from the top!’ Pippin shouted and then with a curt nod in Madam Gigi’s direction, started to play the piano and in turn Madam Gigi started waving her front pointy legs about to the Iggies to instruct them.

‘No, no no! – You need to go higher!’ Madam Gigi snapped as Enzo sang in a forced deep voice.

‘Told you that you needed to go higher, didn’t I tell them Topper, they just don’t listen, I told you so’ Gidget said smugly to the other Iggies as they glared back at her – their snouts appearing more pointy and dangerous the angrier they got.

‘It’s like trying to polish a turd with this lot’ Pino whispered to Enzo who really wanted to sound like Pavarotti – except Pavarotti is dead and he wouldn’t really be suited to the Iggy Choir now would he?

‘I feel so silly wearing this’ Enzo said fretfully and tried to pull his ruffle off his neck until Pippin gave him ‘a look’ that said ‘leave the hell alone’.

‘I really don’t see why we have to wear them’ Rocco said angrily as Bentley agreed with him and muttered something about ‘ruffles up the arse’ or something equally as vulgar.

‘I think I might wet my pants if they don’t get started soon’ Bronte growled to Nica. She wouldn’t really wet herself of course; she purely wanted to draw attention to the fact that she was wearing her new ‘Diva Pantz’ from her favourite store ‘Spoiled Bratzwear Canine Couture’.

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Bronte likes the boys to check out her bum!

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘If I could sit on someone’s lap that would make me sing better’ Woody said meekly but secretly praying that Madam Gigi would allow that to happen.

Woody is quite stealth in his approach to the humans and how he can wrangle his way on to their laps for attention without them even realizing it. Even my husband did not escape Woody’s charms one day when he found himself hugging the Iggy for quite a while before Woody sloped off and found several other laps to sit on, with each one he took the scent of the aftershave or perfume with him.

‘No Woody, you cannot sit on anyone’s lap – now concentrate please. Now once again everyone; take it from the top!’ Gigi barked and then nodded to Pippin for him to start playing the piano as the entire Iggy choir started to sing the canine version of ‘Away in a manger’.

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The Iggies getting ready to do some singing

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

All Italian greyhounds have high pitched voices – it is ‘The Law’, they talk as though they have inhaled vast quantities of helium but once they sing, they have Aled Jones (The Snowman) style choir voices and even Rocco with his Tourette’s, can go from sounding vulgar to a high pitched angelic voice the moment he sings.

Iggy Choir

Rocco left, Pippin middle and Fat Harry right

(Photograph from Google and ruined beyond recognition by myself)

Fat Harry puffed his fat chest out as he hit the high notes, Enzo, Cino, Pino, Mako, Topper, Rocco, Bentley, Fletch, Woody, Dash, Rambow, Apollo, Charlie and Starbucks gave it their all as did the others. Zara and the other puppies were still at the embarrassed stage at the thought of singing in public and were miming – just like we used to be at school when Assembly was on and we were forced to sing but would mime along to morning hymns.

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Fat Harry hitting those high notes!

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

(I still have nightmares about miming to ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ – but we won’t go there, it is too traumatic but it involved Nuns and stuff)

You are now privy to read the Iggy Lyrics to ‘Away in a Manger’ – please feel free to sing along using the words below to the music.

Away in a manger, no place for a dog

Cuzz Bro the Maori boi carved a bed from a log

The dogs were all happy and the cats went to stay

On the scratch post he made them

And they ran off to play

 

Some dogs go cold and hungry

Some have no bones

While some have no toys

And some have no homes

 

We Iggies are so lucky

That we are loved and well fed

And at night we are cuddled

And tucked up in our beds

‘Not bad everyone for the first attempt, take a few minutes break and we will try again’ Madam Gigi said approvingly.

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Madam Gigi – she can get those Iggies singing!

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

*Cuzz Bro Kennels – the fabulous Maori boi that hand makes dog beds, kennels and any other pet stuff for the people of Perth.  Lovely guy, everyone knows and respects him and I can highly recommend him to make stuff for your pet*

Unexpected Visitors

Suddenly sounds of singing could be heard from outside Pippin’s house that were only comparable to something being murdered, or Cliff Richard singing with a bad dose of gastro.

Either way, it sounded awful and it was coming from outside Pippin’s front door and it sounded suspiciously like a pair of large, clumsy and uncoordinated dogs with a penchant for licking windows, lure coursing, farting and loving each other. Can you guess which dogs I am talking about?

‘Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the new born king’

‘Give me food and give me toys

Our Mums said we’re both good boys’

 

‘I didn’t mean to dig the garden

Belch in your face and not say pardon’

‘Hark the herald angels groan

I deserve a juicy bone’

‘We’re both good boys for our Mums

With our jowls and dirty bums’

 ‘Do you think they liked it?’ Vader slurred his words at Brutus from outside Pippin’s house.

‘They must have, we sounded bloody awesome’ Brutus said proudly and then hiccupped loudly ‘Pardon me!’ – Yes, both boys were drunk.

Clutching their dog beers in their paws, they propped one another up and after visiting a local skimpies bar that had naked whippets inside dancing for Schmackos; the boys had decided to gatecrash Pippin’s Iggy Christmas Eve meeting.

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Brutus and Vader – never could hold their drink

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Bloody hell, what on earth is that?’ Pippin spluttered as he took his glasses off to wipe off some smudges.

‘I think someone has been murdered’ Nica replied and then placed her skinny little paws in her ears to block out the sound.

Apollo, Mako, Fletch and Starbucks were trying hard not to laugh as Pippin looked positively furious at the disturbance.

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Starbucks – laughing at the disturbance (she is an Iggy in disguise!)

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Someone must have lost their testicles or something,’ Bentley spluttered and then checked to see what could be causing the noise.

Just as the Iggies thought the dreadful noise was over, Brutus and Vader decided to sing (or rather invent) the words to ‘Silent Night’.

‘Silent Night in my home

God protect me and my bones’

‘Happy and grateful for my Kong

My Mum thinks I can do no wrong’

‘I did chew up the palm tree

I did chew up the tree’

 ‘And you shit yourself – several times, even I know that!’ Vader belched and slurred to Brutus.

‘Yeah alright, those days are behind me’ Brutus blushed and then poked Vader in the ribs to shut him up and added ‘I – AM – A- GROWN – UP’ as Vader burst out laughing at such a statement.

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Brutus and Vader – grown ups you know!

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Leaning out of the window, Rocco strained his neck to see what the assault on their ears could be.

‘Oh god, it’s Brutus and Vader and they are drunk’ Rocco growled to Bentley who was wiping the tears from his eyes as he was laughing so much.

‘Priceless, totally priceless – come on Pippin, let them in before someone calls the rangers’. Bentley said while snorting with laughter.

‘Really this is highly irregular, they are not part of the Iggy Choir and it is our official practice night and they know they shouldn’t come round’ Pippin sighed.

‘Starbucks isn’t an Iggy?’ Zara said pointedly.

‘Yes but Starbucks is the same size as us so almost an Iggy’ Olive added as the other dogs nodded.

‘You can’t say no to them Pippin, they are virtually family’ Soobi cried as Pippin rolled his eyes.

But really it was no good, the boys would end up gatecrashing the meeting and Pippin knew it, in fact we all knew it.

‘Excellent!’ Bronte giggled to Nica, Zara, Olive and Enzo who were all trembling with excitement as there is nothing like an impromptu visitor to get everyone into the spirit of things not to mention cause a happy diversion from the routine.

Fat Harry who is pretty much welcoming to anyone just sat there grinning while Woody and Hershey took the piss out of him for how excited he always gets when anyone turns up, probably because Harry is convinced he will get food out of it – which of course he usually does.

‘Oh for goodness sake let them in before they embarrass us further!’ Madam Gigi snapped and then nodded to Bentley to open the door.

The smell of alcohol fumes could have lit a fire – the boys had been drinking dog beer.

‘Merry Christmas!’ Vader shouted with a mouthful of his own tongue as the door to Pippins house opened. Burping and hiccupping, Vader slurred ‘we have been to admire the whippets in the skimpies bar and man, do they know how to dance round a bone’

‘Whippet real good, she whipped off her collar that whippet did, even WA cop dog Rumble threw dog chocs at the whippets and ‘Z’ the Cop dog had to arrest him!’ Brutus giggled childishly and then tried hard to stand straight in a way that only a drunk person does but ended up hitting the wall and apologising to it.

‘Have you been drinking dog beer again?’ Hershey demanded.

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Hershey – have you been drinking beer?

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Yes, we have’ Vader hiccupped and then added ‘It was bloody nice as well, and we have been whippeted all over our bottoms. Mind if we come in?’ And without waiting for a response barged past Pippin into the living room leaving a trail of mucous behind him and a smell of farts that indicated that he really needed to go to the toilet.

‘Pippin, I just want to tell you that I love you as much as I do Tony Abbott!’ Brutus said with a big grin on his face as he walked past Pippin into the living room and then promptly collapsed in a big brown heap on the floor by the TV – leaving Pippin looking mortified, Madam Gigi looking furious and the other Iggies laughing hysterically.

Pippin looked down at the large brown dog that was now comatose on the floor and looked up to the other Iggies standing around him. ‘Not a word to anyone about this you lot and remember – what happens at the Iggy meeting, stays at the Iggy meeting’.

The Iggies all nodded their heads quickly in agreement; after all some pretty naughty things go down at Iggy meetings you know – we don’t know half of it although Enzo was making a mental note to tell Luciano in Karratha everything as he was the Karratha Correspondent after all and if he could get the news to Fabian in Puerto Rico all the better.

Enzo was laughing at the sight of a pissed up Brutus who was now snoring loudly with Vader curled up fast asleep beside him resting his head on Brutus’s bum with his huge tongue hanging out like a yard of Christmas ham.

‘At least he can’t get up to any trouble here’ Hershey whispered to Enzo just as Brutus let out an enormous fart, which caused Vader to wake slightly, snort with laughter and mumble ‘Nice one Brutus, don’t shit yourself’ before falling back to sleep.

‘Wanna bet on that?’ Enzo laughed as Pippin shook his head and clasped his pointy snout to avoid breathing in the Brutus’s bottom-offerings.

A bit about Rocco

Little Rocco hated Christmas and refused to get into the spirit of it all, saying that Santa Paws was a waste of time and a fat judgmental bastard that didn’t have a clue about how ‘real dogs’ lived their lives.

Saying that Rocco never questioned the presents that lay under his tree for him and Madam Gigi every year, he still didn’t care how they got there. Christmas is just ‘another day in the year – except that you get toys’, according to Rocco.

Bentley thought a bit differently about the situation as he totally believed in Santa Paws but would never admit it to Rocco so thought it better if he too declared that he hated Christmas.

But when nobody was looking, Bentley would make his list for Santa and lie in his bed at night, shaking with anticipation at what Santa Paws would bring him for ‘being a good boy’.

Even Keno, Amex and Shine in QLD would start their Santa Paws list months in advance for what they wanted.

Barney the horse-dog, Ruby the kelpie and Kath the greyhound in QLD also had their traditions for Christmas, which normally involved Barney eating far too much Christmas BBQ and spending the afternoon farting it off while Kath and Ruby covered their snouts. It was all in good fun though and farting aside, party games were played including ‘Who has the biggest paws’ and ‘The Ministers Cat’.

It was only Rocco that didn’t really get into the spirit because he didn’t believe in it either.

You know what they say – and that is we all need something to believe in; Santa, the fairies, and the spirit of our loved ones watching over us, or simply the fact that something nice is always waiting for us around the corner. Either way, it just keeps that tiny bit of magic in an otherwise ordinary life.

‘But why don’t you believe in Santa Paws?’ Zara asked Rocco one day.

‘I just don’t, it’s for puppies and idiots to believe in!’ Rocco growled Zara leaving her confused and upset at such a declaration.

‘And another thing, how can you believe in something you can’t see idiot?’ he sneered at Zara.

Looking thoughtful, Zara replied ‘You believe in your invisible friend and we can’t see him!’

‘That is different!’ Rocco spluttered, he was getting angry, as he didn’t like his logic being challenged.

‘Well I believe in Santa Paws and I don’t care what you think’ Zara snapped back and picked up her squeaky toy and walked off with it to tell Soobi and Olive how unreasonable Rocco was being about the whole thing.

So you see Rocco had no belief at all, except for his invisible friend who he enjoyed fighting with on a daily basis but as for Santa Paws – well that was for puppies and idiots.

Back to the party

The Iggies had abandoned hope of practicing for the Xmas choir and were now either dancing or playing party games around Pippin’s Christmas tree.

Zara, Soobi, Olive and Dobby were standing in a large circle while Madam Gigi and Nica danced in the middle as the others clapped.

Some of them were playing party games, some were just chatting about next years lure coursing season with West Coast Dog Sports and the next ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ contest which was a huge success this year and promised to be next year.

Pippin was now totally relaxed and was joining in the fun which the other Iggies loved as it was rather like seeing your teacher relax at the school disco and do the ‘Dad dance’ across the dance floor.

*The Dad Dance is where you dance like a middle aged man and do ridiculous and embarrassing moves across the dance floor in a bid to look ‘cool’ whilst embarrassing your children*

‘Oh come on Pippin, show us your moves!’ Nica squealed at the normally very reserved little Pippin who was feeling brave at such encouragement.

Apollo, Mako and Pino started to clap and chant ‘Pippin! Pippin! Pippin!’ and pretty soon the others were joining until Pippin had no choice but to dance.

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Pippin getting into the Christmas spirit

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Well I say dance, Pippin tried his best and ended up doing a mixture of the ‘Funky Chicken’ and the ‘Dad Dance’ around the tree as the other Iggies clapped and cheered in delight at their leader letting his guard down.

‘We can bribe him with this for years to come’ Hershey whispered to Woody.

‘Oh don’t you worry, I am recording it on my iPhone’ Enzo laughed.

‘Let’s do The River Dance’ Gigi cried and all the Iggies suddenly lined up with their paws across each others shoulders as they started to dance to Irish music with their hind legs kicking furiously in time to the beat – except for Fat Harry who could not keep up and danced in a circle on his own at the end ‘doing his thang’.

Just one solitary and lonely little figure didn’t join in and that was Rocco. He stared at his sister Madam Gigi and the others all enjoying themselves.

Rocco shook his head at the other Iggies and decided that he simply could not cope with watching it any more.

Without anyone noticing him, he slipped quietly out of the living room and went into the cat room for his own company and this time not even his invisible friend went with him and nobody noticed he had gone either.

‘It’s all a load of crap’ Rocco growled to himself and looked around for his invisible friend to back him up but for once he couldn’t see him and he was truly on his own except for his demons that he didn’t know existed.

Feeling somewhat unsettled, Rocco sighed and placed his head down on his front paws and within minutes he was fast asleep.

Rocco woke up with a start and the first thing he noticed was how quiet it was, no sound of the Iggies playing – had they gone home without him? The second thing he noticed was the sound of howling, very loud and almost ghostly and also that the room had gone icy cold to the point that he could see his own breath.

The howling got louder and Rocco lifted his head up and looked around him – what the hell could that be howling like a bloody wolf?

Standing up, Rocco trotted around the room to check what was going on and seeing that everything was in order, he lay back down; perhaps he was imagining it all.

The howling got louder until Rocco snapped and said ‘Look if that is you Dobby, you can piss off as I am not in the mood!’ God they were all so juvenile and he would be glad when Christmas was over.

‘Rocco my friend, are you there?’ A strong QLD accent came out of nowhere.

‘Bloody hell, what is that – Enzo, Pino, Hershey, is that you?’ Rocco shouted – clearly unsettled by the strange, loud but haunting voice.

Realizing that none of those Iggies had a QLD accent, he then switched his attentions to Keno, Shine, Gracie and Amex, or even Ruby, Kath the greyhound and Barney the horse-dog. Maybe they had set up some kind of webcam to tease him or something.

Except that once Rocco realized that it didn’t sound like any of them and the howling could not be explained, he was very afraid.

Rocco ran towards the entrance of the cat room to get out except that he couldn’t because the door was shut and there was nowhere to go and the house was now eerily silent. Where was everyone? Where had they gone?

Although it was a Christmas Eve party, the plans were that they would all go to their respective homes with their families but surely they wouldn’t have gone home without him?

‘I am dreaming, I am so dreaming – God if I find out Fat Harry or the others are involved in this, then I am going to be pissed off’ Rocco said to himself. Turning round to look for another escape, he came face to face with a large, majestic, beautiful white greyhound that stood so tall his presence almost filled the room.

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Bowie – the Angel Dog (before he crossed over to Rainbow Bridge)

(Photograph by Fran Forbes)

With a large set of white wings on his back, he floated just above the ground and not quite touching it. His lean and muscular body quivered, his long pointy snout was bigger than Rocco himself and his kind eyes looked down on the tiny little Italian greyhound who was now so terrified that he had ‘done a Brutus’ and urinated down his own legs.

‘Hello Rocco, do you know who I am?’ The greyhound asked. His voice had an echo and at that moment in time appeared to be the only voice that Rocco had ever really tuned in to.

‘I don’t think so, who are you?’ Rocco stuttered and tried to stand on the cat scratch post to make himself big and brave to face the greyhound.

‘My name is Bowie and I am the brother of Keno, Amex, Gracie and Shine – I passed away a few months ago and I am now an angel dog and I get to go around and help dogs on earth that need some guidance and you my friend need some guidance over this Christmas issue that you have’ Bowie said as he looked directly into Rocco’s eyes.

‘I do NOT have an issue with Christmas!’ Rocco growled forgetting how scared he was.

‘Do you believe in Santa Paws?’ Bowie asked him.

‘Of course not, Santa Paws is for…..’ Rocco sneered.

‘Puppies and idiots?’ Bowie finished the sentence for him, ‘Well Rocco, there must be a lot of puppies and idiots in this world as Santa Paws is mightily busy this time of year’.

Blushing at Bowie’s words, Rocco quickly changed the subject; ‘Where is everyone, have they gone home? Do Amex, Keno, Gracie and Shine know you are here?’

‘No they haven’t gone home, they are oblivious to you and to me and as far as they are concerned you are fast asleep sulking away in your Christmas misery, you cannot see them and they can only see you sleeping but have no desire to come and find you’.

‘But can they see you? I could call Amex and the others and tell them I am speaking to you, they would be so happy’ Rocco sighed and he knew they would as well. Actually they wouldn’t believe him and would think he was talking to his invisible friends again.

‘They don’t know I am here as very few dogs get to see us Angel dogs until they are ready to do so’ Bowie smiled at Rocco.

‘Now Rocco, tell me why you really hate Christmas and if you don’t mind, could you refrain from swearing or at least not use the word ‘bollocks’ and take your time my friend’.   Bowie said gently to Rocco who was looking boot-faced at the prospect of not only opening his heart but also unlocking thoughts and fears that he had buried some time ago.

The Pandora’s box of Rocco

‘I asked Santa Paws if I could be a big dog. I waited on Christmas Eve for it to happen, I went to sleep and woke up on Christmas Day and I was still – well, I was still me, tiny Rocco weighing less than Gordon the cat’. Rocco looked angry just by remembering such a travesty.

Bowie tried not to smile at Rocco who had his front paws folded tight and his hind legs crossed to try and hide his emotions by folding everything possible.

‘I wanted to be a big dog, I wanted to be able to go to the park and the other dogs admire how big I am and I would be afraid of nothing’.

‘But it never happened and I woke up still little, still vulnerable and I felt let down. Santa let me down’ Rocco sighed.

‘But did you get anything else for Christmas?’ Bowie asked Rocco.

Rocco looked thoughtful and replied ‘Oh sure, there were toys around the tree, lots of them but not what I had asked for’

‘Did you get treats and food on Christmas Day?’ Bowie asked in a patient voice.

Rocco nodded his head ‘Oh yes, there were lots of those – treats, sausages, BBQ food – everything really, but I still woke up being me, I still woke up being short’.

‘Did your Mum cuddle you on Christmas Day?’ asked Bowie as he stared intently at Rocco.

Cocking his head to the side, Rocco thought for a few minutes before replying ‘Oh yes, all the time, I was and still am always covered in her perfume’.

‘Do you get treats, cuddles, pats, love, warm bed, food, toys, social outings at any other time other than Christmas?’ Bowie growled gently at Rocco.

Rocco was getting annoyed now, such stupid questions, ‘Why of course – all the time, what dog doesn’t get all of these basic necessities?’

Bowie shook his head in disbelief and from nowhere he produced an iPad and beckoned Rocco to come and look at it.

‘What am I looking at?’ Rocco demanded.

‘Your reality, that’s what you are looking at’ Bowie said flatly.

Staring at the iPad, Rocco saw an elderly border collie, with a grizzled muzzle, grey tufts above his eyebrows, thick matted coat and feathering around his paws, his tail a tangled mess – just a scruffy, tatty and unloved dog.

An almost empty water bowl with barely a dribble on the bottom sat near the pergola. No kennel, no proper shelter, no blankets, no food until his owner deemed it fit to throw some and certainly no toys.

With a rope tied around his neck, he was tethered to the post, no collar, no council tag, no rego, no identity and no name.

Rocco looked horrified, was this joke? ‘What is this dog doing living outside? Where are his toys/treats/food bowls?’

‘Why is his coat in that condition, has his Mum not heard of Lexie the groomer?’ Rocco demanded to know.

Shaking his head sadly, Bowie said nothing and Rocco kept watching.

Rocco watched the video for 10 minutes, which showed a time lapse of 24 hours and in those 24 hours, Rocco could not help but notice that no owner came to check on the dog.

The border collie had given up lifting his head to check for his owner, he had given up on food being given and a bowl of fresh water and he had long since given up on the prospect of a pat/cuddle because to be brutally honest, he wouldn’t recognize affection if he saw it. With regards to food – perhaps tomorrow, who knows? – Not him that’s for sure.

Just as Rocco was about to look away from the screen, he saw on the video that the owner had returned.

‘Look, see his owner has come back – I knew he would!’ Rocco said in a smug voice.

Bowie ignored him.

The border collie looked up with a glimmer of hope, which was quickly replaced by pain as his owner threw a bit of meat on the floor and then kicked the frail elderly dog hard in the ribs – just for being there.

The elderly grizzled dog remained by the pergola too afraid to move and the meat remained next to him untouched.

‘Why did his owner do that to him?’ Rocco asked Bowie.

‘Why not?’ Bowie sniffed in response, ‘Why do you get toys? Why do you tell everyone to ‘piss off’? Why do we do anything in life – because we CHOOSE to that’s why.  You choose how to behave and you choose how to react to the behaviour of others’.

Suddenly the footage on the iPad changed – It was Christmas Day and the scene was set at Rocco’s house where his Mum Gwynneth was sat cross-legged on the floor playing with his sister Madam Gigi. Rocco was nowhere to be seen.

‘That’s my house, that is my sister and that is my Mum!’ Rocco said excitedly, wagging his whippy tail so furiously that he almost cleared the table. Bowie smiled at such a genuine reaction from the tiny ball of Iggy fury.

‘Where am I though, I can only see Gigi?’ Rocco barked.

‘Keep looking’ Bowie instructed and Rocco kept looking.

There sat behind the sofa was Rocco in a curled up ball of angriness and resentment. He was so busy fighting with his invisible friend and telling it to ‘Piss off and to stop trying to put Christmas on him that he never noticed his Mum Gwynneth and sister Gigi happily organizing treats – HIS treats under the tree

Gwynneth was sorting out toys that Santa Paws had brought Rocco, soft toys, squeaky balls, chews, delicious yummy treats for him to eat – everything a dog could want and so much more.

Gigi was prancing around impatiently waiting for Rocco so that they could open their presents together.

‘Rocco, come on! We can open our gifts and see what Santa Paws brought us!’ Gigi squeaked in her high-pitched voice.

‘Bollocks, I don’t believe in Santa Paws!’ Growled Rocco and turned his back on his sister.

‘So you don’t want your presents then?’ Gigi replied, totally unabated by her grumpy brother and then proceeded to wave one of his presents under his pointy snout.

‘I never said that, give that to me!’ Rocco said firmly and snatched a beautifully wrapped gift with his name on it.

Rocco unwrapped each and every gift and trust me; there were lots of them.

Not one single ‘thank you’ passed his lips as he shoved some presents to the side although a great deal of food did as he ate his treats without even looking to see what they were.

He ignored the loving looks from his Mum who clearly loved him to bits, he ignored the fond glances of Gigi who loved him faults and all and he totally bypassed the amount of love that had been poured into these gifts.

‘What do you think Rocco? Do you believe in Santa Paws now?’ Gigi grinned at her brother.

Rocco lifted his head up and looked thoughtful before replying simply ‘Bollocks’

Bowie was staring sadly at Rocco who had the grace to blush at this behavior. Neither dog said a word, they didn’t need to really as the video said it all.

‘Rocco, what else did you want for Christmas aside from being a big dog?’ Bowie asked him.

Rocco was about to answer but thought better of it, he was already feeling pretty small with his behavior and being forced to watch it back was actually quite embarrassing not to mention shameful.

‘Well, was there anything else you wanted Santa Paws to get you for Christmas?’ Bowie repeated the question.

Remembering a bright red Kong Wubba toy that he had always wanted that Santa Paws never got him, it all seemed so trivial. It was silly really but Rocco had always wanted one of those and had every toy a dog could wish for but the Kong Wubba toy – now that WOULD have been a real treat.

But what Rocco did not realize was that in order to get your hearts desire from Santa Paws, you had to believe in him first because without that believe, everything was meaningless – even Kong Wubba toys.

Deciding to keep his wish for a Wubba quiet, Rocco whispered to Bowie ‘No Bowie, nothing else from Santa Paws’.

‘Well if you are sure…’ Bowie took a deep breath as he replied.

‘Yes, I am sure’ Rocco said so quietly that you could barely hear him.

‘How do you feel Rocco?’ Bowie asked while stretching his long legs.

Shrugging his shoulders Rocco didn’t trust himself to reply and carried on watching the screen on the iPad.

‘So Santa Paws let you down did he?’ Bowie said quite sarcastically.

‘Santa Paws didn’t make you into a big dog so you decided not to believe in him, yet you still expect every single Christmas Day to wake up bigger than what you are purely to prove a point to your friends and yourself that he still exists?’

Even to Rocco, this was sounding more ridiculous by the minute.

‘Rocco my dear, I repeat myself – to experience the magic in ones life, one has to believe in it and have faith in it’

‘Now take a look again’ Bowie ordered Rocco as he pointed to the screen of the iPad.

Rocco could see his Mum cradling him, his thin legs all folded up as he lay on his back in her arms while she rubbed his belly.

Smothering the Iggy with kisses and smoothing down his ears, she made promises of lavish gifts, food and attention and despite Rocco thinking Santa Paws was not real, she still patiently told him that he would be getting a visit which would result in all the toys and treats that he and Gigi wanted.

And in spite of knowing about Rocco’s lack of faith and belief in anything except for his invisible friend, she kept telling him this story so that one day he too would see the magic in something invisible yet so powerful that it had dogs all over the world on the edge of their beds hoping for presents (or just a loving home).

‘What do you have to say for yourself Rocco?’ Bowie finished as he slowly and purposely turned off the iPad.

‘That I have been stupid, that I am lucky to have my Mum who loves me, my sister Madam Gigi and all of my friends and that I have more than lots of other dogs have, and I don’t just mean toys either’ Rocco said while hanging his head in shame.

‘Do you believe in Santa Paws yet?’ Bowie asked him.

‘I think so, I haven’t felt any magic yet but I can see what I do have instead of what I don’t in my life’ Rocco replied nodding his head to convince himself.

‘And that my friend, is a start’ Bowie grinned.

‘What happens now?’ Rocco asked the big white greyhound.

‘It’s time for you to join the real world and your friends and when you do, they will know nothing of this and neither will they believe you if you told them’.

‘When you wake up it will be as though you had a good sleep’ The greyhound said firmly as he stood up and had a good stretch with his bum in the air, his wings stretched out and his front legs on the floor in a ‘play bow’ kind of way that only a greyhound can pull off.

‘Bowie?’ Rocco asked him.

‘Yes Rocco?’ Bowie yawned as he looked out of the window.

‘Thank you’ Rocco gave a very ‘un-Rocco’ like smile.

‘No worries lad, no worries’ Bowie grinned and ordered Rocco to shut his eyes.

One more glimpse wouldn’t hurt surely? Rocco wanted to see where Bowie went to, where he came from, surely he could take a peek?

Rocco closed his eyes for a second and then decided to open them. When he did; he found himself curled up on the floor by the cat scratch post in the same position that he had laid down earlier when he first entered the room.

Looking up to see if Bowie was still there, he noticed the time on the clock – it was just five minutes since he had left the others and not the hour it had seemed.

Back to the party

Rocco crept back into the living room unseen by the others. Pippin was playing ‘Blind dogs bluff’ and was blind folded while Zara, Soobi, Olive and Mako were spinning him around and the other Iggies were hiding and Pippin had to find them.

Squeals of delight could be heard as the Iggies teased Pippin and had even placed his spectacles over the blindfold to confuse him further while Bronte took the opportunity to flash her pretty little Diva Pantz and lift up her skirt at Enzo.

Brutus and Vader were still fast asleep and alternating between farting and snorting on the floor as everyone played around them and even using the giant dogs as stepping-stones.

‘Look at me, I am king of the world!’ Zara yelled as she stood on a sleeping Vader’s head trying to do a Titanic impression as Fat Harry stood behind her and held her paws.

‘Zara and Fat Harry get down now!’ Nica screamed, my goodness the last thing they needed were Brutus and Vader waking up. It would be like the giant in Gulliver’s Travels.

Rocco stood in the background quietly watching his friends enjoying their Christmas party.

Rocco was thinking that it would soon be time for them to go home and be put to bed so that Santa Paws could come and sort out gifts when he suddenly realized that he hadn’t even joined in with any of the games in any of the parties.

‘Oh I can’t do it, I am dizzy!’ Pippin laughed as Nica removed the blindfold leaving the other Iggies giggling.

‘What are you laughing at Fletch?’ Pippin said sounding confused.

‘Nothing’ Fletch grinned as the other dogs snorted with laughter.

Unaware that the girls had placed lipstick on Pip’s cheeks and ears and a love heart on his bottom, they left him to discover it himself, which he did on Christmas morning but that is another story.

‘Who is next? Come on Nica, you have a go!’ Soobi shouted.

‘Oh no, not me – I shall more than likely vomit if I do that’ Nica said in a prim and proper voice.

‘Let’s get two of us to do it, it will be fun!’ Bentley yelled and everyone clapped as though it was the best idea since Schmackos.

As the girls blindfolded Bentley, they looked around for someone else when Rocco quietly stepped forward.

‘Oh there you are; you were quiet, what were you up to?’ Pippin smiled at Rocco.

‘I’ll be your second dog’ Rocco said nervously.

Silence filled the room – you could have heard a bone drop.

‘What did you say?’ Pippin asked looking visibly shocked.

‘Yeah right, you never join in and never have done’ Enzo growled.

‘Now this I must see’ Bronte giggled to Nica and the girls.

Madam Gigi looked at her brother intently and after a few agonizing seconds, Gigi grabbed the spare blindfold and blindfolded Rocco and placed him in the middle of the room with Bentley where both Iggies were spun around until they begged to stop.

Rocco was terrified, not only about being blindfolded and the thought of the girls putting lipstick on him but also allowing himself to let go and admit that Christmas is rather fun.

‘I’ve got someone, I’ve got someone – who is it? They have a pointy snout and a fat neck!’ Rocco shouted happily.

‘We all have pointy snouts Rocco!’ Woody giggled as Pino went one step further and pissed himself while Cino snorted.

‘Oh my God, it’s a Labrador!’ Rocco yelled.

‘That is SO not funny, Pippin – tell them that is not funny, I am not a Labrador!’ Fat Harry said sounding awfully offended while everyone laughed at the horror on Fat Harry’s face.

‘I can smell turd, who has shit themselves?’ Bentley said in a worried voice as he clutched his blindfold.

‘Oh don’t worry, Vader has farted’ Zara said matter-of-factly.

‘That figures!’ laughed Rocco and then he and Bentley carried on with their front paws rigid in front of them as they walked around like a pair of robots trying to feel their way.

Nica stood next to Madam Gigi as they watched Rocco and Bentley knock ornaments over, take advantage of being ‘blind’ and generally groping the girls as the puppies teased them by nipping Rocco’s paws to confuse him and pull his tail.

‘What has changed do you think – with Rocco?’ Nica asked Gigi who could not take her eyes off her brother.

Nodding her response, Gigi replied simply ‘I don’t know, but you know what? I like it’.

‘Yep, and so do I – welcome to the fold Rocco. Nica agreed.

Back in their respective homes – tucked up in bed

The party was a success, the dogs were all back in their homes in their beds or their owners beds and everything was there for Santa Paws arrival (for the lucky dogs at least).

Madam Gigi was curled up next to Rocco who was resting his pointy snout on his paws with his eyes tightly closed.

‘Rocco, are you awake?’ Madam Gigi asked her brother.

After a few seconds Rocco replied ‘Yes Gigi, I am awake’.

‘Did you ask Santa Paws if he can make you in to a big dog for Christmas?’ Gigi whispered.

‘No Gigi, not this year, I don’t want to be a big dog any more’ Rocco replied.

‘But why not, that was always what you wanted?’ Gigi said sounding shocked.

‘Gigi, big doesn’t mean lucky and I think I have everything I need right here. Santa Paws can help the other dogs’ Rocco said with a newfound confidence.

The two dogs lay side by side for a few minutes until Gigi whispered to him ‘Rocco, I think you are perfect the way you are and will always be my big brother no matter what size you are’.

Rocco said nothing but without any prompting, he stretched his long slender brown paw out and gently touched Gigi’s leg and held it tight.

‘Merry Christmas Gigi’ Rocco said in a voice so quiet it was barely audible.

‘Merry Christmas Rocco’ Gigi smiled and snuggled into her bed where she quickly fell asleep to dream of all things nice and luxuries fit for an Iggy.

Rainbow Bridge

Bowie sat on his favourite sofa at Rainbow Bridge looking down at a fast asleep Rocco and Gigi curled up together.

It was a successful evening and turned out far better than he had hoped but it was painful for him to visit real life again and not see his Mum.

Surely once wouldn’t hurt, just to check on them? Of course it wouldn’t, after all being an Angel Dog must have some perks.

Bowie looked down in the QLD direction and allowed himself to peek into his Mum Fran’s home to check on his family – Shine, Keno, Amex and Gracie and of course his Mum Fran.

The gifts were round the tree, the house was as he remembered it and his Mum was sitting in the sofa while clutching a photograph of Bowie, tears filled her eyes as she remembered the gentle white greyhound that she loved so much.

‘I miss you so much big lad, why did you leave me?’ Fran sighed. With nobody watching her, she allowed the tears to fall.

Unknown to her, Bowie was now standing beside her so close that he almost went through her.

‘I never did leave you and I never will’ Bowie said quietly in her ear.

Fran looked at her sleeping Iggies and carefully placed Bowies photograph on the side. Standing up to go to bed, she noticed some pure white hairs on her chair – Bowie’s hairs.

Smiling to herself, she wiped her eyes and muttered ‘That greyhound gets everywhere’.

Turning off the light switch, she whispered to her dogs ‘Merry Christmas kids and Merry Christmas Bowie – wherever you are’.

‘Merry Christmas Mum’ Bowie replied and within a blink of an eye, he disappeared.

Christmas morning at Rocco’s house

‘Come on, let’s go and wake Rocco up’ Gwynneth said to Madam Gigi. Neither of them had given up on getting Rocco to believe in Christmas (or magic).

‘Rocco! It’s Christmas!’ Madam Gigi shouted.

As they burst open the door, there stood Rocco wearing a Santa hat, looking a bit out of place but with a big grin on his face.

‘Merry Christmas Mum, Merry Christmas Gigi!’ he said looking nervous.

Gwynneth didn’t know whether to be happy or send for the vet, for the first time ever Rocco was displaying enthusiasm for someone other than his invisible friend.

As they gathered round the tree to open their presents, aside from the usual toys they get, there was just one single present under the tree with Rocco’s name on it that no-one recognized the writing on the gift tag.

‘I love believing in Santa Paws’ Gigi said happily and then added ‘what is that present Rocco?’

Carefully opening the present, Rocco gasped when he saw it – a bright red Kong Wubba and next to it was the original tatty note that Rocco wrote when he was a puppy which read ‘Dear Santa Paws, please can I have a Kong Wubba, bright red if you can manage it – love Rocco’.

‘Oooh Rocco, what a lovely Kong Wubba, you never told us you wanted one of those’ Gigi gasped.

‘I never told anyone, not even myself’ Rocco responded as he stared at his Wubba toy in awe.

‘What’s that message on the back of your note?’ Gwynneth asked Rocco.

As Rocco carefully smoothed out the note, he could see on the back of it was written ‘Dearest Rocco, hope this puts the magic back in your life – love Santa Paws’.

‘How did that Kong get there Rocco?’ Gigi asked him as he read Santa’s note several times over.

Taking a deep breath, Rocco looked at his Mum and Gigi and nodded happily ‘I don’t know, probably magic and a bit of that never hurt anyone!’

Merry Christmas

The End

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright December 2014

Acknowledgements and Thanks 

I would like to thank each and every member of the Italian Greyhound Club of Western Australia for their warmth, hospitality and friendship.  For allowing me to meet and socialise with their dogs and learn about their personalities and characters that have enabled me to write stories about them (including Starbucks who is not an Italian Greyhound but thinks she is and has starred in this story).

Iggy Club

The photo says it all ‘Enjoy the Club’ (and we do!)

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Also to Fran Forbes in QLD who runs the Facebook group Queensland Italian Greyhounds. Fran has been a great help to me when I have been writing until early hours of the morning helping me with the QLD characters, and a special mention goes to her beloved Greyhound Bowie who crossed over to Rainbow Bridge a few months back.

Finally, thank you to Denise Pringle and her lovely Iggies Pippin and Bronte, who for some reason, totally inspire me to write about the Italian greyhounds.  Pippin has seemingly become the main character in my stories and has actually overtaken Brutus as the main character and has so much personality for a little dog, as do all the Italian greyhounds.

I might not own an Italian greyhound but I have found myself in their world and the more I know about them the more I love them.  After all, every pointy snout tells a story.

Have a wonderful and safe Christmas and fabulous New Year, wherever you are in the world.

*More photos to come*