Brutus and the Antique Dog Shop

Rocky – Photograph by Samantha Rose

It’s been almost two years since my darling kelpie Rocky crossed over to Rainbow Bridge – 2 years on 9th September to be precise. I remember that day as though it were yesterday and never did I imagine that losing a pet would hurt that much, it were as though he took a piece of me with him.

Brutus took months and months to find himself after Rocky left before he realised that he could bark at the garbage truck with the best of them. He even learned how to swim in the ocean which is something that we never thought that he would do. Rocky was the swimmer, Brutus was the barker that would give accusing looks if he was made to go in the water. Now Brutus can swim like a fish, although his motive is to catch water birds but that is another story entirely.

So this story is dedicated to the memory of my Rocky dog because this is just what I can imagine him doing.

Sunday afternoon at Brutus’s house


It was a cold, wet and windy Sunday afternoon where most animals would be snuggled up inside their warm kennels or their homes. Kevin was curled up on his cat tree planning on what he would have for his tea. He spent a large part of his day thinking about food and this was a perfectly acceptable way to pass the time for him.

Brutus was standing by the dining room window. He was bored and rather fancied catching up with Vader and Pippin but he knew that they would be up to other things.
Turning round to Kevin, Brutus shouted “Catch you later, I am just going for a walk!” and before Kevin had chance to reply, Brutus had slammed the door and was trotting down the garden path. Kevin barely looked up, in fact I don’t even think that he heard him. “Yes, I am definitely looking forward to my roo meat tonight!” He mumbled to himself and noticing that he was already salivating, he quickly tried to clean the drool off his face with his paws.

 

Kevin – his life revolves around food. Photograph by Samantha Rose

Brutus didn’t need to go far to amuse himself. He stopped at the side of the road and checked for cars – just like his human had taught him. Straining his eyes to look at the park, he saw that there were no dogs or people there and it was completely empty.

Making his way to the small row of shops at the edge of the park, Brutus thought that perhaps if he checked the cafe out, he might be able to score a snack of some kind. And you can’t blame him for that as any self respecting dog would do the same.

Sighing, he saw that all the shops were closed – except for one and it was a shop that he had never noticed before. All the same, it was open and Brutus thought he would go and take a sticky beak to pass the time. ‘Antique Dog Toys’ Brutus read the sign on the outside of the shop out loud, “How strange, I wonder when this opened?” Then giving himself a good shake, he decided to go in and see what toys they had on offer.

As he walked in, a loud bell sounded to alert the owner. The shop smelled positively delicious to Brutus, it was a mix of cooked beef, bones, Schmackos dog treats and a touch of excitement. “Wow, where am I?” Brutus gasped and as curiosity got the better of him, he started checking out the shop in more detail.

Heaps of tennis balls, old stuffed toys, rope tugs, frisbees to name but a few, adorned the shelves. There was a shelf with an old cash register on top and a bowl of dog treats was placed next to it. On a lower shelf were old smelly bones that may well make a human look away in disgust, but to any dog – it was like the best thing for them to smell. And the older the bone, the better especially if it has been buried for months and then dug up. Just ask your own dog if you don’t believe me.

Brutus gasped when he noticed in the corner of the shop, was a bright red mini lamp post with a small picket white fence surrounding it in the corner of the shop – it was there for dogs to cock their leg if they chose to. Not Brutus though, he still squats like a female dog.

“How on earth did I not notice this shop before? All these old toys, do they belong to other dogs?” Brutus thought to himself. It was true, the toys didn’t look new at all, far from it. They looked chewed, played with, tatty and some might say, ‘well loved’.

Brutus was so engrossed in looking around this little shop, that he didn’t notice the owner sitting in a leather chair behind the counter. A little black kelpie dog sat on an antique leather chair from behind the counter. Wearing a tweed suit with gold half rimmed spectacles perched right on the edge of his snout, the look was complete with a large gold watch on a chain that was carefully placed in the inside pocket.

The kelpie studied Brutus noting his excitement to be in such a shop. His tail wagging furiously like the propellor of a helicopter, he managed to knock a few tennis balls off the shelf.
Feeling his jowls burn with embarrassment, Brutus frantically tried to grab some of the tennis balls in his mouth. Managing to pick up only two of them, he looked up to see the little kelpie peeking over the top of his gold rimmed spectacles and staring at him.

“Oh my days, no way, it can’t be! Is that you?” Brutus dropped the tennis balls out of his mouth letting them bounce on the floor of the shop.

“Hello Brutus!” The kelpie wagged his tail and jumped off his chair towards Brutus who had his tail tucked in between his legs because he was so overwhelmed.

“Rocky!” Brutus yelped and playfully nudged Rocky in recognition, “It is you! I knew you would come back for me!” As the two dogs greeted each other, their tails wagged so hard that they not only cleared all the tennis balls off the shelves, but managed to knock off a few stuffed toys as well.

“Come on my friend, we have some catching up to do!” Rocky said firmly.

“What if someone comes in and disturbs us?” Brutus frowned.

“They won’t, well they can’t actually.” Rocky replied.

Brutus pondered about asking further questions but didn’t. He had never needed to question Rocky because Rocky knew everything – he had been to Kelpie university you know.
As the storm picked up outside and the rain lashed against the windows of the shop, the two dogs chatted without barely stopping for breath. They didn’t even notice the weather outside because they were so engrossed in each other.

A short while later


“So what’s with all of these old toys? I don’t get it?” Brutus questioned Rocky.

“Well, when a pet crosses over to Rainbow Bridge, their spirit remains in their toys, furniture or anything that they may have loved, chewed or loved sleeping on. Take Kevin for instance.”

“I’d rather not, he is a right bastard!” Brutus muttered.

Rocky laughed and carried on talking. “Kevin is sleeping in that old grey plastic bed that Mum bought for their very first cat Bruno way back in 1995 I think it was.
“That catnip blue mouse with the leg chewed off, well the leg that I chewed off. That belonged to Mums other cat in England called Juniper and then it was handed down to Gordon.”

Brutus cocked his head to the side, “Yes, you are right. Mum has the box of toys that belonged to Gordon and she gave them to Kevin and some of those toys were way back from when they lived in England.”

“It’s not just toys Brutus, it can be anything that the animal loved. Take the food bowls that Mum brought over from England – they belonged to Bruno and Juniper. Gordon used them and now Kevin has them.” Rocky added.

“But what’s the connection with these toys in the shop?” Brutus repeated his question to

Rocky, “What IS this shop?” He pulled off his spectacles from his snout and fiddled with them for a few seconds. Then removing his silken red handkerchief from his pocket, he huffed on his glasses and set about cleaning them.

Once he had done that, he looked at Brutus and said matter-of-factly, “It’s a magic shop of memories because every toy in this store is just that – a memory. They have all belonged to a dog or cat that was loved and has now crossed to Rainbow Bridge.”

“Even the tennis balls?” Brutus questioned and looked at the tatty tennis balls scattered on the floor.

“Especially the tennis balls!” Rocky smiled and placed his spectacles back on the end of his snout.

About ten minutes later Brutus reluctantly stood up. “I guess I had better go home now, Mum will be worried about me.”

“Take care my friend and remember that those you love, never really leave you – we are always around somewhere and our memories appear when you least expect them to.” Rocky gave Brutus a friendly nudge. “Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do!” Rocky said with a firm nod before jumping back on his leather chair and fiddling with the cash register.

“Goodbye Rocky and thank you!” Brutus smiled at him and walked out of the door. As the door shut behind him, Brutus realised that he had meant to ask Rocky if he would see him again. Turning round to go back in, Brutus was confused to see that the shop that he had just left, was actually nothing but a vacant building with ‘For Rent’ on the front and not the antique store that it was a few minutes ago.

Sounds of thunder rumbled in the distance and it had started to rain heavily again. Brutus shivered and looked at the shop before running home as fast as he could because he hated storms.

Back home

It was a cold and wet Brutus that arrived back home. His Mum hadn’t even noticed that he had gone and Kevin was fast asleep in his basket.

 

Brutus, always hated the cold weather – Photograph by Samantha Rose

After rubbing his soaking wet body on his blankets to dry himself, Brutus inspected the toy box outside under the pergola. There were dog tugs, tennis balls, Brutus’s old tatty flappy cat which no longer had any stuffing inside, there were cracked rubber dog tugs, old honking pigs without the squeak inside them and a few old scruffy Kong toys that were there before Brutus’s time and had belonged to Rocky as a pup.

Brutus startled as he heard a noise from behind him. Three tennis balls bounced randomly on the concrete – it were as though they had been thrown from the box.

The balls were tatty and fluffed up from where Rocky used to carry them around for hours on end. They had certainly seen better days that’s for sure. But you know what, they were still OK and had some life left in them.

As Brutus carefully picked up the tennis balls one by one, he placed them back in his toy box and went back inside.

The End

Every toy in your pets toy box tells a story and keeps the memory of the last pet that played with it, alive. Especially tennis balls, let’s not forget the tennis balls.

 

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright August 2020

Always Room for a Little One

Gigi the Italian greyhound – or Madam Gigi if you would like her proper title, had been feeling unwell due to her eating a bone. Being one for enjoying her food, whatever Gigi ate was no real surprise to anyone and you can just ask her human about the ‘lettuce’ incident at the Iggy Christmas party one year – honestly, that story is legendry.

Madam Gigi – taken after the ‘lettuce incident’ – photograph by Samantha Rose

She is a beautiful and glamourous dog with a very well-spoken and some might say, posh accent (In case you didn’t know, in my stories all animals can talk – you just have to believe it). Just imagine a wealthy lady with flowing scarves tied round her neck, speaking at least 32 languages, wearing huge over-sized sunnies smelling of gorgeous expensive perfume which leaves wafts of it wherever she walks. If you can imagine that then you can imagine Gigi. 

Gigi’s brother – Rocco, now he is a different character altogether with a tendency to swear at random and inappropriate moments, fight with his invisible doggy friends (all dogs have invisible friends) and even attack his reflection in the mirror and bite his own hind legs for annoying him. Although Rocco may be scary on first impressions, once you get to know him he is an utter darling.

Rocco enjoying a cuddle off his lovely Mum – Photograph by Samantha Rose

One particular day, Gigi was curled up on the sofa because she wasn’t feeling too bright because the bone that she had eaten was causing her pain and it was decided that her human Mum would take her to the vet. 

About twenty minutes before the appointment, Gigi slowly got up to get smarten herself up, even in her time of sickness, she didn’t let her appearance slip up and while she was waiting for her human to get everything ready, Gigi was powdering her snout and spraying herself with her favourite perfume ‘Dog Eau De Ca Turd’.

Rocco was busy washing his genitals and not taking much notice of Gigi. It was girl thing you see, and he knew that Gigi had to be perfect before she left the house and if she was going on a lunch date with Nica and Zara, oh my goodness it put a whole new meaning to the words ‘Girl Power’.

But this time something made him look at her, something made him stop right in his tracks and REALLY look at her. Cocking his head to one side, he studied his sister who in between smoothing her fur down, was grimacing with pain and discomfort. “Are you OK Gigi?” Rocco frowned, then noticing that she was putting on her most glamourous scarf that she only ever wears for special occasions, he swallowed a couple of times and gulped.

Gigi took a deep breath before turning to face him and patted the floor a couple of times to signal for him to come over to her.

“No! No, I don’t want to hear it!” Rocco’s voice stumbled as he fought back the tears. “That scarf, that scarf – you said it was for a special occasion and you have owned it for years and have never worn it until today!”

“Rocco, we need to chat darling, come here.” Gigi said calmly. 

“No, I am not ready to come over, I am busy, no Gigi, don’t make me!” Rocco cried, but he knew he had to and usually nobody could make Rocco do anything that he didn’t want to do, but this time he knew that he had to go and sit by Gigi to hear what she had to say.

“Good lad!” Gigi smiled encouragingly, “Now, let’s have that chat…..”

As the two Italian greyhounds sat huddled up next to each other, Rocco listened to his sister talk while at the same time, trying hard to be the big strong brother that he knew she really needed.

Suddenly they were interrupted by their human Mum calling Gigi to take her to the car. “Right then, this is it!” Gigi nudged Rocco with her pointy snout. “Give me a hug then!”

Rocco stared at Gigi and thought how nice she looked with her scarlet red scarf wrapped around her neck, her fur smoothed back, the silver-grey fur on her muzzle and round her eyes making her look distinguished and ridiculously gorgeous. 

Leaning towards her to give her a hug, he thought how nice she smelt with her doggy cologne and just her own individual smell that all of our dogs/cats have and if you don’t believe me, go and smell your precious cat/dog now because they do have their own unique scent that simply cannot be replicated.

“Look after Mum for me and keep an eye out for Brutus, you know how he gets bullied by other dogs.” Gigi re-tied her scarf and gave Rocco a quick lick on the cheek.

“Promise you will let me know once you arrive?” Rocco whispered.

“You my dear brother, will be the first to know.” Then turning to face her Mum, Gigi allowed herself to be picked up and carried outside to the car. As Rocco ran to the window and pressed his snout up against the glass, he could see his Mum start up the car and drive off with Gigi in the back. 

Rocco left the window and trotted through the house, going from room to room to check. He eventually he found one of Gigi’s toys which he picked up and carried on to his bed and then burying his entire face in to the toy to muffle any sound, Rocco started to cry.

When glamour walks into the room

Bowie the Gatekeeper, Photograph by Fran Forbes

A large white greyhound known as Bowie (AKA – the Gatekeeper) stood outside a huge brass gate. Holding a clipboard with some names on it, he impatiently pressed the button on his biro pen a few times and frowned. Everyone was in that should have been, well except for one – one dog was late. Checking the list again, Bowie realised who it was and laughed, “Now why doesn’t that surprise me!”

A tan and white self-important looking staffie was chowing down on some doggy treats in a bag. Delving his snout into the packet, he triumphantly pulled out a kangaroo flavoured biscuit before offering Bowie one. “Fancy one Bowie? Who are we waiting for?”

Bowie politely declined the treats, he was watching his figure and wasn’t as active as some of the other dogs. “You will know soon enough, it will all kick off when they arrive I promise you that.”

The staffie shrugged and muttered something about going for a game of tennis ball with the kelpies that were waiting for him. A handsome black kelpie with a white cross on his chest, waved in the distance and yelled, “Are you coming Rex?”

Rex wagged his tail, “Yes Rocky, I will be there in a second!”

Bowie winked at him, “Off you go lad – your mates are waiting for you.” 

“Well, if you are sure…” Rex started to say but didn’t bother to finish because the temptation to play ball with the kelpies was just too much. Before Bowie got to say anything else, Rex was running as fast as his little legs would carry him to where the kelpies were and all you could hear was the typical ‘piggy’ and snorting sounds of an out of breath staffie dog.

“Thirty minutes late!” Bowie growled to himself, then lifting his head up high, his nose started to twitch as he picked up a scent. “Can anyone smell that? Smells like perfume?” 

He could hear her before he saw her, in fact there was no mistaking that voice. “Darling, I am finally here! Did you think that I wasn’t coming? You must tell me absolutely everything! 

“Oh God it is so good to not have that awful belly pain. They operated of course but I was so sick and had totally had enough of this old age lark. How amazing though, death-by-bone, what a way to go!”

Bowie laughed, it was hard to be annoyed with her. I mean, what a grand entrance to make and only she could carry it off, “Gigi, fashionably late as usual – loving the scarf sweetheart!” Then leaning towards her, he accepted her dramatic air-kiss on either side as Gigi made the ‘Mwah, Mwah!’ sound for effect as she kissed him.

Grabbing his biro pen, Bowie marked her off on his list. That was it for the day, the next intake would be tomorrow. He pointed ahead of him and nudged Gigi on her rump, “Are you ready then Gigi?” 

Gigi looked longingly through the gates. It was better than she ever could have imagined, so beautiful with all the animals looking in superb condition and what is more, she could not wait to go through and start enjoying her new-found health, youth and vitality.

“Oh darling, I just need to let someone know that I am here if that is OK?” Gigi gestured with her paws.

“OK, off you go then, but make it quick sweetie as I want to watch a dog program on TV later and I have some mates coming over for some dog beer.”

Gigi sat down, closed her eyes and took a deep breath and whispered, “Rocco, Madam Gigi has landed!” Then standing up and wagging her tail, she trotted over to where Bowie was standing.

“Ready?” Bowie nodded at her.

“You betcha I am ready!” Gigi clapped her paws.

They both walked to the gates which opened automatically to allow them to go through. 

As Gigi stepped over to the other side, with each step she became fitter, younger and more energetic until she became the age and fitness level that suited her best.

Over to where the kelpies were playing, one black kelpie in particular stopped playing ball with his mates. Glancing up he noticed Gigi walking towards them. Walking slowly towards her, the black kelpie beamed when he realised who it was.

Rocky patiently waiting for Gigi – Photograph by Samantha Rose

“Rocky, you waited for me – I knew you would, now tell me everything about this place!” Gigi barked at him.

 “Gigi, allow me to welcome you to Rainbow Bridge and you are going to love it…” Rocky greeted her warmly and led her to her new friends and a life that you and I as humans can only dream about.

At Rocco’s House

Rocco was asleep in his bed when suddenly he sat up and cocked his head to the side as though someone had called his name.

Getting up and having a stretch, Rocco looked up and started to wag his tail. He smiled and said in a quiet voice, “Thank you Gigi.” Then picking up his mobile, he texted his good friend Pippin Potter.

At Pippin’s House

Pippin Potter was in his office organising the Iggy Christmas party, it was the most anticipated and looked forward to event of the year and Pippin positively relished in organising it.

Pippin Potter – the organiser, Photograph by Samantha Rose

“Latte, can you come here please I have a job for you!” Pippin called out to his younger sister. But before he had chance to follow up on the conversation, his mobile phone beeped and a message flashed up from Rocco. Dabbing his pointy snout with his favourite blue silk handkerchief, Pippin picked up the phone and read the message.

“Pippin, I was busy you know, I am not your servant!” Latte sulked as she barged into his office. Then noticing the look on his face, she stopped in her tracks, “Is everything OK?”

Ignoring Latte, Pippin quickly composed a group text and then hit the ‘send’ button, “Go and get Bronte, I need to tell you both something”.

At Zara and Nica’s house

“I can’t believe she has gone.” Nica shook her head sadly as she had always been good friends with Gigi.

Zara snatched some handkerchiefs from the tissue box, wiped her eyes and then noisily blew her snout afterwards. “I just don’t understand why she had to go, why did she have to go Nica?” 

Nica being a much more sensible dog than Zara, smiled kindly at her sister. She wasn’t used to discussing Rainbow Bridge and had no idea that really was the best place for animals to go when their lives and purpose with their humans was done. “It was her time Zara, there comes a time in every animal’s life where they need to make their journey to Rainbow Bridge and today was Gigi’s.”

“Nica?” Zara asked her sister.

“Yes Zara?”

“Will Gigi like it there?” 

“Yes, Zara she will love it,” Nica answered truthfully. And with that answer, Zara had to be content.

At Rocco’s House

Despite Pippin Potter offering the group support for him, Rocco had declined, saying that he preferred his own company. He had even sent his invisible friends away so it was just Rocco and his own thoughts.

Rocco sat on the sofa and glanced around the living room. Gigi’s toys were where she had left them in the corner by her bed which had her favourite blankets still moulded into her shape where she had slept. Her bowls in the kitchen with the uneaten kibble and tiny paw prints where she had bought in some mud from the garden. Rocco wondered how could so much of her still be in the house without her being there?

Taking a deep breath and puffing his cheeks out, Rocco went to pick up Gigi’s toys. One by one, he tidied them up and placed them next to her bed then once he had finished, he pressed his nose onto her bed to take in her scent before getting in to her bed and curling up on the blankets. After a few minutes all you could hear were the gentle snores of an exhausted and heartbroken dog.

Rocco with Gigi’s toys – Photograph by Gwynneth Cavilla, published with her permission.

A couple of weeks later

“Go away, I hate everyone and no I am not interested!” Rocco barked furiously at whoever was knocking at his door. He had been a grumpy-guts all week, refusing to talk to anyone or discuss his feelings. Even Brutus couldn’t get through to him and that was saying something.

“Rocco my friend, it’s Pippin. Can you open the door – talk to me, you can’t stay shut in here forever.” The quiet, posh voice of Pippin Potter sounded from outside, in his well-spoken ‘BBC English’ accent that everyone knew and loved.

“Leave me alone! I don’t need any of you – bollocks to you all!” Rocco yelled. 

Pippin sighed, there was nothing he could do or say to break down the invisible barrier that Rocco had built up to keep everyone away and for the first time ever, he didn’t know what to do and Pippin always knew what to do.

Rainbow Bridge

Gigi had been at Rainbow Bridge for a few weeks but had still been keeping an eye on Rocco from above to see how he was coping. She was not happy with what she saw, she really had believed that Rocco would have started to move on or at least allowed his friends to be there to support him.

Rocky the kelpie and Gigi were relaxing on the sun loungers by the swimming pool one day. They often enjoyed one another’s company and would do respectable things like go to the opera or have dog beer while reading upmarket magazines and newspapers while discussing sheep herding or current affairs.

The pool really was rather marvellous non-slip rocks scattered on the edges. Balls and toys were everywhere for the dogs to play with and even some inflatables that magically stay inflated no matter how many times they are bitten. There were bottles of water and dog beer on the little round tables next to each sun lounger and bowls of dog biscuits and treats for those that wanted them.

A golden Labrador was swimming lengths in the pool while occasionally diving for his favourite rope toy. He was being cheered on by a brindle whippet who was coaching him. The pool was big enough for all to enjoy but the Labrador still kept a respectful distance from Gigi and Rocky because he thought that Gigi did not look like the type of dog to enjoy getting wet. He was right as well because later Gigi told him that she would actually melt if she went in the water and the Labrador never forgot it.

“He is in a pretty bad way Gigi, what are we going to do?” Rocky took a mouthful of his dog beer, savoured it in his mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it and giving a little belch. “Excuse me!” Rocky covered his mouth with his paw and blushed. Thank the Lord that Gigi hadn’t noticed as Rocky would have been mortified.

“I think it’s time that I sorted this out once and for all!” Gigi said firmly and placed her drink back on to the table.

 “Do you think he is ready?” Rocky asked as he stood up, stretched and walked to the edge of the pool, “After all – there is no going back if you do this.”

“Absolutely, I know my brother and he is more than ready. He just doesn’t know it yet.” Gigi gave a confident nod and raised her drink, “Cheers, here’s to Rocco!”

“To Rocco!” Rocky barked and dived into the pool to retrieve a tennis ball that he could ignore no longer.

One Month Later

Rocco had been in the foulest of moods since Gigi died. He had even taken to insulting strangers that knocked on the door and had told one salesman that he hoped that his testicles would fall off and be eaten by the crows.

His days were spent sitting by the window calling the neighbours dogs ugly and telling the poodles down the road that their hair looked shit. He had stopped hanging out with his invisible mates and had become so withdrawn from life that he wouldn’t even talk on the phone to his friend Brutus.

Anyway, it was one afternoon and Rocco as usual, had his grump on and was busy swearing at himself on his bed and chewing his own leg because it had moved without his consent. On hearing his human put the keys in the front door, Rocco quickly curled up into a ball so that he could pretend to be asleep – that way his human would think twice about disturbing him.

The door opened and Rocco felt a blast of fresh air infiltrate his nostrils, he closed his eyes tightly and shuddered out a big sigh. But then something else hit his nostrils and the scent was so strong that it may as well smacked him in the face and despite not wanting to open his eyes, the presence of something staring at him was that intense that he had no choice but to open them.

“Hello there! I am Cilla, I am going to be living with you! How jolly nice this house is, do you have any toys? I love toys, do you love toys? Where is my bed? Would you like to play? We are going to be lifelong friends! Aren’t you excited? I am excited!” 

Rocco was horrified to be met with the sight of a beautiful blue/fawn and white Italian greyhound puppy of about 8 months old. And like all Iggy puppies, she spoke fast while asking a plethora of questions and changing the subject several times in the process.

It’s not often that Rocco is lost for words but this time he was. He sat up, rubbed his eyes and watched little Cilla squealing with excitement as she ran from room to room, frantically circling every time she picked up a scent.

“Oh, look what I have found! How lovely, can I keep it?” Cilla ran up to Rocco with one of Gigi’s soft toys in her mouth.

“No! Get that out of your mouth now! It’s not yours, that is Gigi’s!” Rocco shouted at Cilla.

Startled, Cilla dropped the toy and scampered behind the sofa whimpering. 

“That’s not yours to take! Gigi would be furious if she were here!” Rocco growled and picked up the toy to take back to his bed. 

Too terrified to move, Cilla remained behind the sofa and eventually fell asleep in a tiny ball with her long legs folded up like a dead upturned spider and Rocco being the stubborn boy that he is, didn’t want to move either.

But Rocco needed to know more about this imposter. I mean she could be anyone – she could be intending to steal his toys, his human and everything. Curiosity got the better of him and he decided to go and check her out. 

“And another thing, you can’t just come in here thinking that it’s your home….” Rocco began to say but stopped when he saw little Cilla.

She looked so tiny and had a sweet puppy innocence about her. Where everything is exciting and wonderful, where every toy belongs to you, where everyone loves you and thinks that you are marvellous. Puppies often get into the wrong hands and don’t always end up in a good home and Rocco knew that from stuff his mates had told him. 

Cilla’s ears were neatly folded back on her head, her nose tucked under her tail by her bum. She had that delicious puppy smell that pups tend to have. It reminded Rocco of Zara, Latte and the other puppies that he had seen in the Iggy Club, puppies that he had grown to know and love.

Gigi would have loved her for sure and probably given her the toys because Gigi delighted in other dogs being happy and relished in making them so. Cilla was a blank canvas and Rocco realised that he could teach her everything he knew and how to be the best dog that she could be.

Feeling a huge pang of guilt that he had been so mean to her, Rocco went back to his bed and picked up Gigi’s toy. Careful not to wake her, he gently dropped the toy by Cilla’s paws and stared at her for a few minutes. Snuggling into the toy, Cilla made a few little puppy moans of contentment.

“I guess that Gigi won’t be needing that toy after all.” Rocco thought to himself. The temperature had dropped and Cilla shivered a little in her sleep tucking herself even tighter to keep warm.

Gigi used to love it when Rocco curled up next to her and they would keep each other warm. That was just what they would do for each other you see, it was what you would call a team effort I guess.

“Oh, alright then, if you insist!” Rocco shrugged and curled up on the floor next to Cilla. Shuffling across towards her, he felt her shivering to keep warm. Pressing himself closer towards her, he rested his head on her neck and it wasn’t long before he was fast asleep with the only thing between them was Gigi’s little stuffed toy.

Rocco lays the ground rules down for Cilla – Photograph by Gwynneth Cavilla, published with her permission

Always room for a little one

Gigi was alone in the gardens of Rainbow Bridge. She had been there for a few hours while having some quiet reflection. 

“Everything OK Gigi?” She heard Rocky’s voice from behind her.

Turning around, she beamed at him. “Yes, my friend, it most certainly is…”.

And the moral of the story is, when one beloved pet leaves our lives, it paves the way for another one to enter. It doesn’t mean that we love the old pet any less, it just means that there is always a space for another pet to love. It gives them a chance to have a loving home and it gives us the opportunity to love again and at the end of the day, a short time of loving a pet is far better than not loving one at all.

Gigi – Photograph by Samantha Rose

Dedicated to Tunamara Dolce Gigi 2006-2019

This story has been published with the kind permission of Rocco and Gigi’s human – Gwynneth.

Samantha Rose – Copyright (c) November 2019

Friends – You can’t always see them

Brutus now has an invisible Kelpie friend called Derek and before you laugh at me, please hear me out.

Now many of you may remember in my stories, that Rocco the Iggy also has some invisible friends that he fights with. All dogs have the capacity for invisible friends because they are ideal to blame when beds explode or things get chewed or holes dug in the garden.

Your dog can look remarkably innocent when you discover stuff that has been destroyed and you can bet your sweet life that the invisible dog has done it. It’s an unwritten rule all over the world that dogs (and cats) will deny any naughtiness even if the evidence is smeared on them or still in their mouths.

Invisible friends are also good if you are happen to be a grumpy non dog social kind of dog and you still like to have a good mate. You can chat to your imaginary friend, you can fight with him/her and no-one gets hurt and just hang out with them when you feel lonely.

Brutus has never needed an invisible friend before because he had Rocky. I will freely admit that since Rocky died, Brutus has been a shadow of his former self and is clearly missing having a companion.

Of course the answer would be to get another dog but financially we are not in a position to do so – you all know how much I would love another kelpie and I can’t even watch Red Dog now because it hurts so much. But that is another story.

Brutus has taken to interacting with frogs, birds – in fact whatever he happens to find in the garden. I have spotted him play bowing to a frog in the garden, play bowing to the magpies and more embarrassingly, chasing a butterfly in the garden and wagging his tail (I am being serious).

So it should come as no surprise that he joined the ranks of Rocco and got himself an invisible friend and this is how it all came about.

The arrival of Brutus’s invisible friend – Derek

One night Brutus was busy filling up his scrap book with cutouts of kelpies. Carefully licking the pictures, he clumsily slapped them onto the book. Tilting his head to the side, Brutus admired his handiwork – well they looked a bit wonky but that was OK, he didn’t mind.

He didn’t know why he was doing it, he guessed it just made him feel better and he would pretend it was his family album to comfort himself. Closing the scrapbook, Brutus grabbed a chunky marker pen and wrote in untidy scrawl ‘My Scrap Book’ and then put the book down on his bed.

He was suddenly brought back to reality when his mobile phone rang, glancing down he saw a picture of an Iggy flash up on his phone, the photo was of Rocco doing a rude gesture with his paw.

“Hi Rocco, what’s up?” Brutus answered his phone while outlining the cover of his scrapbook with his nails.

“You know you wanted a new brother?” Rocco asked him.

Brutus shrugged, “Yes, but you know it can’t happen, Mum said we can’t afford it.”

“Well you know I have an entire group of invisible friends that don’t cost a thing to keep.” Rocco barked excitedly down the phone.

Brutus had never considered having an invisible friend before and wondered if his mates would rip the piss out of him for having one. But then again, Pippin said most dogs have invisible mates, some are just well hidden and there is no shame in it either because it’s jolly nice to have one to bark at the garbage truck with.

“Tell me more, but I am not sure I can believe in this so I am making no promises!” Brutus sat on his bed and made himself comfortable.

And as Rocco explained how it all worked, he frequently stopped talking to Brutus so he could tell his invisible mates to stop interrupting or he would bite their arses off.

Brutus wasn’t convinced, I mean how on earth can you form a bond with something you cannot see, let alone make friends with it?

The Next Day

Brutus got up as usual, had his breakfast and went out into the garden. He had forgotten his conversation with Rocco the day before and was busy sniffing every single blade of grass to check that nothing had moved during the night.

“Excuse me, am I at the right house? Are you Brutus?” A posh public school English voice shocked Brutus out of his morning garden ritual. Quickly turning round, he spotted a middle aged red cloud kelpie with ginger tufts above his eyes and a patch of ginger fur in the shape of a huge bow tie across his chest (kelpie owners will know what I mean by that).

The kelpie clutched a kelpie briefcase and wore a pair of round kelpie spectacles on his head. He looked pretty smart and Brutus instantly knew that he had been to kelpie university because his briefcase had the same emblem on it that Rocky’s had.

“Who are you?” Brutus frowned, but wagged his tail at the same time. It made a wonderful change to talk to another dog in his own garden instead of a frog, parrot or butterfly.

“The name is Derek, pleased to meet you. I am your new brother!” The red kelpie nodded to Brutus and held his paw out for him to shake, “Is this my new garden? It’s jolly nice I must say.”

Brutus looked puzzled and looked round for his Mum. She was busy washing the car and didn’t even notice the handsome kelpie in the garden. 

“She can’t see me old chap, only you can see me. Oh and maybe your friends, but only if they want to. Invisible friends take some getting used to and some dogs don’t feel a need for it really.” 

“My goodness she must love you judging by the amount of fur you have left on those car seats.” Derek burst out laughing, he was standing on his hind legs peering through the rear window and looking at the fur on the seats.

Brutus remained where he was and waited for his Mum to notice Derek who was now busy rifling through the toy box looking for one of Rocky’s old tennis balls that his humans did not have the heart to throw away.

“Tennis balls! My life is complete!” Derek grabbed a tennis ball, threw it into the air and watched with delight as it bounced past the car on the pavers.

Brutus’s Mum looked up just in time to see the tennis ball roll past. She looked at Brutus who was standing near the grass, that was strange as Brutus has never been one for tennis balls and never plays with them.

“That’s funny, that sounded just like what Rocky used to do – throw his tennis ball down the driveway.” She said wistfully and picked up the tennis ball and threw it back in the toy box.

“I know Brutus, I miss him too.” Giving Brutus a pat on his rump, she picked up the bucket and car wash stuff and made her way back into the house to make a cup of tea.

“Fancy a game of chase round the car?” Brutus grinned at Derek. 

Derek wagged his tail, “I thought you would never ask!” 

As Brutus did laps up and down the garden, he realised that Rocco was right, these invisible friends were good fun and he was already looking forward to stealing Kevin’s food and blaming it on Derek.

Because that’s what friends are for (well, invisible ones anyway)

The End

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright June 2019

There is something about a Kelpie

Through the eyes of a kelpie
Photograph by Samantha Rose

Before I adopted my dog Rocky, I knew very little about kelpies but what I did know, was that the tiny pup with the massive ears advertised on the Pet Rescue site, looked very nice and so we adopted him.

Rocky chewed, dug and smooched his way into our hearts, minds and lives and it wasn’t too long before we realised just how smart and intuitive he was and managed to teach me the true meaning of trust, loyalty and friendship between a human and a dog.

What is it about the Australian Kelpie?

‘There are dogs and there are Australian kelpies’ – someone said this to me many years ago and I have never forgotten those words. Now don’t get me wrong, ALL dogs are special in their own way but for some of us, we might just have a breed or type of dog that we favour above others. After all, we are all different and it’s those differences that make the world go round.

They just know stuff….

A kelpie can see right through you. It knows if you are hiding that tennis ball or toy and you will be met with gentle punchings by his nose to your leg or arm, in a desperate and persistent bid to gain your attention. There is no ignoring him/her because kelpies seem to have a ‘kelpie degree’ in knowing how to get you to do what they want you to do.

If you have had a bad day, your kelpie will stare you down with eyes of magic and realise that things are not quite right. You can ignore him/her all you like and pretend that you are OK, but your kelpie will know that you are lying because they are clever like that. I have always said that kelpies probably go to a secret kelpie university where they all sit at the front of the class and study stuff like that.

You can’t hide your feelings from a kelpie
Photograph by Samantha Rose

Your low mood will be treated with a nudge of a wet nose, shoving your hand high in the air so you have no choice but to acknowledge the firm chiselled snout of your dog and in turn stare into his eyes that see everything.

A few pokes by the paw later and your hand is draped round your kelpies neck as you subconsciously stroke his thick double coat and before you know it, you are cuddling him. That is if he hasn’t migrated to your lap first where you will go what I term ‘full kelp’ which means you have your entire kelpie on your lap before you even realised what he was doing let alone remember that he shouldn’t be on the sofa anyway.

That is when you breathe in his scent because each and every dog has his/her own special smell that is unique to them. And you enjoy the warmth and comfort of that solid little body of the dog that has made it his mission to make you feel better without you even having the need to explain yourself as you would with humans.

Because with dogs, we don’t need to explain ourselves and isn’t that a marvellous thing to not have to do that and to be understood without opening our mouths?

A whole lot of positivity and sensitivity in one smart dog

The days start ridiculously early with a kelpie and it starts with tennis balls, running, swimming or something equally exciting. Mornings are greeted with big ears, bright eyes, expectant face and a heart full of hope that the day will be fantastic. If kelpies were human, they would be positive, energetic, impossible to ignore and have a dash of naughtiness thrown in for good measure.

Who is up for a swim?
Photograph by Samantha Rose

It doesn’t take much to upset a kelpie. You only have to raise your voice and he will think that his entire world has ended, that you don’t love him any more and his kelpie heart is breaking into a million pieces. If my dog Rocky was ever told off, he would turn round and face the wall with his back to us, giving out loud sighs of exasperation that screamed ‘I am misunderstood’. The sulking could go on for an hour or at least until his fluffy penguin was brought out for a game of ‘fetch’ and that was enough to make him forgive us for telling him off for having a go at the cat.

Driving anywhere is good as long as it’s with their favourite humans

Car rides with a kelpie are special and something to be treasured. If my Rocky could have done, he would have driven my car for me and even collected me from work. He loved the car and he loved road trips even more and was the perfect dog to travel with.

When we went down on road trips down South, Rocky would start crying from the moment his seat belt was clipped in, right up until we reached our first coffee stop and only then would he stop. Next time you see a kelpie in the car, observe the sheer joy in that dogs face, in fact if you look closely, you will probably see it telling its human how the car should be driven. Or even shouting ‘Are we there yet?’

Are we there yet Mum?
Photograph by Samantha Rose

Kelpies – the ‘sensibles’ of the dog world

Nobody does sensible quite like a kelpie. Yes, they tend to have LONG puppyhoods which seem to go on forever in terms of digging or making beds explode but once they do mature, they can give you a look that could rival that of your mother glaring at you because you have been naughty in public.

I can recall being drunk and crawling on the floor with my friend while pretending to be a sheep and my kelpie giving me the most withering look I have ever seen. Then there were the times where I would sing in the car to Usher and Rocky would look absolutely horrified and embarrassed.

Rocky’s pained expression at me singing along to Usher
Photograph by Samantha Rose

Kelpies – strong and brave until the end

Kelpies can run for kms, they never seem to tire and would appear to have a bottomless pit of energy to use up. Even when injured or unwell, they will do their best to keep going and when they get too sick to do that, then you know something is really wrong. They rely on their owners to know when they are crook because they can’t rely on themselves. They are the kind of dog that would say ‘It’s OK, I am fine, I will be fine – where are those sheep/tennis balls?’

And when that time does come when they no longer enjoy their life be it as a pet or as a working dog, trust me when I say that your kelpie will tell you when he/she has had enough, you just have to be receptive to understanding them. They will tell you with their body language, with their heart and with their eyes and whilst those signals may be silent, they are the loudest you will ever hear and it is your duty to listen to them.

Time for me to go now Mum (my Rocky telling me it was time)
Photograph by Samantha Rose

Because when it’s time for a kelpie to leave this world, it should be with a calm, quiet and peaceful dignity that this dog (and any dog) deserves because anything else is unfair.

If you are interested in reading about when my Rocky crossed over to Rainbow Bridge and the magic surrounding it, here is the link: https://thepigaloodiaries.com/2018/09/30/where-did-you-go-my-friend/

So I repeat, what is it about the kelpie that is so special?

A kelpie is your dog, your worker, your protector, your mate, your driving buddy, your snuggle buddy, the one you can trust with all your secrets and the one that understands you better than you do yourself.

Everything is special about them – absolutely everything and once you have been owned by a kelpie, you will never be the same again.

Dedicated to kelpies everywhere – especially my darling Rocky

Samantha Rose (c) Copyright April 2019

The Day Brutus Found His Bark

Brutus finds his bark

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

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

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

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

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

The boys

Brutus and Rocky in happier times

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

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

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

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

Brutus alone

Brutus in his chair

Anyway, I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brutus Oct

Brutus the brave

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

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

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

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

Rocky Farm

Rocky – forever watching from wherever he is

 

Samantha Rose Copyright © October 2018

Dogs Do Denmark – The Adventures of Rocky and Brutus

Boyscarhome

Brutus and Rocky love their road trips

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you like the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ears2

‘What’s a Sheep?’ says Brutus

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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Gordon was not amused at going to the vet

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the road

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Rocky – a well-travelled kelpie

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Can’t you guess?’ Brutus barked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stopover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus asked Rocky.

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

‘How do you know?’ Brutus demanded.

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

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

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

Denmark (Home Sweet Home)

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

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

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

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

The house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rocky checking out the garden

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

Cow

Cows can be so judgemental

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

TheJUlies

Alpacas – They can be bullies you know

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rocky – the perfect farm dog

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘How can you tell?’ Rocky laughed.

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

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Brutus – not a farm dog

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grumbles and Rocky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rocky pretends the countryside belongs to him

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rocky enjoys his roo tail

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Eau de ca dog (manure)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brutus – a country dog in the making

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

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

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

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

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

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

The girls

Gossiping chickens wearing (imaginary) frilly aprons

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

‘Is that Brutus?’ Rocky strained his eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HighlandCow

‘Did you say something dear?’

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beginners Guide to Backing Sheep

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

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

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

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The boys often had bedtime discussions

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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But why can’t I eat the cows Mum?

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Revenge of The Julies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TugofTony

Nothing like a game of ‘Tug-of-Tony’

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

‘Yes Brutus?’

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

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

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

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Brutus in his purple pyjamas

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Rocky?’ Brutus asked him.

‘Yes Brutus?’

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

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

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

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

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

Those darned chickens!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brutus has his day

The boys

Brothers – through thick and thin

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later that night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘What animals?’ Rocky barked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Especially you Brutus.’ Grumbles smiled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Back to normal I guess.’ sighed Grumbles.

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

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

And that was something they all agreed upon.

Back home

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

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

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

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Brutus and his friend Vader

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

Rockytractor

Rocky driving a rusty old tractor – so he believes

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

The End.

Samantha Rose – Copyright August 2018 ©

 

Dogs, Owners and Look-alikes

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Free stock photo provided by Pexels

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

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Rocky is not amused at being compared to me

(Photograph by Samantha Rose)

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Schnauzer – I love these dogs, such characters

(Free Stock Photo Provided by Pexels)

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

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

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

The Afghan Incident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for me…

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

 

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright April 2018

 

Brutus learns the real meaning of Christmas

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Brutus

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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Rocky is a simple kelpie dog with simple needs

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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Rocky creating his own memories on one of our road trips

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

Brutus shrugged because he didn’t know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

‘How about you Brutus?’ I asked him.

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

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

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

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

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

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Brutus the Good Boy

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

After I had gone shopping

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

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

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

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

Driving

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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You thought I was joking about the anus!

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

Samantha, Gordon, Rocky and Brutus

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright December 2016

A Forbidden Love (Bronte and Rocky)

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

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Rocky in his Kelpie Spectacles

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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Brutus always expects stuff to be organised for him

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brutus – an expert on sulking

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rocky and Pippin – members of the Sensible Club

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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Rocky and Bronte – a forbidden love

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the End of the Walk

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

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

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

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Sweet Kelpie Dreams (of Bronte)

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

In Denise’s Car

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

‘Bronte!’ Pippin chastised her.

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

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

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

IMG_0639Bronte the pretty girl

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Back at Home

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

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

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

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

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

Later that afternoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the question is – will he?……

To be continued…..

 

Pippin Pringle, Brutus and the ‘Testicle Incident’

Brutus was round Pippin Pringle’s house for tea and bone broth. They were hanging out quite a bit really and the tiny little dog was teaching Brutus how to be intelligent but as Rocky said, ‘you can’t polish a turd’. However, Pippin felt flattered that Brutus had asked him to make him a clever boy and was only too happy to oblige.

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Pippin teaches Brutus how to be a clever boy (Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Brutus was sat on one chair with a mug of bone broth and Pippin was on the other. Bronte was round Ayla’s house having a girly night with Gigi, Nica and Zara. Fat Harry had tried to gatecrash it to try but was caught out and sent away by Gigi.

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Brutus trying to replicate the ‘Shelby position’ (Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Pippin’ Brutus asked him.

‘Yes Brutus?’ Pippin said without looking up.

‘How come Shelby has such large testicles and we don’t have any?’

Shelby is an Italian greyhound with a set of testicles that could be used as door knockers for a castle and was often seen proudly displaying them to make other dogs jealous.

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Shelby’s testicle door knockers (Photograph Gabrielle)

Blushing in response, Pippin replied ‘Well because we had ours removed when we were younger. Some dogs have them and some dogs don’t’.

‘But do you miss having testicles because Shelby’s are enormous and Dash told August who told Rocco who told me that he has been seen bouncing down the road on them like spacehoppers’ said Brutus.

Pippin was now going red as he was not used to talking about such things. Not knowing what to say, he merely muttered something about ‘Testicles just get in the way of stuff’.

‘But wouldn’t you want to have a set like Shelby’s?’ Brutus asked Pippin who had buried his head in a ‘Dogs Today’ magazine.

Pretending that he didn’t care about Shelby’s testicles, Pippin sighed and taking a swig of bone broth, he replied simply ‘No, I don’t do heavy weights as I have a bad back’.

Brutus looked thoughtful ‘Mine were never heavy, they were like two frozen peas in a handkerchief when they were removed’.

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Brutus has testicle envy of Shelby (Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Looking up in embarrassment Pippin said firmly ‘Please can we talk about something else’.

‘Just going to the toilet’ Brutus said as he jumped up to go to the loo.

Ten minutes later and Brutus hadn’t returned.

‘Goodness me, where is he?’ Pippin said impatiently. That dog could get lost in anyones house as he wasn’t the brightest dog on the block. Pippin had been told that the other night Brutus had used his head to push open the sliding patio security door and had literally popped the entire sliding security door out of its frame causing his Mum (me) to get up and catch it before it fell on the car (yes really).

The guy that came to fix it yesterday just stared at Brutus and said ‘Yes, well……’ as Brutus blushed at the fact that his hammer-head was capable of such destruction – but that is another (expensive) story and I shall leave that to my husband to tell.

Anyway, Pippin was wondering where Brutus had got to and just as he was about to get up, he heard snorting and laughing as ‘Pigaloo’ (Brutus’s nickname) came staggering out of Denise Pringle’s bedroom walking like a cowboy.

‘Hey Pippin, do I look as good as Shelby?’ Brutus grinned at Pippin who had his mouth open so wide that he could have caught flies in it.

‘Oh my god…..’ Pippin spluttered as bone broth shot out of his nostrils.

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Pippin says ‘Oh my god’ (Photograph by Samantha Rose)

There stood Brutus with a silken handkerchief tied around the base of his tail with two scented round (large) candles stuffed inside. Barely able to walk, Brutus walked like a constipated cowboy with a poo fighting to get out of his bum.

‘Let’s phone Shelby and tell him I have balls as big as he does’ Brutus said proudly while struggling to look in the mirror and admire his new ‘man-shape’.

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Brutus checks himself out in the mirror (Photograph by Samantha Rose)

‘Aren’t you going to say anything?’ Brutus asked Pippin while trying to organise his ‘balls’.

‘Oh my god…’ Pippin repeated and then mopped his brow and took a swig of bone broth before replying ‘They don’t suit you Brutus, they make you look fat’.

Brutus who has a thing for his figure and likes to remain svelte and musclebound, blushed ‘Do you really think so? Do you think I look better without them?

Swallowing his bone broth, Pippin wiped his snout and replied firmly ‘Absolutely’.

‘Oh well, if you insist’ Brutus sighed and then swaggered back to Denise’s bedroom to remove the handkerchief and scented candles from between his legs.

(Sounds of Bronte coming in the door)

‘We have had a marvellous evening but I am so glad to be home, I am totally exhausted’ Bronte said dramatically as she fanned her pretty snout with a copy of ‘Who is who at Dogs West’.

Spotting Brutus, Bronte grinned and said ‘Hi Brutus, how’s it going?’

Brutus got up to greet her and gave her face a little clean to say hello.

Raising her snout to the air, Bronte asked ‘Can anyone smell vanilla?’

‘Don’t ask Bronte, just don’t ask’ Pippin stepped in quickly before the whole story could leak out.

‘Would you like me to fetch you some bone broth?’ Brutus asked Bronte in a bid to impress her.

‘Yes please Brutus, that is kind of you’ Bronte said gratefully.

‘So Pippin, what’s been happening, did you teach Brutus how to be a clever boy?’ Bronte smiled at her brother.

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Pippin and Bronte discuss polishing the turd that is Brutus (Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Glancing round to Brutus who was in the kitchen pouring Bronte some of Denise Pringle’s famous bone broth, Pippin sighted some candle staining down Brutus’s legs and a waft of vanilla each time he wagged his tail.

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Brutus smells of vanilla (Photograph by Samantha Rose)

Taking a deep breath Pippin replied firmly ‘I think he has a while to go before he is a clever boy, but he sure knows what to do with candles’.

And with that explanation – Bronte had to be content.

The End

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright November 2015