All is fair in love (and lure coursing)

10525871_671147862973263_2402178646121030253_nBrutus – always second best to the lure

At Brutus’s house

‘Where are you going all dressed up?’ Rocky asked Brutus as he had spotted him smoothing down his ears and whiskers, not to mention he was wearing new leather collar on his neck.

‘Going to visit Millie in hospital as she is being de-sexed today’ Brutus replied and then with both paws, breathed out on them to check if he had ‘bone breath’.

Rocky nodded approvingly, anything to do with dogs being de-sexed he was a passionate and avid supporter knowing that many dogs were not as lucky as he and Brutus had been in finding good loving homes.

‘Can I borrow some of your doggy aftershave?’ Brutus asked Rocky who grinned and told him to help himself but then added something about ‘not being able to polish a turd’.

Brutus was nervous, he remembered his own de-sexing operation and knew that it wasn’t so bad but he was worried if Millie would even want him to visit.

‘Catch ya later Rocky!’ Brutus shouted and then gave his reflection a last glance in the mirror before leaving, totally oblivious to the gravy stains on his snout, the mucous stains on his neck from his play session from Vader and the scratch on his head where Gordon smacked him the other day.

‘Give my love to Millie!’ Rocky yelled back, but it was too late – Brutus was long gone.

At the Vets – now please just imagine a proper old-fashioned human hospital type set up purely for imaginative effect.

Millie had already been admitted to hospital and was tucked up in bed wearing her new nightdress – a white Victorian style one with a high lacey collar giving an impression of innocence and a non chewing, non digging dog.

The female dogs were all in one ward and the boy dogs in another ward and all the vet nurses wore old-fashioned green and white striped dresses with starched white aprons (just like the olden days).

2014-07-11 20.10.22Millie

‘Hello, the name is Millie – pleased to meet you’ Millie leaned forward in her bed to speak to a rather nice brindle whippet bitch who was wearing a pie frilled collared nightdress and had a pair of half rimmed spectacles on the end of her nose as she tried to read her ‘Dogs Today’ magazine.

‘My name is Dolly, pleased to meet you, are you in for de-sexing as well?’ Dolly the whippet replied as she peered over her glasses.

‘Yes, I think we all are today, there are 3 of us getting de-sexed’ Millie replied sounding grateful that someone was able to talk to her and take her mind off how nervous she was.

Dolly who was now polishing her spectacles on the bed sheets, was also pleased that Millie had struck up a conversation, after all we all know what it’s like to be in hospital and how scary it can be.

Dolly looked beautifully elegant in her nightdress, while clutching a knitted patchwork blanket and a stuffed rabbit that her Mum had given her as a comforter. Her Dogs Today magazine was opened on an article titled ‘De-sexing and the modern day bitch’, which was about how bitches can have a normal, active and fulfilling life after de-sexing.

‘Will you be having visitors aside from your family?’ Dolly asked Millie who was trying to take in the scenery and thinking how much the pillows resembled sheep and should she herd them up?

Millie sighed and said ‘No, Mum will collect me later this afternoon when it’s over’ and then added fretfully ‘I hope it doesn’t hurt too much, I am a lure courser you know’.

‘Don’t worry, you will be fine’ Said a large chunky Labrador bitch who was sitting upright in her bed, wearing a soft flannelette nightdress with pictures of bones on it. ‘My name is Anne, pleased to meet you’.

Both Dolly and Millie smiled back at Anne who was now busy sniffing for food, her nose appeared to have a mind of its own as it tried to pick up various smells, because at the end of the day, all good Labradors love their grub!

Outside the veterinary hospital

Clutching a bunch of wilted flowers, Brutus once again smoothed his face and made his ears look nice and frantically tried to wipe the gravy off his snout before entering the building.

‘Hello’ said Brutus to a large overweight British Bulldog who was busy checking his Facebook account on his iPhone. The bulldog nodded back to acknowledge Brutus before updating his Facebook with a status of ‘About to have my balls cut off’.

A large white poodle with a diamante stud collar; sat at the reception desk assisting the public (well those that believe in my stories anyway), after rustling through some papers, she looked up and smiled at Brutus and said in what I can only describe as in a ‘BBC English’ type accent; ‘Can I help you?’

Brutus cleared his throat and clutched the wilted half-dead flowers and replied in his best-spoken voice ‘I am looking for Millie who is in for de-sexing’.

The poodle smiled at the large clumsy teenage dog that was obviously trying to impress his visitor with his wilted flowers.

Standing up, the white poodle looked at Brutus and said curtly ‘Turn around lad, let me see your butt, no testicles allowed on male visitors of the doggy kind’

Blushing, Brutus turned round while the poodle gave him a quick visual examination before replying ‘No testicles, that is what I like to see – very good! yes lad – you can go straight up to the ‘de-sexing ward, 2nd floor, first right’

Brutus smiled nervously and found that he had gripped his flowers so tightly that two of them had snapped, leaving only the stalks visible.

‘Oh excuse me lad?’ The poodle receptionist said in a quiet voice.

Turning round, Brutus looked at her to see what she wanted.

‘You might want to wipe that bit of gravy off your face and clean that bit of mucous off your neck’ The poodle grinned and then beckoned for Brutus to lean over while she cleaned him up with a baby wipe.

‘All good to go’ The poodle smiled after she had finished tidying Brutus up and then immediately gave her attentions to a large black greyhound called ‘Cowboy’ who was in for his de-sexing.

Brutus walked along the corridor; which smelt of animal hospital and disinfectant. Vets and vet nurses rushed around, trolleys were being pushed around with sleeping or sleepy pets on them; it was a medical and veterinary hub of activity.

‘No, please! Not my testicles, please – I shall do anything, I promise not to hump the cat/rabbit/child/sofa ever again, I swear I did not get the blanket pregnant and will take no responsibility for the mini blankets!’ A boxer with unfeasibly large testicles yelled as a veterinary nurse fought to get him down the corridor to the boy dogs de-sexing area.

‘Someone told me I will sing in a high voice once I lose my balls and Boris the beagle down the road told me that I will turn into a girl’ the boxer sobbed to anyone that would listen and everyone that wouldn’t.

‘No, you will not sing in a high voice, no you will not turn into a girl, you will just not be able to get the girls pregnant, now come on and be a good boy and follow me!’ The nurse reassured him.

The boxer stopped yelling and reluctantly started to follow the nurse while looking around for moral support from other male dogs.

‘Hey mate, they are taking away my balls!’ The boxer shouted to Brutus as he walked by.

‘That blanket episode, it wasn’t my fault and about the other incident, I swear it didn’t look like a rabbit when I found it’ The boxer yelped as he was reluctantly dragged onto the dog ward, but not before he cocked his leg and took a piss up the wall.

‘Can I help you?’ A vet nurse asked Brutus who had by now snapped some more heads off the already wilted flowers.

‘Yes please, I am here to visit Millie’ Brutus stuttered and was so nervous that he let out a fart. The nurse was far too polite to say anything but her nose wrinkled up and she swallowed a few times and tried hard not to breath while at the same time, pointing to the direction of the female dog ward where Millie was being kept.

Dolly, Anne and Millie were lying in their beds, somewhat sleepy, as they had been given their pre-med. Anne the Labrador was now so hungry she had almost convinced a vet nurse to give her lunch by pretending to be diabetic. It had almost worked as well had Dolly the whippet not told her off for doing so.

‘For goodness sake Anne, you only had your tea last night, just how hungry can you be?’ Dolly said impatiently.

‘Bloody starving actually, anything over 2 hours constitutes as Labrador starvation’ Anne said looking sulky. Any second now she would be forced to eat the sheets, then they would be sorry.

‘Millie, you have a visitor’ the veterinary nurse said to her as she straightened the bed sheets and tidied Millie up.

‘I am not expecting Mum to come and get me until after the operation’ Millie replied sounding confused.

(Sounds of whispering and giggling from Anne and Dolly)

‘Ooohhh, sexy!’ Dolly the whippet grinned and then sat up and removed her spectacles and unbuttoned a few buttons on her nightdress to show her teats.

Brutus with all the clumsiness of a young lad who has never properly dated a female dog before (we can’t count Mouse as that is a one sided relationship where Mouse only had eyes for the lure), walked awkwardly down the ward, almost tripping over the sheer length of his own legs, whilst farting at the same time as he was so nervous, you know when some old ladies fart with each step when they walk to the toilet on their walking frames? Well that was Brutus.

Being a young, fit and very handsome boy, despite being clumsy and not knowing how to behave in front of the bitches, Brutus got a lot of attention and by now both Dolly and Anne were smoothing their whiskers and flashing their teats in a bid to get his attention.

Millie’s face lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw him and sat up in her bed and frantically wagged her tail under her nightdress.

Not quite sure on how to behave, Brutus bent down to kiss Millie on the cheek and almost head-butted her in the process, causing Anne and Dolly to giggle and blush.

‘Thank you so much for coming to see me’ Millie said, also going red as she could hear Dolly and Anne giggling as they tried to hide their heads under their sheets.

‘These are for you’ Brutus stumbled and handed her the wilted flowers which by now had been squeezed so tightly with nerves, that only one very wilted flower remained amongst the stalks of the other flowers.

Millie stared at the broken stalks and the one remaining flower as though it were the most beautiful thing she had ever been given in her entire life. ‘Oh Brutus, that is truly beautiful!’ She replied and carefully took the flower and put it in a cup of water by her bed.

Brutus nodded, suddenly aware that the other two dogs were staring at him and he wasn’t used to that, well aside from some of the Iggy’s staring at him and getting attention from Madam Gigi, this was all new to him.

‘Are you nervous?’ Brutus asked Millie who was now quite sleepy from her pre-med, with her eyes flickering as she tried to stay awake and stare at Brutus.

‘Nope, not all’ Millie lied and then said quietly ‘Well maybe just a bit’.

Squeezing her paw to reassure her, he nodded looked around the ward and noticed that Millie was the only one with a visitor.

‘Excuse me young man, we are taking Millie down now for her surgery, you can wait outside’ The nurse smiled to Brutus and then led him to the corridor where a miniature Schnauzer was pacing up and down while talking in German on a mobile phone.

‘Take care Millie, see you soon!’ Brutus said in his loud ‘Brutus-voice’. And the last thing he saw was Millie being lifted on to a trolley to be wheeled to be de-sexed.

‘See you later Millie!’ Dolly the whippet said, her voice wobbling, as she too was nervous.

‘I wonder how long we will have to wait?’ Anne the Labrador said sounding concerned, she was starving and if she didn’t wake up with a pig’s ear in her mouth, she would report everyone for cruelty to Labradors and you could be sure of that.

‘Right now, by the looks of it’ Dolly replied as a couple of veterinary nurses arrived at their beds to take them for their operations.

Brutus sat outside in the corridor watching the Schnauzer talking in German on his phone whilst occasionally farting while he heatedly discussed the pros and cons of the kennel cough vaccine.

‘Man, you need to go to the toilet, to think they call me Turd Legs’ Brutus said sounding highly disgusted.

‘Sorry, it was zee sausage’ The Schnauzer whispered to Brutus in broken English and then went back to talking on his phone before ‘winking’ with his bottom which usually means ‘take me to the garden before I crap myself’ – at least that’s what it means with Vader the boxer.

10352827_10152176710677136_7274661883758195746_nSchnauzers – talking in German you know

In Recovery

‘Millie, Millie – wake up my lovely! There’s a good girl!’ A nurse was stroking Millie’s tiny black and white head to try and wake her up.

Millie’s throat was a bit sore from the tube that had been put down, she felt a bit of pain in her tummy but painkillers had helped that. Everything seemed loud, she could smell disinfectant and she could still taste the gas that had been used to keep her asleep during the operation.

‘Where’s my Mum?’ Millie asked sleepily, she wanted her Mum – where was she?

‘It’s OK Millie, your Mum will be here later when you are more awake’ a vet nurse reassured her and then covered her with another blanket to keep her warm.

Next to Millie lay Anne and Dolly on their recovery trolleys; they had also both had their surgery done. Being a whippet with no body fat on her Dolly was taking her time to wake up but Anne the Labrador was already starting to wake and was shouting something about Shepherd pie and carrots whilst chowing down on her blankets because she was so hungry.

The boxer dog we had seen earlier was also in recovery himself and waking up in noisy fashion while shouting ‘We’re on the ball!’ and other such English soccer songs to do with balls and testicles.

Brutus meanwhile, was waiting patiently like a good boy outside the ward and he was hoping that he would be allowed back in for a quick visit before going home.

He was still embarrassed about the snapped and damaged flowers and hoped that Millie wasn’t too upset but little did he know, Millie didn’t see the snapped stalks, she saw the one flower that was there and to her it was beautiful.

‘Brutus, you can go back in quickly before Millie’s Mum comes to collect her’ a veterinary nurse said to Brutus who had been staring at the ‘National De-sexing Month’ posters that were on the wall.

Millie had now been taken back to her bed and was still a bit groggy but not too groggy to forget her vanity and was tidying herself up when she saw Brutus walking in.

‘Hi Millie, are you OK?’ Brutus asked her as she struggled to sit up.

‘Yep, I am fine but I won’t be able to come round to play for a bit’ Millie replied.

‘That’s OK, it doesn’t matter’ Brutus mumbled, he was still blushing each time she spoke to him.

‘When you are better we can go lure coursing perhaps?’ Brutus asked Millie who was averting her gaze because Anne and Dolly were making rude gestures from behind Brutus’s back. Really these girls were so naughty.

The two dogs sat in silence for a bit, there was nothing to be said really – they were just comfortable in each others company and with their paws just slightly touching, there was no need for words.

‘Millie, your Mum is here to get you’ the vet in charge said to Millie who wagged her tail so hard that she almost got it caught in the bed sheets as she spotted her Mum clutching her leash all ready to take her home.

Brutus stood up and suddenly felt clumsy and embarrassed, he got up to go and as Millie was so excited to see her Mum she didn’t even notice he had left.

‘Come on Millie, let’s get you home’ Millie’s Mum said to her. She had been so worried about the little dog and couldn’t wait to get her home.

Clipping the leash on Millie’s collar, the tiny dog was led out of the ward leaving Dolly and Anne in their beds waving their paws as they said goodbye.

‘She was nice’ Anne the Labrador sighed, ‘I would like to see her again and do some of this lure coursing stuff she was going on about’.

Dolly was polishing her glasses again, after all there is nothing quite like a whippet that wears glasses, it makes them look so intelligent you know. If you have a whippet at home, put some glasses on them if you don’t believe me.

10351729_10154476281985206_3291143147023844551_nWhippets in glasses

‘Oh look, she has forgotten the flower beside her bed’ Dolly said as she spotted something.

And beside Millie’s bed was a glass with water in it and a single wilted flower that Brutus had brought in earlier.

‘Should we call her back?’ Anne the Labrador asked Dolly.

After a few seconds Dolly replied ‘No, don’t bother, it was dead anyway, she won’t miss it’.

And then both dogs started talking about more important things like what they would have for their dinner and if they were lucky, perhaps it would be a bone.

Back at Millie’s House

‘But I want it, it was mine, we must go back for it!’ Millie sobbed as she tried desperately to break out of her Mum’s clutches.

‘Millie, what do you want? What is the matter?’ Millie’s Mum tried to reason with the young dog that was so upset she was almost inconsolable.

‘My flower, my flower – Brutus brought it for me’ Millie barked loudly looking visibly distressed.

And do you know something – that little dog was so upset that she cried long into the night to the point she almost made herself vomit.

Back at Brutus’s House

‘How was Millie?’ Rocky asked Brutus as they lay on their new bed that Cuzz Bro had made for them.

‘Oh yeah, she was OK’ Brutus replied and then set about chewing his leg and pretending it was a beef bone.

‘Don’t worry too much about her, it’s good that she has been de-sexed – there are not enough good homes for dogs as it is’ Rocky said in a firm voice, always the voice of reason is my Rocky.

‘Yep I know, Pippin already went through this with me’ Brutus sighed.

‘What’s the matter then?’ Rocky demanded, his huge kelpie head and big ears showing up as a big ‘shadow of kelpie’ in the light.

‘Nothing’ Brutus said flatly and then stuffed his nose to his bottom and pretended to be asleep. Because when Brutus is upset, he finds that his bottom is the only place that Rocky won’t pester him for answers.

10426701_671147892973260_9064432844046885149_nRocky pesters Brutus for information

Later that night

(Sound of Millie’s mobile phone ringing)

‘Hello Brutus is that you?’ Millie said sleepily. She had been given some more painkillers to keep her settled and felt a bit drowsy.

Brutus stuttered not quite knowing what to say, he hadn’t expected her to answer. ‘Yes, that’s me, just checking how you are?’

‘What about Mouse will she mind you calling me?’ Millie asked him, she didn’t want to know the answer but had to ask anyway.

‘I have heard rumours that Mouse is living the high life in some pet resort while flirting with other dogs, besides – she loves the lure more than me’ Brutus said fretfully.

‘Thank you for my flower, I left it at the hospital by mistake’ Millie said quietly.

‘That’s OK, I shall get you better ones next time’ said Brutus.

‘Are you glad you got de-sexed?’ Brutus asked Millie.

Millie took a few seconds to answer before replying ‘Yes, now I can concentrate on what is important in my life without worrying about coming on heat and having unwanted puppies’

Brutus momentarily felt quite excited, perhaps this one would be different and he could actually find a dog that loved him for being him and not a lure – Brutus.

But the excitement was only momentary because what Millie said next made Brutus’s heart sink.

‘Lure coursing’ Millie replied happily and then said ‘Do you think I will be well enough for the next event?’

‘Goodnight Millie’ Brutus said quietly and then shuffled off to his bed to play with the one thing that doesn’t mind him chewing its genitals – his beloved Tony Abbott doll.

AbbotBrutus, Tony Abbott and the Carrot – enough said

The End

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright July 2014

Brutus Update

ImageBrutus – on the mend

You may remember a blog entry I did about stress and Sjogrens syndrome and I mentioned that I had acquired a new puppy called Brutus, which was struck down with severe gastro which very nearly cost him his life.

Well Brutus now has his own Facebook page as he has many followers supporting his journey and progress and for those of you that are interested – here is the link to his page:

I have had a request on here for a Brutus update and photographs, these are all on his Facebook page but I shall do a quick update on here.

Here is a photo of Brutus two nights before the gastro struck:

ImageChunky Brutus – just before the gastro struck

Brutus was admitted to Murdoch two days after this photo was taken, he stayed for one day, was admitted to Swan Veterinary Hospital, came out the next day when this photo was taken:

ImageSkeletal Brutus

He was then readmitted a few hours after being discharged from hospital where he spent the rest of the week – here is a photo of him in hospital:

ImageBrutus in hospital with severe gastro

Brutus finally came out of hospital on 9th March and has been home for a week, on Saturday 16th March he went to the vet for his vaccine as the first hadn’t taken and he weighed about 7.8kgs which is still underweight for him although each day he is looking better.

Here are some photographs that I took from over last weekend and this weekend – see the differences and changes in him:

ImageLook at my ribcage!

ImageRocky and Brutus


ImageBrutus and his new ‘brother’ – Gordon

ImageBrutus at the vets waiting for his vaccine

ImageAm I a cat or a dog? (Brutus asks)

And finally, here is a photo that summarizes just how an older dog can guide a young pup and often teach them about life far better than their owners, I have cut and pasted an update I did on Facebook yesterday, it is about the relationship I have with Rocky as his owner and how although I thought I was doing what is best for him, the arrival of Brutus has taught me otherwise.

ImageRocky – Brutus’s guardian angel.

Dedicated to Rocky:

Today I realized that dog ownership often highlights issues that owners have with the relationship with their dogs and it often says an awful lot about the owner as well.

Rocky has been my ‘rock’ so to speak since we first got him. When I nearly lost my husband in a car crash, Rocky was the one consistent thing in my life, my husband was in hospital and I had been told to get his affairs in order and I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying my eyes out so hard that I couldn’t breathe and the solid black body of my little kelpie dog pressing himself into me and washing my face – I will never forget it.

With each crisis that has been in our lives and trust me, in the 5 years we have lived in Australia, there have been many – health, legal, financial, bereavement, I shudder at remembering any of it, Rocky has been there and I too, wonder how I am still here – mentally and physically.

A year ago during a particularly financially difficult time when we came close to losing everything, I remember walking around Beeliar Wetlands with Rocky. He has hip dysplasia and I have severe joint issues from an auto immune disease. You should have seen the pair of us walking around Beeliar, both of us stiff as boards and of course you get halfway round and think ‘damn it, I shall have to complete it now’ and although Rocky looked horrified as he hates road work, he loyally kept up with me – his gait stiff as anything as I limped the 6km or so around the wetlands, we were like Forest Gump doing his long journey.

Rocky has been my best friend and I think with that intense dog/owner relationship that I have with him, I have rather unfairly and unknowingly (until now), taken away some of his ‘doggy-ness’ and stripped him of his normal canine behavior.

‘That dog is like your baby’ I have had said to me on so many occasions by child obsessed people. This I have to hotly deny because we have chosen NOT to have children. My animals are not the children we never had, having ones genitals stretched to 10cms never once appealed to me and I am sorry if that upsets people – I just don’t swing that way.

Yes, I love my animals and yes, having Brutus could be comparable to having a young child as I need eyes in the back of my head and let’s not even discuss toilet training and teething and sleepless nights.

But no, they are not children, and when you have come close to losing your partner – soul mate, when you have held your Mothers hand as she passed away, I can say now that there is no comparison for me. I love my animals dearly as you can tell and they will take priority over visitors but at the end of the day, I must stress that they are not children.

I will admit to humanizing Rocky and being more dependent on him than he is me. He is expressive, his face speaks volumes, so does Gordon’s – hell, I even ‘speak dog’ and make them talk, but then again so do many pet owners.

Rocky only tends to interact with other cattle/working dogs. before Brutus came to live with us, Rocky would happily sit in of an evening and smooch me on the sofa, washing my arms, or the sofa, or the wall – anything really and failing that, the cats ears were always clean.

Now Brutus is here, Rocky is somewhat distancing himself from me and becoming more of a dog and I am observing some traditional canine mannerisms and behavioral patterns that really do shoot the saying ‘I know my dog better than anyone’ into fresh air because no, we never really know our dogs, we domesticate them to a point, but no, we never truly know them because at the end of the day – wild is wild and you can take the dog out of the wild but you cant take the wild instincts out of the dog.

Today I took Rocky for a swim, Brutus had to stay behind as he only had his vaccine yesterday, so Abdel and I decided to go swimming with Rocky and Rocky did his usual swimming until exhausted, swallowing heaps of sea water and then yakking up and being reluctantly dragged from the water when we decided that an hour of solid swimming was quite enough thank you, besides, Abdel had to go to work.

I bathed Rocky in the garden and Brutus was washing the drops as they dripped off Rocky’s sopping black body – he looked like a shiny stag beetle – in fact my nickname for him is ‘beetle dog’.

I had bought Rocky a kangaroo hide chew which I had planned to give to him when Brutus wasn’t around. Trouble is, Rocky is a lazy bone eater – he still has a brand new hide chew from January but the kangaroo chew is much smaller and easier to eat. I have tried telling him that many a dog in Africa would be grateful for that bone but he tells me I am talking crap – which of course is quite plausible.

I had locked Brutus away in the laundry room and Rocky looked at the chew and said ‘Bollocks, I am not eating that’. Sighing, I let Brutus out and intended to pick up the chew, I was worried about Brutus trying to steal the chew as he is too young for stuff like that.

Rocky suddenly wanted the chew and curled his lip at Brutus, it wasn’t like ‘I am going to rip your face off’, it was a warning from a senior dog to the baby of the pack.

‘Piss off away from my bone’ Rocky said to Brutus. This is where it got interesting, Rocky never exhibits normal canine behaviors – why? because I have humanised him and made him the way he is – far too imprinted in a way he has forgotten how to act with other dogs.

‘Mum said I can have it!’ Brutus lied and then made steps to take the bone. Should I intervene? What would happen in the wild?

I sat there and did nothing, my heart pounding wondering if Rocky would hurt Brutus.

Brutus went nearer the bone and Rocky jumped up and really told him off – excuse the bad language but I can only relay it as it happened.

‘Get away from my bone you bastard!’ Rocky shouted, curling his lip up in a fine impression of of Elvis Presley (he used to curl his lip).

Rocky did a mock charge at Brutus while curling his lip, yelling at him to piss off and Brutus squeaked a high pitched squeak and went straight into submission. I saw for myself that Rocky did not actually touch him, but Brutus rolled on his back to say ‘sorry’ to Rocky.

The sneaky pup then went by the side of the coffee table with his rubber chicken in his mouth, laid the chicken by Rocky’s feet and then tried to swap it with the chew – I am being deadly serious.

Rocky did one more mock charge and that was enough to send Brutus on to the sofa, shaking like a girl while huddling up to Gordon, telling Gordon how awful it was. Gordon merely told him that stealing another dogs bones was akin to listening to Cliff Richard’s Millennium Prayer on replay and one should never ever do it. Brutus said he was sorry and Rocky as if to make a point of the Tenth Commandment ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal Other Dogs Bones’, ate the whole kangaroo chew, while watching Brutus, making one hell of a mess which I had to clean up.

I was so tempted to intervene because the whole scene made me uncomfortable but then I asked myself why, why did it make me uncomfortable?

It was normal canine behavior and pack hierarchal structure – dogs needed to learn their place, it isn’t just owner/dog boundaries that need to be set in the home, it is also canine boundaries as well and Brutus today learned that he cannot steal Rocky’s food until Rocky has eaten his fill and left scraps for him.

After Rocky had eaten his chew, there were lots of crumbs left on the bed, Brutus dutifully waited until Rocky had moved way and then jumped off the sofa, Rocky wagged his tail to the young pup and Brutus happily but rather submissively polished off the crumbs.

Once he had done that, he went up to Rocky swishing his long tail and cleaning round Rocky’s mouth and Rocky looked down at Brutus and licked one of his ears, gave a little tail wag and the pair of them carried on like nothing had happened.

And that is because nothing did happen – in their world anyway. It was just doggy stuff – we humans might not like it but it is their world and no matter how much we try and domesticate them, no matter how much we think that we know them, they are wild animals with very primal instincts just waiting to surface.

My dependency on Rocky was quite intense and in hindsight, not entirely fair. At first I felt guilty for Rocky as I had another puppy, a puppy that required a lot more attention but I should have given Rocky credit for how he would deal with it.

We can train/reprimand undesirable behaviors in our puppy’s/dogs but you know something? The best training for Brutus has come from Rocky himself.

When Brutus chews on Rocky, Rocky puts him in his place and Brutus very quickly has learned what he can and cannot do and what is acceptable.

Rocky now knows that there is competition for food and doesn’t piss about with his meals like he used to. Rocky has become a more proficient guard dog – although he is pretty on the ball now but now there is a puppy in his ‘pack’ to protect, he has gone up a notch.

My kelpie has changed, since the arrival of Brutus, he has gone from a childish 4.5 year old ex farm dog with some very babyish behaviors and some not so healthy acquired human ones, to an almost regal, mature, kind but assertive Kelpie that is far better in guiding this puppy than I could ever be. Don’t get me wrong, I do my best – you are all following me on this journey and I post with my heart but trust me, Rocky is much better at it.

So whilst I feel quite sad that I have sort of lost my good mate in so many ways, I am really proud of the dog he has become and if Brutus can learn half of what Rocky has to teach him, then we are going to be very lucky.

Humanizingyour dogs is one thing, but I have learned you have to allow dogs to be dogs, also watch their behaviour, watch them interact, watch how they sort out their differences and respect their ‘inner dog’.

So this entry is dedicated to Rocky, he has been where Brutus is now (we got him when he was about 5 months), he has chewed and destroyed a Palm tree, dug 4 feet under a retainer wall, eaten my entire CD collection, he has been there, he has supported me through the most traumatic times of my life and has been my best friend.

But now it is time for him to be a dog and enjoy being a dog, he is in the garden now with Brutus – both of them lying a few feet apart, both of them quiet, Brutus fast asleep and Rocky half asleep while keeping a watchful eye on the young pup that has barged into his life and prompting him to let his natural instincts take over.

As for me, well he is still my mate but now I have the pleasure of watching him become Brutus’s mate as well.

Let dogs be dogs.

And Finally…

Brutus is a puppy that is exhibiting normal puppy behavior and his reactions are guided by Rocky.  Donkey if you remember, was exhibiting dog aggressive behavior towards Rocky to the point he wouldn’t let Rocky even drink from his water bowl and could not be left alone with him.  Having been castrated quite late in life, he had developed some of the not so nice traits typical of an ‘entire dog’  If he was going to live with another adult male dog, it needed to be one that was big enough and strong enough to hold his own which Rocky isn’t.  Donkey was also not good at all with cats and both SAFE and I believed it would be at a huge risk to Gordon to keep him we needed a dog that we could trust with out cat.

Brutus will be going to puppy group and training and is being de-sexed next week so won’t have chance to develop his sex hormones and ultimately undesirable behavior but I will stress that if you have any concerns about your dog exhibiting aggressive behavior towards other dogs, I would say take him to your vet to rule out illness and then take appropriate expert advice on where to go from there.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright 2013