It was the night before lure coursing and every dog in Perth had nervously gathered round their computers checking the weather on Facebook while praying that the rain would hold off so that their day of fun, hot dog consumption and ‘social butterflying’ could take place.
Bearing in mind that the last event was cancelled due to bad weather, the dogs still hadn’t gotten over that little episode as the whole thing was rather dramatic, especially when the ridgebacks crates were blown over and Dee’s ridgies escaped and were found in the kitchen along with a few substantially sized sausages but that is another story entirely.
At the House of Mouse
Mouse, Barbie and Bender had just come back from their extended holiday in kennels and having stuffed their faces and been rather lazy, it was decided that Mouse would not be competing in the lure coursing as she was out of condition.
(Photography by Jet Ska)
‘But I want to enter, they cannot possibly run the course if I am not there’ The little white greyhound sobbed dramatically and threw herself on the floor and pretended to faint while Barbie fanned her with a bit of paper and muttered ‘Now see what you have done!.
The mere thought of NOT lure coursing on Sunday was too much for Mouse to contemplate, perhaps they could erect a life size cut out in her absence or maybe she could be placed in a buggy and paraded up and down so people could cheer her on? She would ask Brutus and get his opinion.
It took a whole heap of comforting from her owner in order to calm her down and even the promise of another exploding bed could not placate her, she wanted to go to lure coursing and that was that and Mouse had already decided to go on a hunger strike for 2 hours to make a few ribs stick out – that would teach them!
Pippin was on his computer checking the weather page for updates. As the last meeting was cancelled, every dog known to man had gone in to a serious decline as it had been so long since their last lure coursing meet up, would they even remember each other?
‘Well, it says it will be OK in the morning but in the late afternoon there could be showers, but nothing is carved in stone as they say!’ Pippin said firmly and then took a delicate sip of water followed by a wiping of his pointy snout on his fleecy blanket.
‘I heard at the last meet, that all the dogs were blown away and that Vader and Brutus were actually blown along with Melissa’s Stafford’s down the Nullabor’ Bronte said in a matter-of-fact voice.
Pippin rolled his eyes and replied ‘Don’t exaggerate Bronte, everyone knows that Melissa’s Stafford’s floated away across the field on a bench and that Dee’s ridgebacks ended up in QLD’.
Bronte sighed and peered over Pippin’s shoulders to check out the weather for herself, after all – if this event ends up getting cancelled, she might be forced to do ‘whizzies’ round the garden, but then again, she does that anyway so perhaps not.
(sounds of Pippin’s phone ringing)
‘Hello? Mouse, good to hear from you, how was the holiday – all ready for Sunday?’ Pippin said in a super efficient which he reserved as a ‘special phone voice’ to impress people.
‘What do you mean? That isn’t possible – out of condition?, you have to come, even the lure won’t run without you!’ Pippin squeaked, his normal ‘cool’ reduced to flustered. Pippin hated it when his routine was messed up, he was ‘Mr Organized’ personified and if Mouse wasn’t going to lure coursing then he would have to re-organize everyone’s diaries.
Placing his fountain pen behind his ears, Pippin pursed his lips and started checking his iPhone to see just what he could do to make things ‘fit’. Actually Pippin didn’t need to make anything ‘fit’ as the day would run wonderfully – providing there was no rain, but you all know Pippin, he is a super organized ‘Personal Assistant of Life’ and would have God himself organized if he could, actually I believe he does have God organised as God told me he did.
But that was OK, Pippin still had Brutus and Vaders diaries to re-arrange not to mention keeping the other Italian greyhounds in order – especially Rocco who has dreadful Tourettes and can be seen on the lure coursing grounds swearing and barking at any dog that cares to listen and any dog that doesn’t and his favourite word is ‘bollocks’.
Pippin was secretly very excited about lure coursing because there is nothing quite like a gang of Iggies trying to run down the track, well we can’t count Fletch in this as Fletch makes it his mission to go as slow as possible.
It will also be Pippin’s first race since the ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ competition and the other Iggies have planned to cheer him on when it comes to his turn to run so as you see, it is all going to kick off on Sunday at lure coursing – providing of course, it does not rain.
‘Pippin?’ Bronte asked her little brother.
‘Yes Bronte?’ Pippin replied.
‘Do you think it will rain?’ Bronte sighed, her little face so pointy that you could have dipped her snout in ink and written the word ‘Iggy’ with it.
‘Don’t know Bronte, I just don’t know’ Pippin sighed and crossed his little paws so tightly and secretly prayed that the rain would limit to falling on Tony Abbott’s head.
At Vader’s house
Vader and Brutus were having a play date which normally involves pulling down the underwear on Vader’s toys (yes toys wear undies), running round the garden, humping one another, arguing over a cows hoof and urinating over each other.
‘I don’t know what I will do if it rains, is there any way we can stop it?’ Brutus asked Vader before pissing on his head. Brutus was feeling quite fretful and totally devastated at the thought of not seeing his friends, let alone trying out the full course which involved corners/turns.
Vader lifted his head and stared at his new invisible boxer friend that he called ‘Frugal McGuff’.
Yes, I am afraid that Vader has an invisible friend that he often barked with, played with and argued with and his name was Frugal and I can testify that as I often hear Vader barking at fresh air in his garden and have come to accept the fact that dogs have invisible friends too.
And please don’t laugh at this, I bet you all had invisible friends as a child – I know I did, mine was called ‘Mr Manager’ who lived in Switzerland which was actually a camp that my Dad built out of sticks in the lane. I used to ride invisible horses around the estate with my best friend Nicola and we had the rising-trot down to an art form as well as slapping our thighs with a stick, but let’s not go there please as it is quite frankly embarrassing.
‘Vader do you love Frugal McGuff more than me?’ Brutus asked Vader. That was a hard one as Vader really did seem to enjoy arguing with his invisible friend and could be heard from over the fence barking and growling at him or with him and this made Brutus feel very insecure indeed. Brutus doesn’t have an invisible friend as such, but he does have a strange relationship with his toys and can be heard growling at them so I guess it is the same really.
Vader looked at Frugal and then at Brutus, he couldn’t quite make his mind up as Brutus was not with him 24/7 but Frugal McGuff could be wherever he imagined him to be. Frugal never judged him for making his beds explode and Frugal even took the blame for Vader’s naughtiness and Frugal never took the piss out of Vader’s exceedingly long tongue that was comparable to a slice of Christmas ham – as to quote Denise Pringle.
However, Brutus was his best friend and nobody pissed on his head quite like Brutus did so that had to be something to consider surely?
‘I love Frugal’ Vader said with his huge fat tongue getting in the way. Brutus’s face crumpled; did he love him (Brutus) as well?
‘But I love you more and we will be best friends forever and ever!’ Vader grinned and then washed Brutus’s jowls which made Brutus so happy that he had no choice other than to piss down his own legs with excitement.
‘Vader?’ Brutus asked the little boxer.
‘Yes Brutus?’ Vader replied while trying to reorganize his tongue and make it fit in his mouth.
‘Do you think it will rain on Sunday?’ Brutus asked again, thinking if he asked the question often enough, it would emphasize just how important it was for it to NOT rain on Sunday.
Vader looked thoughtfully at Brutus before picking up one of his toys, ‘Nope, I don’t think so’
‘But how can you tell?’ Brutus demanded impatiently.
‘Because it’s lure coursing day!’ Vader replied simply.
And nothing more was said on the subject as both boys decided to sniff the same spot of dirt to find out if anything exciting had left its mark since they last sniffed it five minutes ago.
Dee Cole’s House
Dee was busy making some of her famous cakes which she knew would go down well as they always did. There are absolutely zero calories in her cakes, once you cut the cake the calories fall out and that has been scientifically proven by some expert so I hear.
Dee’s ridgebacks were pretending to be good dogs but secretly Mac was planning how he could do ‘the great escape’ again and was trying to orchestrate an enormous large gust of wind to tip the crates over.
This was proving a problem as gusts of wind are not that easy to come by and it is not as though you can buy them in ‘Big W’ either. Then it was suggested that Brutus be fed some Savoy cabbage and baked beans so that he could create a suitable gust of wind. But as Brutus is known to follow a fart by explosive diarrhoea, Bailey quickly corrected Mac and the idea was canned. It was no good, they would have to find their way to the kitchen by other means.
‘I am so excited I might be sick’ Mac muttered under his breath so that the puppies couldn’t hear it.
‘I hope we have nice weather’ Bailey replied.
And with that both dogs said nothing, they just sat there staring at Dee as she baked cakes, while making secret plans for a mass crate escape and a hostile takeover of the kitchen area and BBQ and taking all the sausages hostage.
At Sandra Burrow’s House – QLD
Kath the greyhound, Barney the big brindle horse/dog mix and Ruby the kelpie were having a chilled night in round Sandra’s house while playing the ‘Guess who?’ game.
All the dogs had a piece of paper stuck to their forehead while the other dogs had to give hints as to what or who was drawn on the paper, it is actually a very popular game amongst the dogs you know.
‘It’s white, woolly, makes a baahahahah noise and it gets its feet nipped’ Ruby the kelpie yelled in excitement to Barney.
‘A tampon on a string!’ Barney shouted with such excitement that he let out a huge fart which embarrassed him so much that he started noisily cleaning his genitals so Kath couldn’t see him blushing.
‘Barney you are SO disgusting!’ Kath said and wrinkled her long slender nose in disgust. Greyhounds simply do not fart, they let out ‘puffs’ of air that smell of Sunday dinner farts, or if you don’t have Sunday dinner, then compare it to pumpkin farts as they too can be quite vile to inhale.
‘No it’s a sheep silly, not a tampon!’ Ruby sighed impatiently and then ran around the living room to herd up the cushions to show Barney how it was done.
‘You lot are SO childish!’ Kath said, shaking her head in disapproval before jumping off the sofa totally forgetting that she had a white sticker on her head with ‘Celine Dion’ written on it.
‘Don’t you want to know who you are meant to be?’ Barney shouted to Kath who was now in the garden behind her favourite bush squatting down to take a piss.
Barney and Ruby were patiently waiting for Kath to finish her toileting so they could get on with their favourite game.
Kath sighed ‘If you must, give me a clue’, then proceeded to dig up the grass with her hind legs and scatter soil everywhere.
‘Horse face Titanic Canadian’ Ruby the kelpie giggled as she said the clue to Kath.
Looking confused Kath replied ‘What the heck are you on about Ruby?’
‘Horse face Titanic Canadian’ Ruby repeated.
‘I know, I know! Black Caviar the racehorse!’ Barney shouted. Not being the brightest dog on the block and a little bit ‘Brutus’ in the way of ‘gentle giant but not so smart’ title, Barney was so excited that he could even put out a clue, despite him not grasping the game that it wasn’t his turn to guess.
‘I give up, let’s go inside – ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ is on shortly and I want to watch Dr Harry’ Kath said firmly and walked inside with her sticker still on her head.
Ruby looked momentarily boot-faced but then agreed that they should go in as it would soon be tea time and she too liked watching Better Homes and Gardens especially when sheep and naughty dogs were involved.
The three dogs took their places on their favourite chairs, Kath had put her spectacles on so she could watch TV, Barney was lying on his back while flashing his genitals and periodically farting in between washing his anus and Ruby the kelpie was cuddled up to her toy sheep and occasionally nipping it to ‘keep it in its place’.
‘You know what day it is tomorrow?’ Ruby asked Kath.
‘Sunday’ Kath replied without looking up and then said ‘Why?’.
‘It’s West Coast Dog Sports lure coursing day in Western Australia, remember the last day Noah had to get his arc out as the day was a washout and dog were blown away and were seen floating down the Swan River on wooden crates, that is what I was told’ Ruby replied.
Barney stopped washing his bum and looked up ‘Oh yes, I heard they were meeting up, I had forgotten about that’.
Kath nodded approvingly and said ‘Well I hope they have a good day, it is a total tragedy when these events get cancelled and dogs can go into full depression when their lure coursing days don’t happen’.
‘Well I hear that it is going to be a beautiful day in Perth that day, wish I could come and meet all those Perth dogs, don’t you Kath?’ Ruby sighed and then went back to chewing on her toy.
‘Right everyone, quiet now – Dr Harry is on and I want to see the segment on stopping dogs digging the garden’ Kath said firmly and then spread her hind legs out like butter and her front legs to the skies like Superman as she stretched out in true greyhound fashion.
(Sandra Burrows walks in the door)
‘Hi dogs, I hope you have been good – who has been farting in here, is that you Barney?’ Sandra greeted the dogs that she had so lovingly trusted to have a ‘doggy night’ on their own.
‘I’ve got it, I’ve got it!’ Barney shouted at the top of his brindle voice.
‘What have you got – fleas?’ Kath said impatiently.
‘Titanic Horse Face Canadian – Celine Dion’ Barney snorted with laughter and carried on snorting despite Ruby nipping his feet to make him shut up.
‘That is SO not funny, I hate Celine Dion’ Kath said sounding totally fed up, her pointy snout appearing more sharp with ‘pissed-off-ness’, pulling the note off her head with her front paws, Kath looked the epitome of a dog with all the wounded pride of being called ‘Celine Dion’.
‘I know, I know, Barney shut up, that is SO not funny’ Ruby said to Barney while trying not to laugh.
‘Yes it is’ Barney snorted with laughter and ran inside before Ruby could nip him again.
Suddenly Kath received a text message on her mobile, this was most unusual for so late this evening but it must be urgent. Glancing down at her phone she saw the message ‘It’s me Pippin, I need to speak to you urgently!’
Kath who had Pippin’s number on speed dial, called the Italian greyhound to find out what the problem was.
‘Hi Pippin everything OK?’ Kath said in a concerned voice and then yelled ‘Barney will you stop it, I am trying to have a serious discussion with Pippin’ Kath said in her best superior voice. She was looking over the top of her spectacles now which always heralded that she was cross.
‘Kath, I have just had some bad news – thought you should know….’ Pippin said trying very hard to be strong.
Barney and Ruby could see Kaths face change from her normal greyhound expression to one of great sadness and it was a look that each and every dog knew and understood and nothing more needed to be said.
‘Oh Pippin, I am so very sorry – give my regards to the group’ Kath said now looking visibly upset.
‘We have only just found out ourselves this evening Kath so it is a shock for all of us but I will keep you posted how it goes tomorrow, it is going to be quite a sad day and even the humans don’t know about our plans as they have been so last minute but suffice to say that tomorrow we will be officially racing for a reason’. Pippin replied.
‘Well it is lovely what the West Coast dogs are planning, but I don’t envy you on keeping it together, I know I couldn’t’ Kath said quietly.
‘I am sure you could Kath, I am sure you could – anyway, speak soon’ Pippin nodded trying not to show any emotion but we all know Pippin, the harder Pippin tries to be, the more we know that he is hurting.
‘Oh, Pippin, just one more thing before you go!’ Kath shouted at the computer.
‘Yes Kath?’ Said Pippin.
‘Good luck mate – with everything and do it for all of us in QLD!’ Kath nodded and just for once, Ruby and Barney sat quietly behind her and said nothing.
‘You OK Kath?’ Ruby asked Kath.
‘Yep, just got something in my eyes, that is all – I think it is a bit of grass or something, damn grass gets everywhere’ Kath said quietly and shuffled off to her bed.
Ruby and Barney nodded in sympathy because if you looked at them; they also had ‘something’ in their eyes and they too, needed a quiet moment to reflect, remember and wish with all their hearts that they could be in Perth on Sunday to join their friends in what was going to be a remarkable act of canine solidarity and support.
At Vader’s House
Vader sat subdued by his bed – nothing interested him, not even his toys. He didn’t know what to say so he said nothing and even saying nothing, even doing nothing – hurt him.
At Brutus’s House
Brutus and Rocky had also heard the news that had filtered via Pippin that evening and unable to process it, both dogs had gone to their respective beds to make sense of it all.
Brutus and Rocky discuss the news
Brutus was hugging his Tony Abbott doll and Rocky was curled up with his gingerbread man, both boys were uncharacteristically quiet.
When only his Tony Abbott toy will comfort Brutus
‘Rocky?’ Brutus whispered quietly.
‘Yes Brutus’ Rocky replied.
‘Will I be a brave boy tomorrow?’ Brutus asked.
Rocky took a deep breath before he replied ‘Yes Brutus, I am sure you will, and Vader will as well’
‘I don’t want to cry, what happens if I cry?’ Brutus asked Rocky.
You could just make out the shadows of Rocky’s huge kelpie ears as he sat up, the moon shone brightly into the living room making ‘kelpie shadows’ by Rocky’s bed.
‘All dogs cry and providing you cry when it counts, it makes you a brave dog so please don’t worry about it’ Rocky said to reassure Brutus.
‘I don’t care about the race, I just hope I am a brave boy tomorrow – that is all’ Brutus sighed.
‘I am sure you will be’ Said Rocky.
‘Goodnight Rocky’ Brutus sniffed a few minutes later.
‘Goodnight lad and do us proud tomorrow’ Rocky replied.
But Brutus never heard that bit as he was fast asleep while clutching his Tony Abbott doll and dreaming about lure coursing, how painful life can be and absent friends.
This story is dedicated to Winston who crossed over to Rainbow Bridge far sooner than he should have done.
I would like to thank Winston’s owner Vanessa, for kindly allowing me to pay this tribute to Winston whom I had the pleasure to see at the recent Lure Coursers Anonymous lure coursing event at the Naval Base near Rockingham.
Winston had such fun with his lure coursing and was a joy to watch and even won a trophy on the day.
Winston proudly displaying his trophy.
(Photography by Vanessa Pusey)
Racing for a reason
So tomorrow we shall go to our lure coursing event, we shall have fun, we shall catch up with friends. Our dogs will have fun and enjoy themselves and no doubt have a blast as they chase the lure.
But when they do it, my guess is that if I know the characters that frequent my stories and I think I do, they will not only run for themselves – but they will sure as hell do it for Winston and they will ‘race for a reason’.
Next instalment to follow.
Samantha Rose (C) Copyright August 2014
All photography is copyright by myself, Jet Ska and Vanessa Pusey.