The Fastest Dog in Australia 2015 – First Heats

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Pippin Pringle talks to Gordon about lure coursing

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

The Fastest Dog in Australia Heats 2015

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

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

The Big Day Arrives

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

What did you just say? said Rocky

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

Gordon can give a dirty look that shrivels grown men

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

And with that reply I had could say nothing.

On arrival at the lure coursing grounds (Dogs West)

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brutus and Mouse Norris in the early days of their friendship

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

Team Pringle

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

Brutus and Pippin discuss race tactics

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

Brutus and Vader – Jowl lickers forever

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

Pippin trying to organise everyone

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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The latest on the catwalk – according to Bronte

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

The Cloth Dogs and the ‘Crate of Barks’

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

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

Eugene – The Cloth Dog

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Millie the border collie and expert inhaler of food

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

A Hot Dog Affair

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

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

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

Bundy – The Town Crier and Brutus The Good Boy

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

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

Brutus and Bundy – the Town Crier

(Photography by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pippin Pringle calls the meeting

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pippin presents Brutus with his ‘Good Boy Collar Award’

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brutus taking his turn for the Fastest Dog in Australia competition

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

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

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

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

Brutus going through the timing gates at the finish

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never underestimate the power of Vader’s tongue

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

Bundy has his turn

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bundy the Cotton-Cannonball takes his turn in the contest

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

The importance of friendships – both real and invisible

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

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

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

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

All dogs have invisible friends you know

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

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

Bruiser the Kelpie‘s first time at lure coursing

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bronte and Pippin – Their entries for Fastest Dog in Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Eeez zat right?’ Valdov smirked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucy the Cloth Dog floats down the track

(Photograph by Studio Joy)

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

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

The life of Tess

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

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

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

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

The End of the Day

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

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

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

(Photograph ignorantly taken by myself – Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At Barney’s House in QLD

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

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

At Amex’s House in QLD

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

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

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

Back home at Brutus’s House

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

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

Rocky and his Julia Gillard doll that Fran Forbes bought him

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

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

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

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

Brutus winning his race (in his dreams of course)

(Photograph by Sam Rose)

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

Until next time……..

Acknowledgements and Thanks The Australian Lure Coursing Association 

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

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

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

West Coast Dog Sports

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

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

Amy Joy from Studio Joy

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

Amy Joy tel:  0430 549 346

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

A  special thank you from Brutus

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

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

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

Disclaimer:

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

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

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright April 2015

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

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

Name: Western Classic Dog Show

Venue: Dogs West Show grounds, Western Australia

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

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

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

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

On arrival

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

Pip selfie

Time for a selfie with me and Pippin!

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

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

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

Team Jeni Headquarters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conversations Overheard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Pippin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Kim and Ian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The sheer elegance of a dog and handler working together

It’s a beagle thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Causing a distraction!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Poodle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Kelpie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irish Wolfhound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Pringle

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

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

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Pippin asks if his face is clean

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

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

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

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

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

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Sexy Sting sticking his tongue out!

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

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

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

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

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

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Chewy gives his support to Pippin

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

Pip in the ring

Pippin – a brave boy doing his best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sting – shows how proud he is of Pippin!

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

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

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

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

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

Pip the winner

Pippin the winner!

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

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

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

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

The End

Thanks and acknowledgments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer

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

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

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

Brutus, Lure Coursing and a Reality Check

choir dog

We all tell our dogs that they are the best, that they are ‘good boys/girls’, the most handsome dogs on the block, the fastest, the best at what they do.

But there comes a time where sometimes, just sometimes – they need a bit of a reality check and tonight my friends, Brutus had to have his reality check.

Don’t hate me for it but I had to tell him and he had to know the truth.

It is the night before lure coursing – you all know the score, dogs gather round their computers and check the price of sausages, check out pictures of lure coursing and generally every self respecting dog is making plans, making lists and generally farting themselves stupid with excitement.

Now at the last lure coursing event, Brutus was entered for the full course for the very first time as he normally does the fun runs.

Brutus has terrible trouble stopping and has actually torn through the barrier before but at the last race meet we realised that Brutus is not only unable to stop, but he is also completely inept at turning corners and sort of carries on and either crashes through the barrier or scoots under it.

Brutus fence breaker

Brutus – simply cannot turn a corner

(Photography by Studio Joy)

A dog that can’t turn corners can easily be injured in lure coursing so I have decided to keep it fun for Brutus and just enter him in the sprint in the fun run.

Sounds like a plan? One would think so except tonight I heard Brutus telling Rocky that not only was he going to win the ‘Good Boy Award’ but he was also going to ‘win his lure coursing race’.

Despite the fact that it is not technically a race and despite the fact that there is no winner, Brutus builds himself up to the fact that there is and when people clap and laugh at him, he truly believes that they are here to watch him and him alone. He also has created his own invisible friends that race with him and every time he beats them paws down.

He even has vivid and impossible dreams that WA Cop Dog Rumble will be there to shout him on in support.

But as much as Brutus loves his lure coursing, he is a clumsy puppy with poor coordination and whilst Vader has excelled in the full course, Brutus thinks the larger space is purely to play, social butterfly and have fun and if Vader is with him, all the better.

However, I simply cannot risk him injuring himself with his inability to turn a corner and he isn’t just like it on the track, he is at home as well and has even ended up on the ROOF of my car – yes you heard that right, when he forgot to dodge the car and leapt on to the roof but we won’t talk about that episode as he is embarrassed that he frightened the shit out of himself and urinated down his own legs.

‘Brutus, can we have a chat please?’ I said gently to him.

‘Right, I chase the lure, then I get the girls phone numbers, then I play with Vader and then I win the Good Boy Award, everyone claps because they are there to see me and then I cry because I am so proud’ Brutus said aloud as he pretended to have a race with his Tony Abbott doll, his fluffy rabbit, his teddy bear and his squeaky penguin.

Bashing his toys together, Brutus made them ‘race’ around his little room and then declared the rabbit a ‘champion’ while the penguin won the ‘Good Boy Award’.

Good boy

Being a Good Boy is everything to Brutus

He looked so animated that I nearly backed down but remembering it was for his own good, I carefully took his toys away and put my arm around him.

‘Hello Mum, I love you!’ Brutus said quickly and then washed my face quite thoroughly.

‘Hello Brutus, I love you too’ I smiled back at him.

‘It’s lure coursing tomorrow, I am going with Vader, Lexie and Seb, did I tell you?’ Brutus said happily.

‘Yes Brutus, I will be in the back seat with you and Vader so I know all about that’ I laughed.

‘Don’t worry about a shower in the morning, Vader and I will wash your face – one of us each side’ Brutus said confidently.

‘Brutus, do you remember at the last event you crashed the barrier, you couldn’t turn corners and had trouble stopping?’ I asked him.

‘Yes, but Vader said corners are over rated and you can get by in life without turning corners and if in doubt, just jump over it’ Brutus said confidently.

Vader is Brutus’s best friend and has managed to convince him of this exceedingly well because Brutus had indeed started jumping over things instead of avoiding them.

Brutus and Vader

Vader and Brutus – best buddies

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Yes Brutus but the trouble with lure coursing and doing the full course, is that you have to be able to turn corners or you could get injured like Abigail – do you remember what happened to her?’

Brutus looked worried as his eyebrows creased over ‘Yes, I remember that, the Samoyed said she lost 7 of her legs’

I had to gently remind him that Abigail didn’t loose any of her legs and she only has four of them anyway.

‘Well, I have been thinking that it would be best for you to do the fun runs and you won’t have to worry about those nasty old corners or not being able to stop in time and everyone will still cheer for you and everything’. I said as I rubbed his ears.

Brutus looked crestfallen and suddenly I felt as though I had ripped his Tony Abbotts head off stuck pins in it.

When Brutus is upset, he has a slight deformity in his mouth that shows up and his bottom lip hangs down and if dogs could cry tears – Brutus would cry a river.

‘But Vader said I don’t need corners in my life!’ Brutus started to cry and in between washing my neck, he broke his big brown ‘Brutus-heart’.

I cuddled him, I held him but could I console him? No I couldn’t and within ten minutes he had convinced himself that he was ‘special’, disabled and would never win the ‘Good Boy Award’ purely because he couldn’t turn corners or stop when he needed to.

‘Jesus Christ on a bike, is this going to go on all night?’ Rocky growled from his bed.

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Rocky is never amused by dramatics

‘Excuse me Rocky but you are the one that throws major tantrums when I try and get you out of the ocean so you are a fine one to talk!’ I snapped back at Rocky.

‘Don’t worry Turd Legs, if you are that upset I can teach you to turn corners in the house’ Gordon sniggered from the top of the sofa.

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Gordon the cat – doesn’t suffer fools glaldy!

‘Gordon you are not helping the situation’ I muttered.

‘But I want to do the full course just like Vader!’ Brutus cried and then proceeded to work himself up into more states than Australia.

‘You know some of the best dogs can’t turn corners Brutus and you would hate it if you hurt yourself and had to have a bandage on your leg because that would mean no play time with Vader in the courts’ I said quickly. Grasping at straws I would say anything to calm him down.

Brutus sniffed and wiped his eyes ‘What did you say?’ He gulped.

‘Lots of dogs don’t do the full course – Pippin doesn’t do it and he won the fastest Iggy in Australia’ I said triumphantly.

Knowing how much Brutus worshipped Pippin, I crossed my fingers behind my back that this would work.

Brutus shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘I guess so’.

‘Guess nothing, you know I am right and don’t forget that Chewy loves the fun runs as well’ I added. ‘So if you want to be a good boy, you have to realise that all dogs have strengths in different areas, it doesn’t mean that they are less of a champion than the other dogs’.

Brutus gulped and took a few shuddering deep breaths – just like a child when they have been sobbing and can’t breathe properly.

Wiping his snotty snout on my T shirt, he sighed and said ‘OK, I will do the fun run’.

‘Good boy’ I smiled and tickled his ears.

‘Can I still win the ‘Good Boy Award?’ Brutus asked in a somewhat feeble voice. The Good Boy Award was not just important to him, it was everything.

‘Yes Brutus, you can still win the Good Boy Award’ I said and then tried to stand up, I say ‘try’, because my bloody legs had gone dead from kneeling on the floor.

‘Love you Mum’ Brutus said happily and then gave my neck a quick wash as I stood up.

‘Love you too Brutus’ I laughed and then closed his baby gate.

I sat down to drink my cup of tea and I could hear Brutus talking to his toys. He has such an imagination that I am surprised that he doesn’t have imaginary friends like I did as a child.

Turning round to see what he was doing, I could just make out him holding Tony Abbott and the penguin, talking in different voices to make them speak.

‘Tony, you are going to have to go in the fun run as you cant turn corners and you dont know when to stop – and Mum said you are a bit of a bastard’ Brutus said happily and then in the next second, made the squeaky penguin attack Tony Abbott and have a fight.

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Brutus and his favourite toys 

‘Do you think he will be OK?’ Rocky asked shaking his head in disbelief at such a dramatic scene.

I stared at Brutus who was now racing Tony and the penguin around his bed and laughed ‘Yep, I think he will be just fine’.

The End

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright October 2014

All photographs are copyright, please do not use without the consent of the photographer.

Thanks to Amy Joy for the use of her photographs.

https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyStudioJoy/timeline?ref=page_internal

Lure Coursing, breaking barriers and greyhound dramatics

10330344_10204119960096596_7112504982245364946_nThe poster that we all love to love and look forward to

(West Coast Dog Sports)

The day they had all been waiting for had arrived – yes you got it, it was lure coursing day at Kings Meadow Polo Grounds, Guildford.

As the last event had been cancelled, the dogs were more than ready for this and all you could hear was barking, yelping and sounds of boxer dogs flicking their snot everywhere and cries of ‘Vader has your tongue grown?’.

Because at this event there were more boxers than ever before and to be quite honest – the boxers stole the show.

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Vader the boxer (and his tongue)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Brutus was upset that his Pharaoh hound boyfriend ‘Benny’ wasn’t there and even more so that Mouse wasn’t. They all get attached to each other you see and the slightest change in their routine can have them getting into more states than Australia.

‘Hi Mac, Hi Bailey’ Brutus said confidently as he rocked up to where they were crated.

‘Piss off’ Bailey snapped and put his head down – he was in a bad mood as Dee had foiled his plans to pull of a sausage heist and had made sure that whatever would blow over, it would not be their crates to enable their bid for freedom and food.

Brutus and Vader had turned up wearing their finest clothes – Vader was dressed as Superman and Brutus was dressed as a life guard which was laughable really as Brutus has all the buoyancy of a house brick and the only thing he could save is food and even that is questionable.

Brutus lifeguardBrutus the life saver (in his dreams)

(photo by Dee Cole)

10592950_10152334849148317_338218557600371576_nBrutus ‘the brick’ (in reality)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

‘Vader! Over here!’ three boxers belonging to Vicki Clements were all dressed up in their costumes.   Yelling at Vader to get his attentions; Vader looked round they all flashed their bums at him and started farting, boxers are like that you see – they have farting contests and can generally emit foul smells to order, usually in a car with the windows closed on Tonkin Highway (ask Lexie).

‘Vader – let’s have a turd competition!’ Dibbley the boxer shouted to Vader who grinned back at him just as Lexie said that no, there would be no ‘turd competition’ and to stop being so disgustingly juvenile.

Vader superdogVader as ‘Superdog’

(photo by Dee Cole)

You know that all boxer dogs speak in the same kind of slow voice, as though their tongues don’t fit in their mouth? (which of course they don’t), well imagine when a group of boxers meet and all of them talking in the same ‘full tongued’ kind of voice, all sounding slow and very special in a boxer kind of way and you will just about get the idea.

10551033_683596241728425_297137429613025875_nVader’s special magic ever-growing tongue 

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

I will say that in their favour; Boxers try ever so hard to be good but most of the time it just doesn’t happen – you can ask Dozer the boxer as he ate his way out of his soft crate and escaped to the sounds of the other boxers cheering and clapping and Vader yelling ‘Go on my son!’ and wriggling their bums as Dozer ran around the polo grounds shouting ‘Boxers rule the world!’.

Vicki boxer

Dozer the boxer (and crate breaker)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

But as you know, at every single lure coursing meet at least one dog has to escape and if at all possible, roll in horse shit for good measure – it’s The Law and today there was going to be more than one escapee and I shan’t tell you who it is as yet, you will have to be patient and wait.

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No such thing as a mature/sensible boxer!

(Photo by Dee Cole)

The Iggy Stand (hub of activity and generally where it all happens)

Rocco was sitting in his crate and swearing as usual, each dog that dared to go past him was duly told to ‘Piss off’ and insulted and even when no dogs walked by Rocco, he decided to swear at the invisible ones instead. IMG_6577

Rocco (fights with his invisible friends)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

All dogs have invisible dogs to swear at and blame for things so just in case you see your dog barking at fresh air, it is probably an invisible dog that has wound them up or something.

‘You know if I wasn’t in this crate I would eat you and rip your legs off limb by limb!’ Rocco shouted at an invisible American Staffie who just looked back at him and said ‘Yeah, really? and I could pull your legs apart like a wishbone’

‘Your mother is nothing but a street mongrel from Battersea Dogs Home!’ Rocco yelled before Madam Gigi had to gently remind him that Battersea Dogs Home was in London and that invisible dog friends had no parents.

‘Do you like my dress?’ Bronte asked Fletch who blushed before checking to see if Pippin was watching – he wasn’t so Fletch took an admiring glance up Bronte’s dress and nodded in approval.

‘Very nice, SpoiledBratz?’ Fletch asked knowingly – he is SO ‘up’ on his fashion is Fletch and what he doesn’t know about Prada or Gucci is not worth knowing.

Fletch can often be seen in his home with a tape measure around his neck and holding pins in his mouth as he measures the other Iggies for outfits – a bit like a doggy version of that guy Gok Wan the fashion expert.

‘Of course, where else?’ Bronte grinned and then immediately spotted Brutus in the distance and very quickly decided to turn her attentions to him as she had developed quite a crush on the big fella.

‘Brutus! Over here!’ Bronte shouted in her high pitched Iggy voice. Putting her slim paws in her ears; Madam Gigi shook her head and muttered something about ‘there is no need to shout’. Madam Gigi

Madam Gigi (not impressed with the shouting)

(Photography by Gwynneth Cavilla)

Ignoring Madam Gigi’s look of disgust, Bronte galloped across the grass to see Brutus so that he too could take a peek up her dress, after all with a bottom as cute as hers, who wouldn’t want to have a look?

‘Really she is such a flirt’ Fletch said with his lips pursed into a disapproving shape – a bit like a cats bum. Fletch

A disapproving Fletch (look at that cute little Iggy bum!)

(Photography by Denise Pringle)

‘I think it is time for me to faint’ Nica said and then looked around for her team to assist her by holding her ears back.  Apollo was even trained to carry bone flavoured smelling salts to bring Nica round, providing a suitable audience was there of course as Iggies love dramatics and a good audience is essential. Nica

Nica (can faint and vomit with the best of them)

(Photography by Francesca Perino)

But soon all thoughts of fainting went clean out of Nica’s head when she sighted Enzo in the car playing Pavarotti and pretending to be Italian.

Standing there with his tiny Iggy chest puffed out, he waived his arms about and sang in his best opera ‘Pavarotti’ voice while playing ‘Nessun Dorma’ on the car stereo.

The other Iggies clapped and cheered and some of the girls even threw their panties at him and those that were not wearing panties threw their collars instead. Enzo

Enzo (talks Italian and likes Pavarotti)

(Photography by Gabrielle Gill)

‘Enzo darling – how are you?’ Nica shouted as Enzo grinned back and kissed her on both cheeks in a very European way. ‘Looking fabulous as always my beautiful girl, let’s talk opera’ Enzo said in his fake accent.

‘Yes let’s’ Nica said and then clicked her paws to a random whippet and shouted ‘Can someone get us some dog-o-cinnos please’.

By the way, please don’t be surprised at Enzo’s love of opera, all Iggies love opera and singing and can do it beautifully.

Pippin happens to run the Iggy choir where they all gather once a week to practice their singing and in a gang of pointy snouts, they sing their souls out whilst wearing tiny starched white ruffles around their necks like the choir boys at Christmas.

One time Brutus was invited to the Iggy choir at Pippin’s house but only once as it didn’t turn out very well when Brutus ruined the whole event with his ultra deep voice.

By the time the song had finished, there was just Brutus left singing ‘All things bright and beautiful’ with such enthusiasm that he hadn’t noticed that the other Iggies were standing there looking on in horror at him singing in his deep voice with enough volume to fill St Pauls Cathedral.

‘Could you hear that OK?’ Brutus grinned proudly afterwards. choir dog

Brutus singing choir songs (better suited to the ridgeback choir – according to Pippin)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Poor old Pippin had stuffed toilet roll in his ears and gave Brutus a pained smile and replied ‘Yes Brutus, we heard it’ and then gently advised him that whilst he isn’t suitable for the Iggy choir, he could probably join the ridgeback one.

Rocco had no such tact and told him that he sounded like an elephant being castrated and as Brutus is still at the sensitive stage, he didn’t take it very well at all.

But that – as I often say, is another story entirely and as usual, I am digressing (so much to write you see and so many characters banging in my imagination to get out).

*Back to the race day*

Bronte had taken a momentary break from flashing her bum and was standing with a whippet looking at a catalogue for new clothes.  She was hoping that her Mum Denise would go on the next SpoiledBratz auction to get her some more cool stuff.

Actually Bronte would have rather liked some clothes from London and had seen a very nice dress with the Crown Jewels on it amongst other trendy clothes; but she hadn’t worked out a way to get Denise to buy them for her – yet.

‘This is all highly naughty, disorganised and irregular’ Pippin said fretfully as he tried to get the Iggies to behave and have some respect which was hard when Nica was flirting with Enzo and Bronte was still looking at the catalogue for new clothes while Brutus was admiring her ‘lady-garden’ under her dress.

Really when did they get so naughty and perverted? Talking of perverted, we won’t discuss Pippin’s penchant for humping male dogs in any which way he and because that would embarrass Pippin and I wouldn’t want to do that but I have actually seen it for myself.

‘Excuse me everyone, let us have a ‘pre race’ meeting so we can get organised.  Let’s stop all this nonsense and line up’ Pippin said using his ‘Don’t mess with me’ voice.

‘Rocco, what on earth do you think you are doing?’ Pippin demanded as he saw Rocco rolling around in his crate snarling like something rabid and angry.

‘Bashing the crap out of this invisible dog’ Rocco shouted ‘He is trying to kill me, but don’t worry, I got this covered’

Shaking his head in disbelief, Pippin picked up his mobile phone and resigned himself to a game of Candy Crush while he sat at Denise’s feet as she rubbed his ears. Hannibal Rocco

Rocco fighting with his invisible friends

(Photography by Jeni Sach)

Brutus – (high school jock and a letterman sweater)

It was to be Brutus’s first time doing the full course and whilst I would like to tell you that he took those corners like a gazelle and ran like a professional, that would be lying. Because I very quickly learned that not only does Brutus not ‘do’ corners; but he doesn’t appear to have a ‘stop button’ either. 10369915_665925536828829_4846034155693857016_n

Brutus (finger clicking flirter)

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

He has also developed this rather embarrassing habit that I am almost too ashamed to admit to you but hey, you guys are like my family so here goes nothing.

Brutus is reaching sexual maturity and has just discovered that young hot bitches like him despite the fact that he has no testicles.

He is a very handsome dog and he incites giggles and flirtatious behaviour from the lady dogs wherever he goes.  (Some have even thrown their dog collars at him to get his attention). 10447056_663023523785697_7934537613617115507_n

Brutus (taking names and taking numbers)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Well when he did his solo race, he galloped by the side of the barrier and was clicking his fingers like one of the ‘High School Jocks’ in the movie ‘Grease’ – you know the ones on the sports pitch that wear Letterman sweaters.

‘Hey ladies, how are you doing, lunch tonight – my place?’  Much to the amusement of the group of female dogs at the side.

A Scottie dog called Penny pursed her lips to a ‘cat bum’ shape and said ‘Ohh, he is a bit forward isn’t he?’ in her Scottish accent and then immediately blushed when Brutus clicked his fingers, pointed at her and said ‘Loving your beard Ms Scotland!’

‘Oh you cheeky wee thing’ Penny the Scottie dog giggled and then remembered her breeding and that ‘nice dogs’ didn’t flirt back, at least not on the first date and they certainly never removed their collars for a boy.

Now I have no idea who has been teaching Brutus this but he is like a walking ‘chat-up’ machine as he runs along, winking, waiving and collecting phone numbers, panties and pink collars.

On one occasion a pretty female dog even threw her dog collar with address tag at him and said ‘Hey, call me!’ Someone told me that it was Rocco that taught him this trick, but others have said it was Vader which I don’t believe as Vader couldn’t possibly make clicking noises without his tongue falling out and slapping him violently.

So my money is on Rocco as I heard Pippin reprimanding him for teaching Brutus how to say ‘Show us your teats’.

Anyway, the second run for Brutus was with his beloved friend Vader and is always good for a laugh.  It was their first time running together on the full proper course and Brutus was showing off doing star jumps and press ups to make himself ‘match fit’ while Vader allowed his tongue to fall out and then lift it back in while insisting that it surely constituted as a warm up?

Dee Cole released Brutus and Lexie released Vader and I just stood there nervously with the camcorder so I could video the whole ‘event’, or should I say ‘scene’ as that is a far more suitable word. Brutus and Dee

Brutus and Vader – ready to race!

‘Ready Brutus?’ Dee asked the big clumsy brown dog.

‘Yep, bring it on – I am going to ‘do the Mouse’ and set the field alight (Mouse Norris taught him to say that).

‘Ready Vader?’ Lexie asked Vader who was trying to organise his tongue in his mouth so he didn’t trip over it.

‘Yeth’ Vader replied – ‘Yeth’ is said with your fat tongue between your teeth and if you say it now, you will know how Vader talks.

Suddenly the lure started and the boys were released!  My heart was bursting with pride, praying that Brutus would not social butterfly with the other dogs and do his embarrassing winking thing.

‘Ohhh, it’s Brutus!’ Penny the Scottie dog said in an excited voice while some whippets giggled near by and clapped.

PennyPenny the Scottie dog (a ‘Tartan’ breed of dog according to Vader)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Now if you imagine a Scottish person saying ‘Brutus’, it would be said rolling the ‘r’s and sound something like ‘Brootus’.  If you have trouble saying it in a Scottish voice, just ask a nice Scottish person to say it for maximum effect.

It all started off well, my heart was bursting with pride but then suddenly Brutus shouted ‘Oh shit, it’s a corner, what do I do?’

Brutus and Vader

Vader and Brutus (a promising start – where did it all go wrong?)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘You turn it Turd Legs’ Mac shouted from the distance while Bailey spat his water all over the puppies while laughing.

‘Did he just ask what to do with a corner? Are you sure he is half ridgeback?’ Mac asked Bailey who replied ‘Yes he did ask, yes he is half ridgeback but you have got to admit the lad is funny’  Mac nodded his head and agreed.

Mac and Bailey playing

Mac and Bailey (they love Brutus really)

(Photography by Dee Cole)

‘How do you do a turn Vader?’ Brutus asked but Vader was long gone and had taken to the course like a natural and had secured his tongue in his head and ran his heart out to the cheers of Vickie Clements boxers who were shouting their support in very slow but loud voices as boxer-snot was flung everywhere.

‘Someone help me, I can’t stop!’ Brutus cried and then ran straight under the barrier to the amusement of everyone watching while Penny the Scottie dog covered her eyes and said ‘Oh dear, Oh dear – poor Brootus!’ (Brutus)

The Samoyed who is a regular fixture on the lure coursing circuit and is the self appointed ‘Town Crier’ was now shouting ‘stampede, loose dog!’ and barking her head off to everyone telling them to get to the shelters to save their own lives and that of their puppies.

Brutus fence breakerBrutus – unable to take a corner and unable to stop

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Does anyone know where I am?’ Brutus yelled as his legs carried him outside the containment fence. Galloping along resembling a wonky donkey, people were laughing and cheering him on. ‘Vader, where am I?’ Brutus shouted, pretending not to be embarrassed, as though it were all part of the ‘big plan’ but secretly he was farting himself with nerves as his legs wouldn’t stop running and he found himself chasing the lure from the wrong side of the fence.

Brutus fence breaker Aug 2014Brutus (where am I?)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Yeah! go on my son!’ A large Saluki shouted from the sidelines as a gang of terriers barked insults at various invisible dogs, but don’t mind them, they were just having a ‘short dog syndrome’ episode.

Several of the Iggies had gathered round to watch Brutus joining the ranks of the ‘break free’ club which was started by the black Afghan that my husband compares to a black silken cloth floating down the race track.  Now when that dog escaped it was quite spectacular – especially when it rolled in horse shit, my husband still laughs about that.

Cloth dog Aug 2014The famous Afghan hound – AKA ‘the silken cloth dog’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Brutus has broken out!’ Fletch shouted excitedly as Pippin looked up from what he was doing and tried to keep a straight face.  This was the one thing that every single dog aspired to do and that was to break out from the containment fence and have a good old run round a polo field and if they can find horse shit to roll in then that is a bonus.

‘Good job!’ Pippin grinned and then remembered his position of sensibility in society and that he had a reputation to uphold.

(sounds of Italian greyhounds giggling)

‘Oh my god our very own Brutus has broken out’ Rocco roared and at that point was so proud that he forgot to argue with his invisible friend and started to bark with excitement.

‘Brutus where are you?’ Vader shouted while looking round for his friend.

At that moment the girls opened the barrier for Brutus to run back in to and rejoin Vader.  As he went back in everyone clapped and cheered him while Brutus muttered ‘Thank God for that, I thought I would never find you!’

‘Let’s play!’ Vader grinned and then flicked his tongue on Brutus’s back leaving a trail of mucous and snot that could easily stick up wallpaper.

‘Yee ha! Did I win? – this has to be worthy of the Good Boy Award!’ Brutus shouted happily as he and Vader ran around each other joyously oblivious to everyone else.

‘That was so much fun, can we go again?’ Vader replied and then tried to pick his tongue back up as it fell out of his mouth on to the grass.

Vader snot Aug 2014Vader and Brutus playing on the race track – check out the snot on Brutus

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Now that, was priceless!’ Bailey said to Mac who was laughing so hard that he actually pissed himself.

‘Who is due to escape next?’ Bailey asked Mac who was cleaning himself up.

‘Oh that’s easy – It’s Melissa’s Staffords’ Mac nodded, ‘Can’t wait for that one’

Bailey laughed and took a drink of water from his bowl before spluttering it out through his nostrils as he was still laughing about Brutus.

Penny the Scottie dog (the pelmet on wheels with a fine set of ‘furnishings’)

Penny the Scottie dog who has been mentioned before was turning out to be quite a character on the race circuit.

With what can only be described as an ‘angry’ beard and a ‘furious’ set of eyebrows, the solid little black terrier stood proud in her white collar with red trim and black Scottie dogs printed down the side, finishing the look with a black and pink harness on her back.

Whilst our little lure coursing club is very multi cultural in terms of doggy nationalities, very few of the other dogs had heard a Scottish accent before and when Penny started to talk, they all stopped to listen.

(Imagine the following being spoken in a soft Scottish Highlander accent)

‘Well it is all very nice here isn’t it, what are we meant to do – chase that plastic bag?’ Penny asked and then started to rifle around in her handbag and offer some Scottish treats around to the other dogs.

‘Would you like a sweetie?’ Penny asked the other dogs who were looking back in amusement.

What on earth is a ‘sweetie’? – they were all wondering but if it went in your mouth then it couldn’t be that bad, unless it was a heart-worm table and then you had to be pretty desperate to enjoy one of those (OK, Brutus enjoys them but don’t tell him I told you that).

Before Penny had the chance to hand out any more ‘sweeties’ as she called them, she was led up to the starting point to start her race.

‘Excuse me young man, could you not look at my bottom!’ Penny said in a firm no-nonsense Scottish accent at a young ridgeback that had never seen such a furry anus in all his life.

‘OK, how hard can this be, hold on a minute, could somebody please tidy up the course, there is a plastic bag left lying around’ Penny demanded to nobody in particular.

‘The plastic bag is meant to be there, that is what you chase!’ shouted one of the greyhounds while the others laughed.

‘Well if you don’t mind, it is all very untidy and I like to keep a clean house’ Penny replied.

Penny actually reminds me of my Scottish friend Sandra and trust me on this, there is nothing quite like Sandra when she is on a cleaning mission and once the cleaning mission has ended, she is on an ironing mission and even irons underpants, in fact she would iron visitors if they stood still long enough and nobody had facial creases in her house.

You simply do not mess with a Scottish person on a cleaning mission because there is nothing quite like being told off by someone with a Scottish accent.

Before she knew it Penny’s owners had released her to chase the lure and all thoughts of handing out ‘sweeties’ and tidying up the grass had gone out of her head and she ran as fast as her stumpy legs would carry her.

‘Oh dear, oh dear, where did the plastic bag go?’ Penny squeaked in a high pitched voice as she glided down the track looking like like she was on wheels where her legs were hidden by the ‘Scottie dog’ traditional ‘furnishings’.

‘That looks like a curtain pelmet on wheels’ Rogue the staffie said looking highly confused.

‘You leave her furnishings alone!’ said a miniature schnauzer looking somewhat insulted as he had some pretty fine ones himself.

Rogue looked at Millie who was staring at Penny in awe and whispered ‘Pelmet on wheels’ and then added ‘But super cute all the same’. Penny 2

‘Penny – the pelmet on wheels’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

And for her first time at lure coursing, she did very well indeed and by the time she had finished her run, quite a gang of dogs had gathered round the barrier to cheer her on.

‘Well that was very nice thank you’ Penny gasped as she was led off the track looking somewhat dishevelled, and then added ‘Can I do it again?’

‘What breed of dog is that?’Millie the border collie asked Vader.

Vader who was trying hard to impress Millie, replied confidently ‘A tartan one’. Looking more than a little puzzled, Millie mouthed the word ‘Tartan?’ and wondered whether or not to question Vader but decided not to.

After all Vader was a dog of the world and had been in Star Wars movies and even Superman movies, that is what he told her and if he said it was true, then it had to be.

Astro the greyhound (AKA – the ‘pole breaker’)

Astro the greyhound is as serious about lure coursing as Abigail who won the ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ contest.

Nothing stops Astro and when I say nothing, I mean it literally as Astro is a true sportsman as most greyhounds are.

I was standing by the fence and actually saw this happen and it was almost in slow motion for me as I prayed that this dog would not hurt himself and how he didn’t is nothing short of a miracle.

Astro ran with such passion and all the other greyhounds were cheering him on as they always did when quite suddenly he hit one of the plastic poles that had a wooden stick inserted through it that was stuck in the ground.

‘Oh shit!’ Astro shouted and before he could say anything else, he jumped high into the air as the stick snapped in half through the tubing and part of it came out.

‘I can’t look, is he OK?’ Brutus asked Vader nervously. Vader didn’t reply as he had covered his own eyes while little Millie the border collie was nervously looking around wondering whether or not to go down and help but as her Mum had just bought a bacon roll, Millie thought it safer to remain where she was and ‘assist’ her Mum in eating it.

Astro Aug 2014

Astro – the pole breaker!

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘It’s OK everyone, it’s OK!’ Astro shouted as he quickly regained composure, looked at the broken fence post as though it had assaulted him before continuing the course like a ‘boss’ as the other dogs clapped and cheered in support.

‘Impressive, highly impressive’ said Mac as Bailey nodded in agreement.

‘It’s turning out to be quite good today I reckon’ Amira the ridgeback thought to herself before leaning around to wash her arse in a most un-ladylike fashion.

‘Nice one Astro, nice one!’ Brutus and Vader congratulated the greyhound as he was led off the course after finishing his run.

‘Phew! that was close – nearly made myself into a spit-roast’ Astro laughed nervously as his long legs were literally shaking from shock as his owner took him away to get a drink and thank his lucky stars he was OK.

‘Did someone say food?’ A chunky Labrador that had heard the words ‘spit-roast’; asked  after being momentarily roused from his slumber as all good Labradors have to be on the lookout for food in whatever form it takes.

Abigail – (it’s only a flesh wound)

Abigail as you may remember, won the Fastest Dog in Australia competition.  A senior greyhound with a passion for lure coursing, food and cuddles from her Mum. Abigail 1 Aug 2014

Abigail – ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ title holder

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Are we good to go, can I go yet?’ Abigail said in a manic voice as the other greyhounds had formed a crowd by the fence to support their friend.

When greyhounds do lure coursing, there is always a crowd at the side and it is usually a flurry of pointy snouts nodding sharply to the point they could almost be weapons of ‘snout destruction’.

‘Remember, if in doubt – chase it, if it doesnt stop chase it and if in doubt chase it again and if not, piss on it’ One greyhound said confidently while the others agreed passionately.

‘Good luck Abigail!’ Pippin shouted and gave the black greyhound the ‘thumbs up’ sign.

‘There goes our pride and joy of WA’ Pippin said proudly and suddenly wished that Mouse Norris was here to add her support.

Actually Abigail is a joy to watch on the track and really does enjoy the whole lure coursing experience. She and Mouse Norris have been known to meet up after dark and discuss racing tactics and ways of improving themselves.

When Mouse did her entry for Fastest Dog in Australia, Abigail broke free from her owner and gatecrashed Mouse’s session as she ran and while Mouse tried to ignore her, Abigail wasn’t having a bar of it and and thoroughly enjoyed herself running up and down trying to get the lure while Mouse told her to ‘piss off’ and pretend she wasn’t there.

Abigail fastestAbigail with her trophy – age is no barrier for this girl

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

Abigail was released for her turn and as the lure went past with Abigail in hot pursuit; I had the pleasure of watching her gallop with ease across the track whilst shouting ‘Catch me if you can losers!’

At first I didn’t realise what she had done but I saw her suddenly limp with her front left leg and then with her right hind leg.

‘I am OK, I am OK!’ Abigail cried as she lifted each leg in turn to try and carry on while shouting  ‘Shit that hurts, I am OK! let me at that lure!’

It didn’t take a genius to see that she had really hurt herself but the adrenaline had kicked in and Abigail wanted to complete her race.  Thankfully she was caught and reluctantly forced off the course, I say reluctantly – she was swearing her head off and using worse language than Rocco fighting a team of invisible dogs.

‘Oh no, she has hurt herself!’ One of the greyhounds gasped and then beckoned Pippin over to take control of the situation.

Grabbing his mobile phones and a tiny Iggy sized first aid kit containing nothing but a bandaid as that was all he could carry, Pippin ran down to the track just in time to see Abigail being carried off by her owner to the car to be driven to the emergency vet.

‘It’s OK, it’s just a flesh wound – I will be fine, who needs toes anyway, they are overrated!’ Abigail ranted loudly.

The Samoyed (AKA ‘The Town Crier’) was already on the case and had invented her own version of events and was shouting ‘The greyhound has lost all of her legs but don’t worry, she can still win the greyhound Derby!’ Samoyed 2

The Samoyed – ‘Town Crier’

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘What – all of her legs, really?’ Monty the Brussels Griffon gasped.

The Samoyed nodded and replied firmly ‘Yes Abigail has lost at least 6 of her legs in that race’.

Monty ran up to his brother Dozer the boxer ‘Dozer, do dogs have 6 legs?’ Dozer couldn’t think of a reply so he choked on his tongue as he tried not to laugh as that was a question that made even a boxer sound intelligent. MOT

Monty – a dog of many legs

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Lure coursing newsflash – greyhound injured, call the medics!’ the Samoyed shouted to a puzzled audience of Italian greyhounds and of course all the dramatics were enough to make Nica faint in a ‘pile of Iggy’ and Enzo bring her round with his handsomeness.

Things were somewhat more subdued after Abigail was carried off, even the Samoyed had stopped announcing stuff and couldn’t think of anything to talk about and that my friends is saying something.

The Great Iggy Run

Every lure coursing meet the Iggies have their own race ‘The Great Iggy Run’ which usually has a few humans in it for good measure.  It is the highlight of the day watching these tiny fragile dogs run at various speeds down the track and when their humans compete, it totally ‘makes’ it. Diana Anderson

Humans are welcome in the Great Iggy Run

(Photography by Diana Andersen – Animal Images Photography)

Brutus being their staunchest supporter, is always by the fence cheering them with his loud booming voice yelling as they run past.

It is always good to watch – especially Rocco who is known to shout ‘Bollocks, you are all fat and you are all ugly’ as he runs past the dogs watching at the side.

Bronte has been known to flash her ‘lady-garden’ and Pippin having won the Fastest Iggy in Australia, gets the cheers for doing the Iggy group proud. So it is good to watch and the little dogs look so comical as they run along, Fletch always waves to everyone as he goes by and the other Iggies just squeal with delight as this is THEIR time to shine.

If you ever get the chance to go to see them run, you will hear them squeaking in their high pitched voices – a bit like the little people in ‘Wizard of Oz’ where they sound as though they have breathed in large volumes of helium, really it is quite fabulous.

‘Your arse is grass’ Bronte said to Pippin, vowing to steal his title of fastest dog.

‘Who on earth taught you that profanity?’ Pippin demanded as he stretched ready to be released for the race. ‘Or don’t I need to ask that?’

‘Don’t look at me, why are you looking at me, I always get the blame!’ Rocco shouted in a voice that screamed ‘Guilty as sin’ and then shouted ‘Anal gland face!’ while Bronte giggled as it was indeed Rocco that taught her to say that and much more that Pippin didn’t know about yet.Iggy race

 The great Iggy race – highlight of the day

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Bronte actually beat Pippin in this run and did very well indeed.  Pippin cried ‘foul’ because Bronte wore such a short dress that it was suggested that the boys were led into temptation.

Madam Gigi and Nica were on Bronte’s side but Enzo and the rest of the boys were on Pippin’s but they have all insisted that there is no need for Bronte to stop wearing such short dresses as they are all entitled to a nice ‘view’.

Bronte Dress Aug 2014

Bronte in her dress

(Photography by Studio Joy)PippinPippin doing his race (the little dog with a big heart)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

 After the Great Iggy Run, all the Iggies all went back to the Iggy tent to regroup and Pippin was to be awarded his certificate for the Fastest Italian Greyhound in Australia and had to walk up to accept the certificate which made him blush as he was a humble dog that did not like ‘bigging’ himself up so to speak.

‘Speech! Speech!’ Rocco shouted while Fletch slammed his water bowl on the floor and replied ‘Here here!’ ‘Come on Pippin, give us few words!’

Madam Gigi smiled at the little Iggy that ran his group with a paw of iron but also looked on them as his family and he would do anything for them.

Bronte sat proudly in the corner wiping tears from her pointy face and tried hard not to openly cry.

Such displays of restraint did not go unnoticed by Nica who loved a bit of dramatics and decided to dig out a white silken handkerchief and cry as well.

‘You are not going to vomit are you?’ Bronte asked Nica, really there was no place for vomit at lure coursing because there was always another dog to eat the offerings and that ruined the dramatics of it all.

I mean what is the point in vomiting if some scabby dog is going to snarf it down straight afterwards so nobody sees it?

‘I would like to thank my servant (Mum) who buys me nice clothes from Spoiled Bratz and loves me.  I would like to thank my sister Bronte and everyone in the Iggy group and their owners that love me as much as I love them’.

Pippin looked round at the ‘Pointy snout brigade’ as he fondly referred to them –  greyhounds, whippets and Iggies all standing there to see him get his certificate and he was so proud he felt sure that his chest would burst.

‘Who wins the ‘Good Boy Award’? Bronte asked.

‘The same dog that always wins it as he is the only one that he can win!’ Rocco said while laughing.

‘Don’t be horrible Rocco, it’s his award and he loves winning it!’ Madam Gigi replied, Nica and Fletch nodded in support.

Pippin smiled and said in a voice loud enough for Brutus to hear ‘And the Good Boy Award for this month, goes to Brutus!’

Brutus who was washing his bottom, suddenly lifted his head up and said ‘Did someone say my name? Have I won the Good Boy Award, that is awesome!’

The Good Boy Award is something that has been invented just for Brutus as he doesn’t win any other awards and as he is so naughty to the point of cute, he qualifies for the Good Boy Award.

This gentle giant of a dog that doesnt have a bad bone in his body, he is scared of his own shadow and especially scared of the Iggies and although this dog has made my garden resemble a desert and eaten my plants, he is my ‘Good Boy’ and deserves this fictitious award.

‘To Brutus the Good Boy!’ Bronte shouted to Brutus as the other dogs all clapped for him.

Good boy

My favourite ‘Good Boy’ photo of Brutus

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Although the other dogs had to endure this pretend award at each race meet, not one of them really begrudged Brutus because it was worth it to see his face each and every time he received it because never has a dog been so grateful for recognition and acceptance as Brutus. Pippin and Brutus

Pippin checks out Brutus on the computer for the Good Boy Award

(Photography by Denise Pringle)

Pippin was about to finish up his speech but then remembered something important he had to say.

‘But one thing before before we all go home, please can we spare a thought to Abigail who has been rushed to the veterinary hospital with her injury that she got doing what she loves best and the reason why we are all here – lure coursing’.

One by one the greyhounds, the whippets, and the Iggies all started to clap and shout out ‘To Abigail!’. What started off as a smallish gathering started to spread as other dogs gathered round and they too started shouting ‘To Abigail’ until every dog on the track was saying it and it became so loud that any human would have had to be deaf and daft not to have heard and more to the point, understood what the those dogs were saying.

‘To Abigail!’ Brutus and Vader said to each other while Millie the border collie wiped the tomato sauce off her face from robbing her Mum’s burger, so that she could also pay her respects to the senior greyhound that injured herself that day.

And that was how the lure coursing day ended.

Abigail Update

Abigail was taken to the vet and given pain relief and X-rays which revealed two badly dislocated toes on her left hind and one minor dislocated toe on her front left foot.  She was sent home with her injuries strapped up and the injuries would be monitored. Abigail strapped

Abigail (strapped up after her injury)

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

Sadly for Abigail; a couple of her toes did not heal as well as was hoped and on the 25th September, she had to have her two middle toes amputated in order to give her the best chance of mobility and a normal life. Abigail Xrays

Abigails initial X-Rays

(X-Rays – Malibu Veterinary Hospital Radiology)

Like any finely tuned athlete, Abigail was somewhat pissed off with this, especially when Mouse Norris, Barbie and Bender offered to make her some callipers to assist her. This was made worse by Brutus offering to push her around in a wheelchair with a tartan blanket around her legs while Rocco could stand next to her with a tin demanding money for ‘dogs for the disabled’.

Bentley had gone one better and was suggesting that the Iggies tell everyone that Abigail lost her toes in the war but that idea was quickly quashed by Pippin.

Abigail recovery 2

Abigail after her anaesthetic (has anyone seen my tongue?)

(Photography by Hannah Ruth Ogden)

 ‘How on earth will I manage without my toes?’ Abigail sobbed when some of the dogs came to visit her after her surgery.

Mouse was busy throwing dog biscuits at Rocco to incite a reaction so that she could tempt him into arguing with his invisible friend for a laugh while Bender was asking Bronte to pull his paw so that he could fart a selection of nasty smelling guffs.

Really though; it was no good trying to console Abigail about her missing toes, she was still drowsy and in pain and could not yet understand that the surgery had been done for the best.

‘Will you all still be my friend when I have my toes chopped off?’ Abigail asked Barbie. ‘Of course I will, don’t be daft – I don’t mind being friends with an amputee’ Barbie said firmly – she had actually decided that it would be quite trendy doing her bit for the disabled.

‘I can’t do lure coursing any more’ Abigail muttered drowsily to Pippin.

‘You might not be able to do it but you can still come and be the team mascot’ Pippin said thoughtfully.

‘That’s not a bad idea actually’ Rocco grinned, ‘We can put her high on a stretcher decorated in gold and carry her around’.

‘We can buy her a buggy and make it look like the Pope Mobile!’ Vader shouted, forgetting that he had put his tongue away for the night as it fell out and hit his chest.

‘Would you do that for me?’ Abigail said in a weak and tired voice, really her friends were just the best.

The dogs all looked at one another and smiled as Pippin said ‘Of course we would, you are our friend, why would we not help?’

‘You can sit at the Iggy stand and be like the Queen’ Bronte said excitedly.

‘And I can teach you how to vomit for effect’ Nica added.

‘Nica – no!’ Fletch and Apollo shouted out together just as Rocco rubbed his paws in glee at the thought of all those hungry dogs that could benefit.

And that was that, it was decided that one way or another Abigail would still go lure coursing and her friends would always be there to support her – just as it should be.

Thanks and acknowledgements

I would like to thank each and every dog owner and their dogs for coming to the lure coursing event and inspiring me to write about them.  I do try to include as many dogs as I can in different stories.

Thank you to West Coast Dog Sports for organising this wonderful sport and giving our dogs the chance to take part and for the owners to socialise and make such good friends.

Thank you to the Italian greyhound community as this breed of dog gets to my imagination more than any other breed.  Little dogs with huge characters and yes, Rocco really does argue with himself and Pippin is the organiser of them all.

Thanks to everyone that has supplied me with their photographs because they truly make the story come to life when you can put a face to a name.

Amy Joy – Studio Joy Photography

Amy Joy is one of the regular photographers at West Coast Dog Sports and works tirelessly to get the incredible and unique shots of our beautiful dogs.

Amy kindly allows me to use her watermarked photographs for my blog and for that I am grateful as she captures the moments that I describe just perfectly – for example, what happened to Astro the greyhound and Brutus when he escaped, not to mention Penny the Scotty dog floating down the track like a curtain pelmet.

Amy is a student at Curtin University studying Digital Design and Illustration and Photography Design. Not only is she building up her portfolio for her coursework but she is also now offering a professional service as a pet photographer.

This talented young photographer has made so many people happy with the outstanding photographs of their dogs, that owners are requesting personal shoots for their pets.

I have the pleasure of watching Amy work at lure coursing events and get to see the quality of the photographs that she takes and I would not hesitate to recommend her services.

If you live in Perth and are interested in booking a photo shoot for your pet, Amy’s details are as follows:

Amy Joy

M:                    0430 549 346

E:                      amyjoy2213@gmail.com

Facebook:      https://www.facebook.com/PhotographyStudioJoy

Charges are:  $100 for a 30 minute – 1 hour session which includes a disc with all the edited images on there. Amy will go to a location that suits the clients i.e. a park, beach, etc.

Help for Abigail and her Owner – Hannah Ruth Ogden

Abigail Aug 2014Abigail – any help appreciated

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Abigail’s veterinary bills as you can imagine; are very high – the amputated toes alone cost in the region of $1,000 and that is not including the initial emergency visit to the vets, strapping and follow up visits, pain relief, dressing changes and antibiotics etc.

Although Abigail’s owner has not asked for any financial help, I do happen to know that Hannah is struggling to find the money to cover the bills and when you don’t have a lot of money for whatever reason, this amount is a huge expense.

I also happen to know that Hannah loves her dog to distraction and if there is one thing that I will never forget and that is seeing Hannah’s face when she realised how badly Abigail was injured and watching her struggle as she carried her precious greyhound to the car.

Greyhounds are so easily discarded in the racing industry and Abigail is one of the lucky ones to have a good loving home with Hannah who obviously treasures this senior greyhound and the bond between them is clear for all to see.

Anyway, if you would like to help towards Abigail’s veterinary bills, any donations would gratefully be received.  Hannah’s bank account details are as follows:

Bank:              Bankwest

BSB:                306 097

Account No:    0377985 

As I have said, Hannah has not asked for anything; this is purely my idea.  I just know that things are hard for her at the moment and I also know what it is like to struggle.  It doesn’t mean we don’t love our pets any less, it doesn’t mean we are neglectful, it just means our situation has changed and we could use a little help.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright Sept 2014

All photographs remain the copyright of the photographers – please do not use, print or reproduce any of them without the consent of the photographer concerned.

Lure Coursing and a day of mourning (according to Barney)

Hi everyone – sorry it has been ages since I did any stories on lure coursing which as you know is a huge part of my life (not sure if that is sad or not but either way I love the sport and it’s my highlight of the month).

You may remember that I have been working on a story from the last lure coursing meet which is the second instalment from the last story.  Due to some personal stuff and health issues, it has been taking me ages to write but I will try and finish it in the next week or so.  It is annoying as I normally get them written up straight after lure coursing but this one has been a challenge.

Now a lure coursing meet was planned for this Sunday 21st September but bad weather has been predicted for Perth and yesterday it was declared cancelled due to safety reasons.

You all know the dogs in my story and how badly they would have taken this news and as soon as we heard last night, I had to write the story up immediately as the dogs were threatening a canine uprising.

It’s funny how when I try and plan a story in the organised methodical way that other writers do, I get lost and I struggle with it (especially when illness is a factor).  But give me a last minute bit of news that I find inspiring and I can bang out 3,500 words in 3 hours no worries and write the story as thoughts come into my head.  But hey ho, we are all different in our own ‘special’ way.

Anyway, as you can imagine the dogs were not happy and I have been inspired to write about it from their point of view and I can only go on what they have told me.

*This story contains adult content and is NOT suitable for children*

It was a typical Friday night before lure coursing. The dogs were in their respective homes planning strategies, clothes, fashion, who would steal sausages, who would make their bid for freedom, who would go all ‘rock n’ roll’ and trash their crate and try and beat Dozer the boxers efforts at the last meet.

At the Iggy Head Quarters – Pippin’s House

Pippin was busy reading a magazine and doing a crossword. Wearing his half rimmed spectacles, he was highlighting areas with an orange pen that may be of interest – stuff like obedience and the modern day Iggy and designer collars.

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Pippin – ‘the organiser’

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Bronte was on the phone to Nica, they were planning the next Iggy play date and having girly gossip about the latest in SpoiledBratz fashion labels and ‘Diva Pantz’.

At the House of Mouse

Mouse Norris was chewing on Benders leg who had his nose on Barbie’s bum, the cat was just watching in disgust at how 3 large dogs could be quite so revolting.

‘I am so going to set the grass alight when I run, it’s been far too long’ Mouse said confidently to Bender. Admiring her long slim white legs, Mouse didn’t need to try and impress anyone because she did so effortlessly.

‘Mouse, you are SO big headed’ Bender said sounding a bit jealous of his nimble sister.

‘Yep, I know but you love me all the same’ Mouse replied confidently.

‘Ouch!, do you mind!’ Mouse squeaked as Bender nipped her on the arse.

‘Yes Mouse, I love you’ Bender grinned and then farted for payback and then added ‘But you are such a big head’.

‘Someone’s shit themselves’ Barbie shouted dramatically as Bender and Mouse snorted with laughter at the sheer vulgarity of it all.

Brutus’s House

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Brutus – dreams of lure coursing

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Brutus and Rocky had just enjoyed a meal of dog chow, raw kangaroo, beef and lamb and were lying on their beds digesting their meal.

‘Try not to crash through the barrier this time’ Rocky said to Brutus.

Brutus fence breaker

Brutus the fence breaker

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘Oh that, it was all part of my trick’ Brutus replied, blushing because he was lying. He had crashed through that barrier twice now, the first time he actually tore it.

‘Shame Vader can’t come lure coursing’ Brutus said fretfully and started to wash his genitals in such noisy fashion that Gordon the cat had to check he wasn’t having a second meal.

Dee’s House

Mac and Bailey were on the Internet checking their Facebook – and yes they do have Facebook as do all dogs.

‘Have you seen this message from Melissa?’ Mac whispered to Bailey who was admiring himself in between farting.

‘What’s up?’ Bailey replied without even looking up.

‘This is awful, this is truly awful – I cannot believe it, it must be wrong, I shall call Melissa’s Stafford’s’ Mac said sounding very distressed and trust me it takes a lot to distress Mac.

‘Oh come on lad, it can’t be that bad – don’t be such a drama queen’ Bailey snapped and then had a look at the computer himself. Gasping loudly Bailey could barely find the words but when he did, they were not polite ones.

‘Bloody hell, that’s a shitter!’ Bailey said and then looked around to the puppies and wondered how the hell he was going to break the news to them and also Amy’s ridgebacks as well – in fact, all the ridgebacks in the group, Amira would be devastated and as for Patricia Gleeson’s ridgies – he was sure that they would declare war on the situation.

Melissa’s House

Melissa’s Stafford’s had already been told the news and in their protest; had locked themselves in their kennels and were now unreachable. Their little Staffie mobile phones were ringing frantically, their emails in overload but to no avail. These dogs were officially in mourning and nothing and I mean nothing would cheer them up.

At Various Other Dogs Houses

Benny and Isis the Pharaoh Hounds were playing strip poker and whoever lost had to remove their collar. Benny loved this game as he always beat Isis and he so loved seeing her without her collar.

‘Can’t wait to see Brutus on Sunday, it’s going to be fab!’ Benny said happily as he smoothed his ears down. The Pharaoh hound had a huge soft spot for the clumsy young dog.

Both he and Brutus had become firm friends right from day one and they thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company while discussing anal glands and bones.

Benny

Brutus and Benny the Pharaoh Hound – best mates

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Willow the French Bulldog was so overexcited that she wanted to piss herself, she loved lure coursing and truly believed that she had wings under her little legs and if you could see her running then you would see what I mean. Willow was ‘match fit’ and had been seen doing squat jumps and press ups in a bid to warm up for Sunday.

Ex Cop Dog, Belgian Millinois ‘Z’ loved her lure coursing so much that she had to be bribed to get off the course with a padded arm like the cops use.

ZZ

‘ZZ’ the ex cop dog – (she knows Rumble the WA police dog I bet)

(Photography by Studio Joy)

You can always spot her shouting obscenities like ‘I will eat you – you bastard’ and she gets so hyped up after chasing the lure that she has been known to hang on to the padded arm and get carried off the course while shouting ‘Let me at that lure, you are going in the slammer’.

‘I can’t wait for Sunday’ ‘Z’ thought to herself and then tried to savage a pillow and arrest it afterwards for ‘resisting arrest’.

Millie’s House

Millie the Border collie was lying on her bed playing a game of strategies. This is a home made game that Millie invented for herself about various ways she can increase her speeds, she was proud of her invention and did very well in the Fastest Dog in Australia competition which she put down to this game.

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 Millie the border collie plans her strategy

(Photography by Belinda)

‘I can’t wait to run, I can’t wait to see Brutus and Chewy and I can’t wait to share Mum’s burger’ Millie thought to herself.

Basically it was every dogs right to enjoy a bit of their owners burgers/sausage and stuff the diet, as what happens at lure coursing, stays in lure coursing – according to Brutus who was told that by Dee’s ridgebacks.

And if a dog goes home with gastro and shits in the laundry room, then they just blame the invisible German Shepherd dogs that go around the world making dog beds explode and other such naughty things.

Pippin’s House

‘Pippin, your phone is ringing’ Bronte yelled to Pippin who was doing a Skype call with Rocco, Bentley, Amex, Toppa, Madam Gigi, Rambow and Dash – the topic being that Dash had lost his testicles and was forced to wear the cone of shame.

Kylie Elaine Woodward

Dash – wearing his cone of shame

(Photography by Kylie Elaine Woodward)

Rocco had laughed heartily about this and had convinced poor young Dash that his testicles had in fact been sold to Cash Converters, and Pippin was trying to undo the mental damaged caused by Rocco but that is another story.

‘I’m coming!’ Pippin shouted and then said to the camera where all of his friends were on a conference call; ‘Back in a sec, I won’t disconnect you’

‘So Nica, have you vomited lately?’ Bronte asked Nica who had vomiting for attention down to a fine art.

‘Not in 3 days but I am working on teaching Zara the puppy to do it’ Nica sighed happily. Really it was quite a skill because the key was not to actually vomit up your hard earned food but just make it as though you are and it was awesome the attention it got you.

‘What did you say?’ Pippin gasped loudly enough to stop Bronte chatting to Nica and all the dogs on the conference video call to stop discussing Dash’s non-existent testicles.

‘Are you OK Pippin?’ Bronte asked her brother. Pippin looked visibly shaken and grabbed his iPhone and quickly started checking diary dates and reorganizing things.

‘Everyone, I have an announcement to make’ Pippin said in a firm voice.

(Ten minutes later)

‘That is awful’ Bronte sobbed to Nica who was shaking her pointy snout in grief.

‘I can’t believe it, does Mouse Norris know yet, and the others?’ Rocco said in a panicked voice.

‘Not yet, I have to tell the big fella first’ Pippin said sadly.

‘Oh my goodness, yes, we have to tell Brutus’ Bronte cried and then looked at Madam Gigi down the camera for support.

‘Bronte, is this an appropriate time to vomit now?’ Nica said in a high-pitched voice of an Iggy who is about to make a scene.

‘Yes, Nica – I think it is’ Said Bronte.

‘Thank you’ Nica replied simply and then without warning puked up an entire bowl of dog chow all over the floor while Zara shouted ‘Eughhh, that is disgusting – can I eat it?’

At Brutus’s House

Brutus was so excited that he was beside himself, he wouldn’t sleep for excitement and may even fart if it got too much. He is always like this before lure coursing and gets up stupidly early to jog around the garden while singing ‘You can’t touch this’.

His velvet smooth brown jowls, his huge brown eyes, shiny black leather-like nose and pointy ears, he could give Scooby Doo a run for his money he was sure of that.

At 22 months old, Brutus is still a puppy with lots of baby behaviors, still prone to throwing himself on the ground, still crying if you take his puppy blanket away and knows each and every toy that is on his bed and god help you if you remove one.

A dog of routine, he has to have 3 carrots a day, enjoys washing his kelpie brothers mouth and Gordon the cats ears – my big brown gentle giant of a dog Brutus.

He is not a brave dog and I had better not say too much about Rocco and Bentley plus a few others ganging up on him last week barking at him and calling him a ‘big girls blouse’, so don’t tell him I told you that.

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 Pippin puts Brutus in his place

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

‘Brutus, Pippin is on the phone for you, I think it is about Sunday’ Rocky shouted to Brutus who was busy chewing Tony Abbotts genitals (his Tony Abbott doll silly!)

‘I am a champion and I am going to win the Good Boy Award’ The Good Boy Award is something that I have invented; that I award to Brutus to make him feel special, I taught him that months ago and he has never forgotten it either.

He gets that award every month, sometimes twice a month and all I can say is it is a good job there is no trophy attached to it, as my house would be full of them.

‘Brutus, are you listening – Pippin is on the phone for you!’ Rocky said sharply and dropped the phone on Brutus’s bed and walked off to his own bed to finish his carrot.

‘Hi Pippin, are you excited? I am excited, god I am so excited I might have gastro’ Brutus said happily.

‘Brutus, I am really sorry lad but I have some bad news for you’ Pippin said quietly.

lure coursing

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

Brutus sat quietly clutching the phone and his happy smiling face just fell and his jowls sagged and his bottom lip hung down like the bottom of a wash hand basin.

‘But that’s not fair’ Brutus stuttered to Pippin down the phone.

‘I know lad, I know but we can’t control the weather’ Pippin tried to reason with the heartbroken young dog who simply could not and would not understand why his most favourite event next to washing Vader’s genitals had been cancelled.

‘Brutus, are you OK?’ Pippin said after a few minutes.

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A distraught Brutus takes to his bed

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

But there was no answer because Brutus had dropped the phone on the floor, gone back to his bed and had curled up clutching his Tony Abbott doll and a crumpled photo of him with his friends at the polo grounds at the last lure coursing meet.

And quite suddenly the big brown dog looked very small, very sad and actually quite vulnerable.

Rocky went over to Brutus to check on him, he was going to call him a ‘girly arsed bastard’ for taking it so bad but when he saw Brutus’s normally happy face look so resigned, he thought better of it and went back to his own bed.

At the House of Mouse

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Mouse Norris – checking out UK greyhound Derby winners

(Photography by Jet Ska)

Mouse was lying on her bed while looking at pictures of greyhound derby winners of the UK. Pretending that the news didn’t bother her, she faked a non-committal smile as Barbie kept stuffing her snout up Benders bum.

‘You OK Mouse?’ Bender asked his sister who was staring vacantly at the wall.

(no answer)

‘I think she is upset’ Barbie nodded to Bender.

‘I think you are right although it’s only lure coursing, god knows why she loves it so much’ Bender sighed.

And if looks could turn a dog to turd, Bender would be diarrhea with the look that Mouse gave him.

At QLD Headquarters – Barney’s House

‘Yes Pippin, I will pass on the news. Devastating my friend, we all know how the dogs look forward to their lure coursing and one can never turn down a piece of sausage either’ Kath said on the phone to Pippin.

‘What was that all about?’ Ruby the kelpie asked as Kath the greyhound got off the phone.

‘Lure coursing has been cancelled in Perth due to bad weather predicted for Sunday’ Kath said in a sad voice.

Barney, who was lying on his back doing silent farts, suddenly sat upright and said ‘That is tragic, we should declare it a National Disaster’.

And for once, Kath and Ruby agreed with him.

Barney the Supervisor

Barney declares it a National Disaster

(Photography by Sandra Burrows)

Somewhere in the Northern Territory where the crocs are big, the kangaroos have attitude and the dingoes do roam

A couple of dingoes were having a beer and a joint around the campfire; several kangaroos were hanging around as well. It is like that in the outback you see – all the animals socialize together and don’t have the hang-ups about differences that we humans have.

‘Have you heard that the lure coursing has been cancelled for Perth?’ One large red kangaroo said in between swigging his beer and inhaling on his joint.

The dingoes looked up in shock ‘Really, are you serious – now that is a disaster’ One of the dingoes replied.

The kangaroos nodded in agreement while one muttered ‘Poor bastards’

And with that sentiment, they all took a mouthful of beer and shook their heads in sympathy.

Pippin’s House

A huge video conference call on the same scale as the Fastest Dog in Australia Finals was taking place in Pippin’s house. Wide screen computers, laptops – Skype calls on mobiles, you name it – Pippin’s house was the hub of activity.

‘But Pippin, what are we going to do on Sunday now we are not lure coursing?’ Poppy the Chinese Crested demanded to know.

Poppy Tanya Bennett

Poppy the Chinese Crested pup

(Photography by Tanya Bennett)

Shimmer the poodle was smoking a French cigarette in one of those glamorous plastic holders, her husky voice from too much brandy and smoke filled the air and for effect she put on a French accent to gain attention.

‘We must have something to do on Sunday’ Shimmer said in a loud voice sounding like a mix of Gerard Depardieu and Manu from ‘My Kitchen Rules’.

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Shimmer the poodle (with a French accent0

(Photography by Jeni Sach)

Penny the Scottie dog appeared oblivious to the whole drama and was now handing out Tunnocks Tea Cakes and shortbread which have been known to solve all problems in the world, just as any Scottish person the power of a Tunnocks Tea Cake and shortbread.

‘Would you like a tea cake?’ Penny asked Rocco in her soft Scottish accent that made one think of the old program ‘Take the High Road’.

‘What’s a tea cake?’ Rocco asked and before Penny could answer, grabbed one and swallowed it whole so that his slender neck had a sort of round shape halfway down – just like in a cartoon.

Penny

Penny the Scotty dog

(Photography by Studio Joy)

‘That’s it, I am going to shit the bed’ Rogue the Staffie threatened.

Brutus who had decided to join the conference call grinned at that point and offered to give Rogue tips; after all he was king of ‘shit the bed’ and could do it to order.

‘Well I for one am furious and demand to see my lawyer’ Chewy shouted as Millie the Border collie barked in agreement.

 Chewy

Chewy threatens lawyers

(Photography by Studio Joy)

Dee’s ridgebacks were too lazy to join the conference call but were yelling suggestions in the background much to Pippin’s horror. You all know Pippin, he likes things organized and everyone has their turn and there is a turn for everyone.

‘Mouse, any suggestions for Sunday?’ Pippin asked Mouse who was staring at her painted toenails and admiring them.

Shrugging her shoulders Mouse replied that no, she had no suggestions unless anyone had a cork to put up Benders arse to stop him farting.

‘Rocco – do you have anything to say?’ Pippin asked the angry Italian greyhound who was having an ‘angry-contest’ with Bentley who I may add gives Rocco a run for his money with Tourette’s as he has been known to run around the park insulting much bigger dogs and shouting things like ‘turd head’ at them.

Bentley

Bentley the Italian Greyhound, he is prone to swearing and outbursts like Rocco

(Photography by Denise Pringle)

Ignoring Pippin, Rocco carried on talking to Bentley about an article they had read; called ’20 ways to insult a Labrador’.

Pippin clapped his paws together and said ‘OK then, if there is nothing more to be said, then we shall all plan for the next meeting in October and insist on double helpings of burgers as compensation for Sunday’s meet being cancelled.

‘Oh yes, and it has been decided by myself as head of the Iggy Group and general organizer of nothing in particular, that Brutus should win the Good Boy Award for this month’ Pippin added smiling at Brutus who was busy chewing his feet.

‘What again? He is the only one that wins that award’ Rocco snorted with laughter.

‘Shhhh, don’t upset him, he is still a baby and you know he throws himself on the floor and makes himself sick. Let him have his pretend award’ Nica hissed to Rocco as quietly as she could without Brutus overhearing.

Madam Gigi shook her head in disapproval, really Rocco was getting quite raucous and since he had made friends with Bentley, he had started wearing leather jackets and tight white T shirts and both boys had called themselves the ‘T Birds’ just like in the movie Grease and would chew gum in an insolent manner and smooth their ears back with hair gel.

Brutus reminds me of a racing greyhound I saw on TV in the UK once. This dog was the slowest dog ever so his trainer decided to run him on his own, complete with a crowd cheering and then praised him for being a winner and he even had his own trophy. Although the dog didn’t actually win any race as such, he was so pleased to hear the crowd cheering and get his trophy, he didn’t care that he was actually the slowest dog in the world.

That is how Brutus is you see, each time he gets the Good Boy Award, he is so proud and really believes it is real and of course in my eyes – it is.

All dogs deserve the Good Boy Award at some point in their lives and the more often you recognize them as ‘Good Boys’ (or girls), the better.

Good boy

Brutus prays for his Good Boy Award

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

‘Did I really win that award?’ Brutus looked confused, staring at his friends on the conference calls, they all had enough compassion to agree that yes, he had won the Good Boy Award.

Brutus wagged his tail so hard and grinned at Benny the Pharaoh hound on video call and whispered ‘You see, I am a good boy’.

‘Right, if nobody has anything to say, then I declare this crisis meeting over’ Pippin smiled and then put his notepad down and 3 of his 6 mobile phones.

‘I have something I would like to say’ Rocco shouted loudly.

Sighing, Pippin responded ‘Yes Rocco’.

IMG_6577 Rocco has the last word

(Photography by Samantha Rose)

‘Bollocks, great big fat hairy bollocks – to the lot of ya’ Rocco yelled and then flashed his bum to the camera.

And with that every dog in every house that was connected to that call, burst out laughing and clapped in appreciation of Rocco’s sense of humour and personality.

And that my friends; is how the meeting ended – on a good note which is how it always ends with these dogs.

They love their lure coursing; they love the socialization, the treats, the fuss, and the attention – catching up with their friends.

It’s not just a sport, it is a date for our social diaries both humans and dogs alike where after each meet, we all regroup on Facebook and dissect the day and discuss the funny moments and what our dogs got up to.

At each meeting you can guarantee that at least one dog will escape and make its bid for freedom. You can be assured that at least one dog will steal a sausage to the cheers and approval of their mates.

You can bet your life that Dee’s famous chocolate cake will be gone in seconds and everyone will enjoy the sausages/burgers as diets will be forgotten – because what happens at lure coursing stays at lure coursing (especially calories).

So now our dogs have sorted out their social calendar and have quickly moved on, it is over to you guys.

What shall we do this Sunday?

Have a lovely weekend.

Thank you to Amy from Studio Joy for kindly allowing me to use her beautiful photographs.  Amy works tirelessly at West Coast Dog Sports spending hours taking photographs of our dogs and it is much appreciated by everyone.

If you are Perth based and are looking for an animal photographer, you can contact Amy via her Facebook page:

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

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright September 2014

All photographs are copyright, please do not reproduce or copy without the consent of the individual photographer.

The Night Before Lure Coursing August 2014

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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.

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(Photography by Jet Ska)

‘But I want to enter, they cannot possibly run the course if I am not there’ The little white greyhound sobbed dramatically and threw herself on the floor and pretended to faint while Barbie fanned her with a bit of paper and muttered ‘Now see what you have done!.

The mere thought of NOT lure coursing on Sunday was too much for Mouse to contemplate, perhaps they could erect a life size cut out in her absence or maybe she could be placed in a buggy and paraded up and down so people could cheer her on? She would ask Brutus and get his opinion.

It took a whole heap of comforting from her owner in order to calm her down and even the promise of another exploding bed could not placate her, she wanted to go to lure coursing and that was that and Mouse had already decided to go on a hunger strike for 2 hours to make a few ribs stick out – that would teach them!

Pippin’s House

Pippin was on his computer checking the weather page for updates.  As the last meeting was cancelled, every dog known to man had gone in to a serious decline as it had been so long since their last lure coursing meet up, would they even remember each other?

‘Well, it says it will be OK in the morning but in the late afternoon there could be showers, but nothing is carved in stone as they say!’ Pippin said firmly and then took a delicate sip of water followed by a wiping of his pointy snout on his fleecy blanket.

‘I heard at the last meet, that all the dogs were blown away and that Vader and Brutus were actually blown along with Melissa’s Stafford’s down the Nullabor’ Bronte said in a matter-of-fact voice.

Pippin rolled his eyes and replied ‘Don’t exaggerate Bronte, everyone knows that Melissa’s Stafford’s floated away across the field on a bench and that Dee’s ridgebacks ended up in QLD’.

Bronte sighed and peered over Pippin’s shoulders to check out the weather for herself, after all – if this event ends up getting cancelled, she might be forced to do ‘whizzies’ round the garden, but then again, she does that anyway so perhaps not.

(sounds of Pippin’s phone ringing)

‘Hello? Mouse, good to hear from you, how was the holiday – all ready for Sunday?’ Pippin said in a super efficient which he reserved as a ‘special phone voice’ to impress people.

‘What do you mean?  That isn’t possible – out of condition?, you have to come, even the lure won’t run without you!’ Pippin squeaked, his normal ‘cool’ reduced to flustered.  Pippin hated it when his routine was messed up, he was ‘Mr Organized’ personified and if Mouse wasn’t going to lure coursing then he would have to re-organize everyone’s diaries.

Placing his fountain pen behind his ears, Pippin pursed his lips and started checking his iPhone to see just what he could do to make things ‘fit’.  Actually Pippin didn’t need to make anything ‘fit’ as the day would run wonderfully – providing there was no rain, but you all know Pippin, he is a super organized ‘Personal Assistant of Life’ and would have God himself organized if he could, actually I believe he does have God organised as God told me he did.

But that was OK, Pippin still had Brutus and Vaders diaries to re-arrange not to mention keeping the other Italian greyhounds in order – especially Rocco who has dreadful Tourettes and can be seen on the lure coursing grounds swearing and barking at any dog that cares to listen and any dog that doesn’t and his favourite word is ‘bollocks’.

Pippin was secretly very excited about lure coursing because there is nothing quite like a gang of Iggies trying to run down the track, well we can’t count Fletch in this as Fletch makes it his mission to go as slow as possible.

It will also be Pippin’s first race since the ‘Fastest Dog in Australia’ competition and the other Iggies have planned to cheer him on when it comes to his turn to run so as you see, it is all going to kick off on Sunday at lure coursing – providing of course, it does not rain.

IMG_6184Pippin – in charge of everything really!

‘Pippin?’ Bronte asked her little brother.

‘Yes Bronte?’ Pippin replied.

‘Do you think it will rain?’ Bronte sighed, her little face so pointy that you could have dipped her snout in ink and written the word ‘Iggy’ with it.

‘Don’t know Bronte, I just don’t know’ Pippin sighed and crossed his little paws so tightly and secretly prayed that the rain would limit to falling on Tony Abbott’s head.

At Vader’s house

Vader and Brutus were having a play date which normally involves pulling down the underwear on Vader’s toys (yes toys wear undies), running round the garden, humping one another, arguing over a cows hoof and urinating over each other.

10606318_684483248306391_3219564786319427487_nCaught with its pants down and yes, the dogs did it!

‘I don’t know what I will do if it rains, is there any way we can stop it?’ Brutus asked Vader before pissing on his head.  Brutus was feeling quite fretful and totally devastated at the thought of not seeing his friends, let alone trying out the full course which involved corners/turns.

Vader lifted his head and stared at his new invisible boxer friend that he called ‘Frugal McGuff’.

Yes, I am afraid that Vader has an invisible friend that he often barked with, played with and argued with and his name was Frugal and I can testify that as I often hear Vader barking at fresh air in his garden and have come to accept the fact that dogs have invisible friends too.

And please don’t laugh at this, I bet you all had invisible friends as a child – I know I did, mine was called ‘Mr Manager’ who lived in Switzerland which was actually a camp that my Dad built out of sticks in the lane.  I used to ride invisible horses around the estate with my best friend Nicola and we had the rising-trot down to an art form as well as slapping our thighs with a stick, but let’s not go there please as it is quite frankly embarrassing.

‘Vader do you love Frugal McGuff more than me?’ Brutus asked Vader.  That was a hard one as Vader really did seem to enjoy arguing with his invisible friend and could be heard from over the fence barking and growling at him or with him and this made Brutus feel very insecure indeed.  Brutus doesn’t have an invisible friend as such, but he does have a strange relationship with his toys and can be heard growling at them so I guess it is the same really.

Vader looked at Frugal and then at Brutus, he couldn’t quite make his mind up as Brutus was not with him 24/7 but Frugal McGuff could be wherever he imagined him to be.  Frugal never judged him for making his beds explode and Frugal even took the blame for Vader’s naughtiness and Frugal never took the piss out of Vader’s exceedingly long tongue that was comparable to a slice of Christmas ham – as to quote Denise Pringle.

10577070_10152272532608317_899915858575841282_nVader – tongue like a Christmas ham!

However, Brutus was his best friend and nobody pissed on his head quite like Brutus did so that had to be something to consider surely?

‘I love Frugal’ Vader said with his huge fat tongue getting in the way.  Brutus’s face crumpled; did he love him (Brutus) as well?

‘But I love you more and we will be best friends forever and ever!’ Vader grinned and then washed Brutus’s jowls which made Brutus so happy that he had no choice other than to piss down his own legs with excitement.

10551075_683596318395084_4256826329900557973_nBest friends forever and ever!

‘Vader?’ Brutus asked the little boxer.

‘Yes Brutus?’ Vader replied while trying to reorganize his tongue and make it fit in his mouth.

‘Do you think it will rain on Sunday?’ Brutus asked again, thinking if he asked the question often enough, it would emphasize just how important it was for it to NOT rain on Sunday.

 Vader looked thoughtfully at Brutus before picking up one of his toys, ‘Nope, I don’t think so’

‘But how can you tell?’ Brutus demanded impatiently.

‘Because it’s lure coursing day!’ Vader replied simply.

And nothing more was said on the subject as both boys decided to sniff the same spot of dirt to find out if anything exciting had left its mark since they last sniffed it five minutes ago.

Dee Cole’s House

Dee was busy making some of her famous cakes which she knew would go down well as they always did.  There are absolutely zero calories in her cakes, once you cut the cake the calories fall out and that has been scientifically proven by some expert so I hear.

Dee’s ridgebacks were pretending to be good dogs but secretly Mac was planning how he could do ‘the great escape’ again and was trying to orchestrate an enormous large gust of wind to tip the crates over.

This was proving a problem as gusts of wind are not that easy to come by and it is not as though you can buy them in ‘Big W’ either.  Then it was suggested that Brutus be fed some Savoy cabbage and baked beans so that he could create a suitable gust of wind.  But as Brutus is known to follow a fart by explosive diarrhoea, Bailey quickly corrected Mac and the idea was canned.  It was no good, they would have to find their way to the kitchen by other means.

‘I am so excited I might be sick’ Mac muttered under his breath so that the puppies couldn’t hear it.

‘I hope we have nice weather’ Bailey replied.

And with that both dogs said nothing, they just sat there staring at Dee as she baked cakes, while making secret plans for a mass crate escape and a hostile takeover of the kitchen area and BBQ and taking all the sausages hostage.

At Sandra Burrow’s House – QLD

Kath the greyhound, Barney the big brindle horse/dog mix and Ruby the kelpie were having a chilled night in round Sandra’s house while playing the ‘Guess who?’ game.

All the dogs had a piece of paper stuck to their forehead while the other dogs had to give hints as to what or who was drawn on the paper, it is actually a very popular game amongst the dogs you know.

‘It’s white, woolly, makes a baahahahah noise and it gets its feet nipped’ Ruby the kelpie yelled in excitement to Barney.

‘A tampon on a string!’ Barney shouted with such excitement that he let out a huge fart which embarrassed him so much that he started noisily cleaning his genitals so Kath couldn’t see him blushing.

‘Barney you are SO disgusting!’ Kath said and wrinkled her long slender nose in disgust.  Greyhounds simply do not fart, they let out ‘puffs’ of air that smell of Sunday dinner farts, or if you don’t have Sunday dinner, then compare it to pumpkin farts as they too can be quite vile to inhale.

‘No it’s a sheep silly, not a tampon!’ Ruby sighed impatiently and then ran around the living room to herd up the cushions to show Barney how it was done.

‘You lot are SO childish!’ Kath said, shaking her head in disapproval before jumping off the sofa totally forgetting that she had a white sticker on her head with ‘Celine Dion’ written on it.

‘Don’t you want to know who you are meant to be?’ Barney shouted to Kath who was now in the garden behind her favourite bush squatting down to take a piss.

Barney and Ruby were patiently waiting for Kath to finish her toileting so they could get on with their favourite game.

Kath sighed ‘If you must, give me a clue’, then proceeded to dig up the grass with her hind legs and scatter soil everywhere.

‘Horse face Titanic Canadian’ Ruby the kelpie giggled as she said the clue to Kath.

Looking confused Kath replied ‘What the heck are you on about Ruby?’

‘Horse face Titanic Canadian’ Ruby repeated.

‘I know, I know! Black Caviar the racehorse!’ Barney shouted.  Not being the brightest dog on the block and a little bit ‘Brutus’ in the way of ‘gentle giant but not so smart’ title, Barney was so excited that he could even put out a clue, despite him not grasping the game that it wasn’t his turn to guess.

‘I give up, let’s go inside – ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ is on shortly and I want to watch Dr Harry’ Kath said firmly and walked inside with her sticker still on her head.

Ruby looked momentarily boot-faced but then agreed that they should go in as it would soon be tea time and she too liked watching Better Homes and Gardens especially when sheep and naughty dogs were involved.

The three dogs took their places on their favourite chairs, Kath had put her spectacles on so she could watch TV, Barney was lying on his back while flashing his genitals and periodically farting in between washing his anus and Ruby the kelpie was cuddled up to her toy sheep and occasionally nipping it to ‘keep it in its place’.

‘You know what day it is tomorrow?’ Ruby asked Kath.

‘Sunday’ Kath replied without looking up and then said ‘Why?’.

‘It’s West Coast Dog Sports lure coursing day in Western Australia, remember the last day Noah had to get his arc out as the day was a washout and dog were blown away and were seen floating down the Swan River on wooden crates, that is what I was told’ Ruby replied.

Barney stopped washing his bum and looked up ‘Oh yes, I heard they were meeting up, I had forgotten about that’.

Kath nodded approvingly and said ‘Well I hope they have a good day, it is a total tragedy when these events get cancelled and dogs can go into full depression when their lure coursing days don’t happen’.

‘Well I hear that it is going to be a beautiful day in Perth that day, wish I could come and meet all those Perth dogs, don’t you Kath?’ Ruby sighed and then went back to chewing on her toy.

‘Right everyone, quiet now – Dr Harry is on and I want to see the segment on stopping dogs digging the garden’ Kath said firmly and then spread her hind legs out like butter and her front legs to the skies like Superman as she stretched out in true greyhound fashion.

(Sandra Burrows walks in the door)

‘Hi dogs, I hope you have been good – who has been farting in here, is that you Barney?’ Sandra greeted the dogs that she had so lovingly trusted to have a ‘doggy night’ on their own.

‘I’ve got it, I’ve got it!’ Barney shouted at the top of his brindle voice.

‘What have you got – fleas?’ Kath said impatiently.

‘Titanic Horse Face Canadian – Celine Dion’ Barney snorted with laughter and carried on snorting despite Ruby nipping his feet to make him shut up.

‘That is SO not funny, I hate Celine Dion’ Kath said sounding totally fed up, her pointy snout appearing more sharp with ‘pissed-off-ness’, pulling the note off her head with her front paws, Kath looked the epitome of a dog with all the wounded pride of being called ‘Celine Dion’.

‘I know, I know, Barney shut up, that is SO not funny’ Ruby said to Barney while trying not to laugh.

‘Yes it is’ Barney snorted with laughter and ran inside before Ruby could nip him again.

Suddenly Kath received a text message on her mobile, this was most unusual for so late this evening but it must be urgent.  Glancing down at her phone she saw the message ‘It’s me Pippin, I need to speak to you urgently!’

Kath who had Pippin’s number on speed dial, called the Italian greyhound to find out what the problem was.

‘Hi Pippin everything OK?’ Kath said in a concerned voice and then yelled ‘Barney will you stop it, I am trying to have a serious discussion with Pippin’ Kath said in her best superior voice.  She was looking over the top of her spectacles now which always heralded that she was cross.

‘Kath, I have just had some bad news – thought you should know….’ Pippin said trying very hard to be strong.

Barney and Ruby could see Kaths face change from her normal greyhound expression to one of great sadness and it was a look that each and every dog knew and understood and nothing more needed to be said.

‘Oh Pippin, I am so very sorry – give my regards to the group’ Kath said now looking visibly upset.

‘We have only just found out ourselves this evening Kath so it is a shock for all of us but I will keep you posted how it goes tomorrow, it is going to be quite a sad day and even the humans don’t know about our plans as they have been so last minute but suffice to say that tomorrow we will be officially racing for a reason’.  Pippin replied.

‘Well it is lovely what the West Coast dogs are planning, but I don’t envy you on keeping it together, I know I couldn’t’ Kath said quietly.

‘I am sure you could Kath, I am sure you could – anyway, speak soon’ Pippin nodded trying not to show any emotion but we all know Pippin, the harder Pippin tries to be, the more we know that he is hurting.

‘Oh, Pippin, just one more thing before you go!’ Kath shouted at the computer.

‘Yes Kath?’ Said Pippin.

‘Good luck mate – with everything and do it for all of us in QLD!’ Kath nodded and just for once, Ruby and Barney sat quietly behind her and said nothing.

‘You OK Kath?’ Ruby asked Kath.

‘Yep, just got something in my eyes, that is all – I think it is a bit of grass or something, damn grass gets everywhere’ Kath said quietly and shuffled off to her bed.

Ruby and Barney nodded in sympathy because if you looked at them; they also had ‘something’ in their eyes and they too, needed a quiet moment to reflect, remember and wish with all their hearts that they could be in Perth on Sunday to join their friends in what was going to be a remarkable act of canine solidarity and support.

At Vader’s House

Vader sat subdued by his bed – nothing interested him, not even his toys.  He didn’t know what to say so he said nothing and even saying nothing, even doing nothing – hurt him.

IMG_6292

Vader 

At Brutus’s House

Brutus and Rocky had also heard the news that had filtered via Pippin that evening and unable to process it, both dogs had gone to their respective beds to make sense of it all.

1555567_686108731477176_3335147694028628897_n

Brutus and Rocky discuss the news

Brutus was hugging his Tony Abbott doll and Rocky was curled up with his gingerbread man, both boys were uncharacteristically quiet.

10557318_10152286936003317_3056136339060035171_n

When only his Tony Abbott toy will comfort Brutus

‘Rocky?’ Brutus whispered quietly.

‘Yes Brutus’ Rocky replied.

‘Will I be a brave boy tomorrow?’ Brutus asked.

Rocky took a deep breath before he replied ‘Yes Brutus, I am sure you will, and Vader will as well’

‘I don’t want to cry, what happens if I cry?’ Brutus asked Rocky.

You could just make out the shadows of Rocky’s huge kelpie ears as he sat up, the moon shone brightly into the living room making ‘kelpie shadows’ by Rocky’s bed.

‘All dogs cry and providing you cry when it counts, it makes you a brave dog so please don’t worry about it’ Rocky said to reassure Brutus.

‘I don’t care about the race, I just hope I am a brave boy tomorrow – that is all’ Brutus sighed.

‘I am sure you will be’ Said Rocky.

‘Goodnight Rocky’ Brutus sniffed a few minutes later.

‘Goodnight lad and do us proud tomorrow’ Rocky replied.

But Brutus never heard that bit as he was fast asleep while clutching his Tony Abbott doll and dreaming about lure coursing, how painful life can be and absent friends.

Winston

This story is dedicated to Winston who crossed over to Rainbow Bridge far sooner than he should have done.

I would like to thank Winston’s owner Vanessa, for kindly allowing me to pay this tribute to Winston whom I had the pleasure to see at the recent Lure Coursers Anonymous lure coursing event at the Naval Base near Rockingham.

Winston had such fun with his lure coursing and was a joy to watch and even won a trophy on the day.

10527793_10204208507160793_4253338970763154421_n

Winston proudly displaying his trophy.

(Photography by Vanessa Pusey)

Racing for a reason

So tomorrow we shall go to our lure coursing event, we shall have fun, we shall catch up with friends.  Our dogs will have fun and enjoy themselves and no doubt have a blast as they chase the lure.

But when they do it, my guess is that if I know the characters that frequent my stories and I think I do, they will not only run for themselves – but they will sure as hell do it for Winston and they will ‘race for a reason’.

Next instalment to follow.

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright August 2014

All photography is copyright by myself, Jet Ska and Vanessa Pusey.

 

 

 

 

A Day at the Races

1688057_10152385410912652_1298145600_nBrutus and Vader enter their first Lure Coursing Event (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

This is a story of Brutus and Vader and their first attempts at lure coursing at Guildford Polo Grounds, Western Australia.

1619285_10152411120332652_747625567_nThe next coursing event 

Brutus is my dog – a kelpie/ridgeback mix and I also have Rocky who is a kelpie.  Vader the boxer is my friend Lexies dog and also Brutus’s best friend.

We decided to take them Lure coursing which is a totally fun event aimed at all breeds of dog, they can run solo or with other dogs.

This is the story as how I see it, as usual if you have followed my previous animal blogs, you will see that I animate my animals, make them talk, have an adult sense of humour and yes, at times they use bad language.  I aim my stories at adults to indulge the child within and make them laugh.

Warning – this blog is not suitable for children, or if you would like to read it to your child, that is fine but you will need to remove some of the language that my pets tend to use.

In the car with Lexie – Vader’s owner, myself and Brutus

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus asked impatiently and for the millionth time as Lexie drove us to the Guildford Polo Grounds for the lure coursing event.

‘No Brutus, we are not there yet’ Lexie replied patiently.

‘Are we even nearly there yet?’ Vader asked in his boxer voice – any boxer dog owner will tell you that boxers talk in a certain way which is with an exceptionally fat tongue and rather slow. Just like kelpies talk really quickly and manage to throw the words ‘tennis ball’ or ‘sheep’ in between each sentence.

Greyhounds/whippets/Italian greyhounds tend to talk in a posh English accent whilst Jack Russell terriers speak in a sort of eccentric public school accent and discuss rabbits and stuff.

Anyway as usual I digress – I am terrible for doing that so you must all excuse me.

‘No Vader, we are not nearly there yet’ I told the impatient boxer who looked quite upset at my response.

‘I am bored, I am so bored – can anyone help me, I am bored’ Vader said with his tongue getting caught up in his mouth as it was far too big.

Brutus looked upwards as though it would have all the answers ‘Lick the windows, that’s what we usually do when we are bored’ he said happily and then began licking the windows of Lexie’s car.

Vader looked thoughtful and after a few seconds, decided that yes, licking the windows constituted a sport and one that he was quite good at.

Two special dogs licking the windows – very nice until Brutus realised that Vader had some sort of skin irritation under his mouth and thought that he could clean it very well thank you while Vader patiently let the young pup wash him.

1939620_604746629613387_1059845108_n‘Brutus cleans Vader’s jowls’

On arrival at the polo grounds the boys were met with an array of strange but exciting smells including “fresh bitch”, dog urine and hot dogs.

‘Are we there yet?’ Brutus and Vader yelled together, they were so excited that one of them farted and neither would own up as it smelt so foul, in fact I was sure that one of them had shat themselves except there was no evidence.

The scene was a hub of activity – greyhounds jogging round the track and showing off to all those slower than themselves, Italian greyhounds doing test runs; a couple of Irish wolfhounds were also warming up by jumping around and bouncing in a way that only an Irish wolfhound can do.

Some huskies were barking their heads off and discussing sled dog racing and a border collie was doing squat jumps whilst a Jack Russell terrier timed him on a stop watch.

‘What was my time?’ The border collie said in a breathless voice.

’40 secs’ The JRT replied looking very important with the stop watch round his neck.

‘Bollocks, I am down on my last time’ The collie said looking disappointed.

‘Yep but only by two seconds, you will beat the arse off the huskies for sure’ The JRT said confidently and then mouthed ‘Fuck off’ to the huskies that were eying him up in bitchy fashion.

A couple of Rhodesian ridgeback bitches sat in their cages, looking rather regal and majestic as they were sipped their water while discussing the lions in Africa, not that they hunted lions but it was what their ancestors used to do so it was only fair that they discussed it.

‘And she reckoned she brought down 14 lions in one day’ One of the bitches said to her friend in the next cage.

‘Well I heard it was only 10 but you know what she is like, prone to lying of course’ the other dog said.

Glancing round for a distraction, one of the ridgeback bitches spotted Brutus who was literally glued to the spot in awe of all these other important and athletic looking dogs all doing their own prep for the race.

‘Well hello there, and who is your father?’ The ridgeback bitch giggled at Brutus who looked like a cross between a kangaroo and Scooby Doo.

Brutus blushed and elbowed Vader in the ribs for support, he had never in his puppy long-legged life seen quite so many dogs at one point and to be honest, he felt more than a little intimidated and he also felt upset about being asked about his father who was rumoured to be very good at herding sheep I’ll have you know.

‘Hey, Scooby Doo, I said who’s your father?’ The other ridgeback bitch giggled from her cage.

It was no good, Brutus would have to answer the question, feeling totally out of his depth he really wanted Vader’s support in this matter but Vader was busy being admired by people and proudly displaying his long tongue.

Taking a deep breath, Brutus replied in his surprisingly deep voice ‘My Mum is a ridgeback and my Daddy is a kelpie’

The two ridgeback bitches stared at each other in surprise and after what seemed like ages, nodded approvingly and smiled at Brutus.

‘Well you do look a bit odd but I guess you can join our gang’ the large bitch replied.
‘Where’s your ridge?’ the smaller bitch asked accusingly, she had a ridge and rather a splendid one at that, where was Brutus’s ridge?

‘Oh I only get my ridge on for special occasions’ Brutus blurted out. He didn’t actually have a ridge and it was his hackles that he got out for special occasions but his response was enough to shut the dogs up and keep them happy.

‘Never heard of that before but that’s OK, we like you’ the smaller bitch said happily before taking another drink from her water bowl. Really she was rather glamourous.

Brutus smiled gratefully, he had always wanted to be in a gang – anyone’s gang would do.

‘Do you chase lions?’ The bigger of the ridgeback bitches asked Brutus.

‘No, I don’t’ Brutus replied and then added ‘Do you have a Tony Abbott doll?’

1958211_597413007013416_1230134635_nBrutus is very proud of his Tony Abbott doll

The ridgebacks looked at one another confused; ‘Tony Abbot – why would I have a Tony Abbott doll?’ One mouthed to the other and the next minute they had decided that they were bored with Brutus and went back to discussing lion hunting in Africa and in their own unique way, dismissed Brutus leaving him clumsily fiddling with his collar and kicking the grass wondering what to do next.

Vader in the meantime was busy taking in the scenery; he was the only boxer there and was quivering with excitement. He didn’t know whether or not to greet the other dogs, bash them up, snot on them or shit himself. Standing there with his tail held erect, he did his best ‘village idiot’ impression and let his tongue hang out of his mouth like a yard of wet ham.

1536547_10152378867352652_533518134_nVader the boxer (and his tongue) (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

Team Kelpie

A group of kelpies sat in the corner whilst discussing sheep trials. They barely showed any interest in the course and positively scorned at the greyhounds who were still doing squat jumps and warm ups for the race. Several of the kelpies were throwing tennis balls at one another to test their speed and reflex, each time a dog dropped the ball the others would laugh and cheer loudly.

‘I heard that the sheep were all disabled to give them the best chance’ said one tri coloured kelpie who was holding court to the rest of the kelpies.

‘Well I heard that she can’t even do backing and is meant to be a started worker’ a red cloud added to the conversation.

‘She can’t even herd up ducks so I have been told’ said a black kelpie in a sarcastic voice causing the other to laugh at the shock of it all.

‘Have you seen them – over there are a group of Alpacas?’ the tri coloured kelpie said in excitement whilst nodding to a group of Alpacas in the next field.

It was true, over the road was a group of Alpacas hanging out by the fence, just begging to be herded up and once Team Kelpie had spotted them, all thoughts of the race was abandoned.

Team Kelpie all ran over to where the Alpacas were and before you knew it, were discussing the logistics of herding and how quickly they reckoned they could do it. The Alpacas were quite antagonistic in their response and knowing that they were safe in their field, started moving around to annoy the kelpies who were barking in frustration at not being able to herd them up.

The sight-hounds were totally acing it really, they always did, they were so fast and effortless as though they ran down the track whilst chatting about shopping and stuff.

1658727_10152375231567652_304372915_oMaking it look easy! (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

The smaller dogs were arguing heatedly about who was going to go next and some were  literally smiling as they were enjoying themselves so much.

It was all so distracting and exciting for our boys, it was a wonder they didn’t piss have a meltdown with all the fuss going on around them.

1780801_10152375181802652_432395408_nLittle ones enjoying the day (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

Brutus and Vader

Brutus and Vader were looking nervously at the other dogs around them. Neither of them knew what to do or how to race and everyone else seemed so professional, they all knew what to do and just fitted in with everything while Brutus and Vader like new kids on the block, felt awkward.

‘If he doesn’t stop doing squats I am going to fart on his head’ Vader growled at a greyhound who was bouncing around like a twat.

1920464_10152378868727652_1128461753_nThe Greyhounds showing off with their fitness (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

Brutus wasn’t listening; he had sighted a beautiful Weimaraner bitch who was flirting with him. Blushing furiously, Brutus plucked up the courage to ask for her phone number which she willingly gave. Suddenly a vigorous game of ‘play bow’ and ‘sniff the genitals’ took place much to the jealousy of Vader who was barking hysterically asking Brutus to stop embarrassing him.

1924783_10152378882107652_1599347589_nBrutus and his new girlfriend (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

Vader isn’t really in to girls like Brutus and feels quite disgusted when Brutus looks up girls’ bottoms and has been known to throw jealous fits over it. Girls smell in Vaders eyes and the only thing girl dogs genitals are good for is to store your bones in.

Sitting down in the little chairs that Lexie had bought for us, we enjoyed a hotdog and a can of coke which I shared with Brutus. I knew it could give him diarrhoea but it was a treat and he enjoyed it so much and it was lovely to see him with sauce on his snout.

Brutus was very puppy like in his behaviour and spent a lot of time play bowing to other dogs and being very submissive which was nice as he posed no threat and there was no aggression shown to him by other dogs.

1969351_10152378887517652_1061023993_nBrutus gets her phone number! (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

Team Kelpie had now isolated themselves in the corner and were making elaborate plans for the Alpacas, there was even talk of breaking in to the field to herd them but that was only talk at that stage and I don’t think it actually happened.

We all registered for our races – we entered Brutus and Vader in for two races each – one solo and one with each other.

‘I am scared; I don’t know what to do’ Brutus whispered to me, and then stuffed his nose in my face and said ‘tell me what I have to do’.

‘You run Brutus, you chase the lure and you run’ I reassured him.

Vader and Lexie had gone down to the bottom for Vader’s first solo run and a guy very kindly held Brutus for me whilst I waited to catch Vader.

‘Mum, where have you gone – who is this man?’ Brutus shouted from the sides as the guy held him.

I had no time to placate him – the excitement had built up amongst the dogs.

The greyhounds quivered in excitement, some dogs were yelling and shouting at no-one in particular, there was barking and crying, even the ridgebacks had stopped gossiping to see what was going on.

‘Jesus Christ on a bike, would you take a look at the mouth flaps on that!’ A large husky shouted as Vader thundered down the track like a champion.

He was proud, his heart was bursting – he ran as though his life depended on it and he took his jowls with him as they flapped in the wind. He could hear his very own music – ‘Chariots of Fire’ and it was playing in his mind, he could hear it loud and clear.

People clapped and people cheered – we all did, it was pure joy to watch each dog run his/her heart out down that track and I was so proud of Vader.

‘They are clapping for me; I am going to win my race!’ Vader thought to himself, totally exhausted by his run but the applause just made him go faster until he and his jowls reached the end where he was caught.

None of us dared tell Vader the only one in ‘his race’ was himself and there was no-one to beat, we didn’t want to ruin it for him and he was so proud of himself and rightly so as well.

‘Well done Vader!’ Brutus shouted, he was thrilled for his friend and even the ridgeback bitches congratulated him.

It was a while before Brutus went down for his turn but while we were waiting; he made friends with a couple of whippets and enjoyed sniffing out their genitals and handing out his phone number. They seemed quite taken with the gentle giant and were amused by his baby-like behaviours to make himself non-threatening to the bigger dogs and utterly cute to the smaller ones.

Two large male ridgebacks sat in their cages – full of their own self importance, they were reading copies of dogs’ magazines and discussed dog shows and stuff and barely acknowledged Brutus as he went down for his race.

Brutus smiled at them nervously and was met with a brief acknowledgement and a nod from both dogs that then carried on with their conversation.

Soon it was Brutus’s turn and one of the ladies released him for me while I went to the end of the course to catch him.

‘Go on lad, you can do it’ A couple of greyhounds shouted in a sudden display of support and solidarity.

Team Kelpie barely lifted their heads to show interest, I had only seen one kelpie down the track while his mates yelled insults about sheep to him resulting in him mouthing ‘fuck off’ and flipping them the bird.

‘Everyone is looking at me’ Brutus sobbed as I started to run down the track and then added ‘Don’t leave me!’.

Ignoring him, I ran to the end and gave my hand signal to the lady that was holding him, he was released as the lure was set off and started to give chase.

I was so proud of my boy running down, somewhat distracted by the other dogs but he did his best and people cheered him on.

‘I did it, I won! Do I get a prize?’ Brutus shouted breathlessly as I put his collar back on.

It took some explaining to tell him that he wouldn’t get a prize and as we walked back, other dogs were telling him he had done well which pleased Brutus as he loves praise.

We rested the boys up to prepare them for their run with each other and Brutus played with his new girlfriend the Weimaraner bitch while Vader barked on in jealousy and flicked his snot everywhere.

‘That was fun, I loved that’ Vader said happily as he took treats from Lexie.

1974392_10151937673462136_983204_oBoys taking a rest (Photo by Lexie Goldsmith)

Because I had a thumping headache, I was consuming rather too much caffeine in the form of a can of “Mother” which always seems to help with headaches but suffice to say the rest was much needed.

‘Did you see the Italian greyhounds?’ Brutus asked Vader, he was over excited and talking super fast because he wanted to get all of his words out.

10007504_10152379103392652_988747498_nItalian Greyhounds getting into the spirit! (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

‘Legs that snap like carrots’ Vader muttered, he had no time for such tiny dogs that couldn’t take the rough and tumble of boxer-games.

The next race

Before long it was our turn for the next race and both Brutus and Vader were going to run together.

‘Right boys, let’s go’ Lexie and I announced to the dogs.

It was all getting rather serious and the other dogs were now drinking sports drinks and discussing the Olympic Games and agility and whether or not consuming roast kangaroo before a race constituted cheating.

Now I will say that although our boys are not sporty like the others, they did hold their own and were very well behaved and we were proud of them.

We took our place in the line to enter both of our boys and aside from Vader poking a large greyhound that growled back at him, it all went rather well. Vader denies that it was his fault and said the greyhound started it by calling him a ‘snub nose mucous mouth’ He was merely defending himself and accused the greyhound of having an eating disorder and ribs you could stack plates on.

‘Fuck you skinny legs’ Vader yelled when the greyhound told him to ‘fuck off’ and then added that he eats lots of food thank you and is blessed with naturally skinny genes.

‘Yeah right, your snout is so sharp we could chop wood with it!’ Vader shouted at the greyhound who was making exceedingly rude gestures to the angry boxer dog.

‘Vader will you stop it!’ Lexie told Vader off causing him to blush; he didn’t like being told off in public.

Brutus remained quiet, he was getting nervous again, or was it excitement? Perhaps it was both, so just to be safe, he farted.

Leaving the boys with Lexie, I ran to the end of the course ready to try and catch them – a thought that filled me with utter dread.

I gave the hand signal, the boys were then released and I will say that in their favour, they ran beautifully – Vader literally leaving the ground as he ran so fast and Brutus smiled his way down the track.

We cheered them on and even Team Kelpie showed some enthusiasm but that was only because they had heard that Brutus’s Dad is a kelpie so he constitutes in their eyes, half a kelpie and therefore should be supported. This also meant that once the ridgebacks had confirmed that the other half of Brutus was a ridgeback, they could cheer on that part of his breeding. Pedigrees can be so picky you know.

The greyhounds had tried to claim a part of Brutus for themselves on the grounds that he had very long legs but that idea was thrown out when they realised that Brutus had a penchant for cats – as in he loved them.

Brutus came back easily but Vader didn’t like the guy that tried to catch him and told him to ‘piss off’ and ran towards me but as the guy moved in the same direction, Vader swore and ran off, taking a few minutes to be caught by Lexie.

1536514_10152385412282652_1050285127_nBrutus and Vader – both ‘winning their own race’ (Photo by Mel Jones/Dee Cole)

A time to shine

We decided to go home after that, the boys were so exhausted they barely had the energy to jump in the car as they were that tired.

Kings they came home that day – they had ‘won’ their very own personal races, they had faced their challenges, they had made friends, told others to ‘fuck off’, they had stepped right out of their comfort zone and had mixed with dogs of all shapes and sizes and they had proven themselves as good boys.

On the way home they excitedly discussed their day and how much they enjoyed it, Brutus was extra happy as he had scored a few bitches phone numbers.

10009323_604817362939647_1738074733_nTired boys!

Back home

I helped Brutus out of the car to take him to the house and said goodbye to Lexie.

‘Catch ya later Vader’ Brutus grinned at Vader who was so tired he could barely lift his tongue back in his own mouth.

‘See you later, catch up next week?’ Vader asked hopefully.

Rocky always rubbishes Brutus when he has been away and he shouldn’t really as he has his treats and trips out – and even has a hydrotherapy session booked. An entire swimming pool booked for Rocky and Tess for a whole hour, toys provided, some might say he is too spoiled but Rocky would beg to differ.

Rocky pissed on Brutus’s head as soon as he saw him and bashed him up a bit and by ‘bashed up’ I mean roughed him up and when he had finished, he asked Brutus how his day had gone.

1017418_583764918378225_1871994407_nRocky and Brutus discuss the coursing!

I didn’t hear the whole conversation but overheard Brutus saying about ‘racing’ and ‘winning’ and in typical puppy fashion, by the time Brutus had finished telling his story, he was claiming to have raced with 5 greyhounds and had beaten them hands down.

But that was just Brutus trying to impress Rocky and Rocky knew Brutus was bullshitting but let him have his moment of glory anyway.

Later that night

Brutus was crashed out on his bed; barely able to move and was in such a deep sleep at one point, he must have been dreaming as I could see his legs twitching and his tail wagging in his sleep.

Vader was also exhausted and had told his own version of events to his sister Tess who also didn’t quite believe that Vader had beaten every dog in the event and was going to enter the Greyhound Derby as a boxer dog.

‘Rocky?’ Brutus asked Rocky later that evening.

‘Yes Brutus?’ Rocky replied.

‘You know that each dog has a job and your job is herding?’ Brutus asked.

Rocky looked thoughtful and after a few seconds replied ‘Yes’.

‘Well what is my job? If Dad was a kelpie and Mum was a ridgeback, what is my job?’ Brutus asked sounding confused. He wanted a job of his own like the greyhounds and huskies he met today at the lure coursing.

Rocky stared at him for a minute, realising that this was important to Brutus and that he needed his very own ‘job’.

‘Well lad, let’s say that you are a guard dog for the house and our family, you might not be a racing dog like those greyhounds, or a sled dog like the huskies or a sheep dog like myself but guard dog is just as important if not more so’ Rocky said to Brutus who was taking in every word.

Brutus thought for a moment and then satisfied with the answer, replied ‘Guard dog – I like the sound of that’.

And with that answer, Brutus was more than happy.

Because all dogs should have a ‘job’ and protecting the family is the most important job of all and Brutus does it so well – my very own ‘pedigree’ and I am so proud of him.

1534290_608138019274248_1581010844_n

The end

Samantha Rose (C) Copyright March 2014

Photographs Copyright (C) to Mel Jones/Dee Cole and Lexie Goldsmith March 2014

Rainbow Bridge – (a nice place for any pet to go)

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Rainbow Bridge – it’s wherever you imagine it to be

Today I want to discuss a place called Rainbow Bridge and most pet lovers/owners will know what I mean by that.

It is a place that our pets go to when they die and I know this because my pets have told me.  Whether or not you choose to believe in this is entirely up to you, after all we are all entitled to believe in what we like.

But I know one thing, when we as pet owners are forced to make the difficult decision of having our pets put to sleep, we know of several things;

1. We know that we are ending their pain and suffering

2. We know that we are doing this because we love them and although a hard and painful decision, we know it is for their best

3. And if we are taking steps to end their suffering then surely they are going to a better place?

Rainbow Bridge – you can see it and believe in it if you choose to.

This story is told by my animals and for those of you that follow this blog, will know that I make my animals talk and have social lives, I am a bit of a ‘Dr Doolittle’ if you like.  My stories are aimed at adults and often have adult content.

It is aimed at any pet owner who may be struggling to make the decision to send their pet on its final journey and I hope in some way, that it can make it easier to imagine and  realise that although owning a pet is incredibly painful when we have to say goodbye, it is also a privilege that can enrich our lives and teach us well, leaving us with wonderful memories to treasure.

1185291_609323642489019_183838132_nGordon patiently explains about Rainbow Bridge to Brutus

One day (last year) Brutus and Gordon were lying next to each other on the sofa chatting about life – they often did this and at that time, Brutus was much younger then and would positively drink any knowledge that the elderly ginger cat gave to him.

‘Gordon, what is Rainbow Bridge? I heard some dogs in the park talk about it one day, they were all really nice about it but said their owners were upset, what is it?’ Brutus asked Gordon who stared at the young pup intently.

‘What is Rainbow Bridge? – Well let me tell you but I warn you now, there is no quick or easy explanation’ Gordon replied, then wriggled around a bit and settled down so that he could see Brutus and talk to him.

‘Rainbow Bridge is a place that we animals go to when our time with our owners and our life on this earth is done, basically it is when our beating hearts can no longer beat’. Gordon started to say.

‘But where is it, is it in the park, can we walk there?’ Brutus asked Gordon who was now washing his anus in a quick interlude.

‘Oh we can’t get to it until we are sent there and our owners certainly can’t but we animals all know about it and what happens and if you close your eyes and imagine a place where no animal is hungry, no animal has pain, no animal has arthritis or any illness and there are toys and tennis balls and water and mud to play in, all the food we could want and every animal is happy, you get the idea’. Gordon replied.

Brutus looked confused, he had pretty much everything he loved including his Tony Abbott doll and he could never imagine being hungry, well actually he could because he got pretty hungry at meal times but he guessed that was different.

‘No-one should ever be afraid of going to Rainbow Bridge, it is just a lovely place for any pet to go to’ Gordon said firmly.

‘Do you know anyone that has gone there?’ Brutus asked Gordon.

Gordon went quiet for a few minutes, it was still difficult for him to talk about but as Brutus was asking the question, it meant that he was ready to hear the answer.

‘Firstly there was Juniper’ Gordon started to say and then said ‘Let me tell you about Juniper – that was when we lived in London’.

Brutus sat glued to his seat while Gordon explained about the little torti long haired cat called Juniper, whom he loved and cherished, washed and groomed, chased, bashed and just loved her – actually may I just add that I loved her and still to this day miss her and never quite got over her having to go to Rainbow Bridge before I considered her ready but that is another story.

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My beautiful tortoiseshell cat – Juniper

‘Juniper developed stomach problems one day and collapsed – it all happened very quickly and I remember Mum coming back from town and finding her lying on the carpet with her tummy swollen.

‘I knew something was wrong’ Gordon carried on speaking and Brutus carried on listening.

‘I remember asking her where she was going and she said to me in her quite torti voice ‘It is time for me to go to Rainbow Bridge’ and that was when I learned about Rainbow Bridge for myself and what it meant’.

ImageJuniper explains to Gordon about Rainbow Bridge

‘Of course I didn’t want her to go, I loved her and lived for her and even forgave her for sicking up a furball on my bed, she was a chatty cat who would talk to everyone and noone and it was only when the vet examined her and reckoned she was brain damaged that we realised why she was so special and would run around the house with dried turd stuck to her bum’. Gordon told Brutus.

‘What was wrong with her, couldn’t the vet help her?’ Brutus asked confused. He would have liked Juniper, he was sure of that.

‘Well I remember Mum having a look on her face, she was working as a veterinary nurse at the time and knew something was wrong, she picked up Juniper and placed her in the white basket that we still have to this day and got her in a taxi to rush her to the vet and that was the last I saw of her’.

‘Two days later, Mum was called to the vet as they had observed Juniper and had decided to open her up in an operation and Mum had to go and see Juniper before they did it’

‘Now I wasn’t there but Mum said she remembered seeing Junipers tortoiseshell coat through the frosty glass as the vet took her from the basket and Mum went in to give her a cuddle, I think they talked about ‘stuff’ but I don’t know what as Mum never told me’. Gordon said quietly – he was finding it a bit hard to remember this but could not admit it to Brutus.

‘All I know is that Mum came home with an empty basket and told me that Juniper had died of cancer that had and Mum had held her in her arms while she was sent to Rainbow Bridge.

‘The only thing she knew and all that any animal knows is when they leave this life and go on to the next, they do get to see a bit of their owners so that they can keep an eye on things until they know they are alright and this can often take a while’.

‘But how do you know what they see at Rainbow Bridge if you are still here?’ Brutus asked.

‘It is something that at some point in our lives, we just get told – just like I am telling you, I have told Rocky and Juniper told me and Junipers brother before me – Bruno the cat, told Juniper. It is a fact of life that comes to us all and a fine piece of knowledge to know’ Gordon said.

(Gordon held his leg high in the air as he washed his anus until he was ready to talk again)

‘Juniper had felt sick and had hidden it for so long that Mum and Dad didn’t have a clue and Juniper knew that when Mum came to the vet to see her before her operation, that it would be the last time she would see her and that is why they had their moment alone together.

‘Juniper felt a bit scared, she didn’t want to leave Mum and she clearly remembers Mum holding her and crying and that made it hard for Juniper to leave. But her body was no longer working and no longer ‘fit her enormous personality’ and really was not good for her anymore and Rainbow Bridge would make her young and fit again, although she was only eight years old, she could have a new lease of life where she would never age and never feel pain again’. Said Gordon.

‘Then what happened?’ Brutus asked.

‘Juniper suddenly saw herself on the vet table with Mum holding her, she looked down for a bit and then looked up and saw a group of cats asking her to go to them. The temptation was too much and as Juniper slowly started to walk to the cats above her, with each step, the pain got less until she reached the cats and there was no pain at all.

‘She didn’t know what to do but she knew she couldn’t go back down to Mum. She could see Mum holding a small torti cat and crying but it no longer felt like it was her – Juniper. She could also see beyond the group of cats, was a large field with all kinds of birds and butterflies and all things that cats like to chase and it looked like such a nice place, she really wanted to go in there.

‘Juniper followed the group of cats and went through the gate and was met with lots of other cats but the thing that surprised her the most, was she met with her brother who had died 18 months prior – Bruno the large black cat. In fact just after Bruno was sent to Rainbow Bridge, Mum was so upset that she went out and rescued me and I came into her life at 9 weeks old.

‘Juniper kept looking back to Mum, not knowing what to do but she knew Mum would be OK, she just knew it because Mum had already done the kindest thing and the only thing she could do and that was send her to Rainbow Bridge and anyone with that kind of strength to do what is right by their pet even though it hurts them as owners, is always going to be OK in life.

‘What happened then?’ Brutus asked Gordon.

‘Well, Juniper saw Bruno and ran up to him – he looked marvellous, so healthy and no sign of the illness that he had when he lived with Mum and Dad. Apparently Bruno greeted Juniper with an affectionate head butt and said ‘Hi Juniper, welcome to Rainbow Bridge’.

‘Juniper walked a bit hesitantly at first and then after a few minutes, was chasing bits of ribbon and butterflies and anything that could float higher than she could in the wind. Ten minutes later, it were as though she had been there forever’.

‘Did you miss her Gordon?’ Brutus asked his brother.

Gordon went quiet for a few minutes and then replied ‘Yes lad, and I still do’.

‘How come you know what happens there when you haven’t been?’ Brutus asked Gordon.

‘We animals are privileged and it is our duty to pass this knowledge on to the younger ones so when it happens to us, you are prepared and in turn, once you gain this knowledge, at some point you will experience it with one of us or yourself. We are lucky to know what we know and to see what we see’. Gordon told Brutus.

‘Have you seen anyone else go to Rainbow Bridge?’ Brutus asked Gordon.

‘Rema, Rema the whippet – I loved her so much, she was the first dog that I fell in love with and one I will never forget’ Gordon replied sounding a bit upset.

‘Rema was a beautiful blue whippet who won dog shows as she was so pretty and Mum even used to race her. I remember when Mum worked in the vets in London, she would take Rema to work because in England, dogs are allowed on buses, tubes and trains and even in some taxis’ Gordon said matter-of-factly.

ImageRema (the commuter) and me (the vet nurse), waiting for our train

He was very proud of the fact that he came from a country that allowed that and had even been on a few buses himself and trains when he had his de-sexing done at the Royal Veterinary College in Camden when his Mum worked there as a veterinary nurse.

ImageRema at a lure coursing event in Devon

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Gordon and Rema discuss Rainbow Bridge

‘So what happened with Rema?’ Brutus asked. He would have liked Rema and would have enjoyed racing with her.

‘Rema got to 12 years old and had developed kidney problems and was also incontinent and would pee herself all the time – you think shitting yourself is bad!, her back legs were very weak and kept giving way and one day Mum had decided that Rema should go to Rainbow Bridge. She had all sores in her mouth from her bad kidneys and her appetite had gone, old age had literally stolen her from herself.

‘Mum’s old friend who is a vet and used to be Mum’s boss and was the one person that Rema loved and would allow him to do anything to her because quite simply, she trusted him.

‘Mums friend examined Rema and said the kindest thing to do was to send her to Rainbow Bridge. Mum had been thinking about it for a while but needed to know it was the right time because Brutus, there is always a right time to go to Rainbow Bridge, it is just a matter of realising it.

‘Mum held Rema as she went over the Bridge and although Rema was sad hearing Mum cry and having to leave her body behind, when she saw Juniper and Bruno at the gate to Rainbow Bridge, she started to trot and the closer she got, she realised that for the first time in ages, she wanted to eat, she wanted to run and she wasn’t wetting herself as she did it.

‘There were dog toys everywhere, there were rabbits to chase (but not hurt), there were blocks of cheese for her to have (Rema loved stealing cheese) and Rema was so happy to see Bruno and Juniper, that she started barking her head off’.

Brutus was taking this all in, it was so much to take in and he would have questions to ask later no doubt; lots of questions.

‘Gordon, what happened then? Was Mum OK, how can she be OK when she has seen three pets go to Rainbow Bridge?’ Brutus asked sounding more than upset, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go to this place where his Mum and Dad were not allowed, he wasn’t sure at all.

Gordon stared at him and touched Brutus’s face to comfort him and replied ‘Mum was just fine, she hugged Rema and said ‘Thank you for being my dog’ so she told me anyway and she said afterwards that knowing Rema wasn’t suffering any more and was at ‘The Bridge’ made it a bit easier. But I will admit to hearing her crying each night for some time and she refused to get rid of Rema’s toys for ages. In fact, she still has her collar which Rocky wore when he was a puppy’

‘Does getting another pet mean you don’t love the one you sent to Rainbow Bridge?’ Brutus asked Gordon, he was confused now.

‘Oh no’ Gordon shook his head vigorously and added ‘Our humans have unlimited space in their lives if they love their pets. We all leave our mark in whatever we have chewed, dug, or destroyed and also in the memories which can never be erased and when a new pet comes into our humans lives needing a loving home, it is never ever a replacement, it just merely takes up a new place to leave his/her own impression on and add to the memory bank of pet ownership.

‘After all, you are hearing about my own memories of Juniper and Rema and in turn, you will have your memories of myself and Rocky but it doesnt mean that there is no room in your life to build up new ones’ Gordon reassured Brutus.

‘Does Rocky know all of this?’ Brutus asked Gordon.

Gordon nodded and said ‘Yes, I had exactly the same chat with Rocky when he was about your age’

ImageGordon chats to Rocky about Rainbow Bridge

‘Is he scared to go there?’ Brutus asked Gordon.

Gordon smiled and touched Brutus’s face again and replied ‘No lad, he isn’t scared – there is nothing to be scared of. We all have a purpose here and that is to teach our owners to love things for their heart and soul, to be loyal, to be nice and be the best we can be; and once our job is done, it then becomes OUR time to live our own lives at Rainbow Bridge’.

(sounds of Rocky coming in from the garden)

‘What are you two up to?’ Rocky grinned at the two boys.

‘Rainbow Bridge – we are having that discussion’ Gordon said to the little black kelpie who was taking a drink.

Rocky glanced up at Brutus, trying to gauge how he was feeling, it was confusing for a young dog when he has ‘that’ discussion.

‘Ah, Rainbow Bridge – now that is a nice place for any pet to go, don’t be afraid lad – we all go there eventually, it’s just at different times that’s all’. Rocky said confidently.

(Later that night – all the animals were in their respective beds)

ImageBrutus ponders on his thoughts about Rainbow Bridge

Brutus couldn’t sleep, it was all too much for him – he was worried about this Rainbow Bridge place and couldn’t understand how Gordon and Rocky were so calm about it all; would he ever accept it?

*Fast forward to this week – March 2014*

Vader the boxer (Brutus’s best friend) and Brutus were in the fenced off courts where we live and were just standing about chatting about stuff. Suddenly and out of the blue Brutus remembered the Rainbow Bridge conversation that he had with Rocky and Gordon last year.

ImageBrutus and Vader the boxer discuss Rainbow Bridge

‘Vader, what do you know about Rainbow Bridge?’ Brutus asked his best friend.

Vader rearranged his enormous over-sized tongue so that he could answer back.

Staring at Brutus for a few seconds, Vader replied ‘Rainbow Bridge? Now that is a nice place for any pet to go to’

Brutus smiled and nodded, he suddenly felt quite comforted about it all and felt very grown up indeed. Looking at Vader, Brutus replied firmly ‘Yep, that is what Gordon and Rocky say too’.

And that was that – all that was said was what needed to be said – Rainbow Bridge – a nice place for any pet to go to.

According to our pets of course.

The End…..

*This entry is dedicated to Bruno, Juniper and Rema – all the pets that I have had the privilege to own and to send over to Rainbow Bridge.*

Samantha Rose (c) Copyright March 2014

Brutus Update – Thou Shalt Not Chew Drains

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Brutus and Rocky establish friendships and boundaries

Brutus has been so hungry that trying to keep up with his growth spurt in terms of energy requirements/expenditure has been very hard so I have bitten the bullet and doubled his dietary intake in the morning and evening feed and just left the smaller meal midday and one before bed.

I kid you not when I say that when I get up to him in the morning he looks very ‘ribby’ and thin so I don’t think he is ready to cut down his meals yet. I am assuming that because his growth was stunted when he was so sick, his body is now demanding nutritional catch up which is fine, he is a growing boy.

This morning I was a bit late with his breakfast as I wasn’t well last night so slept in, I had let him out at 6am and he wasn’t happy about it.

‘What, really?’ Brutus said and then did a loud puppy yawn – you know the type that I mean.

Rocky pretended he was still asleep, he had no intention of taking a pee this early.

‘Yes really, come on you have to go in the garden’ I said, trying to sound firm but felt bloody knackered at the same time. I didn’t blame the pair of them, I wouldn’t fancy going out at stupid o-clock but needs must when toilet training.

I let them out and went back to bed with the intention of feeding him an hour later but actually woke up at 8am, went to give Brutus his newly increased portion of puppy meal.

‘Is that for me, all of it, really?’ He shouted excitedly and then bragged to Rocky who vowed to bash him for showing off as Rocky is on strictly controlled dietary intake to keep his weight constant as he has HD.

Leaving Brutus to scoff his breakfast in the crate, I went outside and did a ‘poo run’ and put the toys back in the toy box – the dogs love that toy box as they have such fun removing them. I enjoy filling that toy box, I have ordered Brutus a set of Nylabone teething keys from the USA as it is half the price of what they cost here even with delivery and next week we are buying him a clam shell sandpit from Bunnings with some ‘safe sand’ so he can have his own ‘legal sandpit’. (spoiled – much!)

That was when I noticed the ‘crime scene’ – I found a round plastic grid, semi chewed. ‘Where the hell did that come from?’ I thought, scratching my head, scouring the garden.

Spotting a large drainage hole uncovered, I realised that Brutus had pulled off the plastic from the drain hole, leaving the drain open, large enough so he could have got his head stuck if he so wished.

Damn it, it was a large hole as well – you know the round drains – they are quite big.

Carefully putting the plastic back over the hole, I then placed a couple of small pavers over it, thinking that is bloody marvellous as when it rains, it won’t be able to drain so a trip to Bunnings is in order but if any of you that have puppies that have discovered the joys of sewer drains, could give me some tips on securing the plastic grid so that Brutus cannot dig it up, I would be most grateful.

The garden looks like a bomb site so Abdel decided to sweep the fake lawn and remove the bits of fabric from the ‘bone incident’ the other day. You will notice there are a lot of ‘incidents’ of varying degrees of naughtiness, I do in fact believe that they could be put in a book for naughty dogs.

Well sweeping the garden is a challenge as you can see in the video below and whilst it is highly amusing to watch Brutus jumping around like a disabled springbok, it is nigh on impossible to sweep the garden with him in it, so that was given up as a bad job and we shall do it when he is in his crate to try and desensitise him because he also thinks that the vacuum is an alien which is out to kill the world and also needs attacking.

We are going to take him for a walk later, both him and Rocky, we won’t go far as he gets overwhelmed with traffic/sights/sounds, so baby steps and all that.

The main thing is he is very receptive to people and other dogs, which considering what he has been through is amazing.

Then tonight, Sunny – my friends red heeler is coming round, Brutus met him last night on his walk and Sunny is an alpha senior male dog and he is Rockys best friend, so I took Brutus to meet him on his own as Brutus is still being leash trained and needed 100% of my attention, that all went ever so well and both dogs got on just fine.  Rocky was insanely jealous and screamed the garden down when he saw me take Brutus out, he knew exactly where we were going and you could hear him shouting ‘He is my friend not yours!’.

So Sunny will come round tonight for a play date with Rocky and Brutus. Tomorrow Brutus will go to the beach and I will see how he goes there.

This morning my friend Dave brought his son round to my house and Brutus met him and instantly took to the gorgeous little boy who is almost a year old, Brutus seems to love people and was quite taken with the baby so that is also something I am pleased about because having missed out on some early socialisation when he was sick, it could have affected how he interacted with people later.

Finally, I just want to add when I first took on Brutus I was somewhat overwhelmed and thinking ‘how do I bring this puppy up’ because when you have a puppy you have a blank slate and how that dog turns out is pretty much down to you and that is daunting in my book.

I have had an aggressive dog before – a whippet bitch called Rema, she was aggressive when I got her and I thought I could change her and I couldnt despite having bahavioural therapy, she had to be muzzled in public and had even nipped people that had chosen to ignore my ‘please don’t go near her face’ commands. Not to mention if dogs got too close to her when she was on the leash, she would beat the crap out of them.

The sleepless nights of having a puppy, the eyes in the back of your head to keep an eye on them, the crying when they are crated, the chewing, the naughtiness which is really just normal puppy behaviour, well it is easy to become so wrapped up in how hard it is to raise a well balanced good natured puppy and subsequently miss out on the fun and energy that having a new puppy can bring.

It is easy to wish away the puppy years, the digging, chewing, naughtiness and wish for them to grow up.

But I have learned and am still learning with Brutus that every day he changes, he seems to grow and fill out each day, he is discovering his world, forging his friendship with Rocky and Gordon, he is being guided by Rocky and learning to find his place within our pack in the home.

And if you take a step away from the hard work of looking after a pup and marvel in the developmental changes that are actually occurring, and get a routine that works for all concerned, you will realise that raising a puppy is exceptionally rewarding – you get out what you put in basically.

Last night I watched Brutus and Rocky curled up together on the bed, this morning I watched Brutus wriggling his tiny body to greet me this morning. Looking round the garden and seeing the mass of toys scattered everywhere, I realised that whilst our lives are messier and harder with Brutus around, we wouldn’t be without him.

He is part of our family now, chewed drains and ripped up toys and all.

And quite simply, we love him.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.