Mick Houlihan’s Dog

Old Mick was a legend – while yet still alive
At the Saleyards at Harristown,
Each Wednesday he sat on a giant white mare,
And brought the cattle down
To the ring, from the pens at the back of the race
Where unloading took place every day.
"That mare and old Mick are worth three men!"
Leo Lynch was heard to say.

Now Mick’s old blue dog, that made up the team,
Was toothless, but mean as hell,
And when Mick said"push!" you could bet your life,
Old blue dog’d do it real well.
His toothless condition didn’t matter to him –
His jaws were sharp and quite strong,
And with one short nip, and a terrible growl,
He’d push the cattle along.

When Ken Waters was selling, and in full flight,
A pen every minute would go
Under the hammer – the buyers knew well,
To bid up – the values to grow.
Darling Downs cattlemen trusted that Ken
Would get ’em the best price around –
Ken knew a quick sale was the best method yet,
And his voice had a"real money" sound.

Now young Reggie Spratt, had a lovely red bitch –
A Kelpie as pretty as paint,
The pride and joy of this"southern born" boy,
"She’s scared of nothing she ain’t!"
Was his answer to Mick, who had shouted abuse
At the entry of bitch to his yard,
Where blue dog was"King" – and work was the thing
They excelled at long and hard!!

"My blue dog’ll kill her!" said Mick with a roar,
"You’d best tie her under the shed!"
His blood pressure rose, you could tell from his nose –
It was turning a bright shade of red.
"Don’t panic," said Reg"she won’t give a dam
For your ugly blue dog with no bite:
She’ll stick here with me, and you’ll quickly see,
She’ll handle herself alright!"

But as Reg took his place in the buyers stand
He considered old Mick’s rough advice,
And grudgingly did as the old stockman said:
He tied up the rope with a splice.
"We don’t want you fighting that ugly blue dog,
While I’m busy arranging my lunch,"
He said to the bitch and she barked right back:
As if she was reading his hunch.

What Reg didn’t know, but the red kelpie did,
Was that she had a very good reason
To bark at his words – or better still laugh –
’Cause she knew she was coming in season.
Old blue dog had shot her a meaningful growl,
Said"I know what’s required and I’m ready,
So while they’re enjoyin’ a hot cup of tea,
I’ll find you – we’ll go steady."

At one o’clock punctual, Ken Waters said,
"Right y’are buyers, we’ll break,
For a snack, or a sandwich, a hot cup of tea –
A full sixty minutes, we’ll take."
Now Mick had his quart pot and damper rolled up,
In a strong leather bag on his saddle,
He left the mare’s back, got down on the ground,
And a big hollow log, did straddle.

For all of ten minutes he ate and he drank,
‘Till the early start quite took its’ toll,
And weary of eye, old Mick felt that by
Another ten minutes, he’d roll
Out on the ground, and he suddenly found
A snooze was what was required.
Old blue dog went looking for Reggies’ red bitch:
His passion was definitely fired!

He found her – all coy – and tied up as well,
Under the buyers’ pavilion.
It didn’t take much convincing – or such –
‘Till both of them felt like a million.
Ah! Love bloomed spontaneous for each of them then,
The bitch so young and so bold,
And the toothless blue dog with the wide gummy grin,
Forgot for a while he was old.

Old Mick woke up, as Ken Waters told,
That the lunch hour had come to an end,
And he noticed his dog, his trusty blue dog,
Had deserted its’ master and friend.
Mick whistled and shouted, and cooeed and raved,
About what he’d do when he found
"That mongrel blue thing, I’ll bruise his blue ring
With my boot: a full foot off the ground!"

Meanwhile, Reg had come from the Saleyard canteen,
Where Mary sold hot cups of tea,
And sandwich and pie, to the men who would buy
The Harristown cattle, you see.
On checking his bitch, he noticed the hitch
In the rope was as tight as a drum.
He quickly deduced she’d been properly seduced,
By the passionate tone of her hum.

As Reg went looking, for the dog to blame,
For the pups that surely would follow,
Ken Waters was shouting"Come on Mick! we’re late!"
But his shouting was really quite hollow.
Old blue dog had done all the work he would do
For that day – he was totally spent,
And despite old Mick’s wrath, blue dog hadn’t the froth
To spare – to a cool spot he went.

Two extra workmen, kept up the flow
Of cattle from yard to ring,
And Mick spent the afternoon, cursing each step,
Of the cattle he had to bring.
Now, the moral, of course, if you ride a white horse
And work a blue dog in the yards,
Is that toothless is biteless – it can’t do no harm,
But libido – it’s still on the cards!!!!!!!!!!

©Dennis Scanlon July 2003