Thursday, May 19, 2016

Another Irish Wolfhound for Our Family

Yay!  Another Irish Wolfhound!  Meet Loki a two year old male from Boise, ID.  His owner didn't have time for him, so now he's a member of our family.  He's a SWEETIE.

I had wanted another puppy from Laloba Ranch because Riagan just turned six years old--hasn't had a single health issue--has a grandfather, Alfie, who lived to be almost 12 years old--and I don't want Riagan to ever be alone if Maggie were to pass away (Maggie is 10). (You can see Riagan's pedigree here.)  But Loki's path crossed our path, and even though he's not a Laloba Hound, we hit it off with him right away.  Our hearts just went right out to him, as if he was a long lost member of our pack.

There is one little issue--he hasn't been around cats, and we have four.  Every time he sees the kittens, in their enclosed, safe room, he goes nuts.

So far we've let them see each other through the windows of the cat room, allowed the cats to roam the house when Loki wasn't there, so they could smell him, and last night we let them all into the same room while we held Loki back on his leash.

The cats were somewhat fearless--to a fault, but Loki never got his mouth on them.  We plan to do the same thing every night until Loki stops reacting to them.  Then, we'll let him go, but leave his leash on, in case we need to grab it.

Wish us luck!  Having Wolfhounds is a great honor and privilege, but it's not without a few, minor complications.  They are big and powerful, and though they wouldn't want to purposely hurt another animal, they may do it accidentally in play.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Tale of Gelert: Faithful Irish Wolfhound Killed by His Master

The Story of Gelert 

From The Traitor's Wife, by Kathleen Kent

(Thomas of Wales retelling the tale of Gelert to Martha (Allen) Carrier who would die in the Salem Witch Trials.)

     "There is a tale of Gelert," Thomas said abruptly, his few words rumbling through the common room, which had grown almost entirely dark from the lack of new wood to the fire.  The one candle, set next to Patience, guttered and smoked, exaggerating the shading beneath every slanting surface and under every angled feature of noses, brows, and lips, so that even Will's childish face was painted to a savage mask with the ink of shadows.

"I have a tale from my own country," he began. "Gelert were a hound.  Given to Llywelyn, a prince of wales, by King John of England, Gelert were the best of hounds. He could hunt game and bring down a wolf, so large and fearless was he, and Llywelyn loved him beyond anything else but his own son."

"One day, that prince goes hunting with his hounds and his men and his hawks.  A deer were killed, but Gelert is not to be found, and the heart of the deer, by rights to be fed to gelert, grows cold within the corpse.  But no one can find him.  So the prince goes himself to home with his hounds and his men and his hawks and is greeted at the door by Gelert, his muzzle blooded up to his eyes."

"Seeing the gore, a terrible fear overcomes the prince and he runs to his son's bed to find it o'erturned, bedclothes scattered and bloody, the boy nowhere to be found.  A terrible rage builds within the prince and he takes from his belt his sword and pierces Gelert through the heart.  Upon the dying howls of the hound, the prince hears a babe's mewling, and throwing off the bedclothes, he finds his son, whole and unblemished.  And next to his son is the body of the wolf Gelert has skilled, keeping safe the boy.  From that day, Llywelyn never smiles or laughs again and it's said in Beddgelert, the place where the hound was laid, that you can of an evening hear his dyin' howls."

Hear Kathleen Kent read this story in her own voice:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Riagan, Our Irish Wolfhound, at 2 Years Old

A few days ago we did our annual Mt. Spokane photo shoot with our girls--Riagan (2) and Maggie (6).  We hadn't actually planned for it to be a photo shoot, but it seems that every year we hike up there at least once and get the most amazing shots together.

Riagan's grandpa is now almost 12 years old. He's still running strong! The Ballykelly dog I grew up with, Mish, lived past 10.  I'm thrilled Riagan's line has such longevity. She's only two now, but I hope to have many more years together.  They say the average wolfhound age is 6.5?  That's just too short.  Riagan has the genetics and she's smart--thinks ahead a few steps...a quality that adds to the longevity. 

She is a beautiful wheaten wolfhound, that's for sure.  She looks wonderful in the pictures and she wasn't even groomed beforehand. Her last bath was so long ago, it would be embarassing to even say.

I love this next picture because it captures how small we are in the scheme of things.  Our time together is so short--even she lives a long wolfhound life. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Letter

Riagan's birthday was about ten days ago and we received our annual letter from her mama's mama to commemorate it and give us the latest updates on the litter.  Sadly, she lost her grandfather, Alfie, this year.  He was 11.5--quite old, as you know, for an Irish Wolfhound.  The reason we chose this litter over all the others was, in fact, because of the longevity and because they are from the "Ballykelly" line.

Here is a picture of Alfie and the other Laloba hounds.

I sent a letter back to Riagan's mama's mama with our latest update.  Here it is:

Dear Mama's Mama:

Thanks for the update and very sorry to hear about Judy’s loss. Things are going well here. Riagan just had her second heat at the same time as her second birthday. We kept her under lock and key, but she has been adopting all the stuffed animals in our house and taking very good care of them. She is extremely smart and LOYAL—won’t leave the bedroom, for instance, until BOTH Mike and I leave it and walks from room to room with us at all times. She won’t eat her dinner until we have thoroughly petted her, much preferring love to food. She has also learned (from puppyhood) to stand on her back legs and pound on our doors when she particularly has missed us and wants to be near. You can hear (and feel) it throughout the whole house. She hates it when we leave, so when we get home after an absence is when she’ll usually do that type of thing...or pin us up against a wall with the side of her body so we can’t get away from her until she’s had a full and thorough “hello.” All of our visitors who spend any amount of time here are amazed at the level of loyalty in an IW. As I write this, she’s laying at my feet in front of the fire. She’s just an amazing and beautiful soul.

Linda & Mike

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Help! My IW Doesn't Like Dog Food

Got a little problem. Riagan doesn't like dog food. She won't eat it. She'd rather starve than eat it. She will eat canned dogs foods like Alpo with sliced sirloin, but she'd really prefer people food.

Let's see...salmon, hamburgers, bagels, bacon, toast, eggs, pretty much anything we like. As a general rule, if we like it, she does. If we don't like it, she won't. (Except the Alpo example, but that does look pretty good, too.)

What should I do? Does this mean I need to add another plate at the dinner table?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hanging Out with a Celebrity

No matter where you go with an Irish Wolfhound, you're popular. Not that you are popular, since all everyone wants to see is the Wolfhound, but when you're holding the leash--hey, you get the benefits of their celebrity. It's really nice to be a part of all that friendliness. On our adventure yesterday, there was a man who smiled from ear to ear and told us he'd grown up with a Wolfhound. I know what that feels like. After having grown up with one, too, it took me over 20 years to see another.

Once you've experience the intense, I'd say FIERCE, loyalty and love of a Wolfhound, you never forget it.

Riagan is so intensely connected, she won't even eat her food at meal times until she's convinced there is no more opportunity for us to pet her. If that is an hour, she won't think about food for an hour. In the mornings, if either my husband or I are still in bed and the other gets up to take her out to the bathroom or go to work, she won't go. Instead, She'll turn around at the stairway, go back to the bedroom door and she'll lay there until whoever is still in bed gets up and comes out.

About a month ago, my husband and I finally got to order a canopy for our dogs. It's not something we would have ever wanted for ourselves, but as Riagan grew, it was more and more difficult to travel with her in the cab. I couldn't do it by myself because she'd want to jump in the front with me, making it difficult to drive. We were super happy when we got the call that it was in and had it installed. The next day we decided on a ROAD TRIP with our girls.

And this was our reward.

It was a gorgeous day with our dogs.

These pictures from Mt. Spokane, looking over the GREAT Northwest, remind me of some craggy spot in Ireland. Riagan looks right at home.

Last month Riagan came into heat. Irish Wolfhounds experience their first heats later than other breeds, and from what I've read, only have one a year. It presented a lot of problems for us both because of the bleeding and the possibility of breeding. The bleeding, it turned out, was pretty manageable, and we spent a lot of time out of doors. The breeding surprised us, too. Not one male dog showed up on our property--that we know of. Doesn't that seem strange? Usually they come from miles around when a female is in heat. But nada. So, I'm hoping there are no surprises and that we were successful in keeping her chaste.

I can't remember if I wrote about her porcupine encounter on this blog, but she had one. Hers was particularly bad because she also killed the porcupine, which means it was in her mouth, which means the quills were all over her mouth and throat. It was horrible.

After a successful surgery and recovery at home, we started to feel something hard lodged in her nose. She stopped eating her food. We took her back in and discovered it was a broken-off quill. They removed it about a month ago and we haven't seen anything else since. It is scary though because porcupine quills burrow in, rather than out, and can make it up to places in the head you do not want them to go. We can only hope that there are no more quills. She seems very healthy and happy, so they're likely gone.

We've had Riagan for a year now and she has changed our life in so many ways. As she's grown, we've expanded with her--bigger cars, bigger beds, bigger hearts. We've become an Irish Wolfhound family.