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How to Be Owned by an Irish Wolfhound
“Yet the noble sire’s noble offspring Of fierce war You play this night With my son in the fire.”
(Hound of the Heroes property by William Dammarell)
One doesn’t “own” an Irish Wolfhound, like “own” an Irish Wolfhound. I now have two, and I wouldn’t have them any other way. They are synonymous with their kind and are endless sources of fun and excitement. When you “own” a Wolfhound, you are touched by a special magic, and you will never be the same again. But be warned! They are confusing! You can’t just stop once!
I’m an owner, not a breeder – the thought crossed my mind, but I had to be honest – I’d make a bad breeder – I can’t share any of my “puppies”! Not just any money!
“I will give you a dog that is in Ireland. He is big of legs and a follower like a man. Besides, he has the wisdom of a man and will growl at your enemies but not at your friends. He will see every man’s face, if he wishes you well, or if he will, he will give his life.” because of you. (The Icelandic Saga of Njal; AD 970-1014)
I am now an experienced Irish Wolfhound “mummy”. A lot of time and money has gone into my “training”, but now my fur babies have taught me well. I do not claim to be an expert on Irish Wolfhounds and all I want to do is share the wonder of owning one of these beautiful animals. You can laugh with me or laugh at me…there are no Irish Wolfhound parts…we are well trained, you see!
If you are one of the hundreds or more who have stopped me on the street to sleep on all my dogs and asked me “where can I get him?”, you might want to think about what you might be getting. if you find one. So let me start at the beginning…
So you want to adopt an Irish Wolfhound!
Years ago, when my husband and I first saw “Chewbacca” (the “Wookie” who roamed the universe with a young Harrison Ford in Star Wars), we looked at each other and said, “I want one of those!” Alas, the Wookie was a mythical creature, and as far as we know, no one on earth breeds it.
Then one day we found a picture of an Irish wolfhound, standing against the wind. The similarity was striking. “It’s our Wookie!” We cried at the same time, and without planning, we decided to take one. Ha, those were our innocent days!
Irish Wolfhounds are noble animals; gentle giants, whose nature is your “potato”. They love their comfort as much as you do. They make good “daughters” for your children and have the patience of a saint. However, owning such a large dog comes with a lot of responsibility, and a lot of fun – as we recently found out.
First there was the extra money to buy our beloved Mercedes and a large four-wheel drive trailer – to fit the dogs. Then came the sofa repair, although, since there is no more space on our sofa, just cover the torn areas with a blanket and hope for the best. The fence needs to be reinforced, and I’ve lost count of the times hubby has replaced the flywire on our screened doors. Our old smooth country grass (well, it used to be grass – not sure what to call it now), looks pretty good. Instead, it looks like a horse port. As for my carpet and my walls, well, let’s not go there, but please don’t be offended if I don’t invite you into my house.
I love my gentle giants, so what if they destroy the garden, the carpet, the walls, the sofa, and almost cost us money for food and animals – I couldn’t imagine life without them. He has many wonderful qualities that help me feel this way. They share every aspect of our lives, and if nothing more than helping “mother” at home in her office, and “father” in the field. In fact, our two Irish Wolfhounds have been at work this summer, helping Dad renovate the garden. I believe they are trying to build a swimming pool on one side of the building. It must annoy them so when the father continues to refill. He also plays very well with our daughter. He likes to sneak into his room at night and pick out any toy to play outside. They don’t destroy toys. I always find them in good condition, even if they are a little wet and loose from what happened to me.
Our beginnings as Wolfhound parents began with fostering Wookie, a gray male. (What else did you expect us to name her?) Our daughter was almost two years old, so we felt like we had two children to take care of. The Wookie was a real joker, and to describe him as silly is putting it mildly. When Wookie was only six months old, we realized that sharing our little house with him would be difficult. A Wookie’s tail could clear the table with one swish, and leaving food on the kitchen bench was causing trouble. Unlike other dogs, who only smell the delicious smell of leftovers sitting at the sink and dream about it, Wolfhounds can see it, and reach for it.
As soon as Wookie arrived, we found out that we had adopted a “rescue” dog. (Sadly, some people don’t do the research necessary to own one of these breeds, and later realize they should have bought a smaller chicken instead.) Standing about 90cm (about 35 inches) tall at the shoulder and weighing 78 kilos, he was , and they are, visible. We thought he was about three years old, and we decided to celebrate his “birthday”, with a chocolate cake, every St. Patrick. The Wookie took to him quickly, and although Guinny, when we decided to call him, sometimes found him a little small, he grew to love him, and the two became firm friends.
Guinny, we found out, loves a good cup of coffee. Not the usual dark stuff. He likes his white with two sugars, and no, we definitely don’t give our dog coffee! We don’t need to do that. He helps himself. Every time I know he’s been on my coffee and what sprinkles the cup, or if I miss it (sometimes he washes it himself to hide the evidence), I know he’s had a strange taste left in the cup.
Irish Wolfhounds are friendly and affectionate and gentle. I don’t know if I would recommend them as guard dogs, although owners can be confident that if attacked, their Wolfhounds will defend to the death. The size of these animals, combined with their deep, impressive bark, is probably enough to scare away many would-be thieves, but I don’t know if it would work in my house. I can see it now. There they sit on the fence, each with their favorite toy tightly held in their mighty jaws. My two fearless door-to-door opponents… “Don’t come in here or my teddy will find you!”
Owning an Irish Wolfhound is an honor. Being accepted and loved by another person is a gift from God. My fur babies are an endless source of joy and companionship, and I can’t begin to describe my experiences. (Speaking of scratching… is that flea?)
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