Our first rescues were a nine year old bitch, called Bridget, and her seven year old daughter, Katie. Their owner had died some months previously after a long illness and the hounds had been in small single kennels tucked behind a barn and were very nervous and scared of open spaces. As our farm is quite isolated, we felt these two might do better with us than in a more social environment. To begin with they were terrified of going out and had to be taken out on leads and coaxed round the fields but they settled amazingly quickly and began enjoying their outings. Bridget went into heart failure at the age of 11. Katie went on another year but her health had never been good and she began having grand mal seizures and deteriorated very quickly to the stage where it was kinder to let her go.
|Katie, Bridget and Scrumpy leading the way|
Elsa came to us at the age of four. She had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy the previous year but did extremely well on the BARF diet and homeopathic remedies and showed no further symptoms of the disease until nearly four years' later when she suddenly went into complete heart failure and had to be given sleep.
|Flynn when he came to us in June, 1999|
Flynn came to us in June, 1999 at the age of four years. He had been much loved in his previous home but his person was at work all day, had only a small maisonnette with a tiny yard, and felt that Flynn deserved a better life than she was able to give him. He did have a walker take him out every day. He was very nervous, hated to be touched, and had had a skin disorder for the previous two years, for which the vet had shaved most of his body.
I started him on a BARF diet, which he loved, and his skin condition disappeared. What remained of his coat (around head, neck, chest, forelegs, and hindquarters) was in solid mats and he looked as though he had never been groomed. Although he was not thin his spine stood out in a ridge above his body, which I presumed was some sort of malformation. However, a year later he had developed muscles along his back and his spine was no longer standing out.
It took several weeks before we were able to brush him without his doing his best to get away. Over a period of several more weeks we were able to trim out all the mats bit by bit and then he actually seemed to enjoy being groomed - at least in small doses!
He had a number of emotional problems and was put on flower essences and homeopathy, as well as my using EFT for him and he gradually became like a different dog. Instead of running away and hiding when visitors came, he rushed to greet them and demanded cuddles and strokes. He was very loving with us and so much more confident and cheerful. He played with a Kong, a ball, and a rubber ring and enjoyed having plenty of room to hurtle about in. He was very good with the wildlife, ignored the pheasants and ducks in the garden and only occasionally half-heartedly chased a rabbit. He was, however, a very determined chaser of foxes.
When he arrived, we had a small crossbreed bitch, Scrumpy, who had come to us thirteen years previously at what the vets said was somewhere between three and six years of age. She died on December 8th, 2000, and Flynn seemed to prefer being on his own rather than having a companion.
Flynn in Scrumpy's small bed
Flynn overflowing Scrumpy's bed
Our beloved Flynn developed osteosarcoma in August, 2001 and was given sleep on September 10th, 2001.
Our next hound was Lily, a five year old spayed bitch, who came to us on September 16th, 2001. She was needing a home without any other dogs. The wildlife got a nasty shock, as the rabbits, squirrels, and pheasants had come to look upon our garden as a sanctuary, but Lily was not a dedicated hunter so they only got chased occasionally. She was put on BARF and her main interests were eating, chewing marrowbones, and eating. However, it was soon discovered that BARF did not suit her and her diet was changed. She still loved chewing marrowbones and liked to surround herself with several in various stages of destruction.
Sadly Lily went into kidney failure and had to be given sleep two years after she came to us, on September 17th, 2003.
Ruby, a four year old bitch, came to us in October, 2003. As a companion for her we had Sheba, a young German Shepherd, somewhere around 18 months old as far as we could tell when she came to us in May 2004. Sadly, we lost Ruby on July 5th, 2008, and Sheba in October 2012.
A couple of months after losing Sheba, I discovered another GSD needing a new home. She was also called Sheba and was a terrified cowering wreck. She turned out to be a very difficult undertaking but is now happily settled and really doing well. She was thought to be about 8 or 9 years old when I took her on. It took several months before I was able to take a photograph of her, as pointing something at her was enough to send her galloping off.
Rescue hounds can sometimes take a long time to settle in and regain confidence, and can have a whole host of problems, but they are such a joy and seeing them come alive and turn into normal, happy animals is so fulfilling. The (U.K.) Rescue Trust has its own website at http://www.irishwolfhoundrescue.co.uk/. Links to other wolfhound Rescue organisations around the world can be found here.