My name is Hilary Jupp and I live in Sussex in the Southeast of England. We had our first Irish Wolfhound in 1969 and our kennel name is Oakenshield, although we no longer breed or show.
We bred our first litter in 1973 and our last - the fifth litter - in 1986. It was our last because the puppies had so many health problems and, despite the fact that their dam went on to 11, all the puppies were dead within six years. We did buy in another bitch so we could continue breeding but she failed the first test we had carried out prior to breeding and was found to have von Willebrands Disease and later developed epilepsy, so we gave up. Since then we have had only Rescue hounds.
In 1972 we started the Irish Wolfhound Magazine along with two other couples who had come into the breed not long before we did. The first issue we had printed by a local firm but it was rather expensive so we bought an old printer and a typesetter and set it up and printed it ourselves. We continued with it for seven years until we got so much into farming we did not have any time to spare.
It was our second hound who got me interested in alternative therapies. She developed what now appears to be called canine cognitive dysfunction, which caused her to be very restless and anxious, unable to rest, wandering around and wanting to go out but once out wanting to come back in. Anything the vets tried either did nothing or made her worse and it was only finding out about homeopathy that brought the problem to an end.
I had bought a booklet on homeopathic first aid treatment for animals and the second remedy listed described all Gaia's symptoms, so I rushed out and bought the remedy and gave it to her and within three days she was fine. This was despite my giving the wrong dosage, as I later discovered.
We were lucky enough to have the best-known homeopathic vet (the author of the booklet I had bought) living only 20 minutes' drive away and he was kind enough to lend me books and talk to me about the therapy, as well as suggesting the best remedies for our sheep and other animals.
I only took a basic course in homeopathy, as I then became interested in other alternative therapies. I have taken training courses in several therapies, including EFT and Animal-Links, and have a doctorate in radionics, am a Reiki Master, and a Bio-Energy therapist.
I wrote for the Irish Wolfhound Quarterly for some years, and for the British weekly dog paper, Dog World, from April 1986 until mid-2004, on complementary therapies as well as the wolfhound breed notes. I also wrote for a couple of years on dogs in general for a local magazine, now defunct, which was interesting because I got to visit breeders in a large variety of different breeds.
The dam of our last litter developed dilated cardiomyopathy at the age of five and it was because of this that I started the Canine Heart Research Fund with Dr. Serena Brownlie, who was then the cardiologist at the Royal Veterinary College. Over the years we collected enough funds to be able to purchase our own equipment, including an ECG, an Echocardiogram, and a computer.
At one time I was on the Committee of the Irish Wolfhound Society, which Mrs. Nagle had set up. I ran their health seminars for several years. At one AGM the members were asked what they would find of interest to have at Society events and the consensus of opinion was that something to do with the breed history would be a good idea, so I said I would see what I could put together. Because of the Magazine, we had a large number of photographs and bits and pieces we'd collected over the years and I was able to sort out quite a reasonable display to lay out at a Society Rally.
Over the years I added to it bit by bit and then, when we retired from farming and got interested in working on the computer, the breed history became my major interest. I travelled to London once a week for several months to spend the day in the Kennel Club library researching all the old records and came away with masses of photocopies and CDs of pictures from old books and periodicals as well as the official records.
The display grew to the stage where it took up more than sixty tables and I then started to transfer it from the large sheets of paper on which it had been laid out and putting it all into display folders, which would not only protect it but also would take up less room. I am still in the process of doing this, as well as getting it all up on my website, but I can see it being a never ending task, as I keep adding to it and that means redoing what has already been done in many cases.
So much of the photographic and paper trail of our breed history has been lost over the years and I feel it is a worthwhile project to put it all together in as much detail as I can, especially since the Internet means that it can be seen by anyone anywhere in the world. It's a fascinating undertaking and I hope it will give pleasure to many people as well as perhaps stirring a greater interest in our lovely breed.