The Wolf Family Dogs
A Small Dog Indeed!
The pages for both Kelly and S5˘fritz begin with the same header.
The original choice of dog was to be a Border Terrier. Unfortunately, the only breeding kennel of reputation was located in Washington, DC. In 1990 there were virtually NO Border Terriers in the United States. We don't ship dogs and hope for the best. We want to meet breeder, the dog's parents and sort through all the involved things that go into buying a dog.
We regrouped and Steve found that an Irish Wolfhound would be a wonderful dog to have. We were right.
An Irish Wolfhound
We will always stand in awe of the Irish Wolfhound breed. They are incredibly regal. But when the breeder ushered us up to a corral and called 17 Wolfhounds to her side, we were awestruck. It sounded like a herd of horses coming.
Robin had bred many champion dogs. Kelly was destined for the spotlight. We picked up our new puppy in Columbus, Ohio on May 13, 1990. As a seven week old puppy she was bigger than all of the small breeds and most of the mid-sized breeds. But she was lanky. Incredibly out of proportion she was the most odd sight you'd ever see. She looked glued together.
Each day you come home from work and the puppy looks like it hatched a bigger version of itself. The Wolfhound grows by the minute. You can easily see measurable growth over a week.
This is the time an owner starts buying the needed dog food 200 pounds at a time. Ten to fifteen cups of food a day is a lot of food. A three gallon (!) water dish needs to be filled once a day or more.
Training a Wolfhound
Wolfhounds are smarter than many of their hound cousins. They're slower though. Tell a Wolfhound to "SIT!" and you'll find not much happens for the first 30 seconds or so. It's only then that she'll decide that, yes, you want her to sit. Once that's decided, putting it into action takes another 10 seconds or so.
Wolfhounds know what you want. Getting to it just isn't something that needs to be done quickly.
After a series of classes came some conformation competitions. Unfortunately, Kelly became ill from an immunity problem and we could not pass on her problem; we couldn't breed. We lost interest in conformation.
Wolfhounds and Kids
Kids and Wolfhounds get along great. Running is sometimes a question although both kid and Wolfhound like to see who can beat the other up a set of steps. Given a good 50 foot head start normally the kid makes it.
Wolfhounds are very, very protective of their families.
A VERY Sensitive Breed!
Outside there's not much that can outrun a Wolfhound. Kelly easily caught a deer. Once in front of it, the deer began doing a sort of jumping jack and she really didn't have the "go for the throat" instinct. She looked back and finally heard me yelling for her to get back.
Wolfhounds are VERY sensitive. They need one-on-one hugs, people who will lay with them, attention when THEY need it and lots of walks.
It's impossible, however, not to laugh at a teenage Wolfhound.
After about three years, Kelly had bonded herself to Steve. Completely. The family no longer was part of the equation. After quite a bit of research, it was decided that the family needed its own dog. Enter Fezziwig (a Christmas present named after the Charles Dickens character).
You've not lived until you see a three year old, 157 pound Wolfhound playing with an eight week old toy poodle who weighs in at less than 10 pounds. Having a Wolfhound coming to you to remove this puppy from its beard is an experience.
Everyone we met said we were nuts. The vet got upset. The relatives crabbed. The dogs were too different to be compatible. As it turned out they were best buddies.
But They're BIG Dogs
We found out big dogs were great to have. They give such a sense of security and well being. When Steve is working afternoons and midnights, the house is always protected. Even little Fezziwig felt better with Kelly breaking a path in the snow and watching over him.
But they're big. We bought vehicles for the Wolfhound as the Wolfhound went everywhere with us. She was our companion. But in the wife's sedan we had to deal with a HUGE IW head hanging between us.
Kelly passed away on January 16, 2000. She was almost 10 years old. Typically dedicated, she demanded, even though ill, to go "bye-bye car" and wanted a walk in the park on the morning she passed.
Wolfhounds only live to be six or seven. We were very lucky to have had her company and protection for so long.