For those that have never been owned by an Irish Wolfhound it hard to understand the crowds they draw. A simple walk can turn into a production with you and your hound as the stars on a stage. I often feel like I have one of the Kardashians on the end of the lead.
Those that are owned by Hounds know all to well what it is like to walk a Super Star.
So what’s like to have a living legend at the end of your lead? A lot like the following:
Ready to walk my Hound, walking shoes on, lead on, let’s go……….nope……..STOP.
“Yep she is big.”
“She’s an Irish Wolfhound.”
“She’s so-many years old.”
“Yes she eats a lot.”
“They are a very ancient breed with a colourful history.”
and of course” No she does not have a saddle.”
blah blah blah……
Those that don’t talk to you can be heard saying the following in distance
“Look at that dog!?!?!”, “OH MY GOD!! Did see the size of that thing?!?!?!?”
“Looks like a lama, alpaca, werewolf, bear, sheep, horse, Great Dane cross sheepdog.” Trust me I have heard all of these.
Most of this happens in the car park as you getting the Hound out of the car. A simple 30 minute walk on the beach now takes up to 2 hours. The walking is done is 10 step spurts, before the next curious person stops you to talk to your dog.
At times I have had long and in-depth conversation with people who otherwise would not give me a second glance.
I understand people’s amazement at this breed. I have shared my life and soul with 2 over the past 12 years and I am still amazed by them daily. I would also be the first to walk up to another Irish Wolfhound owner and start chatting. So I get it and I accept it. I’ve realised I don’t walk a dog, I walk a furry people magnet.
What I wonder is – do these Hounds search us out for this reason? To become their voices and in turn teach others about them as they teach us. Why us?
I’m generally quite shy, (for those that know me, stop laughing!) I can be outspoken online, after all I’m hiding behind a computer and no one would know me if they fell over me. But I’m the last person to want to be the centre of attention. Around my friends and family, sure I’m obnoxious, but around strangers completely different. But put my Hound beside me and I don’t mind the attention we draw.
Over the years I have had some amazing conversations with these curious strangers. I have been able to not only share my knowledge about this breed but I have also been able to bask in the spell these giants cast over everyone they meet.
I have been stopped by young and old, the upper class and the homeless. I have been asked by police officers if they can take a photo with them, Life Guards have lined up with my last girl to get photo’s in front of the Life Guard tower. Along with the family photos, kids and of course the tiny dog standing beside the giant shots. People I have never met before and will never meet again have my Hounds inside their family photo albums.
So it’s not just one group of people it’s EVERYONE that wants to share in the amazing grace of these animals. I live in a small country town, my vet has only ever treated a couple of other Wolfhounds besides mine in his twenty years, so I thought it was just a small town thing. NO, this phenomena is worldwide, similar stories from other Irish Wolfhound owners have echoed my own over and over again. These guys are furry Super Stars.
Don’t get me wrong, I have gritted my teeth on more than one occasion when some has asked “have ya got a saddle for that thing” Hence the reason I had a shirt made with “NOPE….No saddle!!” on the front. But overall I’ve learned to enjoy it and look at it like I am doing my bit for this breed by educating those not lucky enough to have met one before. Let alone have their world and heart turned upside down by one daily.
My last girl Moke could have her occasional “no strangers please” day, but usually only in summer and when it meant standing in the sun. Even then she was always gentle, she would just shove her head between my legs and give the stranger her bum as if to say “if you must pat me, please let me introduce my butt”. She would always let people hold her lead while I took a photo of them with her, but as soon as I handed back their camera she would be back by my side and ready to move on. So I think they get use to the attention and also truly enjoy their star status.
So as I start on another (hopefully) ten years with my Keva, I start at the beginning again
“Yes – she is big.”
“No – she’s just a puppy.”
“Yes – She will grow more.”
“She’s an Irish Wolfhound.”
and with great pleasure – “Yes you may pat her.”
I just go with the flow! Why not let the stranger standing before me share in the light these hounds radiate. I get my girl 24/7 whereas for these poor souls it may be the only Wolfhound encounter of their lives.
So to end, let me pose a question. What would happen if every person in the world owned a Irish Wolfhound? Would we all talk to each other? Would barriers forever be broken? Would class and stereotypes be no more? Would wars be ended? As I’ve talked with ALL, from Bikers to babies, Priests to the wild and spirited. I’ve shared stories with people of all races and faiths. I have laughed and spent hours at complete peace with these strangers that I will never see again. In fact if I added up the hours I speak to strangers about my dog would it be more than I speak to some family and friends??
So maybe we need to start a peaceful revolution (I know huge oxymoron there) and convince the world – “A Hound for every Man, Woman and Child!!!”