Deerhounds & Ear Mobility Nobility?

It seems fitting to return from a long hiatus from blogging with something cute and humorous.

I have lots of news, photos and stories to tell. But instead of starting at the beginning and moving forward I’ll just share these to break the ice. Scroll down to see another collage of photos which are an adult male dog demonstrating the ever-changing and expressiveness of his deerhound ears.

The lovely uncoordinated nature of deerhound ears in their many manifestations. Notice too, the difference in the faces; believe it or not this is all my dearest Piper, daughter of Cailean.

The lovely uncoordinated nature of deerhound ears in their many manifestations. Notice too the difference in the faces; believe it or not this is all my dearest Piper, daughter of Cailean.


Ardtalamcu's Mojave Man o' Fernhill.

Ardtalamcu’s Mojave Man o’ Fernhill.


Your Dog needs You to be prepared.

Recent World Events brings to mind the peril facing domesticated pets in natural disasters.

A disaster does not need to be on the epic scale of the tsunami in Japan or Hurricane Katrina to put people and animals in dire distress.  We’ve all seen images of the dogs from Katrina and remember stories from other disasters. In the last year alone I can think of a huge number of disasters worldwide,  Floods, Hurricanes, Forest Fires, Ice-storms, Extreme heat, Extreme cold,  earthquakes, tornados whatever; having a plan and making provisions for yourself and your pet in an emergency is more than responsible it is essential.  Some things can’t be prepared for, but doing everything you can to protect yourself, your family and your pets will never be a wasted exercise. There is no better website to suggest than the Disaster Preparedness Guide from the Borzoi Club of America. No matter where you live there are tips, guides, info and suggestions that can be applied to any pet anywhere. Print out the kit list and get it put together you will be so glad you did.

Most of us hopefully won’t ever have to face a life and death emergency where evacuation is necessary. There are less serious events such as a bad storm or a tornado that can cause prolonged loss of electricity. Having food on hand that is portable and easy, requiring no refrigeration is essential for you and your animals. Whether or not your dogs are on a raw diet having an emergency supply of fresh good quality kibble on hand is a good idea. I would suggest esp. if kibble use is only occasional to buy grain free & a protein percentage of about 22-24% (it is a little difficult to find grain free that doesn’t have an extremely high protein percentage, I use a kibble that is wheat,corn & soy free but does have brown rice.) Use as a training treat or cookie treat to prevent it from going stale or bad. Kibble keeps well in the freezer and should be kept there if you are only feeding occasionally. The more variety your dog is accustomed to the easier it will be in difficult circumstances to take care of your dogs dietary needs. There are a number of good options including dehydrated food just needing water to be reconstituted and usually with a long shelf life with the added bonus of being light in weight.

Make a list, set up the  Dog’s Comprehensive First Aid Emergency Kit from an earlier post on this blog copied here and added to for your convenience. A couple of items which I think should be added  are an X-pen or soft crate with lightweight bedding and shade cloth.

  • Vet Contact information, record of dog’s immunizations (I always keep at least a copy in car’s glove box)
  • Surgical gloves non latex
  • Bandages, sterile gauze pads, gauze rolls, and hypo-allergenic adhesive tape for treating wounds.
  • Vet wrap Sticks to itself, won’t absorb water. Available in many colours. Take care not to wrap too tightly
  • Hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent USP (to induce vomiting)
  • Electrolytes eg. Pedialyte (powder or liquid) useful for humans and dogs to help prevent or treat dehydration
  • Roast baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (to administer peroxide)
  • Saline eye solution does double duty, treat eyes & cleanse wounds
  • Artificial tears gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
  • Mild dish soap (for bathing an animal after skin contamination)
  • Hand sanitizer (can be used to clean wound in a pinch)
  • Lubricant (such as KY® Jelly) – helps hold fur away from wound
  • Tweezers (eg. to remove stingers)
  • Scissors (blunt ended if dressings need to be removed)
  • Styptic powder Styptic powder is an antiseptic clotting agent. When a dog or cats nails are trimmed they can easily be cut too close to the blood vessels.  Much like a styptic pencil which is made of alum, styptic powder stops bleeding by contracting the blood vessels. Most pet groomers and veterinarians keep styptic powder on hand. Styptic powder causes the vessels to contract further back into the claw and also clots the blood. Often sold as ‘Kwik Stop’
  • Muzzle to keep dog from biting during treatment
  • Soft Cold pack
  • Syringe liquid medicine dispenser
  • Nail clippers
  • Food- cans of your pet’s favourite  food, favourite treats
  • Charcoal capsules Activated Charcoal taken internally relieves gas and diarrhea. When given for internal poisoning, it adsorbs toxins and prevents them from entering the bloodstream
  • Pepto bismol Bismuth subsalicylate – use to treat mild vomiting and diarrhea in dogs If vomiting and/or diarrhea persists for 48 hours or more; Caution: if the dog has a fever, is listless. appears to have abdominal pain; or does not continue to be alert and active, contact your veterinarian. Dosage Pepto-Bismol reg liquid: Dogs: 0.5-1ml/pound every 6-8 hours Regular strength tablets (often preferred by dogs): 1/4 tablet/20 pounds every 6-8 hours. Treatment should only be needed for 1-2 days.
  • Analgesic (Deerhound safe) such as Rimadyl, Metacam, Tramadol (Ultram) Available from vet- use as directed
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Manuka honey has high sugar content and produces an antibacterial molecule called hydrogen peroxide, which can be used as a disinfectant. Manuka Honey in particular is especially effective in treating infected wounds and other skin conditions  (look for UMF levelof 16+)
  • Thermometer Digital much easier safer than glass (marked exclusively “Dog”) (Normal temperature range 101-102.5)
  • Slippery Elm capsules Useful for digestive upsets of all varieties as well as diarrhea and constipation, Slippery Elm soothes and tones tissues while drawing out and eliminating toxins from the body. From mouth to colon, it acts as a lubricant and protectant, making it an excellent choice for any inflammation or ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Water At least 2 litres drinking water
  • Blankets
  • Pen light
  • Paper towel & Wetwipes
  • Poop bags
  • Xpen, soft crate or like below dog sun sheltering tent

Dog Haus (Dog Tent) available from Amazon.

If you have the time and the inclination you might like to participate with the Noah’s Wish organization.

Noah’s Wish has one mission: to save animals during disasters with our rescue and recovery services and to mitigate the impact of disasters on animals through our educational outreach programs. Like the American Red Cross does for humans, Noah’s Wish shelters, feeds and heals animals who have been affected by major disasters in the USA and Canada, like hurricane Katrina, floods in the Midwest, or wildfires in the West. A not-for-profit organization, Noah’s Wish depends on donations and volunteers to do its lifesaving work. There are 2 day training sessions scheduled in many areas. Visit the website to check for future dates.

Princeton, British Columbia July 9 &10

Loveland, Ohio August 6 & 7

Stillwater, Oklahoma October 1 & 2

Fresno, California October 22 & 23

Whelping puppies with Susan Trow of Caretta’s Deerhounds

Mont Tremblant, Quebec

The last two months have been a whirlwhind of activity for those in the deerhound community, for as with many species spring is a time of birth and renewal. This past year has been marked by the loss of so many loved and special deerhounds; it then seems to me to be that much more poignant to welcome into the world a new litter of puppies. So many hopes and loves about to unfold in the lives of those lucky enough to be part of their short lives. On Good Friday I climbed into my car and set off for my dear friend Susan Trow’s home just outside of  Mont Tremblant 130 kilometres (81 mi) north-west of Montreal. Mont Tremblant is a ski resort town in the beautiful Laurentian mountains of Quebec. I arrived well in advance of the great event (the delivery of Legacy’s puppies). I thought it would be best to settle in and have a good night’s sleep before the whelping began. Susan & I visited and talked and talked and refined preparations for the whelping. It was a surprise to us all when Sat. came and went without puppies;  Legacy had little sleep as she geared herself up for the birth.

This much anticipated breeding of  Susan’s fabulous courser  Ch Atzberg Legacy of Caretta FCh SC & Aus. Ch. Nelungaloo Shot at Fame a.k.a. “Ben”  (lives in Tarcutta Australia) joins in a global sharing of bloodlines, Australian, Austrian/ Scottish and Canadian. Legacy’s “legacy” may be a future dog of the best of all bloodlines- always the hope of breeders looking to the future of the breed.

The hopes for the birth of the puppies is all wrapped up in just hoping for Mom and puppies to make it through the delivery alive and well; all future dreams are shelved and put out of your mind. Sun morning saw Susan and Legacy groggily started the day with Legacy obviously uncomfortable but not yet ready. Thankfully I had slept wonderfully well in Susan’s bed and was excited and anxious for the whelping to begin. Finally at about 10 am Legacy got down to business, as with other puppy birth’s I’ve witnessed a first time Dam is apprehensive & looks to her people for reassurance. To say Legacy was shocked when a puppy was born is putting it mildly, finally after about the 3rd or 4th puppy the Mom begins to relax a little as instinct kicks in & she begins mothering in earnest. By the time all was said and done there were 5 boys and 2 girls Extremely cute and adorable as you would expect. Then the real work begins weeks and weeks of interrupted sleep, keeping Mom and babies clean, warm and comfortable; and dealing with crises small and large. Only time will tell if a new champion has been born, that seems not too important to Susan or I as we hold and caress a tiny little black bundle of joy.

So my newest adventure as M.Ex.( Midwoof Extraordinaire ) as Barb Heidenreich titled me has left me exhausted and happy, looking forward to home and my deerie Cailean.

And before you know it they’ve morphed from fat little sausages into the most beautiful endearing creatures in the world.

Addendum to Heat Stroke- Tips to avoid dehydration etc.

  • Deerhound crash site

    Buy an outdoor thermometer to keep in your car, I use this as a reality check for myself- do I dare make a quick stop at the store with Cailean in the car? When the temp. is already warm the odds that it will be safe diminish exponentially.

  • an early warning sign of mild dehydration is tacky gums (gums feeling a little sticky to your finger instead of moist and slippery)learn how to check  your dogs gum colour and capillary refill time.
  • If your dog is at all ill be extra cautious about heat and hydration. Dogs most at risk for dehydration are those who suffer from underlying health conditions such as cancer, kidney disorders, or infectious diseases. Pregnant or nursing dogs may be prone to dehydration, as well as diabetic and elderly dogs.
  • a rapid resting hear rate over 140 beats per min. may be an indication of dehydration.
  •  Take note of your dog’s water intake.  If you suspect your dog is not drinking enough check the urine colour it should not be dark yellow. Make sure your dog has free access to clean water at all times, change it frequently. Wash your dog’s water bowl daily to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Need to increase the amount of water your dog is drinking?  Add a few drops of lemon juice or put out a little chilled unsalted broth. Add ice cubes to the water bowl. Dog tempting flavoured ice cubes ideas anyone?? Maybe a little plain yogurt flavoured with vanilla or beef bouillion, I know Stroganoff flavoured frozen yogurt. mmmmm.

Dehydration occurs when fluid loss exceeds fluid intake; conditions that may precipitate fluid loss can be both the temperature of the environment, physical exertion, food consumption, illness and lactaton. There will be times when your dog will be less able to cope with the heat than at other times, ie. a dog that has recently exercised hard, a dog who has had a fever, diarrhea or vomiting, a dog that is under stress and is drooling or panting excessively.

In any case preventing dehydration is the goal.

    • provide shade
    • unlimited access to fresh water
    • cool your dogs body (use a spray bottle or hose on the under side of your dog) do not use a wet cover which traps heat next to the body.

Deerhounds (Cailean) swim if they're hot enough

Sculptor of Deerhounds, Joan Creel



Sighthounds and in this case Scottish Deerhounds have been inspirational for artists, writers and poets through the ages. It is exciting that it is still so in the 21st century. I would like to introduce you to Joan Creel Winner of the Scottish Deerhound Club of America (SDCA) Art Competition at Lompoc California 2010.

Joan is the sculptor of this stunning bronze sculpture which is perfectly homed at Fernhill with Barbara Heidenreich and Richard Hawkins. How phenomenal  it is that an artist new to the medium of bronze sculpture would turn out such an outstanding piece as a relative novice. I should have asked Joan how many hours went into this piece, it probably would be astounding. I am reminded again that a latent passion to create should never be ignored; what a pity if a gift such as Joan’s were never to be realized. Thankfully Joan is creating new pieces and will continue to do so I hope.

I asked Joan to tell me a little about herself and her process, I am sure you will be interested to read Joan’s own words.

“After admiring and collecting Deerhound art for decades, retirement to Montana seemed the perfect time to explore a special interest — sculpture.  Having a foundry that casts bronze art pieces close by spurred me on, and after taking a short course class in the lost wax process, I started my first Deerhound sculpture, working in clay.

Casting in bronze is an interesting process.  First, a rubber mold is made from the finished clay and covered with a rigid shell to maintain the shape.  Melted wax is poured into that mold to create a wax replica of the clay original, and when it has cooled, the shell is broken off to reveal a wax replica of the original clay. A system of  wax rods called the sprue is attached to this wax replica to ensure that molten bronze will fill extremities, such as legs.  Next, the wax replica is encased in a heat-prooof material called the investment.  When molten bronze is poured into this investment, the wax burns out and is replaced by bronze.  Once this cools, the investment is broken off and you have a bronze sculpture, ready to be finished.  If the sculpture has been cast in pieces, they are welded together.  Then the sculpture is chased, or polished, to remove any rough spots, and the sculpture is ready for a patina.  Because the rubber mold of the original is not harmed by this process, a signed and numbered limited edition can be cast following the same process.

My first bronze, called “Dusk”  in honor of one of Isak Dinesen’s (Karen Blixen’s) Deerhounds at her Karen coffee plantation in Kenya’s highlands, turned out pretty well, so I donated one to the SDCA for a National Specialty fundraising auction.

Several people other than the winning bidder  were interested, and pieces from the edition of ten were cast to order for them.

Joan Creel's Dusk


Joan Creel's Dusk View 2

 Most important, Barbara Heidenreich and Richard Hawkins of Fernhill became my mentor/collectors, critiquing clays in progress as I moved on.

“Neil” & “The Chase”

The next project was for them — a larger outdoor bronze that now resides at Fernhill and can be seen on the Fernhill web site.   Step one in this process was to complete a small version, the maquette, or model, that an enlargement company used to measure data points that were entered in a computer-driven machining tool that carved a styrofoam enlargement  of the desired size. 

  After refining the styrofoam a bit, then covering it with a clay layer and doing the surface detailing,  two large bronzes were cast, one for Fernhill, the other for Mary Ann Rose, who joined Barb and Richard in supporting the project.   The maquette size piece became “The Chase” my second tabletop bronze.  Again, I donated one for auction at another SDCA Specialty.

For this year’s Specialty in Oregon,  my auction donation is a bronze from my newest limited edition, “I Know Where I’m Going”,  featuring a pup and named after a film beloved by Deerhounders.

I Know Where I'm Going

Deerhound on the Beach

Just completed in clay is “On the Beach”, a maquette for a piece initiated by Kris and Bayard Smith and Joan and Joe Giles after they visited Fernhill and saw my first larger bronze.  This maquette will be cast in bronze by Specialty time, where the Smiths and Giles will show it in hopes of generating subscribers for a Limited Edition of ten signed and numbered large bronzes.  The concept of sharing appealed to me, since dividing production costs among ten collectors makes sculpture far more affordable,  and it gives me another opportunity to work on a larger scale.

Deerhound on the Beach View 2

It’s been over six years now since I retired, and the time has flown, thanks to the most perfect creatures under heaven and the wonderful people who breed them.”

Heat Exhaustion/ Stroke the potential for Disaster and Heartbreak

Deerhounds are usually quite adept at pretending to be a prone statue if the thermometer reads more than 24 degrees celsius. There are occasions however; as I have found out when common sense gets left at the door (the dogs or mine?) and your lazy somnolent deerhound gets a little overly excited and runs like a mad thing on a very hot sunny day playing with  his/her friends. All kidding aside sighthounds have been known to run themselves to death due to heatstroke on the track and in pursuit of game. I am always mindful when hiking through natural areas that Cailean might suddenly remember that she really is a sighthound and has the potential to be a formidable predator.  It might not seem like it during a record breaking rainy spring but the inevitable scorching heat of summer will soon be here. It is not a bad time to remind you of a few safety and cooling tips.

  • Like a broken record Don’t, Don’t leave any dog in the car, windows down or not. Go home drop the dog off and go back for the groceries etc. Even in cool sunny weather, the temperature in the car can climb above 48°C (120°F) in 20 minutes.

  • If you must drive any distance in warm weather with your dog (remember dogs can’t sweat to cool their bodies), consider driving after dark if your car is not air conditioned.

  • Don’t put yourself & your dog into an overheated car, ventilate for a few minutes at least & to avoid toxic fumes don’t start air conditioning with the windows rolled up.

  • Carry a water bottle while walking the dog & keep a 2nd bottle in the car in case you need to wet the dog down or more for drinking (both of you). I always keep a towel, a bowl, extra water, & first aid kits in the car. If you think the dog is panting a little harder than you would like and are at all concerned wet the towel and apply to the chest, abdomen, head, ears, and foot pads moving it around.

  • The only way to know for sure if things are not too good with your dog is by taking its temperature. Keep a rectal/ or digital thermometer in the cars first aid kit if summer walks take you further than a short drive from home.

  • Your dog might be having too much fun to stop playing, don’t wait for the dog to refuse to go any further, go and hide in the shade or lay down at your feet. Anticipate a slower pace and leash an over-excited dog on a hot day. Useful in the car or your backpack is a spray bottle to add to your arsenal of cooling tools. As to the effectiveness of cooling beds and jackets, its worth trying although I haven’t heard of too many people who swear by them. I’d love comments from readers who might speak to this.

  • If you happen to see wildlife in the area, leash your dog. Searching for a lost dog in the blazing heat of a long summer day is one disaster best avoided.

  • As with most things in dog rearing knowing your dog, its body, habits and personality are key to knowing when something is out of the ordinary. Know what your dog’s gum colour is like usually, know how quickly the colour returns if you do a capillary refill test.  This test should be done when your dog is completely well so that you know what the baseline is for your pet. firmly press on the gum above a tooth with your thumb or finger for about 3 seconds. When the thumb is removed the spot will appear paler but after 1.5 seconds the colour should return.

  •  If the dog is dehydrated, the membranes will be dry and the capillary refill time will be prolonged (>2-3 seconds).



Read more at Suite101: How to Check Your Dog’s Gums: Learn to Examine a Sick Dog for Gum Paleness or Discoloration

Heat stroke is most common in the large breeds and in dogs with short noses. Dogs mainly cool themselves by panting, or breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. The process of panting directs air over the mucous membranes (moist surface) of the tongue, throat and trachea (windpipe). The air that is flowing over these organs causes evaporation, thus cooling the animal. Another mechanisms that helps remove heat includes dilation of blood vessels in the skin of the face, ears and feet. Dilated blood vessels located on the surface of the body cause the blood to loose heat to the outside air. Breaths per minute. Puppies 15-40 breaths/ minute. Dogs 10-30 breaths/minute. Toy breeds (small dogs) 15-40 breaths/minute. Dogs that are panting – up to 200 pants/minute. If the animals abdomen is expanding instead of the chest on inhalation your pet is not breathing normally. You should seek veterinary care.

A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 100.5 Fahrenheit (38.1°C) and 102.5 Fahrenheit (39.2°C).

Like people, dogs can become overheated. If it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, the dog has entered the danger zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, damage to the body can be irreversible. Organs begin to shut down, and veterinary care is immediately needed. Death from heat stroke can occur pretty quickly. The shortest interval between exposure to high heat extremes and death is about 20 minutes & usually as a result of being left in a closed vehicle.  Dogs like people need time to adjust to the seasonal changes in weather. They are most likely to experience heat stroke as they are becoming acclimated to the heat and most likely in conjunction with exercise or excitement.  


heavy panting,

hyperventilation (deep breathing),

discoloured gums (deep brick red – mild to Moderate heat exhaustion,

pale white gums in severe heat stroke),

increased salivation early then dry gums as the heat prostration progresses,

weakness, stumbling or a lack of coordination,

confusion or inattention,

vomiting or diarrhea and sometimes bleeding. As the condition progresses towards heat prostration or heat stroke there may be obvious paleness or graying to the gums shallowing of the breathing efforts and eventually slowed or absent breathing efforts, vomiting and diarrhea that may be bloody and finally seizures or coma.

The most common clinical signs of Heat Stroke are weakness, loss of balance, excessive panting, roaring breathing sounds, excessive salivation, decrease in mental awareness, collapse and death. Any time that heat stroke is suspected it is best to get an immediate rectal temperature reading and to begin treatment immediately if the body temperature is over 106 degrees Fahrenheit or to stop all activity and move indoors if the temperature is less than this but elevated above 103.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperatures over 107 degrees Fahrenheit are a critical emergency, because organ damage can occur at this temperature and at higher temperatures.

Treatment consists of cool water (not cold water) bathes or rinses. If the water is too cold, or if ice is used to cool a heat stroke victim it can cause a decrease or loss of skin circulation, which can delay cooling. This should be done immediately for a few minutes and then the dog should be taken to the veterinarian’s office or to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Most dogs will not drink water at this stage of heat stroke and it is not a good idea to spend time trying to get them to. Just go to the vet’s as quickly as possible.

Immediate treatment is critical to success when dealing with heat stroke, so delays are potentially harmful, or fatal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Puppy Fix

Talking and Walking- as usual

Cailean was missing Mojo, exhibiting less than her normal exuberance even on a leash free walk down at the lake, so we decided we were all in need of a visit to Fernhill. Of course I love a chance to go for a walk with Barb, Richard and the deerhound pack. It has been such a long and icy winter walking the hills at Fernhill has been a perilous prospect for man and beast. What a delight to walk and see harbingers of spring, buds beginning to swell and tiny leaves starting to grow under the dried and yellowed stalks of last years growth. Fresh deer tracks and droppings had the hounds gazing into the distance at every opportunity, silent sentinels of power hoping for the slightest flash of movement to excite their urge to hunt. Cailean the city hound with her noise and boisterous play had given every deer for miles around the heads up – deerhounds on the loose!

We were celebrating 4 on this day. Cailean and her sister Electra turned 4 and the puppies still with Barb are 4 months (approx.) Seeing the puppies out running, playing & having a great time was fantastic. I have taken a real shine to Vesper’s puppy Catriona who just happened to be one of the puppies I delivered; Catriona- does she single me out for special attention? Maybe I just like to think so. So I had my puppy fix for this week. Can’t wait to go again, soon.

Watchful deerhound Vesper

Buiscuit break

Black concentration

Independent puppy