Theatrical Deerhound

Action -Roll Camera

Cailean channeling Gandalf?

I was trying this sweater on Cailean unfortunately it was too small. Does anyone have a pattern for a deerhound or sighthound knitted sweater; must be simple enough for a nearly novice knitter?

The quality of this picture could have been better, luckily my brother had his cell phone camera to capture this moment.

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Scottish Deerhound in Motion

Cailean captured by Photographer Paula Bund

Intensity and Intention (Cailean caught again by Paula Bund)

Its been a cold snowy winter in the Great White North- while I might prefer to hibernate by the fire till spring- Mistress Cailean will have none of it. Her rather sparse coat hinders her not one whit. A dog meant to be in motion & if not able to pursue prey a handy stick will suffice for a bit.

Obviously Miserable Deerhound

Have you ever seen a more pathetic looking dog? She’s obviously totally miserable without me. Ha! LOL.

Mama & Papa Deerie & the Fernhill Deerhounds, including Cailean’s half sister Zephyr, Lyric, Vesper, Elegy, Mojave, Piglet, Talisman and Bayard are keeping her well entertained and methinks maybe toooo happy! She might not want to go home.

Many Thanks Barb & Richard for keeping our girl so content and the photos.

Happy Holidays Deerie ones

I am sorry I’ve been offline for a while. A bit of a set back with illness in the family. All is well now I am happy to report.

The weather turned mild with a Texas low bringing rain & wind on Christmas Day. The snow is mostly all gone now. I would like to see a couple of feet on the ground soon. The dogs love playing in the white fluffy stuff! OK I love it too!

Things have been rather dull for Cailean lately. We haven’t been getting out and about as much as usual. We started going back to the leash free park once she was well out of her season which has been marvellous for her; she sure does enjoy her play with other dogs. I’m not sure if it is hormonal & related to post season blues but Cailean has been more tentative than is usual for her. I find it curious that a normally confident exuberant dog should display what seems to be uncharacteristic caution and even timidity. She will run hell bent for leather if she feels like it and get into a great game of tag with other dogs; however she will give up the game rather quickly and be ready to move on to explore the woods which is very unusual for her. I have taken to keeping my bedroom closet closed after she has twice now tried dragging shoes, knitting & anything she can get a hold on to make a nest. We are sure she’s not in the family way, I guess it’ll take a little longer for her to figure it out.

Here’s a couple of recent pictures of her.

Lure Coursing in Youngstown N.Y.

This past Saturday June 20th we went Lure Coursing, unfortunately there are not a lot of LC events in our immediate vicinity. We traveled with my friend Susan Trow & her deerhounds Atzberg’s Legacy and Caretta’s Marcus (Field Champion) with my Fernhill’s Cailean to Youngstown New York for the Lake Country Lure Coursers (LCLC) weekend American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) coursing event.

We hit the road by 6 AM & arrived in time for the deluge of rain that hit the Niagara Peninsula & Southern Ontario for much of Sat. Rubber boots, ponchos were the order of the day. Much of the day was spent shivering and pacing back and forth to the field with giant damp dogs oblivious to all but the most torrential rains. Through the heroic efforts of the LCLC team in spite of the rain & blustery wind all coursers were able to run safely.

For anyone who has ever attended a Lure Coursing event one of the most striking sensory experiences is the cacophony of howling from the varied sighthounds in attendance. From the time the lure machine starts up till it is quiet the excitement is just too much for some dogs.  It makes me smile thinking back to the strange orchestra of discordant howls coming from every quarter of the car park. It is wonderful to see hounds of all sizes & colours stretch out at full gallop & run as they were meant to. A big part of the enjoyment is also meeting other dog loving people sharing a common interest and their dogs who are all so different and fun to get to know. Reine the Irish Wolfhound matriarch was as playful as a puppy jumping and body-slamming her human friend Heather-Jean. Lady Bug and Malone the Afghan hounds so beautiful it is easy to overlook that they can be brilliant coursers too. Islay and Oban the Scottish Deerhounds beautiful keen runners both. Whippets, Greyhounds, Saluki’s, Ridgeback’s and all the rest, Pharaoh hound, Azawakh, Ibizan they are all special and lovely to watch.

To say the dogs are happy to race is a huge understatement. Many of the dogs can’t even catch site of the field without straining to get to where they too can go after the lure.

By the time the Scottish Deerhounds were up the rain had slowed to an occasional drizzle; for which I am very grateful. We ran two races Sat. and I am very pleased to say that Cailean enthusiastically ran beautifully to a first place finish and a Best of Breed. Sunday was a gorgeous day, a little hotter than I would have liked, but still a beautiful day. The course was much more difficult Sun. & had many of the dogs anticipating directions that were completely off in the wrong direction. Cailean was as anxious as ever to get out there & tear that bag to bits. Unfortunately her owner nearly fouled her up completely by falling flat on her face with thumb stuck in the lead. We were allowed to start again & Cailean ran really well, just not as well as she might have. We were 4th on Sun. and look forward to the next event (probably LCLC in Sept.)

The LCLC team is an extraordinary bunch of people that are incredibly friendly, very welcoming and helpful to newcomers. I am very grateful to Laurie Soutar, Cathy Sanderson and all the other people who give so freely of their time and advice to new coursers.

Please visit the following site for pictures from the day. Cailean is in slide 43, 45, and 46. http://www.panmurray.smugmug.com select album for LCLC Ft. Niagara N.Y.

SDCA Specialty and Lure Coursing

Time to write my blogs has been in short supply of late.

I am deviating from my intention to keep this blog mostly informational and am going to become anecdotal this time.

Cailean and I have had a couple of big adventures. A very busy 10 days left us feeling totally pooped out for a few days. First we went Lure Coursing in Uxbridge Ontario on Sat. May 10th. Cailean with her cousins Vesper and Legacy had a gay time at Pat Wolfe’s Lure Coursing Event. A very amiable and fun group of people were in attendance in spite of the stormy weather. Cailean took to coursing like a duck to water; it’s hard to say which she enjoyed more all of the people, dogs and general busy buzz or the coursing itself. It is supposed to be a competition but I am sure I am not alone in simply being relieved that my dog ran cleanly and without incident. To see the dogs stretch out and run for the absolute joy of it is reward enough for me.

Slick rain soaked fields are no deterrent for the dogs, but do unfortunately increase the risk of injury. Vesper finished her race but unfortunately tore a ligament in the process.

We enjoyed meeting up with Karen and Mick Fasciano of Quiero Borzois (theirs are the most lovely dogs I’ve met next to Deerhounds) OK OK hubby I’ll just dream about adding a borzoi to the fold. At least for now. LOL.

Sun May 11th after the typical and not so typical delays (car trouble with both vehicles) we left finally about 2 in the afternoon only 6 hours late for St. Louis Missouri and the Deerhound Specialty. Driving in tandem 2 vans 4 frazzled humans and 7 deerhounds what a trip!

We arrived safely in St. Louis on Monday with no further incidents. One lame bitch in heat, one very agitated young stud dog and the rest of the pack. Four relieved people found their beds gratefully that night.

Tuesday was a big day; Lure coursing the main event for the day. I guess Cailean sensed the agitation and excitement of all those around her and was extremely hyper. After 2 days in the car and sharing sleeping space with 4 other dogs at the hotel she was full of piss and vinegar, wound up and excited from the moment we arrived. We were early and left ourselves plenty of time to set up a site with as much shade as possible for the dogs. Walking around on a leash was not really doing it for her at all. Once the lure machinery started up she was even more agitated. This dog memorizes activities by her associations with sounds. At home if a key jingles or a zipper is pulled up or the sound of a nylon windbreaker crinkles she will come running from upstairs or wherever she happens to be. I am making a rather long run up to the dramatic finish to the story. I was about to put on the coursing jacket when suddenly Cailean vomited; at first it was mostly white with some foam, I wasn’t too alarmed until a few minutes later she vomited again white mucous but including blood this time. As a mother of 2 children that feeling of dread and your blood running cold is a familiar one; when she vomited again and again each time with more blood I was frustrated and frightened by the helplessness you feel when you can’t help or diagnose the problem. I was so disappointed that I had to withdraw Cailean from the coursing, but at that point I was so afraid for her I would have done anything. Fortunately there are a few vets in the SDCA that were there, I am very grateful to Betty Stephenson for checking Cailean over and telling me that it was most likely not too serious as all her other vitals were fine. After much discussion it was agreed that she may have ruptured something in her esophagus from straining and pulling on the leash; or she might have cut her throat on a piece of stick. For the next 24 hours she was fed only soft things and other than some blood in her stools the next day there were no obvious signs she had been sick. Unfortunately no coursing for my girl for a few weeks. We sure didn’t have an auspicious start to this specialty did we? I think for a dog as high energy as Cailean having a day to unwind from the journey & be a little active would have been better.

More about the specialty later.

Watch Out I'm Coming

My Deerhound Cailean

I would be remiss on this blog if I didn’t talk at all about the ‘Raison d’être’ of its creation; the inimitable extraordinary being that is my Scottish Deerhound Fernhill’s Cailean Adair O’Druimhaven. Cailean has just turned two and isn’t quite the deerhound most people expect to meet; she is like a live wire that bounces around with an electric energy difficult to contain. She has been described by a friend as a deerhound on amphetamines. While she is high energy she is also a tender gentle soul that loves nothing more than to make friends with all she meets.

I have been asked how I chose which puppy (litter of two only) I was going to make my own. Really I think that she chose me more than the reverse.

Me & Cailean May-07

Me & Cailean May-07

For the past 20+ years I have been the only female presence in a house with my husband and 2 sons. It is remarkable how essentially female is Cailean and how much joy she adds to my life.

The last few years have been marked by profound loss. First my kids left home to begin their adult lives (which felt natural and right) but coupled with the loss of my mother 2 years ago and 1 year ago my father and my mother in law has been very difficult. Learning how to accept the loss and the completely different character that makes of your life is an ongoing process.

This new phase of life has its challenges, but it is also a time to “Seize the Day”. I have felt a need to add new substance and challenge to my life.

Embracing the love of Scottish Deerhounds and in particular my girl Cailean has opened my heart and mind to a path I feel I was meant to trod. I have met and become friends with people I otherwise would never have met; this alone adds dimension and richness to my little world.

We make ourselves vulnerable in our love of our pets, but facing the knowledge that their presence is a treasure we are given for what may be a brief span of time is something we all have to recognize. Is it possible to inure ourselves to the inevitable loss, I’m not sure?

I hope you will enjoy the journey with us and find the writings here interesting, educational and sometimes entertaining.

Cailean paused for a moment

Cailean paused for a moment