Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Of Great Size and Commanding Appearance

Irish wolfhound Ch. Arannwood Viking came in 4th in the Hound Group at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show tonight. He looks like a good, strong dog to me, though I thought his neck was kinda big. (But he looked like a big muscle-y dog, so the bigness of the neck may not have been out of line. I saw him on the TV a few moments; what do I know?) Anyway, he's from New Richmond, Ohio -- so go, Buckeyes!

There were some features on helper dogs during USA Network's broadcast of the show, and one of them was about "reader assistance dogs". A child learning to read sits with a dog as well as the reading tutor. The dog's calming presence allows some children to concentrate better on the task at hand instead of worrying about performance and stage fright. I thought this was pretty neat, especially since my mother often allowed our dogs to "sit in" on her home instruction sessions to calm children, or conversely, used seeing the dog at the end of the session as a reward. It was also similar to the work done by the shrinks' dogs over at Hounds of Heaven.

If you're interested in Irish wolfhounds (which makes you a right-minded sort of person), you can't do better than check out the Irish Wolfhound Club of America's website. As a right-minded person, you will want plenty of information on the advantages and disadvantages of owning the breed, and how to find a reputable breeder. You will also find sobering stories about wolfhounds whose owners didn't realize what they were getting into, and so left their dogs in the lurch and in need of rescue.

Speaking of parent's new IW, Liath -- the one rescued from her stunted, shut-in life as breeding stock for a puppy mill -- is doing very well indeed. She is now able to go on mile-long walks with my parents, and is confident and happy. I really need to get some pictures of her up on the blog.

Speaking of pictures, here's some wolfhound art on a Land Rover from the Midgard Project's Paris gathering page. A running wolfhound at the Irish Wolfhound Club of Scotland. A coursing wolfhound. A gallery of photos from a fun match by the IW Club of the Delaware Valley.

And now for something completely different. The London Irish rugby team's mascot is Digger the Irish Wolfhound. What a great costume! If you look under Matchday Mascots, you'll see the real Irish wolfhound mascot who helps Digger out.

Finally, if you ever wondered what it looks like to have people come up to your dog and make jokes about horses, check out the IWCA booth at Eukanuba's "Meet the Breeds". A perfect illustration of all the stages of meeting wolfhounds: people holding back in fright, children approaching hounds in awe after being reassured of their safety, the guy who hangs back to talk a little longer, the wolfhound who gets bored and lies down, the children who suddenly materialize once the wolfhound is down on their level...oh, yes, I've been there.


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