American champion Carrickaneena Slieve Gullion
pictured as a puppy winning a sweepstakes ( Connie Smalley, IWADV) 1. 12-18 month dogs – Carrickaneena Slieve Gullion. “It is the movement. The reach and drive, the strength in the loin, the length of leg. What a stallion-like hound. This is one to keep an eye on for the future. “
We had to make the hard decision on Friday. Redemption’s rear end was no longer functioning. We had watched his hindquarters becoming weaker over the last few months. When you know a dog , you know when he is puzzled, and getting more tired, finding life a struggle. On the last night he could no longer rise. Asking the vet to come to the house that last time is something we can do for our canine friends. He leaves a vast gap in our lives.
To honour his memory, the history …. which started in the early 1990s when Eileen Flanagan contacted me to ask for semen from Ch Mochras Ipse Facto. Over the years I asked her how things were going. The bitch the A.I. was intended for failed to conceive. I must admit I rather forgot about “Maxim in the freezer” and some years went by……
On one of my trips to look at hounds in the USA I attended the IWAGs initial show, the one held in conjunction with the Somerset Hills dog show, judged by Dagmar Kenis Pordham. I visited ” Carrickaneena” for the first time and spent time with their hounds, marvelling at Logan who was then over eleven. I don’t think I had ever seen such a huge and big boned elderly wolfhound, and he was one of a great many veterans in this kennel. The bitch I liked best was his daughter ” Tootsie”, so named as she had a white foot. Ch Carrickaneena Treisce had lots of bone and was very shapely, there was some talk of ” bringing Maxim out of the freezer” but I can’t pretend I held out much hope for puppies. Tootsie had lots of relations living to great ages, many of them shown at this the first veterans speciality, which became a feature of the Garden State show.
I learned that Tootsie had been insemenated and was in whelp. Then – on my birthday – a rare call from the USA. An exhausted yet triumphant Eileen was calling to say that she had ten puppies – which then became eleven puppies ! Redemption was the last born, he was seemingly dead on arrival, brought back to life by his breeder. This name stuck. I asked if there might be a puppy in this litter for me, and was told yes….
E mails started to come in regularly. I have kept the one which told me every dog puppy was entire aged 5 1/2 weeks. The Government had colluded with us by changing the importation rules, allowing dogs to arrive direct from the USA providing they were over eight months of age and had a rabies injection. I arranged to visit in February 06 to see Redemption aged eight months, rather a formality as I was looking forward to having him, but its hard to take a dog ” sight unseen”. Eileen had also kept a son and a daughter for herself and seemed rather quiet while she showed me the youngsters and we agreed that Redemption should join me. I then asked where Eileen’s own dog puppy from the litter was, and learned that he had died the week before due to the most tragic of accidents. It was typical that Eileen tried to stay quiet, and was preparing to send me the remaining dog – but of course this couldn’t be allowed to happen. We agreed that Redemption would stay in the States to be shown, stored for A.I. and mate his first bitch, at which point I would hope to bring him to the U.K.
Time passed, and Eileen’s daughter Eileen Jnr began to send over a series of fantastic e mails giving the news of Redemption’s many wins over the summer. He made his title in double quick time, with some glittering prizes along the way. By the autumn he had mated his first bitch with all the proficiency his sire had shown some fifteen years earlier. He had an easy flight to Gatwick, and young Eileen arrived in time to show him at Crufts – he was just within age for the special junior class, which he won.
Settled in at home, I showed Redemption a little, but never really did so to his advantage, although he gained his stud book number and was liked by breed specialists who remembered the sort of dog he resembled from the past. He absolutely hated having his ears stripped, would do anything to get out of this, yet would stand for hours to have the rest of his body groomed.
He had three litters in the UK and one in Germany. His first son Solstrand Arthur Ardfuail quickly established himself as an outstanding sire in his own right, but followed his father in being rather lazy in the ring! For Brachan, the outstanding dog in their litter went to Germany and became a champion for Dagmar Deirich. For Rainster, their first champion Ch Rory, top winning IW in his year. In Germany Helga Muller produced Ch Temhair Germany. In America – I have lost count. His breeder repeated the mating with the last straw of semen from Maxim, and fortunately produced another champion of her own ” Jack” who has also proved to be a great sire.
Below -Ch Brachan Glen Finochty, Solstrand Arthur Ardfuail, Ch Rainster Rory with Eileen Flanagan, visiting Rainster the year Rory took Best in Show at the IWC club show.
Redemption was I think a “prepotent” sire, as even today you can see red brindle heavy boned big hounds with his size and substance coming through from Arthur and Rory. Three generations of champions now, the collected Cousinage jokingly called ” the Redemptionistas” . In many a show entry the winners have Redemption lurking – I think Bev Poole has the youngest of them ( via Ch Gambling Man, Ch Another Stripe, Arthur – great grandchildren).
Redemption’s heart tested normal at all his regular checks through to the end. At home, a very easy going greedy hound who never tested your strength by pulling or other bad behaviour, unless there was a bitch in season around! He loved his food and especially his mints, a favourite variety of which his breeder carried with him whenever she visited the UK. I was so pleased she could see him for a last time this Summer, just after his ninth birthday. Throughout his life Demi would go over to the basset fauves and ask them to wash his nose and ears, and at the end of his life had a special friendship with young Marc, who is lost without him.
As are we all.