Wow - love at first sight. Tom and I were smitten at the first sight of an Irish Wolfhound puppy. Recently wed, we wanted a large dog to share our home and hearth. This was 1975 and we have never been without a hound or half dozen since. From that point, we met others with the same love for these hounds. We began showing in 1977 and have finished championships on over 45 Irish Wolfhounds.
Over the years, we changed priorities (from showing to kids) as our children, Matthew, Regina and Sarah, arrived in 1978, 1980 and 1984. While young they accompanied us and later began handling in the ring themselves. As they grew, other activities caught their interest and we became part of the cheering section for soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and band competitions, leaving less time to go to shows. After their graduation and leaving for college, Tom and I got back in the ring more often.
A big step came in 1991 when we bred a litter. We had a litter in 1987 which was less than remarkable. All of our hounds are from the Eagle lines of Sam Ewing and as we started planning the plunge from exhibitor/owners to breeders, we had several conversations with Sam about a foundation bitch. Although we had champions at the time, we were looking for something "special". That special girl was Ch. ArMaitiu Noitmig of Eagle. That was the beginning and we were fortunate to have Sam as a friend and mentor for all those years.
Our Irish Wolfhounds are part of the family and reside in the house. Our property contains several large exercise yards so everyone has a chance to run and stay muscled. We added an area on to our existing house to make it easier to rotate everyone in and out and the hounds are kenneled in a walkout portion of the basement.
Our puppies are raised in the main house with the children and their friends helping with socializing. We also have friends in our all breed clubs that enjoy playing with the puppies. Visitors are always welcome and the puppies have the opportunity to meet and greet many people.
We want to produce hounds that are correct in type, movement and temperament. Lifespan is important and we strive to produce puppies that will be here longer than the "average". We test for potential health problems and screen the dogs we keep in our breeding program.
Our puppy people must visit at least twice and maintain contact. Potential buyers are interviewed and are encouraged to visit us and the hounds as much as they like. We expect the puppy to become part of their family and touch base with us to update events and milestones. We are also there for advice and problem solving issues such as housebreaking, etc. All companion puppies have spay/neuter contracts and a return to us policy if the puppy doesn't work out for any reason. Show potential puppies also have a contract with provisions made for evaluation as they mature.
We joined the Irish Wolfhound Club of America in the late 1970s after purchasing our second IW (first show prospect). We have been fortunate to have worked on several national specialty committees in a number of different positions over the years. I served on the board of directors and chaired the 2004 national specialty. Tom has served the club as head teller for the annual election for approximately 15 years and helped developed the method now used to elect the officers, board members and judges.
We are active, past and present in three local all breed club(s) and have served in the various officer positions. We have held all positions on the show committees at one time or another. I also held the position of show chairman for many years. This was valuable experience when I undertook putting together one club's first AKC sanctioned all breed show and obedience trial. I chaired the first seven shows before turning over the reigns to the current chairman.
first child, Matthew, was born in 1978. He died in 1979 at the age of 7 months.
The grief was tremendous and we searched for ways to ease the pain by concentrating
on other things taking place in our lives. One was our marvelous, loving hounds
who grieved along with us. In searching for that special name to identify our
kennel, we chose ArMaitiu. It means Our Matthew. We decided this was a fitting
tribute and celebration of our son's short life.