- Nanette Marks
My journey as a Wolfhound Owner and how the National Irish Wolfhound Association began.
I wanted to share my journey and talk about how the National Irish Wolfhound Association began. I'm currently owned by two Wolfhounds, Reagan age 7 and Finn age 2 and my journey started in 2011. I was at the Scottish Games in St Louis and happened by a Booth set up for Wolfhound Rescue and who would be manning that booth - why none other than our Jennifer Ahrens the current NIWA President although at the time I didn't know her. I had never seen a Wolfhound before and was blown away by their stoic demeanor as they stood so regally watching everyone that went by. I knew then that this would be my next dog. I signed the list to rescue/foster but at the time I had two older Great Danes that I had rescued so I waited. Fast forward two years - my oldest Great Dane passed away and I went on the search for a Wolfhound and search I did. I called every breeder on the recommended lists that I found and not one person would even talk to me. I just happened to run across a Breeder in Missouri that was so kind and a few weeks later, my Reagan joined our family. I then joined every Facebook page for Wolfhounds, joined groups, joined clubs, read and studied but still no one could prepare me for the joys and challenges of owning an Irish Wolfhound. Somehow, Jennifer found me and invited me to join them at the St Louis St Patrick's day Parade and there I met so many other owners and it truly changed my life. How did that lead to the establishment of NIWA you ask? Well as a new owner, I would ask questions on other forums asking anyone I could for information on behavior, food, vets, you name it but instead of information , I was shamed, called names, so eventually I stopped asking. I felt stupid and embarrassed that I didn't know all the answers . All along, my breeder was there for me and helped answer as many questions as she could but then I started to get a little angry. I continued down my own path and along the way met many more owners and found out that there were some awesome people in the Wolfhound World. Then , I had an experience that really set me back and without going into details - it was my first experience with Hatred from other Irish Wolfhound owners -from nasty messages on Facebook, my phone blowing up , threats and name calling. It was then that I realized there needed to be a place where people could go to ask questions, to share our joy, have a community where we could do fun things together, cry together when we have a sick dog or lose one of our precious babies. We needed a group to support us if we need a temporary home or need someone to care for our Dogs in an emergency. I didn't know at the time but there were some great people behind the scenes that had already done the work to form the NIWA and invited me to join in the planning and implementation. One year ago in January we launched and it has been humbling at the wonderful response we've had from all of our members and supporters. I want to thank everyone that has reached out and reaffirm that we are here for you. Rescue is a small part of what we do . We also provide valuable information, have Social activities, participate in Lure Coursing and more important - we are here for you as a family if needed. In these terrible times, please don't hesitate to reach out if you need us. Wolfhound Strong! #niwa #nationalirishwolfhoundassociation #irishwolfhounds #bigdogsofIreland