In March 2003 Guinness, a brindle grey male was picked up in Kyalami, Johannesburg, and he took the house over. He was a typical Irish Wolfhound of enormous height, a gentle nature and seriously naughty as a puppy. When Guinness got onto his hind quarters, he towered over Gabi, at Gabi and Philip’s Chobe River wedding, Guinness was among the guests. This love for Guinness resulted in Gabi importing an Irish Wolfhound from Berlin in Germany. His name was Tokolosh, and he arrived in Johannesburg on a Lufthansa flight. When Gabi and Phil picked him up and travelled with him back to Kasane, some 1350 km north, the love affair with Tokolosh and Gabi had started. Having Guinness and Tokolosh in the house, together with our troop of cats made the house a special place. In November 2007, while on a walk in the bush, both, Guinness and Tokolosh were bitten by a Black Mamba and both died the same day. This was one of the most devastating experiences. They were buried in the garden at the lodge where they will be with us forever.
Gabi and her Irish Wolfhounds
Gabi and her Irish Wolfhounds are well-known in the town of Kasane. Gabi drives a Toyota Landcruiser pickup with a secure iron frame, and twice a day all hounds and other dogs are going with Gabi for a walk in the bush. It is a common sight to see them all driving around together, the hounds enjoying the wind blowing over their noses. While a lot of people do not know Gabi personally, they all know the car and the big dogs.
If you want a good and loyal friend, a gentle giant dog with a giant demand for a cuddle, and don't mind being slobbery wet from dog kisses, you will love an Irish Wolfhound.
Here is our little story
In September 2000 Gabi and Philip adopted a 3 year old huge dog from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. His name was Steve, he was Gabi’s first own dog, and he was a gentle giant, the biggest Dog Gabi had ever seen. Early 2001 he had an accident on the road and sadly died in April the same year. As he was adopted and a mixed breed, Gabi and Philip did not know of his mother and father, but had photos of Steve to show to guests and friends. It appeared that he was half Irish Wolfhound. At that time Gabi did not know what an Irish Wolfhound was, but as soon as she saw on the internet what a beautiful breed it was, she fell in love with the idea of giving a home to an Irish Wolfhound.
The house was very empty without the Irish Wolfhounds, and in October 2008 Gabi and Philip travelled to Warrenton in South Africa to pick up Paddy and Seamus, two brothers, 3 months old. Life was good again, taking the hounds for walks, talking to them, and loving them. Then in April 2010 Paddy went to the water’s edge outside Kasane, and big crocodile grabbed him. He was pulled under and disappeared in front of our eyes. This again was devastating. Seamus, his brother, was looking for Paddy for about 6 months, he could not understand where Paddy went to. Gabi decided to find a new companion for Seamus, and in October 2010 Bagira, another male Irish Wofhound was picked up in Lichtenberg in South Africa. The 1200 km back home Gabi sat with Bagira in the back of the pick up, making friends. To date Bagira is convinced he owns Gabi. If Gabi turns Bagira turns, if Gabi goes to the garden, so does Bagira. He is the most protective and most loyal dog in the pack, while Seamus is the most laid back Irish Wolfhound one has ever met, a real darling who loves to lean on you until you are about to fall over.
In 2013, when Seamus was about 5 years old, Gabi thought about a third Irish Wolfhound. A blonde beautiful little boy was found, Murphy. He was again picked up in South Africa, and Gabi now had three boys at home, what a treat and pleasure to have. Unfortunately, there was an accident in October the same year while on a walk, and Murphy died. He is buried in the bush where we always go for our daily walks. Gabi found this very hard to deal with and was beside herself having lost the little boy. Then the most amazing thing happened: Murphy’s breeder had a baby girl left from the same litter as Murphy and gave this girl to her to help with the loss of Murphy. Of course one dog can never be replaced by another, but having our first Irish Wolfhound girl, Kelly, helped deal with the loss of little Murphy. She is just the most amazing dog. The biggest out of all of them and the most gentle one.
In October 2014 Kelly as well had an accident, she fell out of the parked pickup, hit the tow hitch and broke her back. Then the ordeal started what to do and how to deal with this. While everybody thought the best is to put her down, Gabi could not face to go along with this, and Kelly was taken by Philip and Craig to Bryanston Vet Hospital. Poor Kelly had to go through a long seven weeks stay before she could come back home. Gabi and Philip visited her most weeks, flying from Kasane to Johannesburg, and saw a steady but slow improvement. The professional care and attention she got in Bryanston was most amazing and made is possible for her to come home in mid December 2014. Once home Kelly was still pretty much unable to walk but could do a few steps. Gabi and Philip started taking her with the other dogs on walks. First she struggled a lot, then it got better and better. In June 2015, she is now walking nearly normal and even managed once to jump into the back of the truck. She has a cupboard full of shoes to protect her bad leg and looks quite sweet wearing one at a time. Gabi hopes that with time, every day exercise and love and patience, she will fully recover. Kelly is to be admired for her willingness to fight to get it all back, what a dog.
While Kelly was in Bryanston, the breeder Kelly came from had another litter, and somehow Gabi now has another baby male from them, Conor. Naughty as hell, sweet as pie and a perfect fit to the other 3 Irish Wolfhounds. In June 2015 with 7 months of age, he is huge and Gabi wonders what he will look like when he is fully grown. In the morning and evening Conor is getting all dogs to run around the big garden, even Kelly, chasing them and biting them in the back to their legs. What a sight!
To complete the story of the dogs, there are as well Knoedel, the 14 year old Jack Russell girl, and Shorty, the 4 year old Jack Russell girl. Both very sweet and getting along fine with all the hounds and cats.
Philip’s German shepherd Hunter died in July 2014 at the age of fourteen, he is buried next to Murphy, and KK, one of our cats which got run over on the road.