Monday, 10 January 2022

Of Sisters and Brothers...and Clobberpaws.

Tamara, Mommy, Bryn and Barley at CRF

Today I heard the very sad news that my Bryn's brother, Barley, left for the Bridge. I hope he was met by his "big" brother Harley, our precious Heather Burns, and all of the majestic wolfhounds waiting in the mist.

In honor of this majestic boy, here is an excerpt from Bryn's book, Clobberpaws, from Bryn's first meeting with her brother at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We will see you again, big boy - now watch over your mum and dad because they miss you so much, and keep an eye on your little sister here. She has grown into the name Clobberpaws many times over, and I'm so grateful to have had time to spend with her big brother.


“I didn’t know I was a wolfhound till today, Barley. I just thought I was a greyhound like Daisy who was built wrong. I thought I deserved the name the greyhounds call me.” She hung her head.
“What name?” Barley asked, narrowing his eyes.
“Clobberpaws,” Bryn whispered. Barley was quiet for a long time, and then Bryn noticed that he seemed to be holding his breath. “Are you all right?” 
The large male wolfhound burst out with a deep, rumbling laugh that made Bryn smile in spite of herself. “Clobberpaws? Really?” he managed in between heaving gasps and more laughter. “You’re not even a big wolfhound, Bryn! What if your paws were the size of mine?” 
Bryn stared at Barley. “But I don’t like that they make fun of me,” she whined. 
“Oh, Bryn, wear that name as a badge of honor,” Barley replied, still chuckling. “When those thin-skinned lightweights get in trouble, we have to step in and take care of them because that’s what we do.” He paused a moment as the humans stopped to pick up something that had fallen down and took advantage of the moment to swipe one of his own huge paws past his cheek, satisfying an itch. 
“I did hear Mommy say that ancient Wolfhounds were the dogs of war…but is that what that means?” Bryn asked, eyes wide with wonder. 
“Yep. Some of them could pull a man off a horse,” Barley said, his chest swelling with pride. “So Clobberpaws is pretty accurate, I suppose.” 
They walked the rest of the way to their cars in silence as Bryn mulled over what he had said. Too soon, it seemed, Auntie Tamara and Uncle Marc were loading Barley into the car and getting ready to leave. “I will see you again, won’t I?” Bryn called as Barley stuck his head out the open car window. 
“Of course you will, little sister,” he replied. “Be kind to that greyhound sister of yours. She’s probably as unsure of you as you are of her.” 
“Maybe.” Bryn scowled a moment and then beamed a wolfish grin at her brother. “Love you, Barley!” she called out. 
“Backatcha,” he said, winking at her just before pulling his massive shaggy head back inside the car as Auntie Tamara rolled up the car window. 
Bryn positively floated to the car with Mommy. She had a brother who thought she was normal. NORMAL! Not Clobberpaws. She was a wolfhound, and that was all right. In fact, that was just perfect.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

In Which Col. Pickle is Jailed


We are all very discombobulated since our leader is confined to quarters most of the day, none more than Willow-Pickle since she grabbed some prime painkillers from the vet. Her surgery rehab is making Mommy lose sleep though, so this will get worse before it gets better. -B

Monday, 5 October 2020

A Note from Bryn and Ciaragh's Mommy


I want to take a second to thank everyone that purchased an autographed copy of Bryn and Ciaragh's books during the BBH Virtual Vendor Showcase at the beginning of last month. As a result of your generosity, I was able to make a sizeable donation to the Irish Wolfhound Rescue of the Mid South. This money will specifically go to the Heather Burns Memorial Fund for Veteran Hounds, to help place and care for the older and more medically fragile Irish Wolfhounds that are often harder to place when they come into rescue. Céad míle go raibh maith agat!

Our Daily October...Sisters.

Well, I for one would never have foreseen THIS.
Can you tell who is who?


Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Reposted from Brave Lettuce: On Saying Hello, Knowing You Have to Say Goodbye.


IWAMS members in the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Charlotte, NC. March 2018.

The Irish Wolfhound community lost one of its fiercest warriors, defenders, and supporters yesterday with the death of Heather Burns, a member of the Irish Wolfhound Association of the Mid South. Heather worked tirelessly to find placements for IWs that needed rescue/rehoming. She possessed a wealth of knowledge of the breed: history, temperament, health concerns, etc. I've put this picture up even though you can't see Heather and Mark in this shot, it is representative of who she was and why those of us lucky enough to have known her are grieving today.

This was the day before she drove our Ciaragh all the way from her home in NC (almost VA) down to us here in Greenville. Hubs came with me to the parade this time to watch from the sidelines and brought Willow-Pickle along for the ride so she wouldn't have to stay home alone. If you look right in the middle of the picture you will see her, straining to get out in front of all those long-legged wolfhounds because she was the security for the IW contingent. Simon happened to run into Heather along the parade route (I had already taken Bryn to the line-up point) and, being the force of nature she was, she managed to convince my 6'4" Yorkshireman and our snappy little terrier mix to come with her and join the parade. "Willow can be a Wolfhound today," she told him - which is exactly what Willow believed in her heart already. 

You see, that was Heather. In a world of kennel clubs and rare breeds that could foster a sense of elitism and snobbery, Heather was there to make sure that everyone felt welcome at the table - at HER table, the Irish Wolfhound table. I was already familiar with her because she not only saved my bacon and my sanity plenty of times as we were raising Bryn, but she found members of Bryn's extended family that we didn't know about, like her litter brother, Barley, and his family, Tamara and Marc. Or Bryn's older sister Keira and her mom Stacie. Heather knew everyone and everything, and if she didn't know something you'd better believe she would find out for you.

What I knew from the time that I met her was that she had cancer and that it was terminal. She told me with a smile on her face and in her heart that her plan was to outlive the IWs she had (at the time I think there were three) so that when she passed, her husband wouldn't have that to deal with on top of everything else. Heather NEVER thought of herself first. So I knew that as I was saying hello to her, I was also getting ready to say goodbye. She was one of those warrior women that you just thought would live forever.

Go raibh cead míle maith agat, one hundred thousand thank yous, to Heather, for taking me under her massive wing and teaching me how to be a good mom to Bryn and Ciaragh - and for your example of strength, compassion, and love. I hope that your first stop was at a clear pond where your hounds were waiting.

Please visit my album in the Beach Bound Hounds Vendor Virtual Showcase, currently happening through 14th September 2020, to purchase your copies of the Clobberpaws books - 100% of the total sales of Clobberpaws and Clobberpaws, Too! paperbacks will go to the Irish Wolfhound Rescue of the MidSouth's Heather Burns Memorial Fund for Veteran Hounds, created to support foster homes and adopters of hounds that due to age/illness are difficult to place.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

If you've been waiting for her to update this blog...

Then you're going to be waiting awhile, because I have suspicions she has forgotten it exists, what with the pandemic and her discovery of TikTok and the deep-seated desire to put a shirt on me every time she sees me. Seriously. There are years and years of therapy just waiting to happen.
- Willow-Pickle 

Friday, 13 March 2020 what?

Not going to get to see this crowd tomorrow - the humans have spread a virus around so the parade got canceled. Maybe Ciaragh and I can teach Willow to hold the sign and we can parade around the yard? Yeah, probably not. Just have to wait and sneak in with the Scottish breeds in the Great Scot! Parade in May, I guess.