From being very small, I have always been besotted with dogs and in 1966 when I was 13 years old, my parents allowed me to have a dog of my own. He was Bryn, a Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi. He was a very much-loved family pet who went everywhere with me. We got Bryn purely because of a quirk of fate. One day whilst out shopping we met a friend of my Mothers, who told us the sad tale of how she had been given a Corgi puppy for Christmas, but was unable to keep him because her elderly Yorkshire terrier wouldn’t accept him. She happened to ask if we knew anyone who might be interested in buying him. Well as far as I was concerned, that was it, the temptation was far too great, I knew that I just HAD to have this puppy. So Bryn came into my life and changed it for ever.
The people who lived opposite had a beautiful Irish Setter called Shandy, who would often go walkabout into our house. He was the first Irish Setter I had ever seen and it was definitely ‘love at first sight.’ I was entranced by this beautiful dog and his loveable, gentle nature. I’ve had a thing about red hair ever since!
I bought my first Irish Setter in 1980. He was Kerrigan Amber Dream, who was from Mahogany Red Flame and Twoacres Nautilus and was bred by Dorothy Rees. Oliver was never shown, but was a very much-loved member of the family. We entered several fun classes at exemption shows and I was absolutely delighted when he won ‘The Best Groomed Dog’ and ‘The Dog with the Waggiest Tail.’ I adored Oliver and was heartbroken when he died, but I loved the breed so much, I just knew that I couldn’t live without an Irish Setter in my life.
The seeds of showing were shown, but due to other commitments, it was to be several years before I started showing properly. In 1992 I bought a dog puppy, Twoacres Joker (Flynn) and having retired, decided to try my hand at showing. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for, from the moment he was placed 2nd at his first show, I was hooked! He was from Twoacres Old Gold and Janter Jedadiah.
My affix ‘Hooley’ originates from Flynn. He was known at home as ‘Hooley O’Flynn’ because he was always such a hooligan! Flynn was a true Irishman, full of Irish spirit. Despite this and a 2 yr. break from showing, he returned to the ring, managing to gain his Stud-Book Number several times over, doing himself proud.
In 1995 Flynn’s sister, Sh Ch Twoacres Jade was mated to Goldings Festival. From this mating I acquired another dog puppy, Twoacres Fergus. It was with him that the showing really began in earnest. Fergus was the star of our small family, gaining his J.W., 2 CC’s and his Kennel Club Good Citizen Bronze, Silver & Gold Awards. Unfortunately, fate conspired to stop him winning that all important third CC and his much deserved title. He also sired two litters. Several of his progeny were shown and did very well, winning RCC’s. Several of his children went on to have their own litters and to sire litters, so his genes live on in his children and their descendants.
From one of these litters I kept a son, Cymbeline Fallon By Hooley, Geordie, who was born in 2002. From the minute he arrived at Hooley he literally walked in and took over………..and everyone else let him!
I have lots of Fergus’s frozen sperm in storage and one day hope to use some of it to carry on his line. He had everything, brains, beauty, intelligence and a wonderful temperament. Fergus was the epitome of my ideal Irish Setter. I have no plans to get another dog at the moment, but who knows what might happen. Watch this space!
You can read about all of my dogs by clicking on their name in the section entitled ‘My Dogs’.
© 2010 Michelle Webster
© Artwork 2003 Michelle Kavanagh