back to entry --logo copyright © 2002 Dýn Sgŗthan


Gleann's Page

Coin Geilt! index

The Pack






Cý Můr




The Pride



Our Pups Together

Memories of Gabe

GPS's '99 Greyhound Festival Pics

A Greyhound for Everyone (almost)

Celtic Hounds

Canines on my Path

Ritual Hounds


On the Shieling -- Horses

Contact Us

Pictish wolf copyright 2002 Aaron miller

The Ritual Dog
Updated March. 2017

Gleann at 4 weeks--at "breeders"We had been talking for a couple of years of eventually adopting a semi-working dog to protect the chickens and just hang out around the property. Last year ,when some of our chickens got taken by a fox and a weasel,at 5 weeks old--we didn't want his tail docked! but we still love him this became a bigger priority. We had thought it would be nice if we got something we MIGHT be able to turn into a herding dog, provided we could learn to train it. So we focused on the idea of something along the lines of a Border Collie or some cross thereof.

Well, family friends offered my father a BC and an Australian Shepherd from their first litter of working dogs. When Dad said he didn't want another dog, they offered one to us if there were enough, as they had a list potentially longer than the likely litter. In May of 2004, when some had backed out, we got called over to check out the tiny pups and pick one out from three that hadn't been fully claimed yet (there were five all together, not everyone had picked theirs yat 5 weekset). Sadly for us they had docked the tails to make them more like Australian Shepherds already, we would NEVER have chosen this to be done. The other two were female and red merle, the one male was pure black like theOur usual view of of Gleann BC mother. We choose him for several reasons...we like black dogs here, we figured that Irony would be more accepting of another male coming into the pack than yet another female (although she accepted Scolaighe well enough), this was a chance to get another male while we have Bran as the pup will be too small to kill him and will be used to him by the time he's big enough, and males are, after all, cheaper to get fixed. After all, at that age it's a little hard to judge on personality.

We feel a bit weird about getting a puppy, being hard-core dog adopters and spay/neuter advocates. But he was a gift and we were told a buyer, not of the original list, was interested in him if we didn't take him...but the breeders didn't really want to sell to that person...who was being insistent, apparently. We figured we'd still be giving him a sure good forever home, even if he wasn't in a bad spot, he might end up in one if we didn't take him.

So we have now Gleann ("valley," see, we were going to name him Beinn or "mountain" because we live on one but decided two dogs with names starting with "b" and ending with "n" might be confusing for we went with where he came from...we wanted something really simple for the folks, although most people seem to want to read it as Glee-an. *sigh*).

At first we though Scolaighe showed prey interest but it turned out she has "aunty" tendencies, wanting to play and fuss over him. Irony was ill, so we were afraid this might stress her, but she dealt with him here very well. Bran wanted to play, but again, that also had to wait until Gleann was closer to his size.

We had a fun teething stage, which lasted a very long time it seemed. He's shown some herding interest. He's showing himself more willful than the "puppy testing" showed before. But I think he's going to make a nice addition to the pack.

Due to his willfulness, we did take him to a Basic Obedience class and as the youngest there he still did quite well.

Finally updating Dec. 2009it's just play, really

Gleann continued to be a handful for awhile, however. As he matured, he has become an excellent dog, very snuggling inside, very adventurous outside. Scolaighe had a great deal to do with that, undoubtedly, becoming his pack "aunty" and happily playing with him. Often very  rough, but no dogs were hurt in the making of this photo. When she became ill, she stopped playing with him like this. It seemed to make him sad, but he adjusted and was very lovey and caring to her. Her recent loss has been devestating to him as was teh previuos loss of his much less aggressive buddy  Bran.  He did have “rlaith to help hin through.

Updated 2017

Wow, once again, I can't believe how long it's been.  I update on the Facebook page and never get to here.  And, unfortunately, on several fundraisers for the dogs. 

Snowy Gleann2016 and the start of 2017 has been hell when it comes to our pack.  We lost Sachairi in February of 2016 and in April started a health crisis  with Gleann and GrŠinne, with Gleann coming through while we lost GrŠinne to cancer March 2, 2017.

And here I haven't even talked about Gleann since before we adopted and “rlaith, let alone Sach, Merlin and GrŠinne. 

Gleann tried to bond with “rlaith like he did with Scolaighe, but she was not inclined to wrestle.  He seemed a bit intimidated by Cý, who could get cranky.  However, Cý was intimidated by “rlaith so everyone stayed in check.

With Sachairi joining us, Gleann finally had another "farm dog" to romp loose in the woods fields with. Sachairi was older and smaller, but for most of the time he was with us, his energy level was typically BC/Aussie high.  They both watched over the animals, as much as we let them (outside is supervised time, even for the farm dogs).   But Gleann has always been our key Ritual Dog, while Sach often found the whole thing odd except for the sharing food part.

Gleann, however, loves ritual.  Looking back we remember that at his very first ritual, as a puppy, Gleann by pond he just ran and ran in a deiseal circle around the fire for most of the time we were on site.   Over time he calmed down and then became "on duty."  He now patrols the area before ritual and keeps watch, he does the border offering with me and at the end of the ritual, while I deal with letting the fire die and Aaron takes the other dogs home along with the first load of gear (someday we do hope to have locked, waterproof storage up there but have failed to figure out anything secure enough for our peace of mind) to the house, he usually sits against my back. Sometimes, now, he'll lie amongst the graves of our Shadow Pack, who I know join our rituals.  When the fire is out and it's time to head back home, it is often difficult to get him to leave.

Gleann is such a perfect dog now that it's difficult to remember that at one point we were worried he'd never pay attention.  It took a lot of work to become more interesting than things he might seek out on his own.  Now he a Velcro dog with a huge vocabulary (including some spellings).   He is very high energy when he's out playing, even now as he approaches 13, playing tugbut is as relaxed as a Greyhound when inside.  He loves to snuggle as much as he loves going out into the woods for adventures or running through the field or playing, although it's debatable if anything matches ritual.  He does also still try to herd the animals, sometimes, usually only when they are somewhere he knows is "wrong."  The goat, however, usually counters him vehemently.

As I noted above, 2016 and the beginning of 2017 have been rough ones for us and for Gleann.  The loss of Sachairi was a blow for both Gleann and GrŠinne, we were all just adjusting to the loss when in April we took these two and the cat to their annual checkups.  Due to Gleann turning 12 and showing signs of slowing down as well as the  puzzling symptoms that GrŠinne had been showing that were not yet diagnosed, we had full blood work done on both. Both came back with terrifying results.  GrŠinne had leukemia and Gleann was hypercalcemic.  This all came as a major blow and we entered a rather extreme roller coaster of a  year.

Gleann's life threatening condition was a puzzle as there could have been any number of causes of excessive calcium.  He had to have more tests at Peak Veterinary Referral Services  to try to determine the cause and find a treatment.  We had to do a lot of fundraising and scrimping just to get the exact diagnosis. Finally, a nodule was found on his parathyroid and we were given two options. To have it chemically destroyed which was iffy as to the results or to have surgery to remove the parathyroid.  We opted for the surgery.

With the help of a friend we did an auction of Sarah Connor/Terminator items., along with more fundraising  We finally were able to do the surgery. Which led to a completely surreal day with everything going along as expected when suddenly the surgeon came back and decide we should postpone because Gleann wasn't sick enough.  After all, he didn't have the symptoms that usually bring dogs to this diagnosis and surgery, because it was found early by a blood test. While 15 minutes before the surgeon was noting that it was good his levels weren't as high as he usually saw with this, because that might mean he's level off and not be hypocalcemic after the surgery, he now felt they were too low.  On the one hand, we kept noting that Gleann was lethargic, that he was eating Gleann after surgeryeven less (he's never been a big eater) and lost a lot of weight, that we were seeing symptoms but this was ignored. On the other hand we didn't want to push too much, we were scare

d of having our "baby" get surgery if it wasn't needed.  We opted for an abdominal ultrasound that day which showed bladder stones! So, there, a major symptom.  Yet it was so late in the evening that we took him home still rather confused as to what happened (we still do not understand).

A few days later we rescheduled for both the removal of the parathyroid and removal of the stones from his bladder.  The surgery went great. We had several sad, nervous days here while Gleann was at the hospital, calling checking on him.  He had nervous days there, not eating much although he did get to like one of his nurses.  GrŠinne, still hurting from losing Sach was beside herself until he came home.  Once home he recovered quickly, started getting his appetite back as much as he ever had one.  Energy-wise the difference was amazing, we had our puppy back!  The lethargic old dog, which many would just assume was due to the fact he was 12, was completely a symptom! We monitored his calcium levels, which leveled off quickly.  If it weren't for the memory of the months of lethargy and the shaved areas that are still growing out it is like nothing ever happened to him.
During this time he also developed another odd, but unrelated symptom. His head began to atrophy. It was on both sides, his eyes not able to close right (and he already has an autoimmune issue with his eyes, which make them become irritated and runny).  We got him Doggles (the brand name) for running through the woods to protect his eyes.   He looks adorable but we have to admit he hates them and will face plant into  plants and the ground to try to get them off.  This seemed of little concern to any of the doctors. Eventually all the muscle on one side came back and much of it did on the other. He can close his eyes now, but there is still an "indentation" on the left side where the muscle hasn't come back. 

Gleann is about to turn 13. He has out lived six Greyhounds and another farm dog (all adopted later in their lives, but adopting "special needs" Greyhounds may account for a shorter average lifespan here, but we'll likely pick another hard case when we are ready again).  He is now experiencing being an only dog for the very first time in his life. A nd it's hard on him. It's always been hard for him to lose his beloved packmates.  He does have his cat, who he is utterly mad about, but the relationship is different although they are both clearly mourning.


Contents and design, except where noted otherwise below, copyright © 2004 -2017 Saigh  Kym Lambert and Aaron Miller

Background modified from a graphic from the World of Celtic Art
Clipart from Clipart Castle

counter customizable free hit