CluainUltaigh The Start

This is a brief history of how Ruthe was introduced to the Show Dog Ring.

Pippa was born, 18th October 2008 in County Wexford (Dam:  Beauty Queen  Sire: Fearnach Touch My Soul Bred by Mrs Janette Giles).  One day in February 2009 Heather and I took a day trip to County Wexford to look at, and possibly select, a puppy.  Heather is my daughter and was in the middle of learning to drive so this was a great driving experience for her as she drove and I sat as Tom Tom.  When we arrived in Wexford we were greeted by two very beautiful tricolour Shetland Sheepdog puppies. They were both beautiful, however, we wanted a bitch, or little girl as I prefer to say, which I do believe does not make me sound much like a true doggie person (I just hate the word).  At one stage in the visit I was toying with the idea of bringing them both home but as usual Heather was my voice of reason.  Anyway Pippa was so much smaller than her brother and both Heather and I said "what a wee Pip Squeak" hence the name, Pippa.

Well I didn't know there could be so much fluid in such a small dog but for the first hour of the journey Pippa proceeded to dribble constantly.  Eventually she fell asleep on my lap and we arrived at what was to be Pippa's new home, Cluain Ultaigh, Bandon, County Cork.  Before we reached our house I first arranged for my husband, Stephen to meet me on neutral territory with our other two dogs.  This is the advice I was given by my lovely friend, Maxine, who knows more about dog behaviour than anybody else I know.  She also told me to hold Pippa and to let the other two dogs sniff her all over, in particular her rear end, and to my relief it worked.  Logan, our lovely big Collie, is usually not keen on meeting other dogs, had not a problem with Pippa and as for Diesel she was delighted to get a puppy without having to go through any pain and no weight gain. Diesel is a lovely Collie/German Shepherd cross.

We had bought Pippa a little bed and as we were going to bed we put her onto hers and she seemed to know immediately this was her place and I have to say she has been so good from that day.  I have been used to having rescue dogs and both Logan and Diesel were from dog pounds and both came with issues and problems however I love them so much but it was so nice to have a wee dog who had never been ill treated and never having felt insecurity. 

As the following days went by Diesel continued to mother Pippa and Logan accepted that she now lived in our house but had little to do with her.  She then started to get very secure and started playing with Diesel in the garden which was ok until she decided Logan wouldn't mind a nip on the bum, but of course he did, and she got a paw which flattened her and well there was either a seagull in the garden being murdered or a terrified small dog (what a noise!).  She ran straight to me.  When she calmed down, and as I could not see a thing wrong with her though she was very scared, I breathed a sigh of relief.   I went out to the garden to find Diesel very angry with Logan and was chasing him round the garden and well he got such a telling off.  Pippa learned her place that day as did Logan.  It was a lesson that had to be learned and it was unbelievable to watch.  Diesel has so much love for Pippa and to this day will protect her from any harm.

In the next few days it was learning to walk on a lead which was not very difficult, Pippa seemed to like walking on a lead. Every day we would go for a short walk at a local wooded area where the dogs love to run and we could see Pippa grow in confidence.  There is a small river flowing adjacent to the walk and the Sheltie fear of water showed itself and Pippa had to be carried over it.  I had been told that I should treat each month as a year, so if Pippa is 3 months I should treat has as a three year old child.  Therefore think how much could a three year old walk - not much and I think that was a great guide. Hence she was carried most of the way.  Another thing I was told was not to let her do too much jumping.  This was hard as she kept running up a bank and wanting to jump down.  It wasn't from a great height but I could see what people were talking about.  She had very small weak legs and if they get a lot of pounding this can damage them.  As I said the river flowed through the wooded area and Diesel loves in it and swims daily.  Logan would go into the river as long as it was not deeper than the height of his legs but Pippa cheered from the bank.

When I got Pippa she already had all her injections so she was allowed to be in contact with other dogs.  I had heard of ring craft classes in Ringaskiddy, County Cork run by Ber Mulley and Donal O Donoghue,  I made my way with Pippa to attend these classes a couple of weeks after I had got her and she was walking well on the lead.  There were dogs of all sizes and breeds.  By the end of the class it was clear Pippa loved this.  She was wary of a few dogs but really was frightened of none.  I organised to attend on a weekly basis and gradually we both learned the procedures and rules of showing a dog.  She was good at walking (well I thought she was) but a bit unsure of being put up on a table, not to mind someone wanting to see her teeth.  As the weeks passed we both learned lots and enjoyed our classes.  I did have one major problem with Pippa and that was travelling.  Sometimes she would be sick but mostly it was the dribbling.  She would dribble so much that her chest and legs would be soaked by the time we got a few yards down the road.  I got a couple of baby bibs and they did help a bit but it was impossible to cover all of her front and even when I dried her with a towel her hair was not the same.

I was told you could not start showing a pup until they were 6 months old so on the 18th April 2009 Pippa was 6 months old and we entered an IKC Championship Shoe held at Inniscarra, and so the pet became the show dog, with a handler with no experince no show dog friends and a kennel of one.

Well I arrived at the show really early to get parking with my friend Carol Ann as moral support.  I attended the show with Pippa, a towel, a bib, a brush and a lead.  I found our ring, and got my catelogue and number and stopped and looked.  From this point I realised Pippa and I still had a lot to learn.  I looked down at Pippa and apologised to her, I had let her down.  The other exhibitors were preparing the dogs and they had them on tables, they were grooming, brushing the hair backwards, spraying and fluffing them up.  I was amazed at the amount of work that was going into preparing a dog to show.

I have to say I have been showing now for roughly six years and have enjoyed every minute (well there have been a few disappointing days, but thats life) and I have to say we now turn up at shows with grooming table, trolley cage, cages, a bag full of sprays, brushes, combs, scissors and much much more, a dog pen, and now we have a van kitted out for the dogs and all their kit plus a roadie, my slave Stephen.


The site and our brief history would not be complete without mentioning Semitar Heartbeat our "Alpha". (Dam: Jaymur High Society by Semitar and Sire Rannerdale the Irish Wizard at Semitar) Alpha the dog with the biggest personality of them all. Alpha is a beautiful dog and we had such high hopes for him. Unfortunately Alpha had one fault and in our eyes only the one, he grew slightly too tall. As a puppy we showed him and he won Best Puppy in Breed at the Fermoy International Show (2010) and had many class wins. It soon became clear that his showing days were numbered. We then had to make a difficult decision if we wanted to breed and show more than just Pippa that we would have to get another dog and in this case we had the offer of Semitar Spice Dream and we continued to show them both together for a period. Though it became very obvious that we could not keep them both as the friction between them was terrible to witness, this was again another lesson that we had to learn that sometimes dogs will just do not get along. It was at this time after a long discussion we decided with the help of the Cushleys to find a suitable home for him. We soon found a loving home for Alpha where he is presently attending classes for obedience and agility with Lorraine, his new owner, and she hopes to compete at agility competitions. We keep in touch with Lorraine  and get constant updates about him as he achieves his goals and when we travel north Alpha makes an appearance to see his brother. To be honest with his boundless energy and speed I think he will do so well and enjoy it so much. Letting Alpha go was the most difficult thing I think I have ever had to do. At this point I would like to thank Thelma and Eddie Cushley who bred Alpha, who were both so kind and helped us so much during this time. Giving Alpha away was the point when we realised that we were serious in wanting to be exhibitors and breeders of this wonderful breed of dog and hoping to be successful in showing them.