Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Champion Finetta of Ardkinglas (our family dog)

© www.deerhound.co.uk
 Look what I found online: two photographs of our deerhound Finetta of Ardkinglas. Amazing. I was only looking to show a friend what a deerhound looks like and googled her name on impulse. And there she was.

Finetta was born on 14 April 1961 and had six brothers and sisters: Fyne, Fearn, Fitzroy, Farquar, Florina and Fanny. What great names for dogs! Anastasia Noble, the breeder, always gave her dogs fantastic names. Her kennel name was Ardkinglas which is famous in the history or deehounds. Four of the litter, Fyne, Fearn, Fitzoy and Finetta herself, became champions.

Finetta came to live with us about the time my brother was born. We were living in Dunoon at the time. It's in Argyll on the west coast of Scotland and isn't far from Ardkinglas House (also in Argyll).

Although I think my father fully intended to call her Finetta, he quickly found that I was too young to pronounce it, or to say the word dog or even doggy. (I ought perhaps to mention that I seem to have had some difficulty with the usual names children use for animals. Total fail on doggy. And when my parents took me to the zoo and showed me the jumbo, thinking this would be easier to say than elephant, I failed on that too: I said bimbom. Bimbom? I was never allowed to forget it.) My brother, of course, was far too small to speak at this stage.

But I could say goggy. So we called her Goggy. Or Gog for posh. Daddy salved his conscience by carefully looking up Gogaidh in the Gaelic dictionary and concluding that it meant a high spirited female. So it seemed an acceptable name. How he managed to work that out I don't know as a swift glance at Google tells me that gogaidh is indeed a Gaelic word; it is a child's name for an egg. Not really the same thing. But it's all so long ago and another country too, so I can't ask any questions.

© www.deerhound.co.uk
Goggy lived with us as the family pet until we moved to Germany. We couldn't take her with us so she went back to live with Miss Noble. And became a Champion.

It was terribly sad to leave her behind but very very exciting when she became a champion.

Finetta never had any pups but my mother used to tell me that deerhounds aren't much interested in sex. She used to talk with great amusement about deerhound breeders who became experts with turkey basters to enable their dogs to breed. I have no idea how true this was but she and my father had been very active in the Deerhound Club in the early 1960s so I suppose she knew something about it. I mean, why would you make it up?
 Anyway, here are two more photos of Goggy. This is me aged about 2 ½ in the garden at Dunoon. You can see how confidently I am holding the dog, stopping her from wandering off while my father gets the camera ready. She's taller than me, bigger than I am by miles and bred to bring down a stag, but she's such a big softy she's letting me hold her back with only one hand. My other hand is clutching my teddy. Deerhounds are supposed to be gentle and friendly and she really was.

Ignore my sensible red Start-rite sandals and look at Goggy's pretty white toes.

This is Goggy with my brother. He's 9 months old. and she's 10 months. It's a lovely portrait of the dog; I'm not so sure about the boy!
© www.deerhoundhistory.com
And I can't resist adding this brilliant photo of Ch. Aurora of Ardkinglas which I also found online. Isn't it just lovely? This was Finetta's mother looking very photogenic and noble in an ideal Scottish landscape.