Tania Pretorius starts Connor’s story………

We decided in early 2016 that we would like to get our wolfhound Kellan some company and Leon van Tubbergh and Carien Rootman at Supermoon were willing to give us a pup from their latest litter. Connor was born Supermoon Apollo.

One day we got a phone call from Leon. Apollo had developed a spinal cord embolism (see note at end of article). He had however shown tremendous improvement in the first few days and Leon & Carien adored him so they made sure he got the very best medical care. I think he spent quite a bit of time at Onderstepoort if my memory serves me well. They wanted to know if we would be willing to give him a home – they knew we weren’t interested in showing or breeding and we were only too happy to take him.

I think he was around eleven weeks when we collected him at the airport. The most adorable puppy with his bunny-hop gait. While we were waiting for him to arrive I had done some research and managed to find Pet Wellness Worx an amazing animal rehabilitation center in Cape Town. We took him there every week until he was fully grown. Pet Wellness Worx worked on his proprioception (sense of body position and movement), performed acupuncture and lots of hydrotherapy both in the pool and the water tank. They also gave him the toe-lift that he still uses.

Connor in the hydrotherapy tank

He had (and still has!) a most gentle spirit and only wanted to be showered with love. He loved his new home, even if he didn’t always get along with his older wolfhound companion.
In 2018 we learned of Elias’s two-year work commitment in Canada and had to start planning for our time away. Initially we looked at finding a foster home for both our wolfhounds, but eventually decided that I was going to remain in South Africa with our kids, spending a few months at a time in Canada. Kellan would be fine living with my brother-in-law in our house, but we were worried about Connor who needed special care and attention. We asked Heather Gould (the go-to person in Cape Town on wolfhound issues) for help. She was aware that John and Elaine Ruby had just lost their wolfhound Gracie and she suggested re-homing Connor with the them.

John picks up Connor’s story…….. 

When we moved to the Cape in 2014, we decided that there would be no more IW puppies for us because we were getting older. That was fine, because we still had vibrant, beautiful Gracie (Swordstone Jocasta), the hooligan princess, who helped us make some wonderful new friends. Her sudden loss to cancer was absolutely devastating. Heather contacted us within two weeks, and asked us if we would consider taking Connor. For us it was the best medicine ever, and it meant that our IW journey was not yet over. The Pretorius’ had raised him very well and his manners are still impeccable. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly he settled in. He realized that he now had full-time companionship from two people, and he was delighted not to have to share us with any other dog. There is a lovely, large, dog-friendly park two hundred metres from our gate for daily walks, but the highlight of his week is a trip to the Blaauwklippen Sunday market. He absolutely glows with delight at all the attention he attracts, especially from children, and we answer the same few questions over and over. Occasionally we are joined by Heather and her Wessex, and Arnold and Liebe Reyneke with their Kota. We hope that Connor will continue to be an outstanding ambassador for IWs for a long time to come. Having a dog like Connor will ensure that you will never be without new friends.

Connor, striking a lordly pose in front of Blaauklippen Manor, also graces the banner images on the Home Page of the Irish Wolfhound Club website. Take a look at him and other hounds in South African settings submitted by Club members and fellow-travellers from the broader Irish Wolfhound community in South Africa.

Note on F.C.E.

F.C.E. (Fibro Cardiogenis Embolism) or Puppy Paralysis in wolfhound puppies is uncommon but is something that all prospective puppy owners should be aware of as it requires very rapid treatment (within a couple of hours) if the puppy is to fully recover. It manifests as a paralysis of the hind legs. Your vet may not have encountered F.C.E. and, since time is of the essence with F.C.E., a puppy owner should print the following link and have it to hand, just in case.