Most breeders aren’t made of stone. If you spend two months raising a litter of 400 gram, blind, mole-like critters to active 20 kg pre-adolescents then you have a relationship with each and every one at the end. You do your homework and you try and match the personality of the pup you know with your reading of the prospective new owners. Then you hope for the best.

It doesn’t always work out.

Luke, born Swordstone Jupiter, seems to have started well in that he went to a good home with a couple who had two young girls who adored him. We would occasionally get happy snaps and were saddened after 5-years to get a call saying that Luke had attacked and badly hurt another family dog, a Labrador, in the presence of the youngest daughter. They couldn’t take the chance of it happening again and the children becoming collateral damage. Luke had to be rehomed.

We really don’t know the real story but, as we later found out, he was food obsessed and an accomplished food thief (unheard of with wolfhounds). No… not a ‘thief’: ‘artist’ is better. Putting two and two together (and maybe making six) circumstances appear to have changed, there was a move to a smaller property. Maybe his thieving habits saw him banished to the yard with a change in status. Resentment of the Labrador, a house dog apparently, who then got nailed when he invaded Luke’s territory unexpectedly.

Luke’s new life starting off boarding with Ingrid. Then Frances near Hartebeestport, who has an enormous plot in the Magaliesberg, and had previously owned wolfhounds, took him on. She now has a few terriers. When we arrived with him, he seemed calm enough and he immediately set off casing the surrounding bush. However, in hindsight, one Jack Russel in particular was already giving him the eye. It lasted precisely 24 hours before we were called back, a damaged Russel was off to the vet to be stitched up and Luke was back with Ingrid where he stayed while the Club tried to re-home him. That was difficult as he now had an aggressive reputation. Give a dog a bad name etc., etc. Eventually Julia and I decided to take a chance and his brother Joe-joe and I took a drive down to Ingrid to see how they’d get on. Walks on leads went well and so did a run off lead. Reunion pictured below.

Luke on left Joe-Joe on right

So, Luke came home and was introduced, fingers crossed, one by one, to the other five adult hounds. That went well too. Long story short, apart from one noisy stand-off during feeding (some hair lost, much sound and fury signifying nothing) he fitted in like he’d never been away. He and Joe-joe were pals. It was hard to tell them apart, lying side by side like two hairy sphinxes on their bed.

Luke was a true master of the stroll-by sandwich snatch. All done without missing a beat. Blink and you’d miss it. Tut-tut you may say but you’ve got to admire talent when you see it.

Come twilight he’d set off on a patrol around the lawn and he soon figured out how to open the gate to the lower field. That was something that had baffled all the others but they all have Luke’s gate-meme now and all of them can open it (also, only in the evening).

Luke reading the sign that says “Please Keep the Gate Shut”

Then Luke would stroll back up the lawn and assume his Lion King pose with one paw draped over the other and stare off into the distance. He seemed sad somehow.

He was only with us for just over a year. Luke passed from away from torsion in April 2018 and his ashes are now scattered (along with many more Swordstone hounds) in the fynbos at the top of a mountain pass in the Cape.