How to describe pure magic embodied in a hound? An Irish Wolfhound, that most mythical of creatures. Maebh personified the breed. Elegant, a huntress, fleet of foot. Charming, fiercely protective of her people, the essence of kindness to any child that came her way.
We had a fabulous day together on Saturday. Recovering slowly from a hip replacement I decided it was time to take the hounds for a walk and we ventured to the weir at the top of the farm. Shaking slightly on the way home I marvelled at my lack of fitness, but the hounds loved it. When she got back Maebh chased a couple of geese and a pair of hadedas off the big lawn by the dam. How dare they? She loved to do that. She did it nearly every day of her life. What’s the point of being a hound if you can’t give chase? She made sure to chase the staff vehicle off the farm every night at 5pm too, right up to her very last Friday.
On Saturday, my hip aching from a week of doing too much, I retired to while away the day in my bed and Maebh jumped up and joined me. Resting her head affectionately on my feet.
I shall forever be grateful for that day together and the fact that I was home for her when she needed me.
On Sunday morning she was restless and unlike herself. She had no temperature, but still she wasn’t right. I took her to the vet. They couldn’t explain, but they could see something was wrong. By Monday morning she was desperately ill and at midday she died in my arms of a pulmonary embolism.
She was a friend to so many. Our housekeeper Louise has been in tears ever since she heard the news. Maebh came to greet her every single morning, all her life, she loved Louise. All the farm staff adored her, she made friends wherever she went. She was subtle, she didn’t make a fuss, she was there for everyone, a grey shadow, a beggar for treats, a long nose nudging for love.
She flirted with guests and flipped over “can you tickle my tummy?” She loved men. She adored cheese. Niall Quirk taught her that over lockdown as he grated cheese over his morning eggs and shared it with Maebh. Ever after, the rustle of a cheese package could bring her from 500 metres away. I don’t think I shall ever again open a packet of cheddar and not think of Maebh.
Peter and I laid her to rest along with her pack. The great Seamus, sweet Jemima Chew, Murphy the wolfhound who’s life was cut tragically short by a snake bite. So many memories. At least she got to live her long wolfhound life on this farm, to be part of our pack. We were all honoured by her presence, her gift of joy and love.
Maverick said goodbye to her. He is quiet and subdued. His pack is gone now, only the humans remain. I hope we will be enough for him, for now at least.
Maebh’s life was long for a wolfhound. She lived to the age of 10 years and one month. She was bursting with unusual vitality for an older wolfhound; I did not foresee her being taken from us so suddenly. I am bereft.
Almost exactly 10 years since we bought her home to live with us here on the farm. A treasure. An elegant hound whose coat caught and reflected the light. An athlete of note – in her ninth year we were walking on the farm and she caught and killed a mongoose that dashed across the road, almost before we ourselves even saw it. Hound, friend, flirt, tease, spirit of life who danced on the earth on the longest legs with pure elegance.
Rest in peace my dearest Maebh. Your footsteps will ever walk along with mine.