From a 90 year old farmhouse on seven beautiful acres in Franklin, Tasmania, Irene Landau helped the Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation convert hundreds of articles so they could be re-posted to its rebuilt web site. This work is challenging: it requires accuracy, sustained attention to detail and pushing through to completion even when other activities compete for priority. But Irene, who found the KBTF web site (using Google) soon after she took a Kerry into her life, said that volunteering was, for her, “An opportunity to give back to an organization I admire and have benefited from for many years. And I could do this from the comfort of my home, so far away from the coal face of the rescue activities.”
The Foundation is extremely grateful for the hard work done by Irene and a small but stalwart bank of volunteers who converted the wealth of information on the KBTF web site into the format required by the new one. We salute her, with enthusiastic CHEERS. Our work could not be done without the help of skillful and committed people like her!
Irene, who was born in Australia to parents who came from Estonia, lives on their farm with her husband David (originally from Canada) and two Kerries, two Papillons, plus six alpacas, nine hens and a rooster. She is now retired after forty years working on the technical side of Information Technology and also doing management and small business consulting in that field.
Irene and David acquired their first Kerry, Shamrock, from a breeder in 2003. Like many Kerry owners, they had had experience with a terrier – an aging Airedale – and wanted a smaller breed. After Shamrock came Maeve, now nine years old, whom Irene bred, producing two litters, one with Shamrock, which included their dog Riley, now four. Irene handled both Shamrock and Maeve in the show ring, where both earned their championships. Shamrock passed over the Rainbow Bridge after 13 years.
We always ask Cheers recipients what they love most about Kerries. Irene particularly loves their athleticism and energy. She used to attend Agility classes with Shamrock when they lived in the city, but now she doesn’t have access to classes and can’t as easily do the running required in competitions. Fortunately, Maeve and Riley take her on joint outings to the hen house and back several times every day, which for Irene is part of her exercise regime.
Also, she loves Kerries’ cuddlesome nature; as she says, they are “a generous armful of lovely soft fur coat!” And they love massages and cuddles too.
Then, too, Kerries also do the useful work which, as farm dogs, they were bred to do. In this case, though, they don’t hunt badgers: they are skillful mousers! Irene says Maeve is super-fast in hunting mice, and she really does catch them. Riley has caught and killed a snake (after figuring which end was which) – not an activity Irene encourages, but it IS his talent. The two dogs also hunt other rodents, and wasps, and lizards. They also do the hard work of alert barking to announce arrivals and departures of their family and of the neighbors, which provides exercise because it involves a 100-yard dash to the bottom gate.
Riley (top) and Maeve patiently staked out on mice duty.
Living with Kerries does pose special challenges, as Irene willingly admits. For one thing, it requires ingenuity to manage their reactivity and arousal levels without shutting down their “Kerry-ness.” In her family, that means making sure the Kerries do not see the Papillons as prey. The dogs are only kennelled at bedtime (in crates in their bedroom), so they have a lot of freedom to be themselves; “we just try to manage health, happiness, safety and any behavior that annoys the neighbours.”
She also says that it has been a huge learning challenge to realize that each dog (Kerry or not) has its own personality and issues, so there is no blanket management or training plan that applies. Instead, each dog must be treated as an individual – “Each dog sends you on a new voyage of exploration and discovery.”
One of the biggest challenges, of course, is saying “goodbye” when the time comes. All Kerry owners know this, but it’s especially poignant for a breeder.
Appreciating the breed as she does, Irene recommends volunteering to help. “Volunteering,” she says, “makes you feel good and helps others. Even if you are unable to contribute to the actual rescue work or are unable to offer much in the way of donations, there are still opportunities to contribute and keep the KBTF alive and well. Even participating in the discussions helps – enjoying Kerry advice and stories is a big part of why we are together as a community. I do think this is the best breed website I have ever encountered – please continue the work.”
Thank you for your supportive words, Irene, and for the way in which you have done so much to help the Foundation. Our hearty Cheers and many thanks!