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800-532-2890

The Face of a Kerry Rescue

 

© 2010 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

Kim was 7 years old when entering our rescue program. 2009 Owner Surrender

Kim was 7 years old when entering our rescue program. 2009 Owner Surrender

 

Who can forget the Kerry-perfect face of Mick as he won at Westminister in 2001 and spurred the mills to swell their populations with Kerries only to flood pet stores with adorable Kerry puppies? Then, by 2006, these same unscrupulous breeders were dumping their breeding stock at auctions because of waning interest. Other breeds had won Westminster in the intervening years. This writer remembers the face of her first Kerry, Phoebe with her perfectly set ears, dark, black fall and beard against a dark silver coat. She was so fortunate to have been bred by a professional and responsible breeder, one who worked her whole life to improve the breed and screened potential buyers as if she were entrusting them with a priceless treasure.

After owning and being owned by two Kerries who were professionally bred, I now see our newest Kerries in a different way. They are rescue Kerries. Their faces are different, but the personality is undeniably Kerry. It took a little while to get used to a tail docked much too short and I have to admit the last inch and a half of Cavan’s tail is nothing but fur. It took a little longer to get used to ears that extend out from both sides of Maggie’s head. The mill did not bother with the niceties of setting ears for their breeding stock.

Maggie 1 1⁄2 years when rescued from a puppy mill.
2006 Rocky Comfort Rescue
Rescue takes on many forms. For those bred and born in a mill, there may be little recognition of a dog as a Kerry. The coat is overgrown, filthy and matted. There is no distinction of fall or beard over eyes so filled with hardened discharge that the dog can barely see. Some come to a shelter in similar shape having been neglected and rejected. Their faces show their fear and their ribs show their hunger. Some come into rescue because they were adorable little puppies in a pet store, an impulse purchase by someone who had no idea about the personality of a Kerry. These dogs carry the baggage of little training and loss of their homes. Some come to Kerry rescue as older dogs that have lost their lifelong companions because of ill health or death. These Kerries are the very special. They have been loved but with the loss of that love, they are looking for a new family that will take a chance on them. The graying of their beards tells us they have matured beyond the house training, chewing and other annoying puppy behaviors, yet because they are Kerries, they will be active forever. You might find them a little more frequently at your feet or cuddled next to you on the sofa looking longingly at you in thanks.
Kevin was 11 years old when he was rescued.
2007 Shelter Rescue
Once a rescue is appropriately groomed, you can see those unmistakable Kerry eyes. My first Kerries had beautiful dark brown eyes that were full of wonder, mischief, and mostly love. Now my current Kerries’ eyes resemble the eyes of my first, most of the time. As many rescues, Maggie came will eyes showing nothing but fear. Slowly, there were glimmers of curiosity as she explored her new home. Today, there is love, some mischief, and even a little confidence. Cavan, having been an owner turn in, always has eyes that question. What do they want me to do? How can I be a good boy? Imposing my perceptions on him, I believe he is always trying to please, to do what he thinks we want and desperately trying to keep his somewhat hyperactive tendencies in check. Cavan was a very exuberant, energetic, Kerry puppy. His first home lasted less than eight months.Rescue Kerries come as they are. I have accepted that and now do not really see the ears or tails. I groom to the best of my ability and with the features as they are. Looking beyond the rules of confirmation, I concern myself with their personality. I encourage them to be what they are, Kerries. That dog you first see less than perfectly groomed with ears standing out on the sides of his or her head will grow into a beautiful companion when seen through your heart, not just your eyes.
Guinness 2009 Rescue from a shelter.

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The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundations established a fund with the Canine Health Foundation of the AKC to pool funds for H&G research to benefit the breed.

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The Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation is a nonprofit charity dedicated to promoting the welfare of the Kerry Blue Terrier breed in the areas of education, rescue and health & genetics. Learn More.

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