Rory nursing a large Bonio biscuit on the settee

It has become very apparent that the star of this site is not me or Dr Who - poor Sylvester will be devastated - the real celebrity is in fact my pet Irish (RED) Setter dog!!  Can I say that right off he is no relation to Jay Jay the 1999 Crufts Champion.

He was not the first Red Setter to join the family circle we had a previous model named Shane.  Briefly we acquired Shane from the Antrim branch of the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).  He had sustained an accident outside Ballymena where an argument with a car resulted in a broken front leg.  Apart from the break he was a pretty sorry sight and had obviously been straying for some time.  Without collar or ID tags he was effectively homeless.

Then we came along and the sight of that plastered leg will haunt me for years to come.  Immediate pity and 10.00 secured the release of the dog and he arrived at our house in Antrim.  Where he quickly made himself at home - in front of the fire.  He was a real handful and as they say about setters they are hyperactive.  My friend maintains to this day that Shane could run round the living room without actually touching the floor??!!

A few years later we moved to Lisburn and the poor dog never having given up the urge for revenge on at least one car in his lifetime had to be moved to a family offering large fields and plenty of children.  Not to mention far from a road.  I am sure he has gone to the great kennel in the sky by now but will remain one of my life's little treasures.
Some years later and missing the black wet nose dribbling over you we decided to take the plunge again and set out - wiser - to find a dog that we knew the history of.  It was surprisingly difficult to find a breeder of Setters but eventually we found a Kennel that had a contact.

We sat by the phone for three days waiting for the breeder to call.  Then it came.  Yes he did have Setters and yes he was prepared to part with one.  He had two two year old ex-show dogs that were available and would we like to view that evening.?   WOULD  WE!!!??

My girlfriend confided in her friend "he says we are just going to look but he went out and bought two bowls and a collar this morning".  Just in case you understand.  I had also bought plenty of dog biscuits and two tins of Pedigree Chum  JUST  IN  CASE.

Accompanied by our friend Les who had kept dogs and even been a judge at one time we set off.  Katy (girlfriend) did not know what to expect and spent most of the visit talking to the breeder.  Les and myself gave the two dogs the once over and really weren't too impressed - lovely dogs but lacked something.  Then another was let loose a real live wire no brains but ready to play - my ideal Setter!!  He was one year old and had been destined to go abroad but the deal had fallen through and he had stayed at the kennel awaiting his fate.  I  WAS  IN  LOVE.

Yes we could have him.  He had never been named and never been walked on a lead?  This horrified Katy but that is some breeders.  Some time later another breeder passed the observation that his tail curled slightly upwards - I reckon he chased his tail as a puppy and managed to catch it causing irreparable damage - that is probably why the deal fell through.  Anyway the breeder assured us that he had no need for this animal and if we did not require his KC papers we could take him home FREE!!

We arrived home to be greeted by lots of the local kids who had been tipped off that a dog may be in the offing.  We controlled their spirits and RORY (Irish for RED) was home for the first time.

It took him a while to settle down and was very reluctant to come into the house.  Biscuits - never heard of them - what do you do with these things??  Toys - never heard of them either - what do you do with these??  Eventually though he made it and the house has never recovered!  He knows what Biscuits are, and toys are not safe - especially the ones that "squeak"!  Kim's teddies kept disappearing only to re-appear later in a dog basket well chewed. And as for empty Coke bottles he'll get the top off quicker than I can.

I can safely say that he has not let me down totally loveable, playful and mentally deranged.  Yet not a harmful bone in his body - so long as you don't try to take something out of his mouth.  He resides with me and the family as though he owns the house and probably he believes he does.

Rory relaxing on the bed -- trying to look asleep!!
As I write he is curled up in a large red ball at my feet contentedly snoring with an occasional twitch or yelp as a dream passes through his brain completely oblivious to the fame he is about to endure among the Surfers who love dogs.

My first Setter Shane was named after a train in the Shane's Castle Railway Park owned by the local Lord O'Neill who had a small collection of miniature trains.  His park and train rides was open to the public until recently when lack of insurance funds forced the closing of the park.  Interestingly enough the trains were named after his sons another of which is called RORY.  However we did not succumb to following that track and his name is not officially connected.  We have however decided that IF we ever get another Setter he will probably be called GALLAGHER (how's that for good musical taste??).

I am veryh sorry to report that poor Rory sadly died on Tuesday 30th January 2007. The usual old age ailments finally got the better of him.

I have always loved the story of the Rainbow Bridge and smile of the thought that rory is waiting patiently for me to join him. I look forward to that meeting ... but not too soon eh?

God bless you Rory you brought much love and enjoyment to our lives.

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