insensibly — but oh! so swift. Swift as that swallow
which skims alone on high: so high, so small,
it seems neighbour to the moon which hangs,
pure and silent, impassive witness to the scene.
In the marsh cat-tails (now bloom'd) and grasses' whisks
stand — glowing spectres, creatures of the falling dark.
Time to turn back; now time to call my dog
whose vesper bell, alone, fills the silence of this hour:
Come 'round! — we're done.
Hawklawn Silver Sixpence Sire:Innsegall Malery Dam: Shannonlee Ptarmigan Of Hawklawn Whelped: Aug. 15, 1988
Festie was the first of the Irish Red And White Setters at Caniscaeli. She is also the first of her breed to be registered by the Canadian K.C., first in Miscellaneous Class, then for full CKC registration
Festie is pictured here with some of her first litter of 8 puppies, born May 9, 1993 (Mother's day). This was Canada's first IR&WS litter.
Festie age 9, 1997
Achievements: Festie's most important achievements were as a mother, and a beloved member of our family. Her legacy is an important one to the breed. Her temperament was impeccable, and we are proud to have had her as our beginning in the breed.
Rare Breeds Ch. Shannonlee Fire Finch Sire: Vanders Special Vintage Dam: Shannonlee Marbled Teal Whelped: Aug. 25, 1994
Our Liam at home.
Liam was so light on his feet, gliding effortlessly out in front of me in the show ring. I have lost count of the number of judges who said to me, "Your dog floats". My final day showing was with Liam, who garnered a Best In Show (Rare Breeds) over approximately 85 other dogs. And he's handed down that breathtaking movement to many of his descendants.
Other snapshots in my memory are Liam trotting around the property carrying a cob of corn from the back fields. Or Liam throwing an empty plastic pop bottle into the air, springing up and catching it in his front feet.
Liam handed down his love of water to many of his descendants who also love to swim.
Liam was a sweet, friendly, soft, trusting boy who liked to be told he was the bestest boy in the whole world before he'd eat his meals.
He was without vice, a great ambassador for the breed at a time when there were very few of the breed in North America.
He was tragically killed on the road at only five years old. But his legacy lives on here in Canada and in our home.
Aug. 1994- Jan. 2000.
Caniscaeli Half A Sixpence Sire: Meudon Classic Dam: Hawklawn Silver Sixpence Whelped: May 9, 1993
Titch is Girl 6 that we chose to keep from Festie's first litter.
On May 9th, 1993, which was Mother's Day, five boys and three girls were born in this house. Dam was Hawklawn Silver Sixpence (Festie) and sire was Meudon Classic (Matt). This was Canada's first IR&WS litter on the books at the Canadian Kennel Club. From that litter we kept Caniscaeli Half A Sixpence, who was born sixth in the litter. All of the puppies in that first litter had their birth order in their registered names. We called our girl Titch, or more often Titch Mouse. Three weeks ago, Titch fell on the floor, just a few feet from where I am sitting now. I thought at the time that it was a stroke, but our vet believes she had a brain tumour. Something had happened last summer, very much like what may have happened three weeks ago, but Titch managed to rebound from that. This time she did not regain her strength. She has been fading, but she has seemed in no pain. Early this morning before dawn, Titch died peacefully in her sleep, here at home. We were blessed to have shared her company for almost thirteen years, we will all miss her in our family. But today it was time for her to leave us to be with her beloved mother Festie again.
Caniscaeli Song Of Sixpence Sire: Shannonlee Fire Finch Dam: Hawklawn Silver Sixpence Whelped: Oct. 31, 1996
Trea was born here, third born from our Festie's final litter--the Hallowe'en litter of 1996. She lived with us for twelve years, and was a good pet and a loving mother, an integral part of the fabric that makes up our family. This fall she was diagnosed with bone cancer, left front leg, distal radius. I always worry that we won't know the right time to let our dogs go. But today Trea told us the pain was more than the meds could help. She and I sat together this afternoon until it was time to let her go. Now she is whole again.
She was firstborn of our Festie's Labour Day litter- born at the vet's office, pulled out with forcepts at 3:00 in the morning. And with only a bloody tongue to show for the ordeal, she must have been meant for great things. And she was. She was sold as a puppy to Nancy Bingham on the east coast. Brammie came back to us to finish her Ch., and get her field title in Ontario. She then stayed here for her two litters that produced some very special IR&WS's. Then she came back to stay when she was ten, until she died. We are grateful to Nancy for allowing us to share Brammie's life with her. She was so dear to all of us.
Bramble had been doing so well, we thought she'd have at least one more summer of enjoyment. However, a few days ago, it became obvious that that was not to be. Yesterday was the day she needed to leave us. I could tell you so many things about her life, and how proud we are of what she's accomplished over the years. She loved to go places and do things. What is most important to us, though, has been her presence with us. I will miss her pretty self, her beautiful head that I have seen again on a great-granddaughter. But I will never see her own big dark eyes again, never again stroke her face when I put my hand down to her special place--the dogbed on the right beside my big chair. She leaves sisters and a brother, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, many of whom have made noteworthy contributions to the breed. Some of them live here with us, and are loved for themselves. Her lines will continue in various countries around the world, which is as it should be.
But she leaves a hole here at home, that I know will be filled in the future by our memories of her.
Part of the routine at our house, is that sometime after the supper dishes are done, I will come into the computer room here. There are generally a selection of several dogs who come and go during the evening. But Tessa is always here with me when I am here. She usually is already on the couch behind me, when I arrive. If I turn around and smile at her, she will always smile back. If I laugh, she will laugh. If Tullia comes in, I will hear the "thonk, thonk, thonk" of Tessa's tongue as she washes Tulli's face for her. Tessa is the most motherly of R&W's and loves everybody, human or canine. If we are watching TV, or have company, she will be on the living room couch with us. Tessa has always been a quiet but integral part of our dogs' and our own lives.
Thursday evening after supper I heard a soft cry from behind me. She seemed to be in some discomfort, which was concerning. She went out at bedtime as usual, but did not want her bedtime biscuit, nor could she settle in her crate. She paced around the house, and at 2:00 am I gave her some Metacam for pain. She settled until morning. I watched her outside, where Leslie had put her in the smaller yard with a couple of the older girls. She peed, then lay down on the gravel, and Titch sat down next to her, touching her for comfort. While the dogs had breakfast, she lay quietly on the kitchen dogbed. Our vet is a distance away, but when we got her there, she walked in as usual, and smiled at everybody in the clinic, also as usual. The X-ray showed an enlarged spleen and some masses below, which our vet said were probably something cancerous. But most importantly, her stomach had torsioned. Since bloodwork was normal, we chose to try surgery. But it was too late, and Tessa died in surgery Friday. She was always so healthy, I had not thought to lose her for a long time yet. It was a shock.
She was the demo dog when her breeder, Joyce Webb, brought her to Canada in 1994 in whelp, to give a seminar to judges and other interested people, and to start Jill Taylor in the breed. She was one of Canada's first imports. When Jill gave her to me six years ago, Tessa was always a part of the breed seminars I have presented. Once we got recognition of the IR&WS in Canada, she came to our National Specialties in altered class, and last year at the age of twelve, she took the two altered class points. We always spay our bitches after their final litters, so she was not eligible for a regular Canadian Ch.. She and her progeny were always "Best Brood Bitch" though. Being easy and sweet, Tessa was the grandchildrens' choice for our community fall fair children's pet show, and last year won "longest tail" category among others. She does leave progeny, she was birdy, she was Canada's oldest IR&WS for several years.She was plenty of things that I suppose might be considered important. But to us, her real importance was in herself, and the vital part of our family that she was. She was everything anybody could ask for in an IR&WS, and so much more. I will always miss her here with me, and her precious smiley face.
Shannonlee Snowy Owl Sire: Vanders Special Vintage Dam: Shannonlee Magnolia Whelped: June 1, 1995
We brought Tawny from England when she was 22 months old. She was accompanied by three puppies from her first litter --Kim Spelmer's Lainie, Diane Martineau's Forex, and Lyn Paymer's Liffey--all of whom have been much loved and done exceptionally well in several disciplines. Tawny herself was immediately fine with me, but never having met a man before, was afraid of Leslie. For the first month here, she would not voluntarily go near him. As Leslie has an aura that all dogs are attracted to, this was a first for him, and he was not pleased. A friend suggested that she was afraid of Leslie's beard, and he should shave it off. Leslie replied that he wasn't about to shave off his beard for any dog! This shyness didn't last long of course, and Tawny soon decided that Leslie was wonderful, and her most beloved person. She was quiet about it, but she always managed to get herself close to people so they could pat her. This was especially so if we had company. If they stopped patting her, she would reach out a paw and put it on their arm, to remind them--meanwhile studiously gazing off ino the distance.
She was also one of those dogs that we could let out the front door loose and know that she wouldn't go far. And she would always come back when called--except when she had found something tasty in the burning pit where Leslie had been burning kitchen garbage. But she never spent much time outdoors anyway. Her place was indoors, usually on her chair.
Tawny was our queen. She was the most benign of despots. But she had a presence about her that the other dogs respected.. Her place was as head of the household, and her throne was the big brown leather chair in the living room. She would sit on that big chair with her head held high, as befits a queen.
Her other place was on the dogbed in the kitchen, when food was in the offing. I would come down in the morning, and Tawny would greet me with dancing, and often smiling. I would make my coffee, and she would wait quietly on the dogbed. Because, with coffee, came toast! There would always be a bit of toast for Tawny in the morning.
Last winter she started coughing. A check-up and an X-ray by our vet revealed an enlarged heart. The coughing became more frequent over the months, but she didn't seem bothered by it. Then one day in August, she didn't want her breakfast. More importantly, she didn't want her morning toast. Two days later, she died here at home where she belonged.
Her daughter, two granddaughters, and one great-granddaughter are here with us. They have each inherited some of her traits, and are loved for who they are. But our Tawny was unique in so many ways. She leaves us with wonderful memories.
June 1, 1995-Aug. 16, 2008.
Ch. Caniscaeli Moonlight Sonata Sire: Ch. Caniscaeli Starfire Ember Dam: Caniscaeli Song Of Sixpence Whelped: July 2, 2001
She was Can. Ch. Caniscaeli Moonlight Sonata, and we called her Tullia--or Tulli, or Tools, or Tooli-Wooli... It means "the quiet one", a special name for a special pretty girl with the big dark eyes. She was a tidy little personage, gentle and tactile, springing nimbly onto laps for a cuddle, or onto a couch with dogs, bodies entwined. And she would always make herself part of the action, parking her little body in doorways or on stair landings. But she would deftly move over when asked politely to "excuse me".
If Tawny was our Queen, Tullia was our Princess. She was lovely to look upon, and she carried herself with a self-contained regalness that was undeniable. Tullia was the only member of the pack allowed to sit on the kitchen chairs. And oh, she was motherly. She adored puppies--anybody's puppies. She was intelligent and endearingly gentle, but under it all was a core of strength. Though I know she wouldhave preferred to stay, the burden of the cancer became too great for herand us. Wehad to let her go. May the spirits of her friends and her ancestorsbend low with love to receive her. She left us too soon, in June 2009.
"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind".
Ch. Caniscaeli's Whitehot Toddy Sire: Ch. Corranroo Chaos Dam: Ch. Caniscaeli One Fine Day (Bevy) March 12, 2004
March 12, 2004--Oct. 5, 2008
Toddy, we have photos to remind us of you, and the pleasure you gave us.
We chose you, Toddy, at eight weeks of age, from Chaos and Bevy's litter. There's your eight week stack in my big maroon pedigree book.
Toddy at eight weeks old, taking Tullia's bedding from her crate, dragged several hundred yards into the orchard, so you could lie in comfort on bedding on the grass, chewing on your big bone. What a cute little thing you were in that photo.
Toddy, there you are, lying on the couch with a couple of the other girls, heads on bodies, all comfortable for a winter's eveing in front of the TV.
Toddy in the kennel yard, pulling on a toy, Connor on the other end.
Toddy chewing on a big branch, along with two other girls.
Toddy lying on the couch here, keeping me company while I typed.
Toddy on this same couch, your big belly ready to give us puppies.
Toddy the loving mother, adoring her babies, me sitting with you, watching them grow, day by day.
Toddy at the front door, ready to go wherever we were going, always enjoying a car ride.
Toddy at handling class, already a Champion, but enjoying the outing with the folks.
Toddy of the huge flashing smile, dashing at us and talk-talk-talking, reminding us you're there, not to forget your supper.
Lainie came to live with us a year ago September, when Kim died. Kim and Lainie were very bonded so if we had time to consider her individually among all the others, it was to marvel at how quickly and well she did adapt to living here. She became the Queen of the household within five minutes of arriving. She wore her title well, as did her mother Tawny before her.
Lainie especially wove her way into Leslie's and my lives. She had no intention of us going anywhere without her. She was with one or preferably both of us, up to and including the day she died. She always went with us, contentedly lounging on her two dog cushions behind the driver's seat grocery shopping, when we went out for a meal, to the vet's, to meetings, to dog events including shows, and when we visited friends or my parents. She would potter around their condo, checking out everything, and pushing her head under my dad's hand to tell him to pat her. Life was a big adventure to Lainie, and she loved to go places and do things. She would lie on the front hall mat where she could see Leslie or me going out the doors, for whatever reason. I would call her name, and she'd always be ready to go--whether a trip in the car or around our small acreage. Often it was just outside to wander around the gardens, me with my morning coffee in hand. I would put my fingers on the back of her head, as a signal she should come too. The other dogs weren't invited out that back door. She would wander with us, or sit with us, whether we were working around the place, perhaps in the gardens, or having a before-dinner glass of wine. And the others understood it was because she was Lainie--the queen. I took so many photos of Lainie in so many places over the past year, that it's been impossible to choose just one that illustrates her life with us. I have many of Lainie--on the couch with her head on Leslie, on her dogbeds, here in the computer room, front hall, out in the orchard, walking around the river in Stratford (there are ducks and she pointed ducks), standing by the garden swing with us, checking out the plants around our property. And running along the paths of the grove. She loved the exciting bird smells in the grove, and I was always ready to leave before she was. Even more than that, she loved standing intently, tensely, watching the quail in their pen, and always had to be pulled away. She was born for bird hunting. She was also Canada's first female conformation Champion.
Ch. Caniscaeli Bravo Encore
Sire: BISS Ch. Shannonlee Whiskey Jack, CDX, FDZ, CGC Dam: Ch. Caniscaeli Tandragee Bramble, CD, FDJ Whelped: Nov. 16, 1998 Died April 23, 2012.
Connor at 13 Connor in 2006, the year he was Number One IR&WS in Canada
What can you say about a dog as special as Connor was.
Following the death of his grandmother, Queen Tawny, Connor became King of the family pack. He was already king of our hearts. Like Tawny before him, he was benevolent in his dealings with all the others, was respected, admired, and loved for his kindness and confident strength of character. He was the solid centre of the family, and remained so until the end of his life.
Connor lived his life with happiness and contentment in our family for 13 1/2 years. It’s never long enough of course, and all the more so because Connor was special to us. His sire was Diane Martineau’s beloved Forex, out of another special one, Brammie. Behind them were other dogs remembered with love--our Tawny, Festie, and Liam. He was an interesting mix of several endearing traits he inherited from those family members.
We discovered his penchant for water when we took him up to Galbraiths to hunt with his sister Maggie when he was eight months old. We threw a stick in the pond, and Connor swam in after it. He loved it when we’d take him anywhere he could swim. Once we forgot, and thought we were merely taking him for a walk around the river in Stratford. Connor suddenly threw himself sideways, and there he was In the Avon River, blissfully swimming along.
Connor also loved toys. You know, soft toys with squeakers inside. We gave him one for his 13th birthday, and listened as he squeaked it with his usual joyful abandon. However, when the squeaking stopped a few minutes later, we also knew it was time to take it away until another time, because that’s when the ripping and shredding was about to begin.
And much as he loved those toys, he was always willing to share them with puppies. Connor was the guardian of puppies, and would play tug (and let them win) or share his toy with whatever baby happened to be in the house at the time. Puppies idolized Connor, and wanted to be with him the most. They grew up both loving and respecting him. The ones born here knew him as “daddy” because, regardless of their actual parentage, he always considered puppies his own, from the moment they were born, or arrived in the house. When they were born, he'd sit outside the puppy room door, waiting to meet them, and making sure no harm came to them. He would leap over any barrier to be with them, and never landed on a puppy, no matter how many were in the puppy pen. The mothers understood this, and calmly accepted him in the box with their babies.
Connor was the dog we always took to the Hunting Dog Shows in the early days in Toronto. He would point the stinky bird in the stinky cage, where many other dogs had marked territory already. But his real joy was the meeting of the people on these occasions, enjoying their attention and admiration. He like to go places with us. He was also the first, along with his mother, to greet visitors at the door when they came here.
Connor also loved dogshows. Perhaps too much so because, when he was young, it didn’t occur to him that there was anything more to it than running around (or walking), socializing with everybody and checking out who might be at ringside. He would leap about gleefully, or trot sideways with his nose in Leslie’s bait pocket, when he was supposed to be showing his movement to the judge. One memorable day, just as the judge was casting a final eye down the lineup of Specials, Connor suddenly threw himself on his back in the grass, kicking his legs in total abandon, enjoying the feeling of the cool grass on a warm day. He lost to his brother that day. It didn’t matter, as he always made me smile.
BISS. Ch. Shannonlee Whiskey Jack, CDX, FDX, CGC (Forex)
Born May 8, 2002, Shaki came to live with us permanently in June 2010.
From the moment Shaki emerged from her crate from the plane, she was ours, settling in with us as though she'd always lived here. Part of the couch was hers. She would have enjoyed continuing the field part of her life, but she enjoyed showing, and finished her Ch. quickly here. In looks and in personality, she was very Shannonlee, and the one most like her grandmother Festie -- happy, adaptable, well adjusted.
Being one of the older dogs, she was always part of the small group allowed loose while Leslie and I eat our suppers. Licking plates was a treat she appreciated.
We bred her to Bertie for her second and final litter, from which we kept our Artie. Like all our girls, she was a superb mother. That's her son Artie coming in from behind, on the photo above.
But mostly, she loved Leslie and me, her people. When we would come home from shopping for instance, all the dogs run back and forth, barking in excitement. Shaki, however, would wait for the other dogs to run outside. Then she would pop off the couch to do lovely sits on my left side, where she would get her petting and loves. How I will miss that. She died on Feb. 28, 2014.
Shannonlee Red Robin
Robin was born Sept. 29, 200, and died on Feb. 8, 2016.
We had a wonderful healthy 15 years with Robin, and his going has left a huge hole in our hearts. Robin never wanted to be king of the pack, but he was indeed a prince among dogs, and loved by all. The other dogs have all said good-bye to him. He enjoyed being part of the pack, especially when we went out to the orchard. I wish we could have worked with him more, as his bird sense was excellent. He was the happiest dog we have ever known, always waggy tailed. Robin's smile was unusual and quirky, in that he'd lift and tighten the corners of his mouth. He was one of the first to greet new people, always ready, indeed determined, to be patted. But he saved his special love for Leslie and me. We'll miss him terribly for some time to come.
Ch. Fougere Song In My Heart
Dec. 14, 2004, to August 2018.
Fiona was always a happy and interesting girl, loved being at dog shows, was easy on the grooming table (she's the model for our article "Grooming Made Easy"), though car trips were not enjoyable for her at first. She invariably went along if we went out to the orchard, as she loved being with us there too.
She was the Queen of the computer room couch, her favourite place to be. And she expected, and got, attention there. Other dogs were welcome in "her" room so long as they behaved sensibly. If they thought they could play boisterous games in her room though, she was quick to disoblige them. Rising up to her full height, she'd give "the look", and of that was ignored, a quick, loud "Argh" would get her point across. That couch was the place she ensconced herself when new puppies were across the hall in the whelping bedroom. If you mentioned those puppies, she'd smile broadly. She was such an excellent smiler.
She was also a most devoted mother and nursed the remaining couple of puppies in her final litter until they were almost twelve weeks old. She was also happy to mother another bitch's puppies. She loved them all. Her daughters have kept the tradition alive; we can cont on that mothering instinct to be strong.
Fiona had a quirky sense of timing. For whatever reason, she was always sure getting-up time was an hour before it actually was. And she'd start bugging us about supper around four o'clock. And don't even look at her around nine in the evening, as she'd got that timing wrong too, and was watching for the "last outs" signal.
What an escape artist she was too, especially in winter as the snows were driven against the dog yard fence. We would see her eying the place she intended jumping that fence, and the Boss would be there also, eyeing her. She'd wait until his attention was deflected, and over she'd go. She never went far. Her aim was to run the perimeter of the dog yard fencing, goading the rest of the dogs into running along beside her, inside, barking, while she led the merry chase from the outside. She'd come to the front door when she was ready, and no sense calling before she was so tired she couldn't stand any longer. A couple of times the Boss had to rescue her from under the back deck, where she'd chase a rabbit in there and get herself stuck. Once she thought it would be fn to chase a skunk. That didn't work out well for any of us.
But all good things must come to an end, and her body gave out on her this summer. Her ashes lie in a pretty wooden box with her name engraved on the top, buried under a big lilac tree just outside the dog fence. She'd like that. Ch. Caniscaeli Just One Look
March 4, 2005 to September 2018
Tandy was the last of the string of "T" girls. We had Tessa, Titch, Tawny, Trea, Tullia, Toddy, and finally Tandy. She was what I consider "Shannonlee" in type, very much like her great grandmother Festie. She was strong-minded like Festie too. She finished her Championship quite quickly and happily. She also greeted people who came to the house with that same friendly attitude. And she was a world-class counter surfer to the last, so we learned never to leave food out.
Tandy was, above all, my morning toast sharer. She'd hear me opening the toaster door, and she'd be right beside me, waiting for her piece, which she always got. Just Tandy, nobody else. This morning I had to take it to her where she lay, and she ate it slowly, a matter of habit only. She wasn't even in the kitchen. Her favourite spot for the past few weeks has been on the kitchen floor between the stove and the fridge, right where we couldn't get past without stepping over her. It made cooking meals very awkward, a one-dog obstacle course. She didn't miss much, though lately she'd eat only people food. No kibble than-you. Raw pork was her favourite. She no longer bothered getting up to greet people who came to the house these past few weeks. Nor did she accompany the pack and Leslie and me out to the orchard this summer.
The strong-minded Tandy was slipping away. And this morning, after a difficult night, we all knew it was time. We took her for a short walk to relieve herself this morning. But the old Tandy, interested in life, had gone. She had no strength left, couldn't walk properly. Maybe a stroke in the night, we don't know and it doesn't matter. Sleep well Tandy.