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I first became interested in Irish Red and White Setters in the early 1980s. That was when I got my Irish Setter, Sallie, who was my best friend throughout middle and high school. She was greatly missed for many years and sometimes even now.

My interest in setters that are Irish never went away. In 1995, I phoned Gail Harrison of Caniscaeli Kennel in Ontario, Canada. I wanted to learn about the breed I had kept in the back of my mind for so long, and Gail obliged, even though she knew I was not prepared at the time to add an Irish Red and White Setter to my life.

In 2000, I called Gail again. I was ready for my first IRWS. Gail and her husband Leslie welcomed me into their home to meet their many dogs. I was surprised to learn that all of their Irish Red and White Setters were and are house dogs. I had assumed that breeders keep their dogs outside in kennels and that males and females are housed separately. This is not so at Caniscaeli. Sure, bitches in season are kept away from the boys, but otherwise, they all run together.

After a night getting to know the Harrison pack, I drove on to Alice and Wayne Guthrie's home, also in Ontario, and their Crossfire Irish Red and White Setters. I told everyone I was only going to look at the puppy they had available at the time. I believed myself, too. My friends and family knew better, though, and were not surprised when, after two very enjoyable days with Alice and her family, I came home with Tweed, aka Crossfire Tumblin Tumbleweed, JH, CD, RN, CGC.

Tweed in March 2006

A short two years later I was back in Canada. Gail and I were chatting about having multiple dogs and, for some reason, I said I wouldn't mind another dog, provided it were an adult. Quoting Gail, "Really?" Four or five weeks later, Ciaran (aka Can. Ch. Caniscaeli Singing in the Rain, FDJ, JH, CD, RN, CGC) who had been with Kim Spelmer of Shireoak Kennel, went home with me and Tweed.

Now I had two bird dogs. Tweed had never seen a bird before but Ciaran had his Field Dog Junior title from the Canadian Kennel Club and it just wouldn't be right to deprive him of not only his heritage as a hunter but also his earlier training. I had never used a shotgun, let alone hunted birds. It took a little investigating, but I found Lost River Game Farm in South central Indiana, where I was living at the time. They provided me with assistance, instruction, and encouragement.

Tweed and Ciaran Before a Day's Hunt

Irish Red and White setters are a kind of like potato chips--You can't have just one. For me, I can't have just two. That's right. In 2005 I told Gail I was ready for my show and field dog. There aren't any guarantees in the dog world but I have been tremendously happy with the puppy I picked from the two bitches Gail and Leslie had available in February 2006. Sally (aka Caniscaeli Sally Goodin, JH, CGC) has been a great addition to my little Menagerie, looking good in the breed ring and performing well in the field.

Family Portrait, Fall 2006