But we needn’t have worried. He wheeled back towards us after about 75 yards and kept an eye on us, albeit from a distance, for the rest of the walk, occasionally returning to whizz past us at breakneck speed. We were careful not to call him as he would not have come and all this would do would reinforce him not-coming to his name. But we did keep changing direction and when we saw him stop to look for us, we shouted: “This way!” and gave him a quick double-toot on the whistle as we walked away from him. He responded well to this and I think once he learns that he can have just as much fun a little nearer to us, he will stick a little closer. But it confirms our instincts that he is probably from working stock and also that a suburban park will be too limiting for this young man.  He’s going to need a rural home and lots of country walks.

The sad news is that Finn arrived with an injury to the end of his tail and despite valiant efforts to protect and treat it, it is no better - indeed rather worse, and so tomorrow Finn is booked in to have a section of his tail amputated.  It’s always feels like a mutilation in such a beautiful dog, but with no chance of the tail now healing, and with it causing Finn distress as it is, there is no option.  The vet has promised to leave it as long as possible.

Poor Finn - he has been through so much and he is such a lovely, affectionate, kind boy, a real treat for someone who likes big dogs with character and scope. (I would be sorely tempted to keep him myself if the house wasn’t already carpeted with dogs...) We will take him back up on the Plain tomorrow morning for a good walk before he goes in for his op and hope he will be exhausted enough afterwards to not  notice he hasn’t had any breakfast! (Some hope - this boy is a gannet!)

UPDATE 16/12/07

The great news is that, fingers crossed, we’ve managed to save Finn’s tail - totally thanks to the devotion of foster mum Jan who has dressed and re-dressed it time and time again.  And Finn has proved such a star - a divine boy who blossoms more every day. He is super with other dogs, incredibly affectionate and really very calm for a young red setter.  He’s a big dog that loves to run, though, so we’re looking for an active,  spacious country home, ideally with other dogs for company as he clearly loves their company.

If you are interested in offering Finn a “forever” home, please email info@blackretrieverx.co.uk

There is a minimum adoption fee of £150 for Finn, which includes the £65 it costs to transport him to the UK from Ireland.

Finn .. is a purebred red setter who landed in Dundalk pound last week.  The start of the hunting season in Ireland sees many working dogs stray and if they are not prized by their owners, they are not reclaimed from the pound.

Ann Moore, who rescues dogs from Dundalk, has particularly asked us to help this youngster, despite him being the wrong colour for us :-)  Irish setters are much more commonly working dogs than they are here in the UK, and Finn will be looking for an active home that can provide love, stimulation and boundaries and understands the needs of a high-energy dog.

All we know about Finn at the moment is that he is about a year old, lively (as you’d expect at this age) and very friendly. His tail never stops wagging.  He is healthy, but skinny, and has just been neutered.


Well Finn arrived from Ireland at the crack of dawn this morning. He’s tall and beautiful but, boy, painfully thin - at least 5kg underweight - and has an injury to the end of his tail.  We reckon he’s 18 months old, not a year, as we first thought. He is also utterly exhausted so, after a quick vet-check and a photo-call for the website, we took him to Jan, his foster mum, where he is now settling in and, particularly, catching up on some sleep and some much-needed TLC. He will be on 3 to 4 small meals a day to help put some condition on him . It’s very early days but, so far, he has shown no aggression towards other dogs, loves people (even exhausted, he was very free with the kisses!), seems calm, travels well in the car and walks pretty well on a lead.  All could change though as he finds his feet, so watch this space!

UPDATE 20/11/07

Well apart from redecorating his foster mum’s house a not very fetching red (an old tail injury opened up through too much wagging!) Finn is doing well. He gets on fine with other dogs (although growls a bit if they crowd him), is extremely affectionate and quite calm for a setter. He’s enjoying his walks (although shows signs that he would go off hunting if he was let off the lead).  He is eating like a horse and already looks a lot better than when he arrived.

UPDATE 25/11/07

Well, we let Finn off the lead for the first time this morning and he had the most wonderful time up on Salisbury Plain.  We watched half in admiration at his beautiful movement, and half with our heart in our mouths as he legged it at full speed down the hill away from us. Would he keep going or stop...?  This is always a nervous moment, however much you know that dogs are pack animals (and we had five other dogs with us). In the back of your mind is always the fact that the dogs ended up in the pound for a reason!

(added 11/11/07)