by Joan Harrigan
Reprinted from: The Canine Chronicle
Photo Credit: Congleton Photography
Dr. Cindy Marriott of Plymouth, Mich. had never owned a dog. Not as a child, not when she was raising her family. However, after retirement from her work teaching psychology in college and divorce, Dr. Marriott wanted "something to do." She found it -- in the form of a very large dog named Dag.
"I really believe it was fate, or God directing me to this breed," she says. "I was watching Westminster on television, and saw Hickory (GCh Foxcliffe Hickory Wind) go Best in Show in 2011. I knew then that I wanted a Scottish Deerhound." Dr. Marriott began her research, and met Cecelia Dove at the Detroit Kennel Club show. Dove referred her to the late Janet Porter, who after a great many questions, agreed to sell her a puppy from a litter she'd bred with Dove. Dr. Marriott describes herself as a political person who likes to focus on individuals who have had a peaceful impact on the world. Her puppy's name reflects her interest and is probably unique in dogdom -- Dag Hammarskjold.
Dag was purchased as a pet, and Dr. Marriott's veterinarian recommended neutering him when he turned 8 months. Porter disagreed -- it was too early to neuter, she said, and besides, Dr. Marriott should consider showing him: he wasn't "pet quality," but rather a quality Deerhound who would make a good pet!
Dr. Marriott found a show handling class, and initially tried to show Dag herself. "The first time I went in the ring, the judge told me that I had him on the wrong side," she recalls. Don Leonard agreed to take over the handling duties and finished the youngster in six weeks.
Today, Dag is GCh Wild Turkey D'Lux Dag Hammarskjold JC. And Dr. Marriott, who was a "tabula rasa" where dogs were concerned, has added a second Deerhound to her household -- a rescue named Angus. And there's room for a third -- Dag is almost 4 years old, and Dr. Marriott thinks he'd like to retire. She's been bitten by the show bug, and would like to start again, with a new puppy.
Someone looking for a purpose and something to add to her life has developed an abiding love for a breed and a sport. "Deerhounds are gentle, sweet, quiet, and always there," Dr. Marriott says. "I go from one room to the next, and Dag and Angus are with me." And while Deerhound breeders may have feared the popularity that could come from Hickory's win, Dr. Marriott is proof that televised shows like Westminster can spark an interest that becomes a passion -- with the mentorship and assistance of quality breeders like Cecelia Dove and Janet Porter.