Article published in “Unsere Windhunde”, Magazine of the DWZRV (German Sighthound Association), Edition September 2005
Hello, dear Sighthound-Friends,
some of you perhaps know me; because I have already published some articles about Sighthounds from time to time. In honours of this fantastic Dogs I also wrote a Book now. That is published and titled: “A Life with Sighthounds - and other Animals. Stories and experiences…” How it comes to this decision writing a book, I would like to tell in the following story:
Some people are known as “Book-Adversary or Bookworms”. I am belonging to the last sort of humans; because books are one of my great passions. I read to be well informed. Therefore it is actually no miracle that my library increased ever more to an extent in the last years. New shelves had to set up, in order to accommodate the books arranged accordingly to fields of activity. Soon moving was only possible under due expenditure and an associated mobility. Being always an owner of a Sighthound since many years, a large number of Special-Literature has been collected in the meantime. I regard these books as a collection that I am leading affectionately till today. Each year new acquisitions are added and to administer all the books, the new possibilities of electronics are helpful. Not only book shops were visited, but also transacted Internet Purchases and Auctions in the Net, in order to know with a great joy, a further Sighthound-book can be taken in. How happy I am, when getting an old breed book, which I found somewhere and can add to my collection for completion.
Towards the end of the previous year I examined my dog library, when a wellknown Publishing House for dog-books inquired, whether I did not want to participate in a new book project. When standing at the book-shelf I got the idea to let this offer become true. So I gave my promise to the Publishing House, but I wanted to write a Book about Sighthounds of completely different kind. A Sighthound book, which contains stories, had not been in my library yet! So it should become a book with authentic, true stories, that the reader receives a personal contact to this dog race. A common “Teachers' writing Style”, which gives information and pieces of advice with a raised finger should be avoided, of course. In this book the interested reader in Sighthounds should receive information about this special dog race, by participating mentally on my experiences. By the emotional way knowledge is transferred so easily besides, and which remains clinging in memory.
Perhaps the collecting passion was put to me already “into the cradle”; because a “Post-War Child” can use everything and nothing is fast thrown thoughtless away. Therefore it was relatively easy to realize my Project: I turned the computer on and called my Collection of Animal Stories, which I am leading since many years. The first thirty years were still typewriter pages, which I entered sometime into the computer. In the following time files had to be taken over again and again during the new acquisition of a computer, so that stories were not lost. But also constantly new experiences were added as additions, which were stored in the computer under an appropriate column. From this Collection I searched out some suitable stories, in which my own Sighthound stood in the centre of action. But also stories, in which Sighthounds are not standing directly in the foreground, should find use. It corresponds to the fact that I had many interesting contacts with animals and humans by the dogs. This distinguishes the Lover of Sighthounds to let the dog participate completely in his Life. He accepts it as a family member and is ready to align its Life after it. The daily Life of “Such Species“ was to be demonstrated in my book. Then it could be only the logical consequence that in my book, except Sighthounds, also different dog races and animals are also acting!
Necessarily dog owners are often on the way with their dogs. On these walks they stop in nature and become a witness of numerous unforgotten nature experiences. These impressions leave naturally their traces: Most dog owners are nature connected humans, who think in the “Age of Regulations” naturally and voluntarily about Environment and Nature Protection. Since the good reputation of the dog owners in the Public suffered by only some few outsiders, so a reference to this fact is to be regarded as an “Image Polishing”.
Now the Publishing House thus knew from me about my participation and some suitable stories were already selected soon. Then I experienced that only relatively few colour photos should be used for the illustration of the book. Surely that was a cost factor. I decided however for sixteen colour pages. Then I reminded of my artistic training and could “Mrs. Muse” make me kiss. This had been a “long-lasting one”, because 50 designs developed to the text in shortest time. Also a title had to be found to the book. The last-finite suggestion on it came from the Publishing House itself. “A life with Sighthounds…” the book should be called. That's it! But I feel still too young, in order to write my memoirs, even if I tell of some childhood experiences in my book at first. Except of this reason it concerns periods of life, which were limited in each case by the possession of a Sighthound. In the first section, i.e. in my childhood and youth time, I grew up with dogs (my grandparents held German Shepherd Dogs), but I knew Sighthounds (Whippets and Barzois) only from the distance of the neighbourhood. Perhaps this distance was however crucial that this dog Race remained clinging to me as somewhat completely special in the memory.
Many years ago I got my first Sighthound, a Whippet. Afterwards a Sloughi followed and today I have a Saluki Dog in the third decade. With him I am in the “fourth section” of my life now. It is very obvious, who writes animal stories, also tells a lot about himself, too. Now the book is ready, and it has been published! Whether it fulfils my imagination and wishes however, like I wanted to present it first, this is to be decided by you, dear Reader. I have been prepared for much joy anyhow to write the text and to provide it with photos as well as numerous designs. Therefore I hope you will enjoy it and find a little gap in your bookshelf! If that should not be the case, then you can give it away as a gift, because it would be nice to know, that our wonderful hobby has a further existence for the future. That means to find new Sighthounds-Fanciers again and again…
Well, did you become curious about the Book now? Then contact me, please.
Dr. Margrit Miekeley (as the Authoress)
All texts and images, except otherwise noted, copyright © Dr. Margrit Miekeley