This year saw our second ‘Search for a Superdogel’ competition take place, and with 163 entries, dogs from all over the country emailed in their best snaps and selfies. We knew choosing a cover dog was always going to be a tough decision, but we just didn’t anticipate the final choice to be near impossible. With so many gorgeous canines flooding our email inboxes, we had to narrow the entries initially down from 163 to 53, then to 25. We then tried to filter down to our top 10. We couldn’t.
The final twelve we all agreed on were those boys and girls we felt best performed in front of the camera, with the final contestants ranging from dangly-eared bloodhounds to dangly-legged danes. A border collie was almost certain to make at least one of the finalists (by far the most popular breed entered), and definitely a few finalists would more likely be Victorians than not (42% of entries came from the Garden State). So after much debate, twelve finalists were eventually chosen. Then we had the hardest job of all – to pick one.
However, there was one dog we all agreed on, and one we felt was a well-deserved winner. So Galahad, the only Irish Wolfhound entered in the competition this year, was crowned cover boy and took the title off last year’s winner – Renn.
Hailing from Victoria, this gentle giant, 4 year-old more than embodies our motto of ‘because every dog is beautiful’ because Galahad volunteers as a pet therapy dog through the Lort Smith Animal Hospital program at the Royal Children’s hospital.
Hospitals can often be lonely and stressful places for children compromised by illness and being separated from family and loved ones. They encounter multiple stressors including pain, lack of sleep, concerns about outcomes and an unfamiliar environment. These stressors can impact their experience, well-being and recovery.
Galahad has visited many of such children and has had one-on-one sessions with children with autism, or suffer anxiety with dogs. His gentle nature allows children to walk him on lead, or he lays on the ground and has toddlers hug him. His mum, Lynne, tells me that once she and Galahad visited a young boy whom she suspects was fighting a very hard battle with Leukaemia. The young boy had multiple limbs amputated, and he was accompanied by his very tired father. While he was having his medication, Galahad got up on his bed, and the little boy was all smiles. Lynne remembers this little boy’s connection and his utter joy at being with gentle Galahad.
He’s also followed Dr Harry around for an episode of Better Homes and Gardens, as well as met Molly Meldrum and Ziggy at the RCH Good Friday Appeal.
A registered purebred, Galahad’s semen was flown over from a famous breeder in Denmark and he is a new line in Australia. Lynne and her partner Simone rescued another wolfhound, Morgana (6 years), just before Christmas last year. Rounding out the house is Uther, a Jack Russell (5 years) and Maab, a Scottish Terrier (6 years)
Asking how Galahad got his name, Lynne tells me that it’s from the Arthurian Legend. According to legend, Sir Galahad was the greatest knight in the world ( in regards to valour and purity) and he was the knight chosen by God to achieve the Holy Grail. So I ask Lynne also if Galahad is the boss of the house. She laughs and says no – Uther the Jack Russell definitely rules the roost
Very loyal, gentle, happy and aware of his size (75kg), Galahad also likes to sit on your lap, lay on the couch like a person or sleep on your bed. He’s always needs to be close to his mamma. When he is around children he has impeccable manners and is very patient.
So what else is there to know about Galahad?
Likes – he likes to play with his teddy, terrorise the post man or anyone else who dares knock at the door with howling. He loves playing with Uther, especially tug of war or chasing him off lead. Apples are a favourite, as well as running around in the forest or park with his pack.
Dislikes – Galahad is scared of lighting and thunder or balloons that pop.
Funny stories about Galahad – During his regular walk, Galahad likes to go up to a friendly pony over the fence for kisses. Once when Galahad was young, Lynne took him to visit her horse that is agisted on a large property. He saw a pony in another field and immediately wanted to kiss it. He pulled the lead out of Lynne’s hands and galloped the fastest she has ever seen him go. Even though the pony and other horses in the pack were horrified and galloped off, Galahad overtook the horses and pinned them into a corner and licked the pony! Lynne almost died – she feared he or the horses would get hurt. He has never been off lead around horses since!
Another rather unfortunate habit of Galahad’s is that he can stick his nose up bottoms or ram his head into people’s groins – he’s just at the right height. As he was walking down Brunswick street one day, he decided to ram his head into the bottom of a girl wearing a mini skirt. The young girl got a shock when she felt a large cold wet nose go up her skirt, but was relieved to see that it was him and not a groper!
Nicknames – Galahad’s family calls him the great-white, land shark at home – he circles the dinner table looking for an opening. He’s also been known to help himself at a restaurant or parties to other people’s food.
Lynne lastly mentions that walking with Galahad down the street is like walking with some kind of mythical creature from long ago or a rock star. Everyone comes up to them and is fascinated by him. As a puppy, he would get so overwhelmed by it all he would stick his head under the table, not realising that his enormous butt was completely visible to all.
All photography in in article is taken by Cara Dione Photography.
A little information about Irish Wolfhounds – Irish Wolfhounds are the tallest breed in the world – dated back for approx. 1,000 years to the times of the Romans. They were used by nobility for hunting wolves and in battle.