Shelia Devitt Gilleney
The Great Carloway Kennel
(by Allan Brooks (Bondor) published in Afghan Hounds Australasia 2000)
Sheila had her first judging appointment at Ashford Open show, she thinks the year was 1950, but is not sure. Her first Championship appointment was at the LKA and, as far as she can remember the year was 1956.
She gave the third CC and BOB to Horningsea Majid, owned and handled by Marna Dods. As most of us know, Sheila had been for many yeears an International Championship show judge, highly respected around the world. Since living in Malta, she has been over here several times, including Crufts, where she judged the bitches..
I remember her judging both sexes at Crufts in 1965, where she gave BOB to a very young Horningsea Mustagh Ata who I believe was 14 months old - he later became a champion, and has proved to be a good sire. He carried strong lines back to Yussef of Carloway, and his Grandsire was Wazir..
I asked which Afghan was her favourite; she replied - "It is difficult to say who my favourite was, but those I particularly loved were Dil, Khan, Yussef, Watsatari and latterly, Waliwog. Watsatari lived the longest, and was with me after I retired from breeding, and up until I came to Malta"..
Sheila married and became Mrs Gilleney, she then moved over to Malta in 1967, taking with her a black bitch with white forelegs, Zarsheba, a daughter of Waliwog, and Ch Mandodari Of Carloway. Zarsheba was mated to a dog that Sheila had sent out to malta, he is by Wazir out of Yazmoor (same Yaz litter) She kept a dog, Falkun of Carloway. A bitch was bought by Anne Allen, a sister to Highjinks,. She was mated to Falkun which produced Morning Madrigal and Morning Magic, a really gorgeous bitch, who died as the result of a Caesar. I asked if there were any amusing stories and I am pleased to be able to tell this in Sheila's own words;.
There are so many amusing stories in my dog life. I used to go to all the shows and, strangely enough, neither Marna (Dods) nor Claire (Race) drove in those days,m so I very often went with one or the other; I remember going to Scotland in the winter with Claire - it was snowing hard and the AA said the roads "over the top" were impassable. Steve (Claire's husband) said we were not to go, but we told him we had phoned and got the all clear. Anyway, we left with our four dogs, I had a very small Austin van, but it did have a heater. We took with us shovels and a bottle of gin, and wore most of our wardrobe..
We stayed the night with Harry Glolver in his gorgeous old house on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. The snow was so thick and we did use the shovets to get up the drive. We were the ohly vehicle moving the next morning, but we soldiered on, and felt pretty proud of ourselves. Coming down into Glasgow the weather broke, there was no snow, but sun shine. We were staying (of course) at the very best hotel - as we drove up to the hotel entrance there was a space between the Rolls and Bentleys which I drew into; the van by then completely mud covered. The Commissionaire tried to move us on, and I reckon our entrance was superb, with heavy boots and duffle coats - we swept in amongst the mink and diamonds and only got away with it because of the four (by now) rather creased Afghans..
We always used to stay at the very BEST hotels, as they didn't mind the dogs, and you could have a room with a bath for the dogs!! All considered, wwe didn't have many accidents. But you couldn't take the dogs out in the slush before a show..
I could tell many more, and I still have the receipt for our stay in desparation in a very peculiar but one and only hotel somewhere in the Midlands, on our way home from some Northern show where Walliwog (Wiggy) had had a good day. We celebrated and could not make it alll the way back. We tried so many places to stay, and finally found "The Wigginton" - we had to stay. I will never forget Claire's face when she returned, rather rapidly from the only bathroom, and told me in a grave voice that there was a man in the bath!. It's hardly a doggy story, but it was "Wiggys's Hotel" and Claire sent me the receipt not long before she died - what memories!".
Many people today owe a lot to the Carloway bloodlines from which they have made their name. I am one of them, as my first bitch Yazeena came from that famous Yaz litter. It would not be at all possible to list all the people who have enjoyed fame, and made their names with stock from this great kennel..
Sheila won, over the years, an abundance of CC's and it is believed that they amounted to 100.
It is interesting to note that most of the Carloway Champions had Group wins to their credit. The influence that the Carloways have had on the Afghan breed throughout the world cannot be over estimasted..
Of Sheila hersself, I can whole-heartedly say what a great character she s, a most attractive woman, with a grand sense of humour (which we all need in the dog game)..
When Sheila disbanded her kennel and moved to Malta it was indeed a sad day for many of us and a tremendous loss to our English breeding. I am sure those of us who remember Sheila sweeping into the showrings wish her all the happiness and continued success. She can be sure of a a warm welcome anywhere in the world where there are Afghans.
The name Carloway is a phenomenon, one which is unlikely to occur again..
Allan Brooks (Bondor), 2000,.
Sheila Devitt, Carloway Afghan hounds by Steve Tilotson 2017
Rifka Afghan hounds by Claire Race 1969
Jalalabad Barwala Of Carloway Article, S Tillotson 1994/5/2014
The Great Carloway Kennel by Allan Brooks 2000
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