The Torteval Irish Wolfhounds website, which has been running since June 2002, has come to the end of its life. I set it up, back in those early internet days, to share the many photographs of our wolfhounds I had accumulated in the hope that people who were interested in the breed would enjoy them, rather than me boring the pants off family, non-wolfhound friends and work colleagues.
Over the ensuring years the site took on a life of its own. Living on an island as we did, it enabled us to forge invaluable links with wolfhound owners around the world. It became a forum in which we could share our growing knowledge and experience with others in the breed; it allowed other owners to share their hounds in the "Near and Far" pages; it encompassed many tributes to beloved wolfhounds past in the "Garden of Remembrance" pages. The two years during which our legendary Gang of Four (Darcy, Branigan, Hogan and McKenna) strutted their stuff across the world-wide web were truly a magical time.
However, since our move from Guernsey to Gloucestershire nearly two years ago, keeping the site fresh and regularly updated has become increasingly onerous. This is partly because, without the magnificently photogenic Guernsey cliff walks as backdrops, I take far fewer photographs, and partly because our new life on the mainland is more full and varied, leaving me with less computer time (and, I confess, less inclination) to update the site. It has reached the point where I consciously have to take photographs to provide material, and feel guilty if a week goes by without a new Smilebox. Finding each new "Photo of the Week" and its accompanying quotation has become a repetitive chore. This is not how it was meant to be.
Added to this, the internet has become all-encompassing over the last 13 years. With information about every aspect of the breed now widely available, the site is less relevant, and the support and sharing role which Torteval fulfilled for many owners has been taken over, and exceeded, by Facebook.
On a personal note, Paul and I are at a new and exciting stage of our wolfhound life - we are about to take on two puppy-girls, just two months apart in age. This will be a time-consuming and joyous challenge, and I yearn to enjoy Lacey and Doran and take photographs just for us, without the nagging need to feed the website constantly at the back of my mind.
The site could, of course, remain live but static - just not be updated - but rather than see it become neglected and dusty, as it the case with many of its contemporaries, I prefer to discontinue it altogether.
To those of you who have been regular visitors over the years: thank you - for your interest, your contributions, your support through many tough times and your friendship. The site would not have become the great resource that it undoubtedly was in its heyday without your input. I know some of you will miss your weekly Torteval fix, but I hope you will understand that, like every dog, every website has a natural lifespan. It is time now to put the Torteval website peacefully to sleep.