In August 2002 Sue from Animals Unlimited contacted me to see if she could look at the Deerhounds. They were considering them for the part of Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films. The location was Leavsden studios whch is the old Rolls Royce hangers on the outskirts of the M 25

Kilbourne Fife was considered but the longer she spent with us the more she loved Solo Star to Kilbourne. Fern as we called her was bright and very trainable and so I agreed she could go down for 2 weeks and I would then visit the studios to see what they had manged to get her to do and if she was happy . We agreed she should live with Sue in her home so Mick and I were happy to let her try to be Sirius Black in the Prisener of Azkaban. The final film presented the dog in animation and Fern became a star overnight with the animal trainers, going everywhere with Sue and very much loved by all the people involved on the set. After 4 months she had learned to go to a mark, just from standstil onto able and jump a ramp with a 8ft gap, the idea being she was to be filmed jumping over the children. The picture I have is of her dressed for the filming - she has a sort of alice band on her head with 'ears' abd sugar soap as a foaming mouth.

Jean and Glenis in the main hall - the round disc is Ferns Mark

back of the harry potters house

Fern learning to jump the gap

The story is - Lupin and Black force Pettigrew back into his human form preparatory to killing him, but Harry intervenes saying that his father, James Potter, would not have wanted his two best friends to become killers. Pettigrew was then to be turned over to the Dementors. As the group heads to the castle, the full moon rises; Lupin transforms into a werewolf, and Pettigrew manages to escape. Lupin and Black fight in their animal forms, until Lupin is distracted by another animal's howls. Dementors attack Black and Harry. As their souls are about to be removed, Harry sees a distant figure cast a powerful stag-shaped Patronus that scatters the Dementors. Harry believes the mysterious figure is his dead father.

At the 11th hour the producer decided she did not look agressive enough so gave it to the animators who then produced the dog.

Fern came home but was still on contract to the studios. She lived to be nearly 11 years of age

2 years later they came knocking again but we decided Fern was now too old and we would not let her go. Macleod was a much bigger dog and they asked if he could go. Now Macleod did not like shiny floors, strange people or indoor venues so we could not see how they would train him but they did and

He within 2 weeks was standing on his mark and ignoring the floors and everything else, he ap[peared in the firlk as Sirius Black and morphed into him after running down the platform.

When he came home he was fit and alert and within a few weeks he had gained his title. This taught us a lot - he now lives with our good friend Sandra in the borders as her male Jock died , Cleod is well and happy having been retired.

Cleod seen here going to his 'mark' - they had to dye him Black but it washed out.