I wanted a Wolfhound, and put the word out to all the rescue centres and registered with the Wolfhound Rescue Trust. Everyone told me the same thing; they don't come up very often; which is good news. Then one Wednesday in June 1995, a day I'd taken off to go diving but was at home because the dive was cancelled, the phone rang. It was Wood Green asking if I still wanted a Wolfhound? - Yes I did. Did I want two? - Errrrrrr. The deal was that they had two 2 year old Wolfhound brothers, and they were to be kept together because they got extremely distressed if separated (they did - as a door in my house still bears testament to). The fatal mistake was made; I went to see them. Wood Green got them on Tuesday, rang me on Wednesday, did the home check on Thursday and the Big Beasts were at home on Friday.
They were originally called Trent and Kingston, so needed renaming fast - to my mind anyway. A friend had two golden retrievers, Moet and Chandon; so stealing the concept, Trent and Kingston became Beamish and Murphy. Although brothers they were as different as chalk and cheese. Beamish was an extremely handsome hound, and knew it; a real prima donna. He hated being brushed, trimmed, and would often need coaxing to get him out for a walk; if it was raining there was no chance. And while out for a walk he might run a bit if he could be bothered. Yet he was never overweight and always in good health. He was a big (and I do mean BIG) dog. He weighed 98.4kg (that's 15½ stone or 217 lbs in old money), and if he stood on his back legs would look me in the face (I'm 1.9m tall - 6ft 3¾ins - the ¾ is important!), and stood just over a meter high to his shoulder. And he was a lap dog. Although large, he was the gentlest of animals, and from time to time acted as an activity playground for the hamster. If he'd rolled over, or even put his paw on it, it would have been a flat hamster, but he never did. And he made an excellent card table.
Surprisingly it was Beamish that died first, in December 2001, from acute pneumonia, which the vet told me is a very common cause of death in older large dogs.