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 had been 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, which I didn't like and they didn't respond to. A friend had two Golden Retrievers, Moët and Chandon, so stealing the concept they became Beamish and Murphy. Although brothers they were as different as chalk and cheese.
Murphy had a very simple view on life: he loved everything and everyone and assumed that everything and everyone loved him.
He was almost certainly the runt of the litter and not in best of health. When he arrived his ears were so full of wax that they had become infected, and he needed an operation on both of them to remove the tube that goes from the ear to the ear drum (which is actually lower down a dogs head that you might think), and literally had holes (albeit small ones) in the side of his head to act as new ears; his proper ears being just cosmetic (he could still detect a crisp packet rattling at some distance, believe me!). Each ear was operated on by a different surgeon; one went perfectly, the other not so good and he had a recurring infection in that ear. But his big problem was a dodgy lower back which caused his rear legs to go painfully stiff and need manipulation to get working again after lying down, especially if he had over exercised, which was a bit of a problem because unlike Beamish he loved running.
Yet through everything Murphy loved life and was always up for anything. He loved being brushed, trimmed, anything that meant he was being made a fuss of. He made close friends with Phelan as their attitude to things was very similar.
Murphy was only a small Big Beast, about a centimetre shorter than Beamish to the shoulder, and a slip of a thing at 63.5kg (10 stone or 140 lbs). He was also a lap dog.
Surprisingly Murphy outlived Beamish and in some ways seemed to almost blossom once out of the shadow of his brother. However, he only survived another four months, leaving in April 2002, also from acute pneumonia. This left Phelan on his own; a situation I don't think he was unhappy with as he was now about 10 ½
To live with Wolfhounds is a true privilege. Despite their size they are such gentle and graceful creatures, and don't have an ounce of malice in their bodies. One day I will have another one (or two).