Our Dogs - Fine Art Pastels by Colleen

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Our Three-and-a-Half Wolfhounds

Skipper 1967 - 1982
We bought this puppy home from Shepherds Bush market, having been told that he was part Labrador and part Irish wolfhound. We had been sold a pup! Nevertheless, he was to give us enormous pleasure for nearly 15 years.

We named him Skipper (sailing days) and he was our introduction into the wonderful world of hounds. He had the deep chest and long legs of a running dog and he used these to full advantage, for he was an escapologist and should have been called Houdini. No matter how many times he was taken for walks, if anyone left the door or gate open, even for a second, he was off! He was well known at the local butchers!

Intelligent and loyal by nature, he was also telepathic and if Michael's parents were saving any left-overs for him, they would hear him bark at their door within 20 minutes. Fortunately they only lived at the other end of the village!

This dog was irreplaceable . . .

Berec 1982 - 1991
After Skipper died, and because he was half wolfhound, we decided to get a whole one!

Berec was kind, gentle and loving from the start and as novice wolfhound owners we were amazed at his growth rate! By the time he was four months old all the neighbourhood dogs that we had known for years had shrunk!

Michael and I had begun our career in medieval pageants and after a great deal of debate, Berec was named after Sir Lancelot's horse (well at least according to Robert Taylor and MGM in "Knights of the Round Table!)

He was a joy to live with, even though he was able to show me how many feathers a single pillow contains! A real gentleman, he rejected rough and tumble but loved Grandma's baking days. Slightly reserved, he was not pleased when Santa Claus arrived unexpectedly one Christmas and from that day on my pet name for him was "Boo".

This dog was irreplaceable . . . 

Warwick 1991 - 1997
Warwick came into our lives like a whirlwind! Bold and confident, he began life with us as he meant to carry on. Each day was to be enjoyed, packed with fun, exploring new areas and making friends. Warwick loved his dinner almost as much as he loved us. Nothing fazed this boy - he loved life and his teddy! He was so bright that we had to alter our spelling of words when he began to work those out too!

Known as "Wazza", he was a ladies man and one could imagine him, as he arrived at the park, slicking back his hair and turning up his collar! The girls adored him (and I did too). He once got on stage at the Radio 1 road show, bopping with the best of them, dancing to "Because you're gorgeous" - what a poser!

But he was also gullible and believed us when we told him that a castle was named after him!

This dog was irreplaceable . . .

Gandalf 1997 - 2004
We rescued Gandalf at six months old. No horror stories here - Gandalf was the horror! He was bought by a lovely family (we are still in touch) but was an alpha male and hard to handle. With deep regret they returned him to his breeder.

From the beginning he accepted Michael as pack boss but jostled with me for second place. I never allowed him to win but that didn't stop him trying from time to time! Unlike Warwick, he was more discerning on where he gave him affection. His family and our close friends came first. Gandalf needed plenty of physical as well as mental stimulation to keep his interest. He loved to run and I have a picture that stays in my mind of him running towards me with a huge smile on his face. Sometimes, I would become overwhelmed with love for him and kiss him there and then in the park! He would immediately look around to make sure that no one had seen! He had his image to maintain!
Even though Michael was obeyed without argument, Gandalf always came to me for comfort and my pet name for him (but only in the house to keep his street cred intact) was "Kitten".

This dog remains irreplaceable . . .
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