When one couple welcomed a tiny puppy into their home, they couldn’t believe how cute he was. Before long, however, the dog had morphed into something far different to what they had expected. And it was then that they realized things were not as they seemed.
Sue Markham and her husband, Robert, come from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, England, and the couple lived next door to their local kennels. It was there, in fact, that Sue used to work looking after various doggies.
It was also there that Sue first laid eyes on a puppy called Yogi Bear. “When I saw Bear, I fell in love with him,” Sue later admitted in an interview with the Daily Mail. “[I] knew I wanted him.”
And it’s not hard to see why Sue fell in love with little Bear. At the time, after all, he was an adorable puppy, weighing a minuscule one pound and five ounces. However, when Sue realized what breed the puppy was, the shelter worker knew that he wouldn’t stay small for long.
That’s because Bear was, in fact, a Boston Great Dane. Giant in stature, these dogs can grow up to 154 pounds in weight. Although Sue didn’t mind the idea of a massive dog, this would pose somewhat of a problem for Robert.
However, the grandmother-of-four already had her heart set on Bear, so she continued to work shifts at the shelter to pay for the dog. Then, when she finally took him home, sneaky Sue told Robert a little white lie about their new pet.
“I knew Robert didn’t want a big dog,” Sue explained. “So, I told a little fib and said he was a Jack Russell.” Well, her lie paid off, and Robert accepted the dog on the mistaken assumption that he would only grow to a certain size.
“I thought a big dog would be a lot of work and could be trouble,” Robert admitted. “We only have a small living room. I thought, ‘How much trouble can a Jack Russell be?’” However, after only a matter of months, Bear was already bigger than your average Jack Russell.
“By the time he was five months old, he was bigger than any Jack Russell he came across at the park,” Robert added. “And he had this big tongue that lolled out of his mouth and a tail like a baseball bat.”
In the end, Sue was forced to come clean and confess to her husband what breed Bear really was. “It started to become fairly obvious when Bear dwarfed any other dogs in the village,” she said. “So, the game was up.”
Understandably, his wife’s lie left Robert feeling pretty annoyed. Fortunately, though, her honesty didn’t change anything because, by that time, Robert was in love with the docile doggie as well.
“He’s a very good-natured dog,” Robert said. “[And he has] a lot of character. So, it would be hard for anyone not to love him or be angry with him.” Consequently, the family decided to keep Bear.
Nine years later, then, Bear had grown to an astonishing size. Indeed, he now weighed a colossal 210 pounds and needed a three-acre paddock in which to exercise. Plus, the big dog had an insatiable appetite for food.
In fact, every month, Bear munched his way through over $257 of chow, and it’s not hard to see how. For breakfast alone, for instance, the Great Dane enjoyed four sausages with a mass of scrambled eggs on top.
And from nose to tail, the dog measured an impressive 6 feet 10 inches. This naturally meant that everything he used was super-sized, too. So rather than a dog bed, he lounged on a two-seater sofa, and if it was cold outside, he wore a horse coat to keep warm.
Yet despite Robert’s initial reservations about owning a Great Dane, Bear grew to be a massive part of their family. “He certainly thinks of himself as a real person,” Sue explained. “He sits on his own sofa and watches the TV with us.”
Furthermore, with Bear’s help, the Markham family have grown by another member. You see, in 2014 an elderly stray cat began visiting their home to get warm – and Bear decided to take her under his wing.
Now named Toffee, the cat regularly visits the Markhams. Still, Sue and Robert are under no illusions that the cat comes to see them. Deep down, they know it’s Bear she loves.
“They’re good friends,” Sue said. “Toffee is always following him around, and he will happily lick her on the head very gently. Bear sees Toffee as his own pet, I think, as she’s certainly not our cat.”
Yes, Bear’s adorable relationship with Toffee is testament to his sweet nature. Because while he might be monstrous in size, he’s certainly not scary in nature. In fact, as Robert came to learn, he’s a gentle giant in every sense of the phrase.