Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Type: German Shepherd Dog / Staffordshire-Bull-Terrier mix
I had been looking for my first dog for at least 6 months and was starting to become disillusioned with the whole thing. I had no experience with dog ownership, yet was drawn to large breed dogs, and many shelters – rightly so – were wary of rehoming me an animal that could be potentially dangerous in the wrong hands.
On top of that, every dog I got attached to in shelters ended up having something serious wrong with it, like an extreme aggression problem, or a long standing and expensive health issue. I was feeling ready to give up the search.
I made a final visit to a Dogs Trust centre in Glasgow in June of 2008, feeling relatively unhopeful. I wandered along the glass frontages of the kennels. They looked so sterile and soulless. Almost every kennel featured dejected and apathetic looking dogs with heads hung low and sad, baleful eyes. Although I felt sympathetic towards them, they were not what i was looking for.
As I walked towards the exit, my eye was caught by some movement in the final kennel by the door.
I moved towards it and saw a chunky, scruffy looking mongrel with a black and tan coat, a fat wedge-shaped head and big brown eyes. There was something about him that seemed instantly right.
I moved towards the kennel and he moved towards the glass in a sprightly, active kind of way (unlike his morose kennel companions).
As I kneeled down and murmured against the screen he pressed a wet black nose to the glass and clawed at it with one paw.
I was sold!
I took him for a walk and, although he pulled like a steam train, I liked him a lot. When I sat down on a bench for a breather he sat down between my legs and looked me in the face. I knew he was my dog and I collected him a week later to take him home to my country cottage.
It was a challenging first year for us, due to my inexperience, his extreme separation anxiety and his constant vies for dominance. It has taken me until now to deal with his separation anxiety and for the first six months he had to come to work with me every day. It also wasn’t easy becoming a strong, consistent pack leader to him, but I did it and he now adhered to my every command and is as faithful and loyal a companion as you can every wish for.
Thank you to the Dogs Trust, and to the people who apparently left him repeatedly alone for 20 hours at a time in a tower block flat for making it possible for Lucas and I to cross each other’s paths. We adore each other.