To say this could be a challenge is an understatement! But not always.
‘Albert’ our beloved old man was a ‘pain in the neck’ from Day One. The first time we met him at the re-homing centre he appeared wearing an industrial strength harness, he was fat, had short legs and a matted coat. But we agreed to take him for a short journey to see how we got on together.
We soon found out Albert DID NOT like other dogs! There was a Border Collie about 100 yards away when Albert started to make a noise crossed between a loud yodel and a fog horn – extremely loudly indeed. Within seconds we had cleared the car park!
Albert seemed very pleased by this and our son was quite impressed too. We went back to the rescue coordinator, signed the forms and Albert was ours.
Before embarking on the journey home we stopped by the river to have a picnic. Albert enjoyed most of our food. We ate what was left when suddenly our 16 stone son was quickly pulled down the riverbank on his back – mid way through his ham sandwich. The reason was Albert had spotted an inoffensive Labrador trotting along the path and felt this dog had to be ‘dealt with’.
Our son apologized and hauled Albert back up the bank. That was Day One!
The next day Albert patiently stood while we washed him, cut out all the matted knots in his coat and groomed him. He emerged looking very handsome. Since then he goes to the salon every six weeks, which he enjoys immensely. The grooming ladies there have to make sure they put all their other clients away before we walk in – just in case!
Since then we have added 99% of dogs, ALL CATS, squirrels, rats and mice to the list of dislikes. He has killed a few smaller things and eaten them whole before we could stop him but I suppose that is nature. He loves to pull unsuspecting cats out of bushes, often by their tails and tosses them up in the air.
Also on his list are tall men, paperboys and particularly postmen. His technique is to leap from a standing start, five foot into the air and ‘get’ them on their upper arms. This has cost us wine, flowers and the biggest Easter egg Thornton’s could sell.
People in our town have been very supportive – with the odd exception understandably. They tell us what a wonderful job we have done in taming Albert. However we have a clutch of awards to our credit – an ASBO, Restraining Order and a place on the Post Office Dangerous Dog List, Agility awards & Dog Show rosettes.
Albert has calmed down as he nears 13 – but he still has his ‘moments’ and we know when to cross the road to avoid trouble.
He is on £200 a month of tablets for his weak heart and arthritis. He is very social at times and loves visiting cafes where he knows he will be plied with biscuits. He seems to know he has to be on his best behaviour when he is in shops and pubs and will happily sit under the table gazing at other dogs.
His favourite thing is car trips and going to new places and he sometimes asks to go into the car just to have a sleep.
After Albert’s BIG run in with the police, my husband was so ill with stress that he almost had a breakdown. However the police sergeant did say he thought Albert ‘didn’t have a bad bone in his body’. This was after the Albert had licked him on his hands and face!
The past eight years have all been worth it though. It is a privilege to have taken care of such a wonderful dog.
After all who else would have?