Oh, my friend’s got a German Shepherd too, but she’s having it put to sleep on Monday!”
Is how Ross first became interested in Vhko. A young single mother owned him and he bit her three-month-old baby in the head. He was being euthanased on Monday at the veterinarian’s behest and so Ross went to meet him the day before:
“I drove all the way to East London in appalling traffic, not wanting, nor looking for another dog, least of all an aggressive young dog, but we often do things ‘at the time’ that we do not comprehend later. Upon arrival at the little terraced house, I was met by a mad dog – jumping up at me, chasing the family cats and knocking over the children and running up the stairs and launching off the top at whoever stood at the bottom. Yet again, this strange involuntary voice said ‘Ok, I’ll take him!” It happened in a moment; I looked at him and he looked back at me with ‘those eyes’ I thought, what happens if I don’t take him; he seemed sweet, was being killed in the morning, so who wouldn’t take him away! Before I knew it, he was in the car and I was travelling home!”
Vhko was a little difficult – ultimately a sweet a and gentle dog, but a full on entire male; aggressively possessive and unskilled in any normal social skills. He was not tolerant of visitors, or people in general and so Ross had to start at the beginning. Other dogs, were nothing more than a source of food or bullying fun for Vhko and the challenge commenced.
Now, at the age of sixteen, Vhko accepts visitors and loves them, plays with all other dogs that he meets and is really a great stooge dog with aggressive dogs. For years, all who have met him love him – pretty much without exception. He greets all like long lost friends…and people comment that he is a great big teddy bear, a soppy wimp of a dog. When Ross hears these comments, he just smiles and nods because he knows that to get to that point, has been an uphill climb.
Vhko is the most gorgeous, sweet dog, but he’s not been brought up correctly, it’s not his fault – he’d already had five homes before Ross took him on; Ross was his sixth- no consistency, no rules and no real appropriate life – no exercise, no discipline and no training – he was not used to rewards; just no idea about life and Ross had to start from the beginning. Now, fifteen years later, the old Vhko is a distant memory and for the past twelve years or so, he has been the most social and friendly dog who is a regular helper with the Dog Safety Education Executive and the Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training workshops.