I was recently emailed by a lady asking if I still had my terrier cross, Brodie. She’d read my rather bleak post in February, shortly after I’d rescued him from the amazing Foal Farm in Kent, and after tuning in to my website at regular intervals and finding no further posts on the subject, had concluded that I’d given him up for adoption.
Firstly, apologies to any other dog lovers who may have been concerned about Brodie’s wellbeing. Happily, I can report that far from returning him to Foal (or any other responsible rehoming centre), Brodie has settled down brilliantly and is a very happy boy.
I’d be lying if I said we had cured his dog aggression; Brodie is five years old and this kind of behavioural problem is not something that can be sorted overnight. There are no quick fixes – and god alone knows what this poor dog has endured in his past that makes him regard every dog he meets with fear and loathing.
But we are seeing real progress, thanks to the dedication and support of Peter Williams, a former police dog handler and trainer, whom Brodie adores and responds to brilliantly.
In training sessions, Peter has Brodie running free and off-lead with several of his own dogs; four at the last count, and sized from a German Shepherd to a Jack Russell. Brodie is completely chilled in their company, without even a hint of fear or aggression. Of course, what he is responding to, is Peter’s natural authority and calming aura.
After such wonderful progress in a relatively short space of time, I am hopeful that Brodie’s confidence with his trainer begins to ripple out to me so that I can walk him off lead, without worrying about the safety of other dogs.
But we are not there yet. Dog walkers; if you see me walking Brodie, on a short lead, and he’s wearing a bright yellow bandana that says: ‘space needed’, please accept that this is not a fashion statement or a gimmick. Please help by putting your dog on a lead, too – or by reigning in a Flexi as you pass by. I love ALL dogs and will do all I can to keep everyone’s fur-babies safe, but please – meet me half way.