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The Big Fellow

The first time that I encountered a G.S.D. was many years ago. . .

I was visiting an animal sanctuary when two Boxer dogs broke out of their kennel and attacked an old black dog, injuring him very badly. I instinctively removed the old dog to a quiet place. When the staff checked and realised how badly the dog had been hurt, they arranged for the vet to come, and I under took to stay with the dog.

The Vet’s reaction, after a good check, was ‘This is a fine young dog, he is in deep shock, and I think that he will die if he is put back into a kennel’. When I offered to take the dog home and nurse him, the answer was “Aye lass, you do that and if he is alive in the morning, then we can clean his wounds and stitch those that need doing”.

He then added ‘If that dog had not got that awful matted dead coat, he would have been killed”. True, that dog looked more like an old black sheep that a young G.S.D.

On getting the dog home he soon began to heal, and Istarted to remove that awful mat of dead coat to find that there was a beautiful young G.S.D. with exceptional Red highlights. Knowing that I would not be keeping the dog, I did not give him a name, but referred to him as `The Big Fellow”, such as ‘Hello Big Fellow, do you want your dinner’, etc

After two to three weeks, I was very pleased that the Sanctuary found a permanent home for him, and I had no reason to expect to see him again.

About two years later, I was waiting in a bus queue, when I saw a black G.S.D. coming past. Not dreaming that I could cause pandemonium in a crowded city shopping street [Oxford], when the dog got level with me, I quietly said ‘Hello, Big Fellow’. He stopped dead in his tracks, looking up and down the bus queue, so I repeated ‘Hello Big Fellow’ again, whereupon he lunged at me to give me the most wonderful greeting, paws upon my shoulders and great sloppy licks. The more I laughed, the more he licked. It was then that I realised that people were screaming, and running all over the place because they thought I was being attacked by a vicious dog. One or two people came and tried to rescue me, and realised that I was laughing and cuddling the dog.

Needless to say, I did not catch that bus, but stopped to talk to Big Fellow’s very shocked owner, who did not know anything about me nursing his dog.

I did get the local paper to print the story to re-assure the people who had thought that I was being attacked.

That was about fifty years ago, but I still remember my ‘Big Fellow’.