Friday, 13 March 2009

An Old Friend Phoned…

Yesterday afternoon I got a very unexpected phone call from a young man I have known for a good number years. I have known him so long that since his mother went back to the West Indies to live in the 1980s, I have called him my adopted son.

Since we moved up to the Fens, I haven’t heard from him, though I did bump into him a Crufts a few years ago.

It all started when Robert arrived at Brixton Dog Training Club with his dog Caesar, a yellow Lab. Then he got Raven, a super black GSD (German Shepherd). 7c80d9ed96baf62d17a8e93ddf044431 We trained Obedience and eventually I persuaded Robert to enter  Open shows and compete. He got his first win under me. I remember it today…Raven did a lovely round.

Robert became interested in Instructing and started his own small club in 1986 in South London. He has a natural ability to put people at their ease and is able to help them get the best out of their dogs.

When the concept of Dog Wardens started, Robert applied to our local Lewisham Council and became their first dog warden in 1990. The stories he told me about the sad cases he came across would make me cry at times. I suggested he should write a book about his experiences. I wrote a few articles for dog magazines about his experiences. I got him judging Obedience at a few shows too, but he doesn’t judge now. He’s too busy.

Robert got interesting in behaviour training and went on every course he could to expand his knowledge and skills. I am very proud that he never stopped learning. Since those days he’s helped a great many people with their dogs.

I was not surprised to switch on my TV one day to watch a new programme called ‘Dog Borstall’ to find that 22a4712bd02b881c8e1b3ffbf4fd36ecRobert was one of the three trainers. I was so proud of him and later searched the Internet to try and find his email address to write and congratulate him.

Here he is with three GSDs. His name is Robert Alleyne.

Back to the phone call… I was really thrilled to hear his voice on the other end. He told me he never got that email I sent a few years ago. I really should have emailed again or put pen to paper and written or just phoned him. Mind you, I didn’t know if he’d moved? If I’d bothered to phone or write I’d have found out that he hadn’t!

We spent an hour and a half chatting about everything. I cried as he told me how he lost Caesar and Raven and I told him about the dogs he knew that I had lost since we last saw each other.

Robert has written a book now. Titled ‘The Trouble-Free Dog’. 9780709085188 To quote from the blurb: Robert…. ‘teaches you how to communicate with your dog. Having acquired this skill, you will then be able to prevent worrying behavioral problems occurring or solve those your dog already has. However, as well as dealing with your pet's psychological needs, the book also covers all the physical aspects of caring for your dog: from maintaining him in good health to the legal responsibilities of being a dog owner. Also included are numerous informative and entertaining case histories which demonstrate the wide variety of problems that can actually occur.’

I haven’t read the book yet but Robert promises to bring a copy up for me when he visits us soon.

You can order the book from Robert Hale, the Publishers. £9.99

 

1 comment:

Penny said...

That was really interesting, Jane. Fancy you knowing Robert from Dog Borstal. How nice for you he got in touch after all this time. I shall keep an eye out for the book. Hope your day goes well. Pen.