The latest instalment of our weekly column dedicated to Alnwick-based dog sanctuary, SHAK.
If ever there was an example of how SHAK transforms the fortunes and mentality of the dogs in its care, then new arrival Marley is it.
He came to the sanctuary on March 12 with a reputation of being impossible to get on a lead and take for a walk.
His power, size, weight and obsession to grab the lead made him a pretty daunting task.
By his own admission, SHAK founder Stephen Wylie was nervous about walking Marley for the first time.
And it’s fair to say that he had a bit of a battle on his hands. Armed with protective hand and arm gear, and with Marley on a metal lead – which stops the dog from biting through it – SHAK’s new arrival certainly put up a bit of a fight, pulling and straining on the lead and jumping up at Stephen.
But Stephen and the SHAK team have worked hard to rehabilitate Marley – a Mastiff-type dog – and their efforts are paying off.
Fast forward 12 days, and Marley’s walks are a different story altogether.
Stephen said: “On Saturday, I had an amazing walk with Marley, as he continues to make huge steps forward.
“It might have just looked like a dog going for a walk, but if you remember how Marley was when he came 12 days ago, there were crucial changes.
“First up, the protective gear has been stopped. Marley isn’t aggressive in any way, and perhaps more importantly, the metal lead has been substituted for an ordinary lead. I can’t emphasise how much of a big step this is for him.”
Stephen described Marley as a noble and handsome dog, who had ‘clearly been through something’ to make him difficult to walk when he arrived at SHAK.