Once upon a time they was a little Dobie pup, they called him Merlin, but alas this is no fairy tale.
Merlin felt very special he went to his first family for the princely sum of £800 but after just 10 months he was sold on as a result of a family tragedy. His first introduction to an internet home was a good one. Family no: 2 bought him for £330 when he had already been neutered. They loved him dearly and took Merlin to training classes and he was excellent with the 3 children. Just 11 months later his new family had to move in with and give nursing care to a sick relative. Merlin could not go and once again he was advertised on the internet. Family no: 3 took him on in May 2013 for £220 and in June sent a message to family No: 2 saying Merlin was doing well but something went wrong and by September he was back on the internet. Merlin becomes very attached, and not surprisingly he suffers from a degree of separation anxiety and he is a high energy dog by now these changes will have affected his confidence and here the story becomes murky and the number of homes not really known, but we do know, he moved and changed hands on several occasions and was on offer for a paltry fifty pounds. Merlin had weighed 36 kilos with family No: 2 but now he was thin, stressed and confused and in a home with an in season Staffie bitch who was tied up to keep them apart. It is not unusual for bitches to react aggressively and try to ‘take the face off’ any dog that comes near them uninvited unless they are ready to mate. A man bought Merlin, he thought he was ‘nice looking’ and took him home and so the tale goes walked straight into his home with Merlin to be greeted by the resident Staffie male five month old pup. Allegedly Merlin yanked the lead out of his handler’s grip and ‘set about’ the pup. Alas a case of a man knowing nothing about the Dobermann breed, introducing dogs to one another or that this situation was highly likely to have happened with any male Dobe probably with the scent of the previous Staffie bitch on him and with a dog in a state of extreme mental stress. The consequences were an angry and distressed man, a mauled young Staffie and demands for money to be returned and Merlin to be taken back. The previous owner declined and the current one instead of taking Merlin to the vets returned to the previous home and tied the dog to the owner’s gate post and abandoned him! There are claims that the poor Staffy has since been pts despite recovering from the attack but requests for veterinary confirmation have not been forthcoming, just abuse. By now Merlin is a somewhat pathetic example of the breed is back on the internet with a description requiring a home as an only dog, because he had jumped the owner’s garden fence to get at the dog next door that had been winding him up and would be pts if no one wanted him. A rescue group came forward and collected Merlin and asked FOND for a space. The description we had was a 9 month old entire Dobe puppy who was slightly nervous urgently needed a home because he had jumped over the fence to get at the next door neighbour’s dog and was not in a suitable home and would be put to sleep. On Sunday 13 October Merlin found himself in Scotland and in FOND’s care. This was no puppy but a tall, skinny very hungry, yet quite confident male looking for a friend. Underweight at 27 kilos at the time of writing he has gained 5 kilos and is still a frame. He has been introduced to various dogs, been walked in a pack of five, free run with 4 different bitches, attended training classes, walked in the local park and woods been approached by large and small dogs and shown no aggression or fear. Family no: 2 must have put quite a lot of work into him as he is a pleasure to take out on the lead, knows all the basic commands, likes to play with a ball and is always looking for the next opportunity to do something to please you. Equally the next meal is very important as he had obviously missed out on good feeding over the past 4 or 5 months. Again no food possessiveness and he will sit in a row and wait for his treat and not snatch.
It is quite possible that Merlin does react if approached suddenly or aggressively by some males and his card has been well and truly marked by the trauma and mismanagement of his life and the young Staffie with tragic consequences. Merlin will only be rehomed to a responsible, knowledgeable Dobermann person who lives in a situation where Merlin and other pets cannot be put at risk.
Sadly Merlin’s plight is a daily event in the lives of the many dogs being trafficked on the internet. Certain websites should be closed down which is something the Dog Rescue Federation is canvasing for. The trouble is the rescue centres are full, the majority of breeders are not in a position to give life time support or take their dogs back as they do not have the room, the inclination or the facilities to do so which begs the question should they be allowed to breed dogs in the first place. There are too many people with little basic animal knowledge buying dogs totally unsuited to their life styles or their pocket. We need a licence to ride a bike or drive a car perhaps we should pass a test to own a high energy dog with protective and/or guarding instincts. Certainly everyone who breeds a dog should have a licence to do so. Whether all the facts around Merlin are accurate is debatable but there is no disputing this lovely young dog has been passed from pillar to post and deserves a lot better.