Taking on trouble?

Who in his or her right mind would adopt a dog known to be a problem?

We did.

After Arnold, our third Scottie, died in November, we were bereft. But we knew that, before long, we would want another. We were equally certain that we would, once again, seek one from STECS.


The wait wasn’t long. A week after declaring our interest, Isla Reid contacted us about Arran, a brindle she had just brought into her home. His was a rackety past, including time in his second home as a potential stud and then passed on to another owner. The last of these, after a fortnight of trying unsuccessfully to integrate him with the resident dogs, considered taking him to the local dog’s home in Fife if STECS wouldn’t step in. There had been accusations of serious aggression. He was just 3 years old.

On the face of it, Arran did not sound a promising candidate for adoption. But Isla’s own experience of with him told another story: of a highly intelligent, affectionate waif, small for the breed, who seemed desperate to bond with an owner who would keep him.

We decided to give Arran the benefit of the doubt. And it was the right decision.

As soon as we agreed to take Arran on, the STECS team snapped into action. Jim Clegg (or, to be more accurate, Archie, his Scottie) gave our house, garden and us the once-over. Although he was over 450 miles away, Isla Reid and David Kennerley organised a relay delivery. Linda and David Kennerley kindly agreed to give Arran a stopover on his arrival from from Crail, then David delivered him to us at a motorway station south of Warwick – complete with a glowing report on his personality and behaviour.


At that point, seeing Arran’s trusting, hopeful stare from the back of David’s car, it wouldn’t have mattered what anyone had said. He was ours.

But once we got Arran home, we’ve had to share him. For a little dog, Arran has made a huge impact on our friends and neighbours.

Every day begins with an enthusiastic greeting as soon as we show signs of waking up. He enjoys his first walk of the day – and seems to relish being groomed – unusual in our experience. Then he solemnly reviews his basket of soft toys (mostly a legacy from Arnold) and places the current favourites in his bed. As he has settled down, he has developed an appetite. More overtly affectionate than is usual for the breed, he follows us around like a toddler, a manifestation of insecurity, no doubt, but endearing nonetheless.

Above all, Arran, who has had so many disruptions in his brief life, relishes love and stability.


Admittedly, he has shown a tendency towards aggression on the lead. But a local Salisbury trainer, George Taylor, is helping us to cure Arran of his fear of other dogs.

No dog is perfect. But Arran, the busy, bustling brindle previously burdened with a bad reputation, comes close.