Dennis had been rescued at the last moment by BGP – he was to be put down as his trainer had no further use for him; he had been used on a flapping track in Coventry. Because it was a last minute rescue BGP didn't have a home arranged, but after some phone calls Dennis went to a greyhound savvy home. But Dennis had issues; he would turn and have a go for no apparent reason and because there were children in the home he was moved to another foster home without any. But he was too much to deal with there too, so it was arranged that we would swap him for Alfie; turned out that both of them were going to their forever homes.
Dennis did have issues; he was very unpredictable. Most dogs with behavioural problems have some kind of trigger – not Dennis, he would turn snarling and bearing his teeth if you so much as touched him, even if you'd touched him the same way yesterday or a few minutes before. It wasn't a constant behaviour, most days he would be fine (though he always had a "hard" stare and always seemed "on edge"), then one day he would snap; when he did it was a case of "the red mist" coming down. But as suddenly as it came it would disappear; one moment he would be snarling, the next nuzzling for some fuss – which which was given warily.
Just over a week of Dennis being here, Troy died and we offered to give Dennis his forever home. Because BGP would have to be straight with prospective adopters about his behaviour chances were that Dennis would take a long time to find a home, maybe never would.
We do Pets As Therapy visits at St Andrew's. While on one of our visits we were chatting with some of the lads about Dennis arriving and Alfie leaving (everyone likes to keep up with comings and goings at Beast Barracks) and described what Dennis was like. One of the staff said "If you were describing that kind of behaviour in a person, it's typical of cocaine withdrawal symptoms." Turns out that Dennis' trainer has previous for drugging his dogs; it's an open secret that drugging dogs is rife on flapping tracks and as evidenced by BBC Panorama it goes on at GBGB "regulated" tracks too. While it can never be proved, it is pretty certain that Dennis was coming off something and the way he suddenly changed supports that theory. The change in Dennis' demeanour was almost digital; one day there was this pumped up hound with an icy stare who might have a go at you for nothing, the next a chilled and relaxed hound who just wanted a fuss.
Dennis is very striking; he is very handsome and very loving; in many ways he is a lot like Troy. Unlike Troy, it is doubtful that Dennis will become a Pets As Therapy or Blue Cross Education dog. He would be brilliant at both, but he needs to be 100% trustworthy before taking that step.
We left the last paragraph from an earlier version of Dennis' bio to show the doubts we had about him due to his initial behaviour; this is what happened.
Blue Cross dogs must be reassessed every 2 years and Marion – our Blue Cross Boss (she so hates us calling her that) – had arrived for a cuppa before we headed out to reassess some of the others. She fell in love with Dennis at first site and asked why he wasn't being assessed. After the explanation Marion said he should go for it, so he did, and passed. Then he did his PAT assessment, and passed. Turned out that Dennis isn't just a Blue Cross and PAT dog, he is a brilliant Blue Cross and PAT dog; indeed, one of he very best. If it hadn't been for Marion insisting that he did his Blue Cross assessment he would not have had the chance to show what a star he is, but she did insist and Dennis and the people he sees have had a better life because she did. Dennis loves doing PAT and Blue Cross visits; he is unbelievably gentle with children on our Blue Cross visits. On our PAT visits we see some people that have had bad experiences (as in really bad experiences) with dogs; it is always, without exception, Dennis that they go to. One has to wonder if because of what he went through he has some kind of connection with other troubled souls.
Dennis was also a PBBuk blood donor and made 16 donations, saving up to 64 lives, before he was retired when he turned 9.
And guess it goes without saying that his nickname is "Menace" (he answers to it).