My brother’s dog died yesterday. It was very sudden and completely unexpected, but at least it was peaceful. We’re obviously all very sad, especially the kids who were really looking forward to seeing the dogs and rest of the family in a couple of months time.
Kaiser was a lot of dog: 55kg of prime Rottweiler – potentially terrifying. But once you got to know him, it was clear that he was just a gentle giant: loving, patient, kind, good-natured.
However, for me, Kaiser wasn’t just a big softie. He was the dog that changed my view on the whole species.
I had several bad experiences with dogs when I was younger: indeed, I can still show you the scars. And when I see people backing away from the beagle when we’re out walking, I completely understand where they are coming from, even though I know that she wouldn’t harm a fly.
I used to feel that way too.
Kaiser’s gentle nature made the difference for me. It’s almost like he was a willing, knowing ambassador for dogkind. He had such obvious power, but with it, such restraint and understanding. A great example of how it’s the training, care and management of potentially dangerous breeds that makes all the difference, rather than the breed itself.
Kaiser was much-loved and doted-upon, not just by my brother and his wife, but also my Mum. Having the dogs visit was the highlight of her day when she had cancer. And Kaiser doted on her as well.
Looking back through photos on Facebook and on the family Whatsapp group, it’s clear that my brother and his wife gave Kaiser a great life. Just in the last couple of months, he was running free on beaches, through the snow, in the woodlands. Not bad. Not bad at all. If you were a dog, you’d want to be a Kaiser.
He will be sorely missed over here in Cape Town, as well as back home in Sheffield.