Partially sighted Whittlesey dog lover who can calm most aggressive dogs hopes project will prevent future dog attacks

Zak raising awareness of his project in Peterborough

Zak raising awareness of his project in Peterborough - Credit: Archant

A FENLAND man with only 25 per cent eye sight has developed an ability to tame aggressive dogs.

Zak and his dog Taz with pupils at a Lincolnshire school

Zak and his dog Taz with pupils at a Lincolnshire school - Credit: Archant

Zak Soan’s eye sight deteriorated three years ago to the point where he can no longer read but, despite his lack of vision, he is able to bond with difficult dogs.

Zak Soan and Lynn Bradbury

Zak Soan and Lynn Bradbury - Credit: Archant

The 21 year-old, of Cemetery Road, Whittlesey, has filmed a documentary in which he shares his secrets.

The dog lover hopes his film will prevent dog attacks, which have led to a doubling in people requiring hospital treatment and dozens of dogs being put down in the last decade.

He said: “The project is to teach children and adults how to approach dogs and read their body language to prevent any dogs getting abandoned or put down.

“The majority of dog attacks today are on children, the reason being that most children cannot read or understand the signs which indicate a dog is likely to attack.

“They approach dogs in the absolute wrong ways and cannot tell if the dog is going to react.”

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Zak adopted an ill-treated four-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier thought to be dangerous two years ago.

But, after observing how his dog acted, Zak managed to tame him through communication and care.

He said: “I think maybe I have an unusual bond with dogs. I’ve been around them my whole life.

“Working with dogs helps me because you do not always have to use your eyes. Your ears are just as important. All dogs know when you have a disability. They can just read you.”

Lynn Bradbury, who helps Zak care for the dogs at Dogs in Mind’s rescue centre in Wansford, said: “Zak has a way with the dogs that come in to the rescue centre, and has spent a lot of his spare time listening and learning about canine behaviour.

“He is just amazing around the dogs. I know that he can and will make a difference to educating children about dog ownership.”

Zak and Lynn are busy getting the message across about how to approach rescue dogs.

They were in Peterborough town centre last week where they showed Zak’s film whilst talking to passers by about dog behaviour.

They also visited a school in Lincoln a few weeks ago to show the film and talk to children about approaching dogs and choosing the right dog for their family.

Zak said: “Visiting schools with Lynn, who has taken me under her wing, has been really good and hopefully we’ll be able to come into some Fenland schools.

“I think parents and teachers are starting to realise these classes are something that can benefit children.”

Kirstyn Gaunt, of the RSPCA, praised Zak’s project.

She said: “Zak’s project is a great idea. When I go out people think all dogs are the same, which is not the case.

“Zak highlighting this and teaching people to approach dogs differently is brilliant.”

Zak is desperate for difficult dogs not to be overlooked because of their behaviour.

He said: “Owning a dog is a privilege, not a commodity, and it is important they are looked after correctly.

“I hope people take what I’m saying on board and try it at home with their dogs if they are difficult.

“It could help make a hard home a happy home for the family and the dog.”

To find out more about Dogs in Mind go to www.homes4dogs.co.uk

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