A young man who found comfort through dogs after partially losing his sight during childhood is encouraging young people to understand dogs better.
Zak Soan (21), from Peterborough, has been around dogs his whole life and has learnt to properly handle dogs by understanding their behaviour – even taming the most aggressive dogs, despite the difficulties from having only 20% of his sight.
Now Zak is encouraging young people to better understand dogs through a documentary film. He hopes to lower the amount of dogs being destroyed or abandoned.
“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,” he said.
“I have worked with a lot of rescue dogs, and they have become wonderful companions, even the breeds which are considered ‘difficult’. I want to educate people on how to look after their dogs to stop them being overlooked just because of their behaviour.”
Last year Zak adopted an ill-treated four-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier regarded as dangerous.
Through continued attention to how his dog (Taz) acts, Zak has managed to tame him through communication and care.
In the film, Zak hopes to examine how to choose the right dog for a family, how to recognise what the body language of a dog means, and how to better care for dogs in the home.
“I hope this film can be taken to schools, classes, and any other groups around the country,” he said. “Owning a dog is a privilege, not a commodity, and it is important they are looked after correctly.”
Lynn Bradbury, who helps Zak care for the dogs at Dogs in Mind rescue centre, 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 an inspiration. I know that he can and will make a difference to educating children about dog ownership.”