IT started when he was a puppy and I really should have seen it coming because it has happened before.

In my heart I knew it was a possibility but I never anticipated it turning out quite so badly.

From day one it was an issue.

Mr and Mrs Brown have always had German Shepherds. They are experienced dog owners.

Over the 34 years that I have known them, I have treated three of their pets. All have been well behaved, nicely trained, gentle giants. But this new one was a bit different.

He first appeared at the surgery, amid great excitement, for his puppy vaccination. By then, he had been with the Browns for a couple of weeks and had already worked out his place in life. Content in their wealth of knowledge of raising pets, the Browns were complacent and had forgotten a thing or two. And, yes, they were a little older, slightly frail and they looked at all German Shepherds through rose tinted (bifocal) spectacles.

On hindsight, it was a combination of many factors that contrived to cause disaster.

With age had come a loss of strength and resolve that meant their new puppy was oohed and aahed over and they jumped to it every time he so much as squeaked. And being one of a litter of only two, he was used to his mum being at his beck and call. Within a day, he had them wound round his dew claw.

By the end of the first week, he was training them to feed him on demand, let him out when required and play whenever he wanted. When tired, he would walk away disdainfully. In short, he established himself as the boss in next to no time.

By the time I got to see him, he was the king of the castle and anxious to let me know it. And so he grumped when I lifted him onto the table, he reacted when I looked in his ear and he positively growled when I opened his mouth. His owners squirmed visibly. “You are hurting him!” They reached forward to pet him and he began to mouth Mrs Brown’s hand.

“I really don’t think you should let him do that.” I said and Mr Brown looked at me aghast and explained how he was just a little teeny puppy and it hardly hurt her at all and he was just upset and frightened.

I am sure the puppy looked at me and winked. From then on, things just got worse.

Mr Brown could see no wrong in his pride and joy but his wife was facing a different battle. Virtually ostracised from the family relationship as her husband and his puppy played and walked, it became more and more difficult for her to control the dog. Pretty soon he did nothing she said and, to be honest, Mr Brown kind of liked that this made him feel important.

The nipping continued and, in Mrs Brown’s case, turned into biting if she even dared to challenge their pet. Last week, he mauled her arm. She gets out of hospital soon.