He ain't heavy, he's my dog

DANGEROUS dog? Not at all, says Star reporter Sarah Gillett as she meets Raidan, the great dane puppy that dragged his owner into the dock by snapping at a neighbour's coat.

DANGEROUS dog? Not at all, says Star reporter Sarah Gillett as she meets Raidan, the great dane puppy that dragged his owner into the dock by snapping at a neighbour's coat.

I AM staring in to the eyes of, quite possibly, the biggest dog I have ever seen.

Raidan the Great Dane weighs 16 stone and reaches a height of almost six feet when he stands on his back legs. I should be scared.

But I actually think I have made a new friend.


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Expecting to be greeted by a growling, snarling menace of a mutt, I am filled with relief when Raidan barely notices my arrival. In fact, it elicits no more than a quick sideways glance from him.

Posing for pictures, Raidan is gentle and quiet. He sits patiently by my side while the photographer snaps away, only moving occasionally in an attempt to lick my face.

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This is not the 'dangerous' dog that I was expecting.

Raidan hit the headlines last week when his owner, Ross Keys, appeared in court charged with not keeping a dangerous dog under control. Mr Keys admitted one charge of not keeping a dangerous dog under control.

Mr Keys, 24, and his fiance, Louise Fitchett, also 24, who live in Orford Road, Bromeswell were shocked that anyone could call Raidan dangerous.

"He really is just a gentle, friendly giant," said Mr Keys.

As I watch Raidan bounding around the garden and playing with Mr Key's 18-month-old nephew, Kristian, I couldn't agree more. He happily allows Kristian to climb on to his back while playfully licking and nudging at him with his nose.

"He is a harlequin Great Dane, which is one of the biggest varieties and, obviously, his size does make him appear quite scary if you don't know him. He will bark a bit at strangers and I appreciate he can be a bit intimidating but that's as far as it goes, he would never hurt anyone," Mr Keys added.

Raidan's food bowl measures 12 inches across and six inches high. He polishes off three of these every day as well as leftovers from his owner's meals. He is now two and a half years old and, believe it or not, is still growing.

"He is still a puppy really. He's probably at his full height but he will broaden out a bit more in the next few months" said Miss Fitchett.

"The fact that he is still young means that he is still very bouncy and playful but he is a big softie. When our other dog Tiggi had puppies last year, Raidan took over as surrogate mother.

"Tiggi lost interest in them after a while. She would still feed them but wouldn't lay around with them. Raidan used to step in and take over. He would lay for hours with the puppies all nuzzled up to him."

It seems that for Raidan, it is a case of his bark being worse than his bite!

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