By Alex Matthews
This is the UK’s most enthusiastic Great Dane owner – living alongside FIVE giant dogs that weigh more than 55 stone.
Angela Atkins owns five of the giant dogs and says her life is completely dominated by them.
The 68-year-old spends nearly £250-a-month on food for the dogs.
She has also had to replace her lounge suite after it was eaten, buy a van and maintain a field in order to keep the dogs happy.
Angela, an ambulance driver from Cardiff, said: “It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, as they are very big dogs.
“But I love them to pieces and I can’t imagine life without them.
“Apart from breeders I am the biggest single owner.
“I own five Great Danes, and they are all about three foot tall at the shoulders. My biggest one weighs over 12 stone. If he wants to go you cannot hold him back.
“I had to get a van to drive them around. When you have more than two you need a van.
“I have got land but you cannot take them out in public areas. They are very pleasant dogs but if one of them were to get attacked they would all go. They are a close pack.
“I have a freezer full of meat for the dogs. It’s an easy place to put it but they can eat their way through it in a week.
“Every week I spend about £50 in meat and kibble for the dogs.
“I do not bother with insurance for them. It’s just not feasible, especially for the older ones. Any vet bills just go on the credit card.
“It’s a worry but that’s the best way I can do it. I feed and exercise them well so they don’t really get sick.”
Angela admits there are other difficulties in owning a pack of Great Danes.
As well as the cost of keeping them fed, she also finds it difficult to sit on her own sofa and has to sacrifice a large chunk of her bed at night.
They also take a lot of cleaning-up after.
She said: “They can be just destruction on four legs. They ate my entire lounge. They even chewed the floor.
“You cannot get precious as the whole house will be turned upside down.
“You just have to accept it. It goes with the territory.
“They dribble a lot. You get slime on everything and you’re forever wiping things off.
“They take up a lot of room and they like lying on furniture. They’re dogs of luxury. It means sometimes you can’t get a seat in your own house.
“You cannot be too fussy. You have to use throws on sofas and you get through a lot of bedding for them.
“Two of them even sleep in bed with me at night, and obviously they take up an awful lot of room.
“It’s a good job my husband is very patient.
But despite the difficulties, Angela says she cannot imagine life without the dogs.
She has even been on holidays with other Great Dane owners, and once travelled six-and-a-half hours with her pack to join 48 other dogs on a mass beach walk.
Her granddaughter Shannon, 14, also loves the dogs and regularly comes to visit them.
Angela said: “There is a Great Dane fraternity. I have been on holiday to Mablethorpe with as many as 48 other Great Danes. We have had some fantastic meets, and it’s always lovely to meet other Great Dane owners.
“They’re the ones who really know what it’s like – although even they find five to be a lot.
“My granddaughter absolutely loves them and comes to see them a lot.
“She’s brilliant with them and can keep them all in line.
Angela has owned more Great Danes since she started 10 years ago.
Most of her dogs are rescues that other people have been unable to handle.
According to Angela, people rush into buying the puppies without thinking of the giants the dogs grow into.
She said: “I have had Great Danes for nearly 10 years now, and I wish I had started sooner.
“I mostly rescue the dogs because people cannot handle them.
“Sadly people take them on without realising what they are like when they are full size.
“They are such lovely dogs but they need training. They are big dogs at the end of the day.