Top dog: St. Louis’ own dog whisperer finds balance in his pack

Jun 9, 2017

Bob Laut looks like a tough character: muscular arms, shaved head, plenty of tattoos.

Look closer. The tattoos are of dogs. And not just generic dogs. Some of them depict particular dogs, dogs he has known and loved.

Still, you might think twice before you opened your door to him. But I didn’t. The first time he came over, I wanted to weep for joy.

This was a couple of years ago when, due to a hideous miscalculation, my husband and I became the temporary home to five dogs at once: our two, my sister’s two and our daughter’s large, powerful and energetic puppy. They weren’t all supposed to be there at the same time. Whatever you are picturing, double it. Or better, quintuple it. Chaos does not begin to explain how wild life was at our house.

One afternoon in the midst of this, when I was out shopping for dog food (as usual), I spilled out my story to a total stranger. “Oh,” she said, “you need to call Bob Laut.”

It is a measure of my desperation that on the strength of this advice, from a woman whose name I did not even know, I called.

He said he could come by next week. “Next week?” I said. Laut heard something in my voice. “I’ll be there tomorrow,” he said. “How’s 10 o’clock?”

I felt better already. I felt better still when the bell rang, right on the dot. But here’s when I felt best of all: