Monty Malinois

Remember in Monty Python’s Life of Brian when the “mother” says to the crowd, “‘e’s not your messiah; ‘e’s a very naughty boy!”  That line has been echoing in my head all day.  RedCloud is definitely a very naughty boy.

His condition continues to improve.  He is eating and eliminating normally.  Today  he graduated to all dog food meals, a raw chicken neck, broccoli stems, and a carrot (that’s his sweet treat – we’re a health food household).  I weighed him and discovered that it isn’t just my imagination — he really has gained weight.  51.8 lbs.  Phew.  That is the most concrete positive feedback I’ve received from Red care.

Left to his own devices (emphasis on the vices part), he is quite mellow in the morning hours.  After breakfast most days, he is happy to go back to bed, and that’s when I’m most likely able to snatch some photos.  After a half-hearted effort at riling up Iske and getting screamed at by me, and saunters off to bed.  Iske’s bed.

We usually go for our long walk later in the morning – at least 3 miles.  Red is learning about leash walking, and is showing consistent improvement.  He is also learning about off leash manners: greeting the neighbors by leaping into their arms and chewing their chins is considered a bit cheeky in my neighbors.  Like I said – ‘e’s a very naughty boy.  I insist that he sit at my side when cars pass, and he is fine with this, but fascinated and ready to chase if I were foolish enough to allow it.  There’s an open lawn where he and the girls run and play a little – he is so tall it looks like a small horse leaping and plunging at Iss and Lil.  Iske is confident and plays back or ignores him.  Lily gets upset and hides behind me.  This has led to me getting chomped on, more than a few times – Red comes charging up, leaps into a play bow, gets rejected, grabs at my arms, gets yelled at, and chomps my leg before dashing away.  I have devised a few special nicknames for RC due to the bruises on my thigh.  He knows he’s being a jerk, so he hangs his head and then gives me the puppy eyes.  “We’re working on it” has become my mantra.

He loves to chew soft items, e.g. dog beds.  He is quiet, like a stealth bomber, and has a sneaky way of starting with a toy or other acceptable chew item, but carries over to the edge of a dog bed, then when I’m not watching, switches from acceptable item to unacceptable item silently.  He calls no attention to himself, and quietly gnaws away until I check.  @$%&!!! RED!!!  And once again, ol’ puppy eyes admits it: ‘e’s a very naughty boy.

The afternoons and evenings are a trial.  He is awake, lively, and full of bad ideas.  Of course it doesn’t help that the family is home, but busy: dinner, homework, and the rest of it.  Red rattles around, looking for entertainment, and hears a sharp “No!” way more often than any of us would prefer.  He has lots of chewy things he likes, but he seems to like harassing Iske and Lily more, or trying to shred the oriental rug, or stealing something from the recycling, or selecting an item to get yelled at for stealing from my closet.  He will force me to be neat and tidy, and he will probably break my ankle leaving a kong or antler chunk lying somewhere dangerous.  He won’t mean it and he’ll apologize profusely.  I curse him and forgive him about 50 times a day.  Typical puppy, typical male.  He has no ill intent, I remind myself over and over.  He is an ignoramus, a know-nothing, unschooled in how to be a good boy.  Given where he has been and what he has experienced, his consistent good will and sweet disposition are a miracle.  I don’t really need to remind myself of this – I remember each time I look at his bony butt.

He wants to be good.  It is one of his saving graces.  He is a true malinois: motivated to learn and become one of the pack and one of the family.  He is smart and sweet.  He is (mostly) very calm and gentle, and has already toned it down with the mouthing and the jumping.  Thank dog because he is also huge and strong, and only getting huger and stronger by the day.  We plan to take him hiking this weekend – a lot earlier than we thought, but he desperately needs to exercise.  That boy needs to get tired, every day.  Looks like I’ll be upping my mileage.  All good – I’ll be 45 next year and thus once again crossing over into a new age bracket at the road races.  Looks like Red will be my trainer, pushing me to keep up with him, to run farther and faster than I have before.

He certainly will teach me how to win the patience marathon!  Gotta go – I think I hear the sound of fabric being ripped…

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