For Red Fans Only

Let’s face it – everyone else has bailed out at this point. “Ok, the dog’s not gonna croak, I guess we can go back to playing Mafia Wars/Farmville/Pathwords.” No, Red’s not gonna kick the bucket any time soon. He’s officially out of the woods.

That means I can stop discussing his bowel movements, which despite evidence to the contrary, I am actually quite happy to do. His diet has also settled down enough to be essentially uninteresting; he’s headed for 100% dog food by the end of the week. So what’s left to write about? Well, let me run down the basics: weight gain is beginning to show in the shoulder area. He has grown a little flesh there on his upper back. Holy cow – that happened quick. Response to commands is coming along nicely. At this point the following commands are being responded to reliably: sit, wait (at doors and for his food), come, and back up. Heel is coming along nicely but go away is really not there at all. Easy, leave it, and “Dammit, Red, quit bothering the girls!” are touch and go.

Red has mastered the stairs (I feel a new nickname coming on). He figured out “up” and got stranded a couple of times. First Tom carried him back down, then Maya carried him back down, then he half crawled, half slid on his belly back down. Then he decided to stop being such a Scooby Doo and walk like a big boy. The upstairs is safe no more and I found out that Tom owns a pair of moccasins (Red rearranged the closet more thoroughly than a Polish cleaning woman). Poor Lily, her last bastion of Red-free comfort has been taken from her and I think, all kidding aside, that she may be suffering. Tonight I’ll put her to bed with a dose of rescue remedy and talk with my witch doctor about her needs next.

Red has met a few of the male dogs in the neighborhood and shows no difference interacting with boys compared to girls. He is friendly, gentle, and sweet to all dogs and humans he meets. He will jump on people, and although he jumps kind of gently, we’re working on that. I predict his weight will double; no amount of jumping is going to be ok. He still mouths me, but when I correct him now he does this goofy yawn thing as if to say “Oh I wasn’t chomping on you – my mouth was open because I was yawning, see?” Yeah yeah yeah, Malinois. I’m hip to your kind. Iske once pretended like she had to puke so that I’d let her go outside. I’ve seen mals fake limping when it’s cold outside so that they can go back in. Nice try, but get your teeth off my limbs, buddy.

I find myself thinking “we don’t have to keep him” thoughts: evidence bubbling up from my subconscious that I am rather thoroughly overwhelmed. I worry that his presence is really upsetting to Lily, and then wander down the “what if” thought patterns of letting Lily live elsewhere, where she would be the only dog and be happier. Fantasizing about going back to only two dogs is a pretty good clue that I need to be nice to myself and allow some adjustment time. I am normally fairly high strung and intense (rather malinois-esque qualities, if I do say so myself) and have trouble being mellow and kind, unless we’re talking about what I offer others (and even then, as my husband is wont to say). This is one of those situations that is rapidly evolving into a “being with” rather than “solving” kind of situation. Hello, spiritual work. There you are again. What a surprise. And now that Red is out of the woods, it is only a matter of time before he’s in the woods.

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