2017 Rescue Agility Trial
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Featured Malinois
Updated 06-16-17
Featured Senior
Updated 06-16-17
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Beginning list of dogs for adoption
* New listing
** Updated
***New Contact Info

N Central Region:

Charlotte, female - MI
Desi - Adopted!!!
Diesel - Adopted!!!
Mesa, female - IL
* Rico, male - MN

S Central Region:

Diesel - Adopted!!!
Dottie - Adopted!!!
Jackie - Adopted!!!
* Jill, female - TX
* Loki, male - MO

Northeast Region:

* Asher, male - MD
* Blue, female - MA
Grimm, male - NY
* Harley, female - MA
* Kaley, female - VA
Lucy, female - PA
* Rebel, male - VT
Ziva - Adopted!!!

Southeast Region:

Andie- Adopted!!!
* Arko, male - GA
* Callie, female - SC
* Hutch, male - LA
Loki, male - LA
Lucas - Adopted!!!
Ofa - Adopted!!!
Phenix - Adopted!!!

Northwest Region:

More NW Info

Southwest Region:

Hank - Adopted!!!
Scarlet - Adopted!!!

Dogs available from
Alternate Listings: A-M
Updated: Oct 20th
Alternate Listings: N-Z
Updated: Dec 12nd

SafeSurf Rated All Ages

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Comfort Inn
Plover, WI


Sabre camping
Sabre camping



Sabre, I sure didn't get to camp before being rescued!
Sabre, I sure didn't get to camp before being rescued!



Sabre lazily on watch
Sabre lazily on watch



Sabre on watch
Sabre on watch



Sabre at ease
Sabre at ease



Stiletto
Stiletto



Stiletto is a Happy Muddy Dog
Stiletto is a Happy Muddy Dog



Constructing personal swimnming pool post Hurricane Francis
Constructing personal swimnming pool post Hurricane Francis



Training Should be work but fun too
Training Should be work but fun too



Cooling off in the Summer
Cooling off in the Summer



Summer Fun with water
Summer Fun with water



Much More Outgoing Stiletto
Much More Outgoing Stiletto



This is actually a very happy dog
This is actually a very happy dog



Words fail me
Words fail me



The Malinois Flying Circus
The Malinois Flying Circus



More Flying Mals
More Flying Mals



Happy Kids
Happy Kids



At Rest
At Rest



Stiletto and Sabre
Stiletto and Sabre

Successful Adoptions don't just Happen!

I am 43 years old, a single male (albeit with great girlfriend) no kids, big house with even bigger back yard (2.5acres) and always wanted a dog. I had never had a dog before. I had never even had a goldfish before. But I did my homework, read all I could, and was very diligent in my selection process. Somehow or other, I finally chose a Belgian Malinois. I also opted for a rescue dog because I thought it was the right thing to do.

I spoke with Sara Flynn Kramer at ABMR Rescue for she conducted the placement interview. She asked me how many dogs I owned before.

"None", was my honest reply.

Silence. Lingering Silence. "You know that these dogs are kind of well…….not recommended for first time dog owners. It is kind of like getting a Ferrari for your first car. They are very fast, very responsive, and prone to crash if you make a mistake."

I displayed my well thumbed collection of dog training manuals in response. She gave me that smile that the Gods reserve for little children, fools, and the completely unknowing and told me let's wait and see.

Sabre arrived a fortnight later. He is a big male at just under 70lbs. He had spent the first three years of his life living completely alone in a one bedroom apartment where the owner came home basically to sleep. He was a disciplinary problem and had become self employed as a destruction engineer, methodically disassembling a different piece of furniture every day. In hindsight, I now realize that he had become somewhat hard headed and obstinate as nobody was ever there to teach him anything. Sara dropped him off, wished me luck, and exited leaving behind a couple of cans of dog food. I had finally achieved my dream of owning, in this case, about 65 pounds of furry hurricane.

The training manuals, save one, lasted about a day. Sabre just wasn't that keen on responding to a clicker. Nor positive reinforcement only. He also held the huge advantage of having an incredibly cunning and astute brain cleverly concealed in the body of a dog. I was lacking in confidence and he was cognizant of it. All future Mal owners should be aware that if you do not firmly establish a hierarchy with your dog they will do so as a courtesy for you only with you at the bottom of the pyramid. In short, after only a fortnight, I was losing.

So I changed tactics. I exercised him to exhaustion daily. He accompanied me on my 5 mile runs in the morning. We played with tennis balls until he was too tired to retrieve any more. Where I went, he went. And nothing was for free. Opening the door required a sit, a down, and a sit. Dinner required an extended "stay". He worked for everything he got, including attention and affection. He became a competent swimmer after being introduced to and overcoming his initial fear of the water. And I would like to think he started to enjoy life. Certainly he has no shortage of dog toys, bones, or attention. Somehow, we prospered, his becoming my shadow for all intents and purposes. I once observed him clear a six foot chain link fence to get to me on the other side. These creatures are amazing in that way. He has become a wonderful companion.

Not that we didn't have our moments. I have a thumb that is permanently scarred and there are a few idiosyncrasies that both sides have come to a negotiated peace over.

My ultimate goal was to have two Mals so Stiletto arrived six months after Sabre. I thought it a bit harsh on the dog to have only one and the experts said that two would be easier to control than one. I hoped to God they were right because the thought of a pair of Sabres was somewhere between breath taking and terrifying.

So it was Stiletto. A female, a year or two older I think (maybe 4?) and the polar opposite of her big brother. She had been badly abused in the past. When I went to see her, to be totally honest, I didn't even want her, so bedraggled and fearful was she. Her stock response to a male entering a room was cowering and urinating. I took her because, to be totally honest, I didn't have the courage to say no to the foster mom who had driven 2 hours to meet me.

Sabre, for all his peccadilloes, I could understand. He was essentially a canine rugby player interested in the dog equivalent of beer and sex and understood life to be a contact sport. Stiletto was not even approachable. I actually called Sara at the rescue and told her I wasn't sure I could make this one work and could I please give her back? She was beyond my limited skill set to overcome. Stiletto was also dog-aggressive, fearful, and was not in the best of health due to lack of exercise, diet, etc. She basically looked like a greasy furball. I promised to hang in there for a month or two while another foster home was to be arranged if I couldn't make it work.

It has been 18 months since Stiletto arrived. Next week will be the 2 year anniversary of Sabre's arrival.

I have the best dogs in the world. Both of them. I can not even begin to imagine life without them. There simply are no issues. Nothing in this house FULL of dog tempting things has ever been destroyed, including furniture, socks, whatever. Counter surfing is non existent. They do not beg. They simply do not go up the stairs to the second floor where they are not allowed. They can be in full charge across the field when I call their names only to have them both pull a full 180 and return at full speed. And their public behavior is impeccable, especially when we go for our morning runs, with them both at the heel in tandem.

Stiletto has calmed Sabre down a bit and he has helped bring her out of her fearful shell. They are hysterically funny and have on innumerable occasions brightened an otherwise drab day. They can make me laugh without effort, and I always know that it is time to get up as about 130 pounds of "keen to start the day so let's get going already" animals leap upon the bed at the first sound of the alarm. That was a trick they taught themselves. They are both avid canoeists, and enjoy time at the drop zone where they always mysteriously know exactly which parachute is mine out of the dozens in the sky at any given time. In short, they have vastly improved the quality of my life.

It is not unusual to have them crashed out together on "their" couch, as opposed to the "people" coach. But they still have the phenomenal energy and intelligence of Malinois. The most recent example being the riding lawn mower I use to mow said 2.5 acres. It drove them frantic to the point where they were dragging the 120 lb. picnic table behind them as I cut the lawn. So after they agreed to cease biting the tires and not to get too close to the mower itself, all are now happy. They simply trot in circles around the mower while I cut the lawn. All 2.5 acres of it. Of course, having a pair does indeed tend to calm them down, as they draw a lot of energy out of each other. The flip side is that when a disaster occurs, it is usually of the spectacular variety. After Hurricane Francis dumped huge rainfall on us, they diligently put their engineering and construction skills to use to dig out their own swimming pool in the backyard mud!

I often wonder who has learned more, the dogs or I. They have contributed to my inner balance in many more ways than I would have thought possible. They have unique personalities, just like us. They both have just a bit of a pirate streak in them, but is always in good fun. They are invariably affectionate, attentive, and optimistic. Gray days are so much less so with them in attendance. After more than 4 decades without a dog, in two short years it has become unthinkable for me not to have them. If that is not a testament to the breed, I don't know what is.

To those who may consider adopting a Mal, I would humbly give thought to the following.:

  • You are adopting a family member. Mals do not do well as couch potatoes (though they can be) nor are they social hermits. They thrive as an interactive member of the family. You only need see the look in the eyes of mine when they discover they can’t go for a ride in the van this time to realize that!
  • They need exercise. Lots of it. Exercise is their equivalent of morning coffee for us. Without it some of us can be grumpy all day. They are on their best manners when some of that go-juice has been burned out of the system. Mine go back packing, canoeing, running, bodysurfing, et al. They love it and it is great fun having them along. The second they see me put on a running shoe, pick up a paddle, or open the sports locker it is all I can do to keep them from going through the walls. Even a simple bath, (forget the tub, I use a commercial grade hose) can be turned into great fun by having them chase the water jets. They live life with an intensity that is pure joy to watch and is honestly inspirational.
  • Don’t let them run your life. Take charge and stay in charge. That doesn’t mean you beat them with a club but you set performance standards and you expect them to meet them. They are exceedingly intelligent animals and once they discover that you are not going to let them slide by with even minor infractions, they stop committing them. They know where the boundaries are and everybody is happier for it. When you achieve this harmonious state, life is REALLY good. Fun, fair, and firm are the three magic words.
  • Consider your personal lifestyle. You may be better off with “less” dog. But if you can recognize bits of yourself in the above, you will never want another breed. Ever.

I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate in having been given the opportunity to adopt a pair of rescues. Are rescues "puppy cute?" No. Do they have some onboard personality issues? Perhaps. As we would if we were in their situation. BUT ( and I really, really, try hard to believe this) I think that both my dogs remember what "was" as opposed to what "is" and are both extraordinarily grateful for the second chance. As a result they live life with such zest and gusto I kind of get carried along by default by the sheer force of their optimism.

In closing, I took my pair to an American Kennel Club annual meet in Florida. After closer inspection of all the high society hairstyles (I'm talking about the dogs, not the owners, or perhaps both), the doggie jackets, the pristine grooming, etc. I kind of felt like I was bringing a pair of street thugs to the sorority ball with seaweed still between their toes from a recent swim in the lake. You only understand how good your Mals are once you have seen the rest supposedly at their best. My two goons absolutely stole the show. They were better behaved than most of the show dogs, and were hands down the most talked about pair there. Mals really are THAT spectacular. But then again, I would be biased because I own a couple.

If you are up for it, and are really prepared to give your all for a while, adopting a Malinois will be one of the best things you could ever do. My dogs let me know that…..every day. I am so fortunate to have them in my life. Now I am actually going to start fostering. Only fear is that if I find one I really like ……hard to give him/her up…….lots of room……I could afford three………..you'll see for yourself when you get one.

Best wishes for every success with your new Mals.
Shawn

PS: FYI, I have about every dog manual ever written. The only one that really proved to work for me in the long run was "Good owners, Great dogs" by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson. He worked under Barbara Woodhouse. It is very difficult to go wrong if you understand and follow that book. It was like it was custom written for my two and I heartily recommend it.










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