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  • Writer's pictureM. Linda Graham

The Dog Whisperer

Updated: May 22, 2020

Last night I dreamt our dog was Clint Eastwood.

When I awoke, Argo’s nose was next to my ear – he’d been whispering to my dreams, planting heroic images of his doggy self in my subconscious. He didn’t have to work too hard to accomplish this; I have no doubts about his heroic character. Argo is a deeply bonded, sweet, funny, cuddly, fierce, clever and athletic Belgian Malinois*. He can also be a show-off, and a stubborn ball hog mineminemine. Hard-working, honest and loyal, I’ve never known him to lie or quit. He’s a take-charge kind of guy, literally running (or swimming) figure eights around us. Argo for President. When still a pup, Cap’t Arrrrgo was decommissioned from his original assignment in service as a result of losing his right-eye to a bigger dog. But he doesn’t know he became a pirate – he does not think of himself as ‘lesser’ because he’s missing an eye. ArrrgoF*^% yourself. When he moved in with us, he picked my husband, Bruce, becoming Bruce's henchpooch, minion, familiar, side-kick hinder dog. Don't call me buddy, pal or sweetheart. Their bond is such that Bruce practically weeps if he has to leave Argo for a night. Argo also taught us what the phrase “go full Mal” means. Count your fingers. Our training had begun, and for nearly seven years we've continued.

Like most Clint Eastwood characters, Mals are typically perceived as tough, no-nonsense, fierce creatures of uncertain pedigree. Clint in a fur coat. Please don't call him a "nice shepherd mix" Do you feel lucky, punk? - there’s nothing uncertain about this breed. We never had to teach "The Sheriff" to patrol the property (rain, shine, blizzard - he does this every morning), patrol the house (in the middle of the night he does rounds), kayak, or take up a post between our legs. I know, that sounds weird, but it’s clearly a hug/guard position. In Dog we trust. He adores new people and places, is generally congenial with other dogs, and is especially protective of children. Would he attack someone he thought was attacking one of us? I don’t know.

But I think I just heard him whisper: Go ahead, make my day.”

*”The alert, lively Belgian Malinois has been hard at work for centuries, originally as a sheepdog in Belgium and beginning in the 20th century, as a military and police dog. They are known for their fierceness and fearlessness as members of K-9 units around the world. Mals are tireless and focused when there's a job to do or a frisbee to catch, and affectionate and loyal at the homestead. Well muscled and athletic, Mals are best suited to very active owners who are happy taking them for frequent runs and long hikes. Other Names: Belgian Malinois are also known as Mals, Malis, and Maligators—a mash-up of Malinois and alligator, likely inspired by their bite work as police dogs.” -

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