Happy Birthday Piper!

For your 10th birthday, I got you a Malinois puppy!

Today is my birthday (gah!  I’m 40.  How is this possible?) and it is also the birthday I have assigned to Piper, who turns 10 today(!) and also the WooTWoo, who have been tormenting small creatures and humans alike for 7 years now.

I am 10 years old.  All the frisbees are belong to me.

My friends and family threw me a wonderful birthday party on Friday night, and I got so many awesome presents that I have pretty much decided to turn 40 next year too, since this is clearly the milestone where you receive the biggest haul.  I got the most awesome pair of Muck boots from my bestie, so my poor old feet will never be cold and wet again tromping around ye old Mud Farm.  My sister got me two hours of tattoo work (yay artistic pain!) and my friend Angela printed and framed a picture of Tweed that made my cold black heart get a little weepy.  My parents repaired my birthstone ring that I have been wearing for 30 odd years now, which broke last month, and got me a matching necklace as well as an otterbox case for my iPhone since I keep dropping it on cement surfaces at work, plus they had just returned from Mexico and brought me back a ton of Dia de los Muertos artwork, which is my favourite stuff (signs I will be single forever: I have 8 dogs in my house, and artwork of dead people hanging all over said home).  I also received some wonderful books and beautiful trinkets, and The Sadist stole this weekend’s agility entry fee from the mail (nothing says friendship like a little federal mail fraud!) so Springaling’s debut was free!

And what a debut it was.  I am super proud of my little nervous girlie.  I was not at first convinced the trial would go well.  First of all, I was late because of the aforementioned Malinois puppy (will get back to that in a minute) and had to get up, dressed, feed dogs and out the door in like under 20 minutes.  We rushed into the venue rather later than was ideal and Spring took one look at the giant building full of strangers and strange barking dogs and pooped all over the entrance.  I had no poopy bags on me so had to rummage in my purse and clean it up with a piece of scrap paper.  Stellar start to the day.

As Spring needed to be measured by a judge (at a point in time that occurred 15 minutes earlier than I arrived), who was already walking  the course, I dragged her into the master’s ring to politely ask said judge if she would pretty please measure my dog even though we were late, where Spring peed all over the course in terror.  Happy Birthday to me – now every Masters level competitor hates me and my dog.

*le sigh*

But Spring measured under 16″, thank doG, and when we got ourselves settled in we ran her first course of the day, a Starter’s Gambler.  I set her up on the line, walked to my lead out point, turned around to release her (to gales of laughter) and found her sitting in the lap of the Scribe, staring at me with her big Fawn Eyes, as though I had set her up on a line for a firing squad.

Once I retrieved my little shivering bundle of fear from the lap of a stranger, she had a stellar Gamble run!  As we began playing, she realized that this was the same thing we do in class every Thursday and you could see her starting to have fun.  We (of course) did not get it on video as Auntie Fiona was running in the next ring, but she did the minis and the Gamble and got a Q and a first place!  There’s my girl!

Her other two runs of the day were not clean, but I am super proud of her because you could actually see her confidence rising with each piece of equipment.  In her Standard run the dreaded running contact bit us in the ass because we have not worked on turning off a dog walk so she did what she knows best … run really fast straight ahead to the next piece of equipment she saw in front of her, which happened to be a jump half away across the ring.  Really she was supposed to turn into a tunnel under the dogwalk.  But that was her only bobble in the whole run, and even with that off course she was still more than 30 seconds under time!  And she wasn’t even running full speed yet!

Her Jumpers run was lovely, with just one refusal at a jump which I think was because she was momentarily distracted by the dogs in the adjoining ring.  We did get that one on video.  Take a look at my little girlie flying around the course!

Dexter … was Dexter.  Well, he was LESS Dexter than in trials past, but retained enough Dexter to be recognizable.  He went 0 for 3, but he mostly stayed on course and did not orbit any planets this time.  His Advanced Gamblers was really lovely, but the last jump in the closing Gamble was just too difficult for him to find, though he tried really hard!

His Standard run started out beautifully and went to hell when he did not see the point in doing 6 weave poles, as only 12 will do apparently.  He then hopped up on the table, immediately hopped off and lay down beside, on the ground, where dogs are supposed to lay down (he says firmly).  And then he spectacularly and terrifyingly took down the entire Double Jump with his face and made the judge do a little dance of horror in the middle of the ring, so we excused ourselves from the rest of that run to make sure he wasn’t smashed to pieces.  Fortunately, Dexter is mostly made of rubber cement and bounces back very quickly.  His Jumpers run was nice except for a dropped bar (instead of 12 dropped bars, so he is getting better!) and even though we got no Qs, I am still pretty happy with his overall performance.  In 4 or 5 more years, we should get a Q or two.

Or it could be that my glee over my dogs’ performances is nothing more than delirium from lack of sleep.  Because on Thursday I brought home my birthday present to myself.

On the 4oth year of Food Lady
I’m an idiot who gave to me
8 weeks of Malinois puppy

I have always secretly hankered after a Malinois, but many things have stopped me from getting one, including, but not limited to: 1) The price tag (do you know how many border collies I could get for the cost of one Malinois?) 2) I don’t actually want anymore dogs right now, or for the foreseeable future, and 3) I’m a little bit askeered of them.  I’m not totally convinced that a dog described as having “a lot of bite” is something I want to live with.  I do, after all, already have TWooie, and I generally envision Malinois as being a terrifying cross between TWooie and Dexter.

So a Malinois puppy is not really in the cards for me any time soon.  The universe, though, likes to f*ck with The Food Lady and on Thursday a dude walked into my shelter with a 7.5 week old Malinois under his arm and said “I need to surrender this.”

Long story short, the guy had bought the puppy three days earlier, realized he’d made a horrible, horrible mistake (should have been my first clue?) and the breeder would not apparently take the puppy back.  He didn’t want to try and sell the puppy on craigslist or whatever and was hoping we’d be able to find the puppy a better situation.

The last thing I want to try and place from a shelter is a Malinois puppy, so I (FOOLISHLY) decided to transfer him out to my rescue and place him myself.  This way I could satisfy my Malinois puppy craving, and also keep one more dog out of the shelter.  So LIKE AN IDIOT I brought this devil spawn INTO MY HOME.

It terrorized my dogs about 5 seconds after being introduced to the mildest ones, biting Spring in the face and chasing poor Pfeifer down whilst snarling and growling.  When I gave it a shove with my toe to get it off of poor Pfeifer (who was obeying the laws of Not Killing Puppies that well adjusted adult dogs adhere to) it turned its rage on my sneaker.  In fact, the puppy was a total nightmare to my dogs until Tweed gave it the canine equivalent look of “are you f*cking kidding me?” and threw it across the room by its face.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Tweed?

If you love me so much, why the eff did you bring that home?

I gave the puppy a pork bone to distract it from murdering my dogs and when I happened by a little later to give it a friendly scritch behind the ears it tried to take my hand off for going near its bone.

But the worst thing about the Malinois puppy is that does not have a volume control, while simultaneously being gifted with 5 times the sets of lungs of a normal dog.  For two nights I slept in 45 minute increments only, as this is the maximum amount of time that it takes a Malinois puppy to reboot, apparently.  And unlike normal puppies, who fear The Earthquake (aka hammering on the covered crate with your fists), the Malinois puppy just tried to eat through the crate to kill whatever was making that irritating noise whilst it was trying to wake the whole neighborhood.

8 weeks old and it climbed out of the Xpen while I was at my birthday dinner.  When I got home there was a Malinois puppy laying atop a mound of stuffie toys, snarling, while 7 adult dogs huddled in the corner by the front door.

Just call me Cured Forever Of Malinois Puppy Lust.

Although … he is pretty cute.

I admitted defeat.  I gave the puppy to a Malinois owning friend, who says she has not slept in years, and she’ll foster him until we find him a home.  Probably not with someone who just read this entry though, I’m guessing.

But if you think a Malinois puppy is in your future, feel free to contact me!  But please DON’T contact me to tell me that I should hand the puppy over to your rescue for placement, or suggest that I have the puppy because of nefarious circumstances, or to tell me that I am obligated to inform you who the breeder is and how I got the puppy, even though you don’t want it yourself, you’re just incredibly f*cking nosy, because I already got those emails from a wide assortment of insane Malinois fanciers.  I don’t blame them though.  Sleep deprivation does that to a person.

Yeah it’s cute.  Do not let that fool you :)

There was not enough writing about my birthday in this post.


  1. Candace Battles says:

    Happy Birthday!
    Congratulations on Spring’s stellar debut!
    Just MHO I think you made the best choice for the Mal puppy…
    You do great work, no one via email or any other means of contact can take that away from you! :-)

  2. A Malingator!

    Yeah. High energy high drive love to use their teeth on EVERYTHING.
    Somebody out there is looking for an awesome Ring Sports prospect – he’s IT!

    I wish him luck and the perfect home.

  3. Also “the breeder won’t take him back” ARGH!
    damn backyard breeders…

    *stalks off muttering*

  4. Oh my dog. Laughed my way through this post. First at Spring ( I have sooo had those days!) Then Dexter. I always feel happy for competitors that have their “normal” dog with them to prove that yes, they really do have some clue and yes, this dog really is that crazy! And then the Malingator. Oh my.

    Happy Birthday!

  5. Loved seeing Spring do her thing!

    I am not so foolish as to want a Malinois puppy. ‘Nuff said.

  6. I laughed out loud when I read about Spring hopping into the scribe’s lap. What an ice-breaker for a dog’s first-ever run! And regarding the Malingator puppy…so glad to hear you’ve found another home for him. Anyone who thinks border collies are difficult to live with should spend a few days with a Malinois. It took me six weeks to be cured of my fascination with them, but I am a bit on the slow side. :D

  7. OMFG! I got a giggle reading about Spring in the scribe’s laugh, picturing them trying NOT to actually touch her in order not to DQ her. But I laughed until I cried at your descriptions of the Malinois puppy! Puppy definitely is getting a jump start on the Malinois’ “malligator” reputation!

  8. Happy birthday Food Lady! And to Piper and the WooTWoo, too. Curing yourself of Malinois puppy lust sounds like a good way to start the year! :)

  9. Oh my. Thank you for making me laugh so hard. Spring’s run looked great, it sounds like you had a wonderful time! :) Happy birthday and ignore the crazies!

  10. LOL! We had a Belgian Terv for 16 years..Belgians are wonderful dogs of course but OMG theycan try your patience…our guy came to us at 7 weeks…let me just say I will NEVER have a puppy ever again..20 years later now I can still say that safely NEVER EVER…but gosh we loved him…and teaching him to be crated…HA HA HA!!!! I get your noise level thing..one would have thought he was being murdered in there…after one week of it we gave up…he never was crated…
    We have a Border Collie now and Sheltie..far easier dogs but we always will have a special spot in our hearts for Belgians…good luck!

  11. Happy happy birthday!

    I too have admired Malinois for a long time… I think now I’ll just continue to do that from afar. :-P

  12. It’s good to hear that you have your limits when it comes to adopting dogs. A rescue is an awfully difficult place to work with no self control.
    Happy birthday and congrats to the new agility champ.

  13. Happy belated birthday…loved your post…still chuckling and can picture it all…was actually contemplating inquiring about the Malinois puppy but think I will now stick with my kelpies instead :-)

  14. thanks for the reminder… I have a 13 year old Malinutt, and at the start of your post was starting to get dreamy about another. My old girl is seriously the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet, but those first couple of years I had a few holy s*** moments. :o)

  15. Happy b-day, FL! ( I remember that you were 34 when I started following 3WAAW.) And happy b-day to the pups!

    Oh, Spring is a champ! She did look like she gained confidence as the run progressed. She looks pretty fast, too. Does her success distract from the frustration of Dexter’s spaceship tendencies?

    That puppy sounds like the devil incarnated. May some crazy Mal person crop up.

  16. I had a Terv, then also a Mal puppy from 4 mo old. My mal was the most awesome dog and sweet, smart, and responsible. She was the best dog ever!!!!! Never experienced any the issues you stereotype for Mals. Sounds like some breeding issues. She was loyal and loving her entire life, and lived to 13. Miss my Tsunami immensely!! She was the best dog ever!!!! I have also had a Collie, and now a Sheltie.

  17. The Food Lady says:

    Stereotyping? Please – if anything, I downplayed it! You should hear the Malinois stories that Mal owners have told me since I acquired this pup. I had one Malinois owner spend some time with him and tell me he was TOO CALM AND NICE to be a real Mal and thus wasn’t interested in adopting him. Holy hell, if that’s calm, I’d hate to live with a “real” Malinois! LOL!

  18. Wow! Happy Birthday to you and yours! How about a photo of FL as a “puppy”?!

  19. Yay, Spring! Awesome debut! And Happy Birthday to you and the gang.

  20. Wow. That was one action-packed post. I don’t even know what to comment on so I’ll just say HAPPY (first) 40th BIRTHDAY, Food Lady!!! [You did say you we’re going to be 40 again next year. haha]
    Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

  21. So how is it YOUR birthday but you gave ME the gift of laughter? Oh well, I won’t look the gift in the mouth (the Mal might bite me!) and just wish you and your three a happy happy day!

  22. Congrats, that little Springy-thingy runs really nicely! I am a fan!

    I am also confused because you claim that Piper is 10 years old and I simply do not see how that can be. I think she’s about 5. Maybe 6. It’s REALLY been 10 years since Piper came to live with you?! Gah, time is speeding up just as I am slowing down, this is Not Good.

    Happy Birthday to you, and I do not want a Malinois puppy. Ever. But I hope someone does, and takes that little monster off your hands pretty soon.

  23. Happy birthday to you and yours, FL. Hope the maligator finds a home that’s not yours. Glad Spring and Dexter are starting to get the hang of agility. My dog once held her startline stay, and when I released her, she ran under the ring crew’s chair–to drink out of the ring crew’s coffee cup.

  24. Laura in California says:

    Happy 40th birthday to you! The little Mal sure is cute but what a terror, I guess that’s why they make good police dogs. Your pack must be relieved that he’s moved on and their usual pecking order is in place. The video of you and Spring is great. Happy Birthday to beautiful Piper and the WooTwoo!

  25. Holy smokes! What a post, FL, you sure know how to keep us coming back for more… and more.. and more!

    Happy happy birthday to you and all the furkids that celebrated, too. Spring’s debut was a thing of beauty, and I totally LOL’d at the image of her sitting in the judges lap! Welcome to the 40 Club, its a great one to be in. (Spoken from a gal that just turned 40 this summer, too..)

    And about that puppy… my doG, what an experience. I’ve always thought that they were beautiful dogs, and have never heard of these behavioural traits before. Thank goodness I never had the desire to get one. LOL! I’ll stick with my BCs… much more calm. ;-)

  26. omg that spring run was INCREDIBLE!!!!! nice nice nice … congrats!
    and, happy birthday!
    and, another hysterical entry :-)

  27. Happy birthday to all!! Love the Tweed — that’s exactly what Kiva would have done to the little twerp! Bet the house feels restful now that he’s gone on to terrorize another!

  28. Happy birthday! There is no force in the universe powerful enough to make me bring a Mali puppy home. Scary, scary little creatures. But congrats with Spring! She looked like she was having a great time out there!

  29. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXqNl5bTCMU

    Your description reminds me of this :D

  30. *haaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaah*

    catches breath


    now i’m not only wailing hysterically about the evil doom puppy but also laughing at the self control concept for sheena.

  31. Happy birthday to you and Piper!
    I’m glad you were able to ‘regift’ the devil dog puppy to another home, and he is lovely to look at, so i imagine a Mali-wise owner will find him just right.
    Seems like Spring and Dexter will keep you busy in the training and trialing areas, and with Tweed, Piper, and the WooTwoo, that would seem like the right number of dogs….I started reading when Tweed, Piper, and Woo were the resident canines, and I think Donut the cat…and a hamster……thanks for sharing your stories and pictures on the internet, you’ve given me lots of pleasure over the years, so THANK YOU!

  32. I read through the whole post and I still want a Malinios someday. Not sure if that makes me foolish or just a glutton for punishment. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

    And I adore Spring. Seriously adore her.

  33. rosali(ta) says:

    Happy (belated) birthday, FoodLady, Piper, theWooTwo!
    Also, I just want to let you know that I read this post in an airport waiting to board a plane and so snorted out my coffee in a very public place. I hope that image of the power of your humour is a welcome birthday gift!

  34. First of all, happy birthday! Second, your writing always seriously cracks me up and I wish I had the opportunity to respond more (but I usually read on my phone with a toddler nearby). And finally, oh my hells, that puppy sounds insane!

  35. Miss Cellany says:

    Oh god…

    I rescued a 13 week old puppy from a shelter recently, they described it as a shepherd mix. It was tan point so I thought German Shepherd – well now my vet says it’s a belgian shepherd mix, and it’s starting to look VERY malinois (except for being tan pointed). I really never wanted a malinois.
    I do like German Shepherds but they’re only my 2nd fav breed, my first being border collies (of course).

    I’ve only ever had a border collie before, and he was an adult when I got him… He was silent, totally obedient, and only needed a stern glare to make him comply with the rules.

    I’m terrified now that the mal mix is going to turn out to be aggressive because I don’t know what I’m doing with such a bitey breed – plus she’s been sick and hasn’t had her 2nd vaccinations so she can’t be socialized yet… And she’s already 15 weeks… (only plus is that she received quite a lot of socialization at the shelter from all the visitors cuddling the “cute” puppies).

    She throws “tantrums” when I tell her “no” – tantrums that consist of rolling around on the floor, making a whiney noise while thrashing her head to and fro and biting anything within reach. Do puppies normally throw tantrums? I find this behaviour really weird…

    She listens and obeys only if she thinks I have a treat.
    I must ALWAYS have treats on me from now on ._.

    I had my doubts about her from the second day but since she was sick I felt sorry for her and couldn’t take her back to the cold damp shelter. Now all the stuff I’ve read about malinois is making me REALLY regret rescuing her. I want her in a puppy class yesterday so she can start learning proper social skills… but so far I can’t find a class within reasonable driving distance.

    To top it all off, I have 3 cats (actually 6 month old kittens) and I live in an apartment.

    Am I totally screwed?

    Should I return her?

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