How my Belgium Malinosis nearly ended my marriage!!

How my Belgium Malinosis nearly ended my marriage!!

 

Just over 12 months ago I took in a Belgium Mali. She was 12 months old, coming in with a bite history, and was showing signs of fear reactivity. The decision to take in my girl was not an easy one. We had just opened the shop, my children are home-schooled, and my husband was busy dealing with everything I was throwing at him. Even though I knew that taking in this girl was going to be a huge strain on an already crazy busy family I just couldn't let her go into any rescue that would have struggled with her. I had contacted many rescues for the owner with no one having the space or resources to deal with this crazy girl! So came the discussion I knew I would end up having with my husband and I think secretly he knew the conversation was coming too!! I mean he can't expect me after 8 years to just stop doing what I have done my whole life. He knew what he married, that's my excuse anyway. So begrudgingly he agreed to let me have Dhalia. I then spent months meeting her, going for walks, and introducing her to our dogs we already had and the kids. Things were going great and she was showing signs of expecting us. The day came when I was picking her up from her old owner. I already had the shop up and running and the day I picked her up was a Sunday, so the plan was to have her in the shop with me and then bring her home. The day started great, she was perfectly behaved that day, and even on taking her home that night, she quickly settled with the other dogs in the evening. That first night however was ridiculous! She would not settle, she counter-surfed my kitchen and ate a full chunk of butter, she barked, tried going through the door, and was a general arse! So I ended up on the couch with her that night.

The 3 rd day and it all went wrong rather quickly!! Dhalia had already had a snap at my husband but we put it down to him startling her and moved on. On this particular night however, she lost her head, and just my husband walking into the room had her jump straight in the air and try a full-on attack on him. I must admit it made me feel a bit uneasy. So as you can imagine he was livid, screaming at me that she had to go or he was going, the kids were in danger and she was an unhinged dog with serious issues. Well I already knew I had issues to deal with but this was not expected! The next hour had me crying on the phone to other dog behaviorist friends and eventually, I calmed down. Putting her in a cage I went to talk to my husband. He was still livid at this point but it had sunk in that I was not going to give up on this dog no matter what!! The only option after what I had witnessed would have been a PTS and I was not allowing that to happen!! He agreed to let me work with her and gave me 6 months to turn her around. I accepted the challenge and we began work. Dhalia then spent most of her time in a cage de compressing and learning her new environment. She came out for toilet breaks, walks, and training but other than that she spent it in the cage. This went on for around 6 weeks. After 6 weeks she knew the place, she knew all her basic commands, and knew the rules in the house, we had worked hard with her reactivity outside and had almost completely turned her around outside.

Since this day, one that I will never forget. She has been an amazing dog with a huge love for her family. She is and has always been fantastic with my kids and for that, I'll always be thankful. Now we are 12 months in and she is fully part of the family and furniture. Life would not be what it is without her. I guess the moral of this story is, never give up! My husband knew what I was, who I was, and that I would have never allowed her to be PTS and he also knew that this is me and every part of me will rehome any animal regardless of background or issue. I am me because of this part of me. If you have a rescue, cherish them because they have built your character more than you will realize.

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