Meet Luther - an artists companion.
When a friend appears on your doorstep with what looked like two cute chunky little teddy bears telling you one of them could be yours, there is only one thing to say “oh yes, yes please”.
Thats really what happened, my partner knew all about it but I was in the dark.
They were two chunky, fluffy and lively little chaps. ‘’pick one” my friend said.
How difficult was that going to be? Both being so sweet.
I first went to the chubbier puppy with a darker face. He was so gorgeous. He did however only seem to fancy eating my leg and I spent half an hour with him attached to the bottom of my trousers.
The puppy lighter in colour with a beautiful golden coat loved more interaction and played fetch with me with the other pup still in tow hanging off my leg.
After careful thought and talking to my partner and our friend who had breed the dogs, I made a decision.
You see due to the breed I had to be sure it was the right puppy. Not what he looked like but his personality.
I have had a lot of experience with dogs but have never had this type of dog before, this was new.
You see our friend breed dogs for the police, prison service, the army and for personal protection. This puppy was a Malinois.
The Malinois is highly intelligent, energetic and loyal breed. Originally used for herding in Belgian, they are also called a Belgian Shepherd. But if this breed is not handled correctly and given lots of the right stimulation they can be aggressive and destructive. And these dogs are large and very strong, so I can say I was a little nervous of owning this breed but we lived remotely and we needed a guard dog. But as my friend also trained guard dogs I knew I had help at hand.
After careful thought I felt the puppy who was retrieving and interacting with me on different levels was the one for me. (By the way, the other puppy went into the prison service and does an excellent job)
I chose the right puppy for me. As:
Luther will be 9 in November and he has been the most loyal faithful dog I have ever owned. He never leaves my side. He is my company day and night and my constant companion in my studio when I am creating my art.
Don't get me wrong it has not always been easy, after the age of 2 when he was truly a big boy and gained all his confidence he needed firm handling. I learnt that you need to ensure he knew I was the dominant one. He is very clever at trying to move you where he wants you, you can see why they are good at herding.
He has caught me out a couple of times: Being dragged face first through the gravel on my drive was not fun, when Luther decided the neighbours dog barking sounded more appealing than going back indoors. One second we were heading in the next he had spun round so fast he took me off my feet and forgot I was on the other end of his lead.
Because we had a very high fence and he could not see over it, Luther decided to find his own viewing point. I found him on the top of our shed, very pleased with himself as he now had the best view across the fields. He is so athletic he could just scale up the side and reach the top.
Luther had been brought up with birds in the house and garden but there was always a cage or fence between him and them. When we moved and got peacocks in the garden one lost some of its tail as Luther decided to take chase. He has now learnt not to chase them and they happily lay with him on the lawn. In fact he is so tolerant of birds now I found one of our cheeky geese sat on his bed in the hall near the back door. He was just lay next to it. looking as if to say :"cheek of it, give an inch take a mile", I think as he has got older he has just chilled.
His best friend next to me is Lilly our English Pointer and he just loves her. When we introduced them I was so nervous Luther was just one at the time, but after close supervision they got one from the start.
Luther is an inspiration to me in more ways than one.
He is patient and loving. He is gentle but strong. He his loyal and giving. He looks after me and I look after him. My big lad Luther.
What more could you ask for in a friend?
(If you are considering owning a Malinois as with owning any breed of dog please do your homework first and lots of research to ensure this is the breed for you. I would say you should have previous dog handling experience too. And a lot of free time to train and exercise. In my case my partner had worked with these dogs before and we had an experienced friend to support us )