My True Love, My Dogs. Part 3

Left:  Hunter    Middle:  Kinzy   Right:  Ryker

RYKER

Ryker is a Belgian Malinois. Ryker is crazy.

When people ask me what a Malinois is, I usually tell them to take a German Shepherd, size it in half, feed it crack and Poof! You have a Malinois. Then I proceed to tell them how they don’t want one. I have spent more time over the last 10 years talking people out of these dogs (Dutchies too) than I ever will spend recommending one. I consider myself lucky, blessed even to have my world with them in it.

Ryker’s sire was one of my agency’s K9’s and for a time the only one of our dogs I was actually leery of. Don’t get me wrong I am respectful of all K9’s but it is easy to forget they are supercharged, badass fur missiles when they are on their backs in dispatch getting their bellies rubbed or wagging their tails over butt scratches.

Rudi though, to me he was like the velociraptor in Jurassic Park. When you looked at him you could see him thinking things through.  It wasn’t until I had Hunter and worked with his aggression that I was no longer intimidated by Rudi.

Still respectful. Always respectful.

I got an email from my trainer one day, a group email to potentially interested parties in an upcoming litter. A litter that would come from our very own fur covered raptor. Rudi.

Knowing Rudi’s intensity first hand I doubted that they would really consider me for one of his pups. I replied anyway and she answered me back in short time saying that they would put me on the list for a puppy. I was ecstatic.

Rudi only sired one litter and has sadly passed on. One of my co-workers and I were on shift when we found out and we both cried. Not easy to answer phones and radios while trying to get your voice to sound normal.

Losing a K9 is no less difficult than losing their human counterpart. A Cop is a Cop. Period. If you think K9’s are not cops you have never been privileged to be around one.

Kinzy was 5 when I brought Ryker (originally called Nemo at birth but I changed that quickly) home and while she was not impressed at all, she was so amazing with him. She put up with this little ball of fur constantly bothering her, she taught him the ropes so to speak and she kept him in line as much as I did. Understandably, he bonded with her first.

Ryker was one of two picked for me to choose from. He was originally the one his breeder/trainer wanted to keep to train but when they tested at 7 weeks, he did not test well. The drive was not there. When it did show up at 8 months though, it was in full throttle.

He was a shithead and he even tried to challenge me once. That didn’t work out well for him. We had a “come to Jesus” and he never challenged me again. If that sounds bad to you, I understand. Only a few will understand what I am talking about. I myself did not once upon a time.

It was worse actually when he tried to challenge Kinzy’s position. She flat knocked his dick in the dirt. She was patient and she was kind but she was not to be messed with. Her position was secure until the day she died. Of course, he was a slow learner and challenged her every so often over the years. Always with the same results. I told you he is crazy.

Speaking of Kinzy’s death again. Ryker was as a lost as I was. He suddenly, without warning lost his best friend, his playmate, his teacher, his protector even, as she was protective of him. At one point early on, I even had to start taking them separately to the dog park because she wouldn’t let the other dogs play with him. It stressed her out. He was a thorn in her side but I would not have recommended messing with him in front of her. Not one bit.

Ryker is 7 years old now and he is as prey/ball driven as he was when he was still growing. If he is awake, he has a ball in his mouth and if it moves he will try to go after it. In his lifetime he has killed 2 cats, 2 squirrels, and 2 birds. I’m not sharing this to say it is a good thing because it is not. I am simply explaining him. Explaining the pure, primal drive that Malinois have. It is a sight to see believe me. It’s like watching a nature show only its not a wolf, its a dog. Fortunately, he is efficient and his prey does not suffer. He is quick and precise. It is over almost as fast as it starts.

In his lifetime he has killed several of the small animals unfortunate enough to cross paths with him. I’m not sharing this to say it is a good thing because it is not. I am simply explaining him. Explaining the pure, primal drive that Malinois have. It is a sight to see believe me. It’s like watching a nature show only its not a wolf and its not in the wild. Fortunately, he is efficient and his prey did not suffer. He is quick and precise. It is over almost as fast as it starts.

Whoever thinks the theory of dogs still being closely related to their wolf ancestors is false is clearly not paying attention.

On the other side of that, in the day to day he is goofy, affectionate, and a constant source of entertainment. He is a spoiled Mama’s boy. He is my protector.

His true downfall is his jealousy. He is jealous of anyone that takes my attention. He is jealous of my granddaughter (she is 6 now) whom he mostly only tolerates. They require constant supervision so they will both be safe. Sometimes they play well together, even get in trouble together and other times he ends up in his kennel and/or she plays in her room for a bit while he gets a grip on himself. That comes hard for him.

In all honesty, I would not have bought him if I had had a small child in my house at the time or if I had known at the time I was going to have one in the near future. Regardless, I have never regretted having him. He makes me want to pull my hair out and keeps me sane all at the same time. He is everythi

He listens, he’s a good dog, he just sometimes gets the better of himself.

He loves my daughter (she sounds just like me) and he loves my mom. He is friendly and/or indifferent to people when they are in the house as long as he is free. In his kennel, he barks and is not friendly. As soon as he is out and knows I’m okay, he is good as gold, doesn’t care one bit about you.

He is the same way at the vet. I have to leave the room.  It was actually a vet that explained to me why he was aggressive with me in the room and a total sweetheart without.

He is being protective of me. I love you too boy.

I will love you till my last dying breath and beyond. Don’t go anywhere anytime soon. You need to drive us all crazy for at least another 7 years okay?

In the words of Roy Rogers, “If there are no dogs in heaven, then I want to go where they went”

I don’t know that I have painted quite the picture of Ryker I had in mind but some of you will understand. Some of you know how beautiful these crazy creatures are.

 

 

My True Love, My Dogs.

Since I find blogging difficult,  I’m going to start with something I love and talk easily about. My dogs. I will give them each their own writing because they deserve it.

Left: Hunter   Middle: Kinzy   Right: Ryker

HUNTER

Hunter was first. Hunter was my first Dutch Shepherd and my entry into the world of extreme dogs.  I did not set out to buy one of these dogs. They are working dogs,  K9’s, herding etc. I have no need for either. I’m a Dispatcher not a Cop and I’m a city girl not a farm girl.

While I was looking for a German Shepherd one of my Deputies told me to get a “Dutchie” instead. I thought he was crazy and asked him what the hell would I do with a K9? His response was that I could handle a dog like these and to get one.  So….I did.

I bought my Hunter from a breeder in another state. His mother was from a line I was very familiar with and I couldn’t ask for a better lineage. Where I failed was in his sire’s side.  I didn’t go back far enough, didn’t catch the inbreeding.  I became too focused on the one side. I paid for it later.

He was seven weeks old when I brought him home and I fell in love instantly. He was freaking adorable! I found a great trainer.  She was married to a K9 Officer/training coordinator so she was very accustomed to these dogs. They even bred them. Anyway,  he trained the working dogs and she trained obedience and protection one on one.

We worked diligently with my boy, but by the time he was 5 months old he was not only huge (he was large for the breed at 80lbs) but his aggression was becoming evident. One day in particular  (the beginning of the end for my boy and me) he even turned on our trainer for a moment and he loved her so you can imagine how much worse he would have been with a stranger.

After that, she went to her husband and we set up a time for him to evaluate Hunter.  When all was said and done,at 8 months old, he took my boy and along with another handler/trainer turned him into a completely different dog, a K9 with a much better grip on his aggression. Training every day the way they do was the best thing that could have happened to him.

I was heartbroken to give him up and I felt guilty because I failed him.  This is where the inbreeding came back to bite me (excuse the bad pun). Although I have never forgotten him and I still miss him,  I was able to let the guilt go because I did do everything that was best for him. I trained him well,  I loved him, and gave him a good home.

He did become a K9 but 1 month into his new job he died. He was in the patrol car, it was a hot day.  The car shut off and the warning sensor that would have alerted his handler failed. I can’t go any further. That was years ago now and I’m sitting here in Starbucks wiping tears and trying to type. I will miss him until my dying breath and beyond.