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A friend and colleague of mine lost his beloved Malinois last week. I asked permission to write about him because his passing hit closer to home than many of the other dogs that have crossed my path in this career.
It was personal because at one time, this dog had belonged to me.
I honestly don’t remember what his name was when he first came to me. I only recall that I’d been through a string of Malinoises over the course of 18 months or so in search of the “perfect” (for me) dog. This young male was the final in a string of dogs that eventually gave way to me getting Tommy, my heart dog.
But for a while, he was mine. When I first acquired him I was frustrated from searching for the right dog. I was hard pressed to even put much effort into naming him, I just wanted to figure out if he would work for the job I intended him for.
But having a name behooves the building of a relationship so I requested input from a group of students that were attending my professional dog trainer program. One of those students happened to be a police officer. He shared the inside joke that when a new kid came on the force he was referred to as the “Funewgy”, an acronym for the New Guy…and yes, you are correct when you guess what the Fu part of the abbreviation stood for. 😉
That story resonated with my appreciation for sarcasm and the name “Newgy” got put into use. It was never intended to stick but it did and he carried that name for the duration of his 15 years.
As the new guy, he got put through the paces. He was learning the basics and being challenged to excel. I worked with him for a few months but ultimately decided he wasn’t the perfect fit. Once again, I was in the situation of having to find the right home for a dog.…
And that is when Matt showed up. A student that also attended my program for trainers. This guy was young, funny, kind, good with dogs, and laidback. Laidback being one quality I didn’t possess that Newgy would benefit from. He needed someone that would give him the outlet and activity that a Malinois needs without the pressure for performance that I would require.
It was a match made in heaven. From time to time Matt would check in with a photo or a quick story. I’m sharing those here because it is important to witness relationships as they should be. Newgy had a good life. A full life with an owner dedicated to fulfilling his needs.
When we fulfill a dog’s needs before our own, we’ve done right by them. My heart is content when I know a dog is with the right person and Matt was Newgy’s right person.
I don’t know if Matt would refer to Newgy as his heart dog, but from the outside looking in, it was self-evident. God speed Newgs.
Hugs to you Matt. Relish what you had and know a part of him is always with you.