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The Bigs Become Jet-setters

"The Bigs," Matt and Malcolm claim their couch in their Falcon 50

What do you get if you cross a Turkish akbash and Irish wolfhound? Badass brothers Matt & Malcolm, who each weigh about 130 and are genetically programmed to protecting sheep against canines like coyotes, feral dogs, and wolves.

No one wanted these guys, and their chance of adoption was low. Who could handle two monster-size canine-aggressive dogs?

Fortunately, my friend, one of the best dogs owners I know, sent them to me for our "Good Dog" citizenship course, an intensive socialization program where, in The Bigs' case, focused mostly on dog aggression.

You should've seen me walking these two muzzled guys in public. Crowds of people parted when we passed as if I were Moses crossing the Red Sea. Matt and Malcolm would see another dog in the distance and start low-growling. If they couldn't get to the other dog, in frustration they'd turn and fight each other. Though I weighed 200 pounds, they outweighed me by 60. People would pick up their children and hustle their dogs away. I had drag marks on my stomach, chest, and chin.

Eventually The Bigs were able to go to the dog park and meet dogs out on the trail without incident. They weren't perfect and their behavior depended on who was handling them, but they were vastly improved and could be walked out in public. At the end of the summer, their person flew them to her home in California.

A few months later I got a call. We need you to fly to here, they said, because Matt and Malcolm have taken to terrorizing the gardeners who had declared they would quit if the dogs kept at their shenanigans.

Before dawn I hid in the hedges inside the fence where the gardeners would enter the compound. Sure enough, just before daylight the gardeners drove up and The Bigs, hearing the gardener's cars, sneaked outside and waited behind the bushes. If they couldn't chase game or protect sheep or fight coyotes, they could scare the daylights out of the gardeners. What fun!

I crouched upwind of Malcolm and Matt so they could not smell me. They crept toward the gate as the gardeners entered, and just before the dogs were about to spring, I jumped out of the bushes yelling, stomping, and waving my arms like a crazy person. Both The Bigs and the gardeners wheeled and ran in opposite directions.

"Oh my gosh," I thought, "I scared the gardeners, too. Now they'll will never come back." Matt and Malcolm stood all the way up at the house peering around the corner to see if the monster was following. Their eyes were as wide as dinner plates.

I fell over laughing into the shrubbery.

Fun aside, I had no idea how I was going to teach The Bigs to leave the gardeners alone (if they came back at all), but turns out that I didn't have to do anything. Apparently, having received a dose of their own medicine, the fun had gone out of the game. To my knowledge they still leave the gardeners alone.

My client gave me a lift home in her jet. I was the last person to board, and I discovered that The Bigs were already asleep on the couch leaving me nowhere to sit. I clapped my hands, pointed to the aisle, and said, "FAA regulations require me to sit down, dogs. One of you is going to have to lie on the floor."


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