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Dog of the Day
Today's Dog of the Day
Buddha the Belgian Malinois/Labrador Retriever, the Dog of the Day
Name: Buddha Lou Who
Age: Eleven years old
Gender: Male Breed: Belgian Malinois/Labrador Retriever
Home: Mahtomedi, Minnesota, USA
   I adopted Buddha when he was eightweeks old. My German Shepherd mix, Roddy McDowall, had to be put down, and I was never getting another dog as long as I lived. That lasted four days. Then someone emailed me Buddha's picture from a rescue's site and I made arrangements to meet him that day. His back story was that he had been part of an "oops litter" and he had been surrendered to Animal Control. He spent only a few hours at Animal Control, most of them sitting on the lap of the Animal Control officer and eating Spanish peanuts. He then was released to the rescue, who named him Buddha because he sat under a tree contemplating things.

     I've always loved dogs you can play fetch with, but I must put out a fetch-dampening field because no dog I've ever owned has wanted to fetch and retrieve, even the Labs I grew up with. At the meeting with Buddha, I mentally crossed my fingers and rolled him a ball. He picked it up and brought it back to me. "Yay!" I thought. "He's got the fetch and retrieve gene!" I adopted him that same day. I stopped at the pet store on the way home and bought a fancy Frisbee, a ball thrower, and extra tennis balls. Little did I know that the meeting at the adoption site was the one and only time Buddha would ever fetch and retrieve a ball for me. At only 8 weeks, he knew how to market himself. I eventually gave away the fetch toys.

     The lack of fetching aside, it's been a good 11 years with Buddha. He's affectionate without being clingy. He is a squirrel's worst enemy and loves the outdoors, yet he will sleep in until noon if I do. He is beautifully obedient - I'm talking Lassie here - when I take him to visit residents in nursing homes, yet an hour later will drag me down the aisle of Chuck and Don's pet store as if he's never had an obedience class in his life. He doesn't need a coat in the coldest of Minnesota winters, but he has the wimpiest of wimpy feet and willingly wears bright purple rubber boots.

     Some things happened to me many years ago that cause me to have really bad nightmares. When I wake up I am standing in front of my bedroom door, heart pumping so hard it hurts, ready to fight an enemy that isn't there. Every time, Buddha is standing with me, leaning into my thigh, ready to fight the enemy, too. Then he walks me to the bathroom so I can splash my face with water, and then he walks me back to bed. He was not trained to do this. He just knows how.

     Buddha did some modeling in his younger years. On one shoot, he had to sit in a booth in a cafĂ© as a waitress served him a plate of real bacon and eggs and a cup of coffee. It was good Wisconsin bacon and the smell was wonderful. I was behind the lights and camera and I did the hand signal for Wait. He Waited. Something had to be adjusted with the lighting. I signaled Wait again. He looked at me as if I was INSANE, but he Waited. They got the shot, and then he got to eat the bacon and eggs. And drink the coffee. Buddha begs for coffee. He doesn't get it often because I prefer tea. In the morning, he sniffs hopefully at my tea mug, then tosses his head as if to say, "Darn, tea again."

     He's now gray/white around the muzzle and just this year he developed that cast over the eyes that old dogs get, but he's still in fantastic shape. He's been a lean and muscled 55 lbs. all his adult life. He has the focus, intelligence, and intensity of a Belgian Malinois tempered with the sweetness of a Lab. I call him my Belgian Begging Hound.

     My only kvetch about Buddha is that he sheds short, light brown hairs that I carry with me everywhere I go. My house is full of Buddha hair, my car is full of Buddha hair, my office - where he has never visited - is full of Buddha hair. "Quit shedding so much," I say to him sometimes. "Buy more brown clothing," he replies.

Buddha the Belgian Malinois/Labrador Retriever, the Dog of the Day Buddha the Belgian Malinois/Labrador Retriever, the Dog of the Day

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