Mals are not exactly common around here. It's a rare day when John Q. Public recognizes Phoenix as a malinois ("Sure is a purty German shepherd you got there, we used to have one just like him."), let alone finding two malinois in the same county.
So imagine my surprise when I came out of the convenience store after paying for my gas in Iowa City last night to find the Johnson County K9 unit vehicle parked at the opposite pump and the deputy checking out Phoenix, who was checking him out right back through the rolled down window from his crate.
We had a bit of a malinois mutual admiration society going on for a few minutes and I got to meet Ivan, who does drug detection, tracking and handler protection. He was smaller than Phoenix! He was a pocket mal! He was a Czech import and definitely had a different look than my American bred boy.
They were both born in 2006 and Ivan joined his handler when he was 1 year old. Wow. Phoenix was still a totally insane baby dog at age 1 and Ivan was out saving the world from bad guys already.
We had a nice chat and it was a very refreshing change not to have to explain that my dog is a malinois . . . mal-n-wah . . . MAL-N-WAH . . . not a German shepherd and no he really doesn't look anything like a German shepherd and no they're not "bred down" from German shepherds and what part of BELGIAN not GERMAN don't you understand!
Then we picked up Kate and her two girls and went to the match in the Quad Cities. I tried a few new things with Phoenix and his stays and I promise I will put together a post about it soon but today I have the "To Do" list from hell to tackle before leaving for the shows tomorrow.