Tuesday, March 7, 2023

First week with Malcolm


Malcolm’s first week was an interesting week. I was concerned about many potential issues. First and foremast Parvo, I don’t really understand the disease however it’s an aggressive malady and can kill young pups. I’ve heard from dog owners, a lot of anecdotal evidence at how horribly puppies die from this virus. I had a lot of reservations, allowing allowing Malcolm to run free in the backyard. It had been a long time since any dog has been in the backyard and I know that Olly was vaccinated. I was fairly confident that Malcolm was safe. However there is always that little bit of doubt.

Additionally, I was completely unprepared regarding all of the equipment and supplies I needed. I was waiting on Malcolm’s crate, leash, and toys. However, he was good in the food department. I ordered most of the items pre-pickup date, so I knew it was going to be a matter of time before the orders were delivered. So, I improvised I used a large cardboard box in the interim. When the crate arrived the same box proved useful to reduce the size of the crate. According to a lot of the content providers on social media, you should provide a small enough crate to allow the puppy to stand up and turn around. However, I’m not made of money so I purchased full size crates and walled it off (with a card board box to reduce the living space). It worked in the short term.

I had forgotten what was required for the care of a living creature, however the one benefit was social media there is a lot of good (and bad) information. So, I researched and evaluated what would work and what didn’t. Ultimately, whatever decision I made both Malcolm and I would have to live with. In the food department he was good, ultimately I would like to transition both pups from kibble to raw, again you have to take all the information out there with a grain of salt. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, of course (in my opinion) the large pet food manufactures would dissuade on from considering raw (because) it would cut into their profit margins (but I digress). I have ten more months to research and make the decision. If anyone has any experience or knows a biologist and can provide me any information supporting or contradicting the raw diet I would love for you to leave something in the comments section.

Back to the boy. The primary difficulty at this point was waking up for Malcolm to go potty. There is a lot of content on the internet regarding this topic. Malcolm specifically chooses when and where he wants to evacuate is bladder. And one evening walking down the hallway in my home I noticed a dark object on the floor of my home. (I don’t believe I have to go into any details regarding what the was 🤦‍♂️). We quickly corrected that behavior, to date the peeing is still an issue. Angus, on the other hand has mastered the potty situation for both number 1 and number 2. With Malcolm, I’m beginning to have concerns, maybe I’m hyper vigilant with the my experience with Olly, automatically assuming its a birth defect. However, he doesn’t complain or whine when I physically examine him or gets belly rubs. Of course I’m not a vet, I would assume that if my poking doesn’t cause discomfort for him then I can rule out infections or inflammations. I’ve eliminated late water consumption, this behavior hasn’t revealed the answer. Further discussion will happen on his next vet visit.

I don’t get wrecked when he has an accident, no need to. I do watch him like a hawk and I have caught him in the act and carried him outside. I don’t see any use in some of the suggestions I’ve received regarding rubbing his nose in it or scolding him. When I attempted these tactics with Olly, (not knowing my head from a whole in the ground) Olly began licking up after he would have an accident in the attempt to hide from being scolded. I have a lot of regret for my behavior, total ignorance on my part. I refuse to shame, berate, or mistreat Malcolm. My philosophy this time around is since we are both creatures of the “Old man upstairs” eventually he’ll provide the answers we (I) need. In conclusion, consistency and patience has paid off, they are both getting there schooling down, the process is slow (that’s on me). At the time of this writing they both are responding to the “shake” command and now we were ratcheting up the stakes and combining commands.

Monday, March 6, 2023



Angus again another sweet puppy, enjoys learning and definitely has an outgoing personality. I returned to Boise the following week to pick Malcolm’s brother, Angus in one weeks time he had grown. Unlike Malcolm, he is tall and lanky much thinner in stature. After returning home he had his brother waiting for him. Again, I introduced Angus to the back yard, after the flight I didn’t expect much, I knew that after being in airplane Angus would be a bit timid. However, Malcolm was all too excited.

Angus, is smart almost too smart, much like his brother. I’ve made an interesting observation though much like human children they learn differently. For example, where Malcolm is quiet and enjoys the solitude of his crate, Angus prefers whining for a bit before settling in. Where as Angus is comfortable walking to the back door and barking when he needs to go, Malcolm, is comfortable peeing in any random spot in the house, despite my best efforts to convince Malcolm otherwise. 🤦‍♂️

They both learned sit quickly, lay down was a bit of a challenge, Malcolm exceeds at shake where is Angus is struggling. He’ll get it. I began with a house line, to get them used to being tethered to something. In addition it helps me get control of them when they want to play keep away. They are labs so these guys can find trouble anywhere. I think the biggest part of this journey isn’t what they can learn from me but what these beautiful boys can teach me.

Specifically in the patients department, my experience with their brother Olly -- I had no idea what to expect. I made every possible mistake one can imagine with Olly. However, Olly’s teachings have carried forward. I only raised my voice once at Malcolm & Angus. In my defense sleep deprivation was involved. For some reason both the boys decide this particular evening that they would both whine and howl into the wee hours of the morning. Allow me to back up for a moment, I was taking these guys out to potty every 60 to 90 minutes for several days straight. So I was reaching the brink of insanity – I’m being dramatic. However, I had just about had enough of their shenanigans, and of course I’m a sucker for cute puppy faces I wasn't sure if I was being too mean. Of course these are my human feelings, because these guys are master manipulators and they know they have dad wrapped around their paws.

In a coordinated effort they chose to push it, and simply I barked back. Totally, natural I would loose my sh*t! Again, remembering the teachings of Olly, I realized that blowing a gasket, is not the way to handle pups. I quickly realized that more training and establishing a routine is key. The process is slow, however I am having great success (not like I’m a master trainer success), but small wins like watching Angus crawl into his crate to take a nap success, placing them in the crate at night, and getting six hours of straight sleep. Small wins! Situations are different in my life today, I have no outside stressors that the boys can sense, life for me is good and I both Malcolm & Angus are benefiting from it.

Puppy training much like life its not a destination its the trip that counts. Of course I’ll continue to make my mistakes, its human to fail (first attempt in learning). However, I am enjoying the process. I am going to attempt to slip in some videos in this blog as well. I would love to hear from folks regarding this blog, I’d really love to know what your process has been like.

Sunday, March 5, 2023


As mentioned in a previous post, in September 2021 My boy Olly and I took our final trip to the vet.
One of the most difficult choices I had to make in my life. Getting a divorce was easier than the events that took place that particular day. During the year that followed I wrestled with every other scenario/choice second guessing my decision, what if there was one more vet visit -- maybe I missed a potential medication? I was alone in my thoughts so I had to do something different. I traveled to various locations throughout the country visiting new cities I'd never been. While all those experiences were great, I still came home to an empty house and no wagging tail.

In early December my sister called, and asked if I would be interested in a puppy. She understood what Olly meant to me -- and mentioned that a friend of a friend was fostering a pregnant yellow Labrador retriever named Lilly. She explained to me that Lilly had been rescued and gave birth to a litter of ten pups. And, continued to ask if I would be interested in adopting a puppy and she could put me in contact with the foster mom. I agreed that it would be a great idea. I reached out to Meagan who was fostering for the Pet Rescue in Boise, Idaho. Phone calls were made, people were contacted, conversations were had, and a deposit was sent for two pups out of the litter.

Now I know what your thinking "two pups" are you insane? Flash back to child development class
1998, high school, I adopted to bags of flour for the home economics class and named them Malcolm and Angus. The two bags of flour represented children we were required to simulate child rearing -- it was a fun class. I enjoyed the experience and if you hadn't guessed by now, the simulated children were named Malcolm & Angus. After the AC/DC founders Malcolm and Angus Young. Fast forward to 2022. I adopted Malcom & Angus to be part of my home. Due to logistics I couldn't bring both pups home at the same time.

January 28th, I met my boys Malcolm and Angus, and shuttled Malcolm back to California separating him from his brother at least in the short term. Malcolm was the biggest one in the litter, definitely a big eater. When he sprawls out he looks like a stuffed sausage 🤣. He has a really mellow vibe sweet temperament, much like a stoner that is enjoying the creature comforts of a good buzz. Droopy eyes and the sweetest puppy face, reminds me a lot like his older brother Olly. The trip was good, we arrived home and I introduced Malcom to the back yard. He was shell shocked to say the least, timid and unsure of his new home. After some coaxing he left the security of his travel crate and began sniffing around.

Make no mistake, his mild demeanor is no reflection of the brains on this kid, he is smart. Immediately we began obedience training simple tasks like sitting and responding to sit prior to entering and exiting doors. I still consider myself a novice doggy dad. So I don't have training techniques down yet. I subscribe to a lot of content providers that are a huge help. So training for the little genius is going slower that he would like, at the very least he recognizes his name and sits on command. However, come, leave it, shake are works in progress. (Mostly because of me). Potty training and going out side he is really good too! But he is a ninja pee'er, In the evenings and through out the night he empties well. Its during the day, that he likes to mess with dad. I'll take him outside, he'll empty his bladder (or so I think) than as soon as we walk in the door to the house he'll sneak off and pee in some random location. I think he finds it entertaining to play with the paper towels as I'm cleaning up after him. Stinker!! 

Thursday, March 2, 2023

My Best Friend

Before I begin with Malcolm & Angus’ blog, I have to tell Olly’s story. Olly is/was my yellow Labrador who is no longer with me. After a very short five years of life, I had to put him down. September 10th 2021. Olly was the runt of the litter and the only yellow/white pup in the bunch. He was born of a chocolate and black lab mother and father.

In November of 2017, my then wife, decided that we needed a puppy in our lives. Although, I was on board with having a puppy, I insisted that we have a discussion prior to bringing a life into our home. I wanted to discuss simple things such as training techniques, food options and the like. I felt these were important subjects because I never owned my own pet. Most of the animals in my life were outdoor animals that were owned and primarily taken care of by my father. So, I was reluctant on taken on additional responsibilities without having a game plan.

Regardless of my feelings on the subject, my wife surprised me with a brand-new puppy. Despite my reservations I quickly fell in love with the furry snowball. My now ex-wife argued that I loved Olly more than I loved her. I would imagine that some of her concerns were true. The evidence is in the fact that she is now my ex-wife.

Olly was very special, while I have no proof other that the veterinarian receipts collected over his very short life. He was special and plagued with complications. Physically, he was healthy, however he displayed peculiar behaviors that to me (a novice dog owner at the time), were not normal. One of the signs that concerned me was that Olly had what I only can describe as a thousand-mile stare which was coupled with a very slight head shake. Which to me now, I recognize as mild seizures. Among other issues included poor eye sight, poor hearing and what ultimately in Olly’s veterinarian’s opinion was a mild case of cerebral hyperplasia.

Despite all his ailments I loved him he was my puppy. And I wanted to provide him the best life he could have. Although all of my best efforts couldn’t cure my baby boy. On September 10, 2021. I had to put Olly to sleep. One of the most devastating decisions I made as his doggy dad. The previous evening neither of us got much sleep. He was suffering from seizures all night the medications provided the
week before did little to nothing to calm his seizers. At 10:30 AM, we took our final trip to the vet’s office. As I reflect back, I cannot describe the remorse and sadness I feel when describing the last few hours with him. I miss my buddy.

In the short five years Olly was in my life he taught me what it is to be a better human being. I truly believe that dogs are a gift form the almighty. There is no greater display of unconditional love and loyalty to man that a dog brings. I love you buddy, and I miss you.

Malcolm and Angus’ site is dedicated to you.

First week with Malcolm

  Malcolm’s first week was an interesting week. I was concerned about many potential issues. First and foremast Parvo, I don’t really unders...