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The Village of Malibu


Ah, the drama of it all, not to be outdone by the fact that you never know what your dog is going to do so it's just best to expect the unexpected and stay at the ready, which try as I might,  I don't always do effectively. In light of this, it's a good thing I live in Malibu because blessedly, there are people here who take pets seriously should I fall short of my guard and it both eases and fascinates me to realize that some times it takes a village for one person to be a dog owner.


You couldn't lose a German shepherd if you wanted to.  I know this because my husband and I have two of them and believe me; once upon a time, somebody told them it is their job to monitor their master. They take their job with impressive seriousness. They want to go wherever we go and they find a way to do it.  Their talent for keeping tabs on us ranges from wherever we go in the house to wherever we go when we leave it.  If we go upstairs, they go upstairs.  If we go outside, they go outside.  If we get ready to leave our property, their psychic ability kicks in and they both start clamoring.  They're in cahoots; one of them starts a desperate circling and whining plea while the other one blocks the door.  It's gotten to the point where it's just easier to take them with us.  They don't have to actually enter public places; they just want to ride in the car and attentively watch whatever door we go through until we come back out.  They're like having the best, full-time security guards that money can buy but just when I've assigned them a super human trait, one of them will turn around and remind me that at the end of the day, they're both still dogs.


I stood in front of the refrigerator, door ajar and shaking my head. I was going to rid the house of all the sweets we'd received over the holidays if it took all day. I started pulling things out and placing them on the counter behind me, should there be any in-house objections.  Then the phone rang, which meant I had to move to the far end of the kitchen.  Like a thief in the night, Shadow, our youngest German shepherd, slinked in, stood on her hind legs and mowed through everything I'd placed on the counter.  It happened in the blink of an eye, as these things do. I called to my husband and reported the facts.  He said he thought it was best to call a dog expert.  


I have the number of a local pet-grooming place memorized.  The owner knows everything there is to know about dogs.  I called and ran the episode by her and she said, "If there was chocolate on the counter, you better call Shadow's vet."


In haste, I called the veterinarian hospital where we take our dogs. I pictured every DVM underneath the roof busy with a client and thought perhaps this isn't a dire emergency and maybe I'll just run this by whatever assistant answers the phone because they're all knowledgeable.  "Let me put you on hold and I'll go check for you," the nice assistant said.  Two minutes later, Shadow's vet came to the phone herself, which impressed me.  "Alright," she began, "Shadow just turned five, she's about sixty-three pounds; how much chocolate did she eat?"  As it turns out, when it comes to a dog eating chocolate, one should take into account the dogs, age, weight and general health as well as the type and amount of chocolate consumed.  There is a ratio of ounces eaten per pound of body weight that dictates the danger zone of toxicity. Shadow was nowhere near the danger zone. I looked at Shadow, took a sigh of relief and thanked my lucky stars.


I'm thinking about domino effects and things that come full circle.  I'm thinking about villages and how sometimes it takes one to do a lot of things.  I'm thinking if I were ever asked to choose a village to live in, I'd choose Malibu.  Five dependable people on the case of one German Shepherd and my questions are answered and my problem is solved. Yes indeed, all of this within the village of Malibu.  

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