They’re back by Barbara Edwards

Blue Heron on St George Island
St George Island State Park at sunset

St George Island is located in the Gulf of Mexico, across a five mile long causeway from Eastpoint, Florida. Its a fishing village, summer resort and all around beautiful place.

This spring the cold weather, high winds and inches of rain made me wonder if the Blue Herons would return to the pond this year. Last year the rookery blew down during a wind storm and the birds left. 

This year the herons flew in just as the temperature fell below 32 degrees. They huddled in the thick swamp grasses. Snow fell twenty miles north and I really believed they would head for warmer climes.

Instead four pairs have decided to build their rookery in the slash pines along the small pond.They gather twigs and branches to weave into a loose nest  high above the surface. 

I’m hoping to see the eggs hatch.

Blue Heron nesting in Slash Pine

I adopted a dog by Barbara Edwards



With the ever-swelling numbers of stray dogs and feral cats, I’m a firm believer that they should be spayed or neutered unless they are full-blooded for breeding.

That’s one of the reasons we adopted our last dog. Dixie was a Belgian Malinois. She had all the best features of her breed: intelligent, family-oriented, well-behaved and beautiful. She became ill with an inoperable bone cancer after almost ten years as a devoted companion and fellow traveler. It broke my heart to lose her.

Lots of people said to get another dog, maybe a puppy, another female, no a male. I didn’t want another dog. I wanted my Dixie back.

It’s been months. My husband asked about another dog. Hint, hint.

 I went on the Belgian Malinois adoption site to check what was out there.

There are some lovely dogs available for ‘forever’ homes.

But—a big but- you need to fill out the adoption forms.

Belgians are not an easy dog to own. Probably why so many are dumped at shelters or the pound. They need lots of exercise, they love to run and can be stubborn as a three year old child. Belgians love to work. They’ll herd children like a flock of sheep or qualify in competitions for the most agile, best herder, tracker, bomb sniffer, drug dog.

I also joined the American Belgian Malinois Club Rescue on Facebook

We filled the forms and had the home approval visit a few days before we left for our snowbird months in Florida. Since we have an electric fence instead of a wire enclosure we needed to look for a Begian Malinois who would obey the limits. Some of them need a high fence to keep them home.


A friend mentioned he’d seen a Mal at the County animal control and I went online to check. So many shelters put up photos of the available pets. I put in looking for a Belgian Malinois, either sex, young and got a hit at the German Shepherd Rescue in Dunellon, Florida. They had four Malinois. I expressed an interest in the female. So we went to visit.

I have to warn you. It isn’t easy to see all the animals begging to be taken home. I’m such a sucker. I liked the female but asked about the others and the handler let them out to play. They ran and barked and chased and begged for petting and I wanted to take them all.

I finally turned to my husband and demanded he decide—Which one do you like the most?

He picked out the two year old male named Keno.

Keno, a Belgian Malinois

Keno has a good amount of training: he heels, sits, comes, brings a thrown toy, and loves riding in the truck . He also thinks he’s a 70 pound lap dog and needs to be discouraged from climbing on my lap. Like all Mals, he wants to be with us constantly. Not a big problem since we’re retired and I like taking him for a walk four times a day.

Now we’re thinking about fostering another Belgian Malinois when we’re back in our summer home. Maybe we’ll wire fence the yard. All those sweet dogs who need a ‘forever’ home are tugging at my heart.

Keno will never replace Dixie in my heart, but he’s making a place of his own.

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