I met Nico for the first time. Within the first 15 minutes, everybody, including me (even though I was in denial) knew he was my dog. ESPECIALLY him. I would leave the room and he would whine and search for me. Karissa, the woman who raised him from birth to 9 months(he was 13ish months when I met him) when his first adopter took him home, would leave the room and he didn't care. She would call him and instead of running to her, he ran to me. He immediately was offering me as many behaviors as he knew to earn my approval. He mostly ignored everyone else that was around. (Including Karissa's mom who he ADORES, because what dog doesn't love their "grandma"?) He also ignored, for the most part, his mother and sisters who were there for a while in favor of sucking up to me. My story with Nico started well before that though. About six month prior to that meeting, my landlord had given me approval to get a second dog. I religiously stalk various rescue sites and had seen Nico's profile. (Indeed, his profile was what prompted me to ask my landlord about adding a second dog.) I had lengthy conversations with Stardogs over the pros and cons of a dog that had grown up in a dog daycare, especially a malinois. I finally emailed his foster mom with a few questions and sent my application in. I never heard anything back. I was disappointed, but figured that maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Fast forward a couple weeks to the Iowa Pet expo. I had taken Saga there to shop and hang out and while there had run into Sizzle and one of her dogs. While we were wandering around, we saw a Malinois sitting in one of the booths. The booth was for a dog daycare. We stopped and chatted with the owner, Karissa for a little while and it was then that I found out that the male foster dog of her's was getting picked up the next day for his new home. Apparently the adoption had been processing for a little bit. I was disappointed, again, but figured he was going to a good home and that I would find the right dog for me. Karissa and I ended up having a good rapport at the expo and she invited me to swing by her facility to hang out and talk dogs sometime. I did end up taking her up on that offer a couple weeks later and we hit it off pretty well. Honey, Nico's mom, utterly charmed me. I started going to the club training sessions with her and doing some training with her with Honey and Saga. We developed a very close friendship. Karissa often lamented that she didn't have Nico anymore, because he would have been a perfect fit for me. A couple times I told her that had it been meant to be, that it would have happened. She kind of agreed with me and told me that she would help me find my next dog. Fast forward through a few things, in the beginning of January of last year, Karissa received an email from the woman who had Nico...He wasn't working out for her and she wanted to return him. Karissa emailed me a couple videos that the woman had sent her. I about came out of my seat and called her and squealed in her ear. I was going to get my boy! About a week later, Karissa broke the news to me that the woman had changed her mind and would be keeping him. I was crushed. I had thought that finally the planets had aligned and my perfect Malinois was going to be coming home. And now he wasn't. I guess for about a month, the woman, we will call her "S" kept waffling on whether or not she was going to return him. He wasn't performing the behaviors/tricks that she wanted him to do. He'd do them once or twice and just be DONE. He wasn't affectionate. He was collar shy. But she liked him, and he was smart and so awesome...Yeah, it was frustrating. S said that if she did change her mind, she would be coming through Iowa in March. With as many times as she had gone back and forth, Karissa and I didn't hold much hope out. March came and then, midway through the month, I got a call from Karissa that Nico was on his way home and that I should come to her facility after I got done with work. I flew over there and that's where this post started. Yesterday was not his actual gotcha day, he did end up staying with Karissa while I finished out my term at school, but I visited him almost every day to train him, play with him and bond with him. It was a very torturous month to wait though! I not only got my malinois, I gained a new best friend (well 3 if you count Nico and Honey in there too!). Nico is everything that I have ever wanted in a dog, he's down for whatever I want to do, he's confident, he's drivey, he learns things super quickly, he's SUPER affectionate, not collar shy and the tricks that S wanted him to do? He's been doing them SO willingly for me from the get go. I am so incredibly fortunate to have this amazing dog and one of the best human friends a girl could ask for.