I have now been at my new home for over a month, after leaving that big White House with the old man in the basement. My new family is very nice, with children who like to play with me and a man and woman who feed me and make sure I get plenty of exercise. I even heard them say how nice it is to have a dog that is as well-behaved and reliable as I am.
They should have seen me before, growling and snarling and biting people. I don't do that anymore. I think it's because everything around me now is quiet and calm, with no yelling and slamming doors and no strangers coming and going at all hours of the day.
The only thing that bothered me at first in my new home was the cats. There are a lot of them, about a dozen I think. These cats get on my nerves because they are so lazy. They make a big fuss around feeding time but other than that all they seem to do is sleep all day.
Last week some people visited and brought their dog. It was a little dog, much smaller than me. I'm a German Shepherd as you may recall, and very proud of it. But this dog got on my nerves. He was yipping and yapping and racing around like a maniac; chasing butterflies, birds and even a squirrel. The squirrel raced up a tree and gave that pooch a furious talking-to, slashing his tail the whole time.
Then the dog noticed the cats. As usual they were curled up and sound asleep. He ran up to them barking as loud as he could and trying to act tough. They looked at him and sauntered off in different directions. He couldn't follow them all so he just stood there barking his head off. Once the cats were safely out of reach they settled down and looked at him with an attitude of wonderful disinterest. If he made further advances they would just move a little more and then resume their nonchalance over his presence.
I barked a good sharp bark to tell him to shut up. He looked at me in amazement, then I realized that was the first time I barked at him. It scared him good, and he calmed down a bit. The cats came back to where they had been before and continued their nap. They acted like the whole thing with the dog never happened. They didn't even look up when the visitors took him home.
How could they be so unconcerned? Weren't they afraid of that dog? He acted so stupid that I was ready to chew him up. I still know how to bite, you know. But they just didn't seem to care. They're not even afraid of me. They are so placid and in control it makes me jealous.
I've noticed that some people are like those cats. One night we were all sitting in the living room and watching things moving around and talking on a big screen. I tried to pay attention but I don't always know what's going on. The cats were asleep as usual. It was very quiet.
Then something happened on the screen that made the man angry. He jumped up and shook his finger and started talking very loud. Something was wrong. I growled my fiercest growl. I didn't know what I was growling about but that didn't matter. I barked a couple times for good measure, then I started looking around the room to see what caused his explosion.
He continued his raving until his wife said something that sounded like: "Why don't you just calm down. There's nothing you can do about it and it doesn't help to get aggravated. Look, you've even upset Commander!"
Me? Upset? Then I realized I was still barking. She might just as well be saying those words to me. What was I doing but overreacting to the ranting of the man. I didn't even know what I was barking and growling about. Then I saw the cats, sleeping as usual.
The lady was acting like one of those cats: calm and in control, nonchalant and disinterested, unemotional and serene. The man shrugged his shoulders and sat down, still mumbling to himself. I sidled over and nudged his knee. He reached down and patted me gently. I think he said "You're right. Sometimes I just let things upset me too much."
That helped me understand that just as there's a difference between animals sometimes there's a difference in people. That little dog was like the man who said he overreacted to what happened on the screen. The cats are like the lady who decided that if there wasn't anything she could do about it then it wouldn't bother her.
I'm glad she was there to calm down the man because he was very angry and bad things can happen when people let stuff upset them and make them mad. But she stayed calm, like the cats. I decided I wanted to be more like the cats.