Cats and dog living together

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My wife and I got a dog three weeks ago. Bullet is a German Shepherd/Lab mix. He’s 2-3 years old according to B.A.R.K. (Bandit’s Adoption and Rescue of K9s), a rescue organization we adopted him from.

“Bullet” had been “Drew” at B.A.R.K. and the shelter it rescued him from. That brought up our first problem: Which of us would get to use my name?

I like my name, and fortunately Drew had no idea what “Drew” ever referred to. He’s learned “Bullet” quickly.

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We got Bullet mainly to be a pet – fun, playful, energetic and so on. I’ve had a dog for most of the last 15 years. Beth had a Lab since her childhood until he passed away about a year ago.

Bullet is well-behaved. He’s been good on car rides, with potty training, with other dogs and with neighbors and family coming over to see him — I mean me and Beth; OK, I mean they’ve come to see Bullet.

There was one dramatic incident, though. The day after Thanksgiving I was coming in the front door and Bullet sprinted right past me, down the driveway and down the street, all without a second’s hesitation.

Thanks to caring, selfless neighbors, we had a search party of two cars and myself on foot. Sightings placed Bullet in every possible direction from our house and as much as two miles away.

Two hours later, Bullet trotted into the front yard and right up to the front door without a care in the world.

We also got Bullet in part to be a guard dog. Aside from that one morning’s romp, Bullet guards our couch with dutiful efficiency.

It took Bullet two weeks to bark. A dog is often quiet for awhile with new people in a new territory, so we aren’t concerned there.

Bullet is small for a shepherd or lab but he’s still five times the size of each of our two cats.

So far, Bullet’s so well-behaved and so gentle that we’ve decided he’s afraid of the cats.

I sense Bullet knows he entered the cats’ territory. He doesn’t want to upset the cats, who clearly have no owners, for fear of upsetting his owners.

One cat is nice to him, mainly just inquisitive and calm around this funny, smelly, clumsy oaf. Our other cat always investigates something new, even a 60-pound dog, by smacking it and seeing what happens from there.

Bullet and I came in from a walk a couple days ago. Jane, the naughty cat, stalked up behind Bullet and swiped him in the butt. Bullet cowered behind me.

Beth and I are taking Bullet to obedience courses within the next few weeks. We should take Jane instead.

Actually, though, there might be something useful to Bullet in the training. It goes against the overall idea of “sit” “heel” “stay” and “no”, but perhaps the trainer can help Bullet find a little of his German shepherd.