What happens when the lil’ baby of the house gets a new sibling? Sibling rivalry? This is what happened to Caesar when Raven and Josh brought home Ms. Confidence. But, all is well that ends well and soon she found a secure place in Caesar’s heart.
Ever since Raven and Josh picked me up off the streets, I’ve lived the good life in a cozy cottage surrounded by a lush, green forest with a river winding through the middle. The river is my all-time favorite place. I can’t get enough of the water! I guess that’s the Labrador Retriever in me.
Life was better than ever. That is why I never could have guessed that fifteen pounds of fluff would come waltzing into my life and disturb my peace completely. But that’s just what happened one rainy day at the end of summer.
When Raven bent down to put on my collar and leash I got excited. Oh boy! A walk in the rain; splashing in puddles and digging in mud! But then the door swung open and there stood a round lady with a little, fluffy dog wearing a shiny collar.
Raven and Josh petted the little dog and said, “Hello Bella,” over and over again. I hoped the little ball of fluff would leave, and soon my hopes were dashed, when the lady got up and put her coat on, patted the little dog on the head and left without her! I watched fretfully as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. Unfortunately, the ball of fluff didn’t disappear.
At bedtime, Raven and Josh folded a blanket and laid it in the corner. But instead of going to the new blanket, the brat pranced over to MY blanket and lay down. I gave a loud sigh and plopped down with my chin on my front paws in perfect pout position.
The next two days, the rain never let up. I gazed through the window at the drooping tree branches and the quiet street and wondered if life would ever get back to normal. By now, Little Ms. Confidence was strolling through the house as if she owned it. One night, I was on my after-dinner kitchen patrol, sniffing around the floor near the stove. Bella pounced on the tiny morsel of chicken I had been about to lick up. I growled a low growl, but she pretended not to notice. She just sauntered over to the trash can. BAM! Bella let the lid slam down. From another room, Josh shouted, ‘Out of the garbage!” Then he came into the kitchen, but by that time the little brat had scooted out of the way, leaving me closest to the garbage. Josh muttered, “Caesar, you’re setting a bad example for your new little sister.” Little sister? Never!
When she stole my favorite squirrel toy, I was ready to howl in despair. But then the sun came out and with it my leash. Josh said the magic words: “Let’s go for a walk.” The fact that Bella was coming along didn’t stop my tail from wagging. The air was filled with tantalizing smells after the rain: musty leaves, fresh grass, and tangy pine needles. Life was good again. As we started down a dirt path, a frog hopped in front of us and Bella jumped backward, her fur standing on end. Afraid of a little frog! How silly!
Just ahead of us, an enormous gray bird fluttered up and away. Bella crouched down on her belly and put her paws over her head. I was beginning to understand. Bella was a city girl and all this country stuff was scaring the fleas out of her. I stuck out my chest and held my head high.
Once we reached the edge of the river, Raven and Josh spread a blanket in the grass and sat down. I did my usual leap into the shimmering coolness. Bella was watching. I began to swim in wide circles. I noticed out of the corner of my eye when Bella stuck one paw in the river, then another. I could tell she was trying to follow me. She waded out to the part where the sandy bottom disappears. That’s when she started flailing her legs every way. Raven and Josh weren’t paying attention. Frantically, she pawed her way toward a rock in the water. The rock moved and Bella let out a squeak. The “rock” was a slimy, brown turtle and he wasn’t at all happy about being mistaken for a rock.
Bella’s eyes flashed raw fear and she looked at me. I swam over to her as fast as I could and gave her a strong nudge toward the shore. When she started to panic and sink, I gave another nudge until finally she climbed out onto the sand. She looked like a half-drowned rat.
Raven and Josh appeared at the river’s edge. “Oh look. They went swimming together!” Raven said happily.
As we walked back home, Bella followed close to me. She shook like a leaf the whole way. As soon as her leash was off, she went straight to her blanket in the corner and curled up. I picked up my squirrel toy, trotted over to her and set it down beside her. I couldn’t wait to teach her how to chase real squirrels! Bella touched my nose with hers and her big, brown eyes glistened.
Who knows? Having a little sister might not be so bad after all. I guess time will tell.