How Dogs and People are Alike

A Story About a German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, & What they Taught a 7 Year Old

My first memory of a Golden Retriever is from when I was about 7 years old. My uncle, who often moved from city to city, was in town visiting for a while so he brought his dog. He named his Golden Retriever Seger, after the singer Bob Seger. When I was little I had no idea who Bob Seger was but I knew I liked the name. Seger matched the personality of my uncle’s dog. He was relaxed and good natured, yet he exuded this natural coolness about him. He walked with grace and he played with joyfulness. Seger was a very handsome dog. He had the gorgeous flowing coat of a Golden Retriever. His color was rich and shiny; much so, that it looked like he almost glistened in the sunshine.

It was summertime when my uncle visited with Seger. We had a male German Shepherd at the time. His name was King. King was strong, determined, and full of energy. We loved King very much but looking back, we should have socialized him more. He loved people but he didn’t know how to contain his energy in a friendly manner. We heard so much about Seger from my uncle and he heard a lot about King from us. We decided the two should meet.

On that warm afternoon, my uncle cruised into our driveway with Seger sitting in the car. He got out and allowed the Golden Retriever to hop out of the car while wearing a leash. You never know how dogs will act in unfamiliar territories. Seger was not only in a different yard, he was in a different state! The leash allowed my uncle to walk Seger around the yard and familiarize himself. He seemed okay with the environment after sniffing around so my uncle hooked his leash onto a nearby tree. He waited patiently as we gave hugs and kisses to my uncle. Now it was time to introduce King. Seger was already aware of King by his bark. German Shepherds are always sure to let out their domineering bark, which alerts strangers of their presence. At this point, both Seger and my uncle were still strangers as far as King knew. He was just doing his job as a watchdog.

My mom went over to King’s kennel where he was not-so-patiently waiting. She waited a moment for King to calm down before letting him out of the kennel. Being a German Shepherd, King took the command and sat. German Shepherds are known for being incredibly smart and trainable. That’s why they are always used by our protective services. My mom opened the kennel door, thinking King would maintain his composure long enough to get his leash on. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. King went barreling past the kennel door and ran straight to Seger. Being a normally unruffled Golden Retriever, Seger was initially a little startled by King’s out-of-control excitement. But, he was ready to meet his new friend. King, on the other hand, barely gave Seger two sniffs and then he booked it out of the yard to discover his next adventure. He ended up at the neighbor’s house a couple doors down. I believe they had chickens or some other farm animal that King found more exciting than his own kind!

Seger watched King run off as he wagged his tail. His wagging tail soon dropped with disappointment. We imagined he was thinking something like, “where is my new friend going?” I remember this day very clearly because it was the moment I realized there was such a clear distinction between two dog breeds. Yes, they are both dogs. Yes, they are about the same size and build. But, Seger was born a Golden Retriever and King was born a German Shepherd. Both breeds have different temperaments and goals. Similar to humans, we are all born the same but our spirits and personalities are all different. We are all attracted to different interests, hobbies, and people; just as dogs are.

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