Shadow, a dog, talks about bullying
Hello my name is Shadow and I’m a 14-year-old rescue dog. Recently my daddy, Wally Bregman, and I wrote a book together called Lessons from Shadow- My Life Lessons from the Real World. (Is it okay that I say it’s available from Amazon and Kendall and local bookstores?) Whoops, I said it already.
Did I tell you that Betsy, the dog I lived with, was a bully? I think I may have mentioned it in the beginning. Well, she was. When I first began to live in the house, she would always jump in front of me, push me around and when Mommy and Daddy fed us, she would always push me out of the way so she could get to her bowl first.
I thought to myself, I don't like this. I don't like being pushed around. I guess they call it being bullied. Besides, she has no reason to act better than me. I'm certainly prettier. She's a short, little squat dog and I am a nice, sleek tall Labrador. I have a deep voice. She has a little yappy voice. I can run with strides and she trots along with those little choppy steps of hers. She must be doing this because she doesn't feel she's as good as me. She's making up for it by pushing me around. I figured, I had a couple of choices. I could push her back, yap back at her, or bite her, but these did not seem to be very kind things to do; particularly because I was bigger and stronger and younger. Or I could try and get along up to a point. So that's what I did.
When we’d go for a walk and Mommy and Daddy would grab the leashes, Betsy would push in front of me to get her leash first. I let her do it. When she pushed in front of me to get her bowl, I let her do it. But, I drew the line on those little brown sticks with salt on them. Mommy and Daddy understood so when Betsy pushed me out of the way to get one, they gave it to her, but they wouldn't give her another one until I had mine. At last, she learned to take turns. She'd get hers and I would get mine.
But bedtime was the worst. We had two big, soft identical beds in that room with the big white machines that Connie and Chelli used. It was called the doggy room or the laundry room or the Christmas wrapping room depending on what time of day and year it was. Our two nice comfy beds had warm covers. One was brown and one was blue, but other than that, they were exactly the same. When it was time to go to bed, Mommy or Daddy would say “Beddy-bye time” and we'd jump up and go in there.
Regardless of which bed I got into, pushy old Betsy would come in and bump me with her nose and make me go to the other bed. I couldn't figure out which one she wanted. I kept trying to take the one she didn't want, but whichever one I took, she always wanted it. You know what? So what! No big deal, I let her have the bed she wanted because it wasn't worth fighting over.
But, I drew the line when she tried to do something serious like stealing a dog bone I had. Then I would yap a couple of times and she'd back off. In the end, we got along very, very well because we understood each other. She understood how far she could go. That was okay with me because I knew I was smarter, prettier, and younger. Most bullies act that way because they feel inferior to you, that means less important, and they think by picking on you, it makes them better. It doesn't. Bullies aren't necessarily bad dogs or bad people. They just have a problem.
You can try to understand them but at some point, you have to stand up to them. Guess what? They'll back off just like Betsy. By the way, you can’t get rid of a bully by picking on someone else and becoming a bully yourself. That is very wrong.
What is Shadow’s lesson?
- Bullying is wrong. It is wrong if you are receiving it. It is wrong if you're doing it.
- Stand up for yourself and don’t let bullying bother you. You know you’re the better person anyway.