Wolfie\’s real name is Wolfgang, but we call him \”Wolfie,\” pronounced the way Constanze says it to her husband in Amadeus: Voool-fie.
Like Constanze\’s husband, our Wolfie in his early years has been a bit of a goofball. He has a great big head, broad paws, long tail, and a narrow body that could use a set of shoulder pads. German Shepherds mature slowly, and at age three Wolfie still has some pup-like traits about him. This is especially obvious in contrast with twelve-year-old Lexi, the dowager, who is all about dignity, domination, and dinner. When I let them outside, Wolfie hunches down before her, ears back, tail wagging low, hoping that she will, for old times\’ sake, give him a run for his money. But Lexi has left all that foolishness behind.
Now Wolfie has a new friend, a massive six-month-old German Shepherd puppy, a male, and what I have seen between them has taught me a great deal about dog manners and mores. When Wolfie and the pup are loose in the meadow, Wolfie is always the chaser, and the puppy always get caught. And every time he is caught he is rolled by Wolfie, and while I apologize to his owner the puppy comes up smiling, begging to be chased again.
The most interesting interactions happen when we are walking them both on leash, side by side. Wolfie is always a little in front, looking straight ahead. The puppy trots along, stealing looks at Wolfie. Every once in a while, unable to help himself, the puppy crosses in front of me and in an ecstasy of self-abasement pokes his pointy muzzle into the corner of Wolfie\’s lips. And does my silly Wolfie then go bananas and leap about doing play bows, the way I expect him to? Not at all. Wolfie stands his ground, turns his head aside, and looks tolerant.
\”My, doesn\’t Wolfie look regal!\” the puppy\’s owner said the other day.
Regal? Wolfie? But I must admit that yes, in the presence of the young dog, Wolfie has suddenly acquired a new dignity. Pretty soon, we\’ll have to start calling him Wolfgang.