After a week, the dogs are beginning to mesh as a pack.
Introducing the KKK--the K9 Klown Krewe:
Belle has come out of her shell for the most part and is no longer a quiet, reserved, timid lady. In fact she's pretty much a whackadoodle. If I so much as make eye contact with her or say anything that sounds like "Belle" or "come", she's in my lap or up against my legs, tail wagging furiously and tongue lolling out as she goes into her "Pet me, pet me!" routine. It's cute, but it's getting old, and I'm working on breaking her of this. Obviously someone somewhere allowed or encouraged this but she's too big for it. It's also kind of un-Shepherd-like, being something that you'd expect from a Lab.
As for her and Murphy, they're actually doing quite well. We've had a couple of minor squabbles over food, toys, dog beds, etc., usually caused by Belle exploring her boundaries with Murphy and/or me. Usually she gets a modest correction from he or I and that settles things. After a week, they're getting along well enough to allow me to feed them both in the same room at the same time and that's a big plus. Belle's learning that she can't be a dainty eater with Murphy around waiting to steal her food, and she's also learning to stand up for herself when he tries.
Belle did chase her first cat today though. As I was getting ready for work well before sun-up, She and Murphy were out in Murphy's run. I had a small hole in the fencing covered with a piece of sheet metal and as I stood in my kitchen making a sammich (You Yankee readers call them "sandwiches"), I heard a loud noise outside and knew that something had hit that metal hard. Deducing that someone was busting out of the run, I stepped out my kitchen door just in time to see a cat streak by me with one Shepherd in pursuit. It was Belle (fortunately) and even though she was on that cat, she stopped when I called her name. For a second she was torn, looking back and forth between me and the retreating cat, but when I called her again, she came right to me and walked into the kitchen where she got a biscuit for being such a good dog. (Murphy would have just blown by me like I wasn't even there had he been in pursuit of that cat, and I'd have almost certainly been late for work by the time I recovered him from the crazy cat neighbor's yard.)
Admittedly I was worried about bringing another furry into the house, but it looks like Murphy's adapting to it and Belle's settling in quite well indeed.