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The Tail That Wagged The Dog
Rocky, a Boxer puppy, belonged to a little boy named Dillon.
The little boy was a cute kid with blond hair and freckles. Rocky felt lucky to
have him and a nice family too.
He also felt lucky because they had another little dog named Claudette, and she
was fun to play with. They enjoyed running and jumping around together and Rocky
especially liked playing tug-of-war. Sometimes Dillon would take turns playing
tug-of-war with them and Rocky loved to win.
They looked forward to the time of day when Dillon would come home from school
so they could play with him. Everyday at the same time, Rocky and Claudette
watched through the big window in the living room waiting for Dillon to get off
the school bus. When they saw him, they'd rush to the front door and sit
patiently until Dillon came inside.
Happy to see Dillon, Claudette wagged her tail back and forth. Rocky tried to
make his tail wag so he could show Dillon how happy he was to see him, too.
Well, it was supposed to wag, but his stubby tail couldn't wag. Instead it would
just twitch a little and his body rippled and waggled.
He didn't have a tail. It was a short little stub because it was cropped like
other Boxer puppies' tails and was supposed to be stubby. At least that's what
he'd heard his family talking about once. Someone must have cropped his tail
when he was a very little puppy because he didn't remember ever having one.
Rocky tried even harder to get his little knobby tail to wag back and forth, but
the only wagging was his body while his tail stayed still. It just wouldn't wag
Dillon made fun of his tail and how Rocky's muscular body wagged instead. He
teased him that the tail wagged the dog.
One afternoon after school, Dillon took him outside with Claudette. They played
in the yard and had a lot of fun. Rocky decided it was his chance to roam and
see the world and to find out if other dog's tails were just like his tail or
was like Claudette's. Maybe it was Claudette that was different, and not him at
He ran away the first chance he got heading down the street. Dillon chased him,
but Rocky was too fast for Dillon to catch.
He went on a journey to find the answers. He wanted to know why he didn't have a
tail to wag like Claudette and find out if other dogs were like him. Then he met
another dog. His name was Clumsy.
Clumsy had brown hair with white spots, not solid reddish-brown like Rocky's. He
had long floppy ears that dragged the ground, not short like Rocky's. And Clumsy
was short, with very short legs. Not like Rocky's tall lean legs. Clumsy had a
long tail that wagged back and forth. Not like Rocky's stubby tail that wouldn't
wag at all.
"Hello. My name is Clumsy. I'm a Beagle. What's your name?"
Rocky looked at Clumsy, still admiring his tail, then answered, "My name's Rocky
and I live down the street. I think I'm a Boxer. At least that's what I'm told."
"I know where you live! You live with that cute little boy with freckles!"
"Yes, I do. Well, I used to live with him," he answered.
"What do you mean Rocky...used to live with him?" asked Clumsy, wagging his tail
"I ran away because he teased me about my tail. Mine doesn't wag like
Claudette's and yours. I'm different and not like you," he sadly replied. "And I
want to find out if there are other dogs with short tails like mine."
"That's really sad, Rocky. Maybe you should continue your journey and find the
other dogs. Then you'll know if there really are other dogs like you without
tails," Clumsy told him.
Rocky thought that was wise advice and thanked Clumsy, continuing on his quest
to find the answers that he needed.
He trotted down the street and saw a dog sitting in his yard.
"Hi. What's your name? My name is Spot and I'm a Terrier," he anxiously greeted
Rocky, jumping up and down like a yo-yo.
Spot was little and had short white hair and brown spots with one brown spot
around one eye. Rocky saw that Spot had a long tail that wagged back and forth.
Not short and stubby like his own.
Rocky sat down on the tail he didn't have and answered, "I'm Rocky, and I'm a
Boxer. I'm on a journey to find other dogs and get answers."
"Oh? Well, there's lots of us in this neighborhood!" Spot told him, still
wagging his tail back and forth. "What answers are you searching for, Rocky?"
"I'm searching to find out why I don't have a tail, and if there are other dogs
"Sure there are, Rocky. Where do you live?" he asked.
"I used to live down the street."
"I know where you live! You live with that cute little boy with freckles. Why
don't you live there anymore, Rocky?" Spot asked, curiously tilting his head.
"The little boy made fun of my stubby tail because I can't wag it like all the
other dogs can," Rocky answered sadly, while looking down at the ground with
shame. "And I want to find out if other dogs have short tails that don't wag
That's really sad, Rocky. But I'm sure there's other dogs that don't have tails,
too," Spot told him.
"Maybe, but I haven't seen any yet."
"Why don't you keep going down the street and meet the other dogs? Then you can
find out for yourself that there are other dogs without tails."
"I think I will, Spot. It was nice to meet you. Good-bye," Rocky said, trotting
down the street.
He strolled down the street searching for other dogs to meet. He saw three
laying in a driveway, napping in the shade of an big oak tree. One was tall with
long hair, another was smaller with curly hair, and the other one had shaggy
hair all over his body.
The tall long-haired one jumped up wagging his long tail back and forth,
laughing at Rocky. "Hey guys! Look at this!" he yelled.
The other two got up and ran closer while wagging their long tails back and
"What have we here?" the shaggy one asked, while laughing at Rocky.
"Looks like a dog, but he couldn't be. He doesn't have a tail!" the curly haired
dog yelled, laughing with them and wagging his long tail back and forth, too.
Rocky sat down on the tail he didn't have while the three rolled on the ground
laughing at him even harder than before. He didn't say a word. He was too
ashamed for being different than all the other dogs, then got up heading down
the street on his journey in search of other dogs to meet.
"Hey, you! Come here!" a voice shouted.
Rocky looked up, cocked his ears toward the direction of the voice and saw a dog
sitting on his porch.
Trotting closer to him, Rocky silently thought, I hope he has a tail like mine
and is like me. But, when the dog stood up, Rocky saw that his long tail wagged
back and forth.
"My name is Rocky and I'm on a journey," he informed the dog.
"It's nice to meet you, Rocky. My name is Baxter, and I'm a Border Collie. Do
you have far to go on your journey?" he asked.
"Well, that depends."
"Depends on what, Rocky?"
"It depends on how long it takes to find other dogs like me," he told him,
looking down at the ground and sitting on a tail he didn't have.
"Other dogs like you, Rocky? What do you mean, find other dogs like yourself?
What's so different about you?" Baxter asked.
Rocky stood up. "I don't have a long tail that wags back and forth like you do,
or the other dogs that I've met on my journey."
"Oh, there's other dogs like you, Rocky!"
"There is?" he excitedly asked.
"Yes. There's all kinds of us, Rocky. Short dogs and tall dogs. Dogs with long
hair and dogs with short hair. Black dogs, white dogs, and brown dogs--even dogs
with a lot of different colors!" he informed him.
"I've found that out already, Baxter. But, I'm talking about dogs with long
"Long tails? What do you mean?"
Rocky tried to explain to him, thinking, I don't think he'd understand because
he has a long tail and wouldn't know what it feels like to be different like I
"I have a stubby tail and it doesn't wag back and forth like yours," Rocky
"Oh that! Well Rocky, there are lots of us that don't have tails. Didn't you
Rocky got excited again and his stubby tail tried to wag, but the harder he
tried, the more his body wagged back and forth like a thrown stone rippling
across the water of a big pond.
"Really! Tell me more!" he begged.
"Sure! You're not different, Rocky. Not really. There's others like you, too.
There's Dobermans, Schnauzers, Pit Bulls and Great Danes too! And of course,
Boxers just like you, Rocky," he told him.
Rocky's tail wagged him in excitement. There are others like me! I'm not the
only dog that doesn't have a tail! he thought. "But I haven't found them,
Baxter. Where are the others like me?"
"Oh, they are around everywhere, Rocky. But just because you haven't seen them
or met them, doesn't mean there's not more like you out there, too."
Rocky was really getting more excited knowing there were others and maybe he
wasn't so different after all. "I thought I was different because my tail isn't
long and can't wag back and forth."
Baxter thought for a moment. "Rocky, I have a long tail that wags back and
forth. You have a stubby tail that doesn't wag back and forth, but instead, wags
you. That doesn't mean you're different. Don't you see?" he asked.
"Well, no. No, I don't. Not really," Rocky answered.
"Okay, Rocky. Let me try to explain to you. You did have a tail when you were
born. You just can't remember having a tail. Some dogs are special. They crop
the special dog's tails. It's called docking," Baxter told him, then continued,
"the owners of the special dogs; working, hunting, and fighting dogs, felt that
they would have fewer injuries if they didn't have floppy ears or long wagging
tails that the other dogs could chomp! on while working or hunting."
"Tell me more, Baxter, please tell me more!" Rocky said, as his knobby tail
continued wagging him.
"Long whip-like tails are easier to injure. It's a tradition as much as anything
else, Rocky. Docked tails are part of the special dog's standard. Boxers just
like you, don't look as much like a Boxer without the short stubby tail," he
"I think I understand now. But I still feel different!"
"Rocky, we are different. But we are the same. Just because I have a long tail
that wags back and forth doesn't make me any different than you really. And just
because you have a stubby tail that wags you, doesn't make you different from
me. We are still dogs and the same. "
Rocky was happy and wanted to go back home.
He missed Dillon and didn't care now if he made fun of him anymore. I'm special,
he thought proudly of his new founded discovery.
Rocky said good-bye to Baxter and ran all the way back home.
As he trotted up his sidewalk at home, he saw Dillon sitting on the porch-step
Rocky stopped and sat down on the tail he didn't have, barking a happy hello to
Dillon looked up. "Rocky! Rocky you're home! Come here, Rocky...come here!" the
freckled face boy yelled.
Rocky ran to him and Dillon wrapped his arms around him, crying in excitement
happy to have Rocky home again.
"I love you Rocky. Please don't ever leave me again, you're so special."
Rocky licked Dillon's tears from his freckled face and ran around in the grass
jumping sideways and up and down like a bucking bronco.
Dillon ran around in the yard chasing him just like they did everyday after
It was good to be back home.
Happy again, Rocky's tail wagged his body back and forth instead of his tail
wagging like other dogs. And that was all right with Rocky because Rocky knew he
was different for a reason......and was proud, because......he's special.
~The Happy Ending~
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