The little boy he belonged to was named Dillon, who teased him about his stubby tail that wagged him.
instead of him wagging his tail like other dogs.
Dillon 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.
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. And sometimes he and Claudette would play with their friends through the fence.
They would run back and forth racing to see who could reach the end of the fence line first. Rocky usually won but sometimes
he'd let Claudette win.
Their favorite time of day was 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 back and forth too, so he could show Dillon how
happy he was to see him. 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.
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 like Claudette's! The harder he tried to wag his tail, the more it would spin like a propeller as if he could take
off and fly. Sometimes his stubby tail would twitch and spin so fast, it caused his hips to waggle so much that it bent him
in half and his rear-end came around meeting his head! Dillon told him that was called'kidney beaning.'
His little stub of a tail had been cropped like other Boxer puppies' tails and was
supposed to be real short and 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, very little puppy, because he didn't remember ever having a tail.
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 all.
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 and muscular 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, while
he was still admiring his tail, then answered, "My name's Rocky and I live down on Oak 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 the freckles!"
I do. Well, I used to live with him," he answered.
you mean Rocky... used to live with him?" asked Clumsy, wagging his tail in excitement.
"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. I thought
all of us had tails to wag. Maybe you should continue your journey and find other dogs. Someone might be able to tell you
if there's other dogs that don't have tails like you, then you'll know for sure," 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 poster
that was stapled on the corner street light pole. He stopped and sat down so he could read it. His picture was on the poster!
It read; ‘Wanted. Lost Boxer named ‘Rocky.' Last seen running down
Oak Street. He has a stubby tail that doesn't wag like other dogs and his tail wags him instead. Reward! If you've
seen Rocky, please call Dillon. P.S. Tell him that Dillon loves and misses him.‘
Rocky couldn't believe his eyes! His little boy Dillon was offering a reward for someone to bring
him back home and loves and misses him, too!
Rocky sighed, but knew
he had to continue his quest to find out why he didn't have a tail like other dogs did. He would go back home as soon
as he had the answer to his question.
He continued down the street and
saw a dog sitting in his front yard. Rocky stopped to talk to him, hoping he knew the answer to his only question.
"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
"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 like me."
"Sure there are, Rocky. Where do you live?"
"I used to live down the street on Oak Street."
"I know where you live! You live with that cute little boy with the 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 in shame. "And I want to find out if other dogs have short tails
that don't wag like mine."
"That's really sad, Rocky.
But, I'm sure there's other dogs that don't have tails, too. I've heard about them but never seen one myself
until you ," Spot told him.
"Maybe there is, but I haven't
seen any yet, either."
"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 more of Dillon's reward posters along the way. Some were nailed on posts in people's yards, some were
displayed on light posts, stop signs, and others were on the windshield of parked cars.
He saw three dogs 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 forth.
"What have we here?
A dog without a tail to wag?" 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 and headed down the street on his
journey in search of other dogs to meet.
"Hey, you! Come here!"
a voice shouted.
Rocky looked up and cocked his ears toward the direction
of the voice and saw a dog sitting on a 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."
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 the tail he didn't have.
"Other dogs like you, Rocky? What do you mean, find other dogs like yourself?
Another Boxer? What's so different about you?" Baxter asked.
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
"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 am.
"I have a stubby tail and it doesn't wag back and forth like yours," Rocky finally answered.
"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
"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
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."
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 just like all of us. You just can't remember having a tail. Some dogs are
special. They crop the special dogs' 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 and hunting. Some special breeds like
you Rocky, get excited and can break their tails accidentally. "
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 dogs standard. Boxers just like you don't look as much like a Boxer without the short
stubby tail," he told him. "It's safer for you not to have a tail that wags. It's what makes you so special!"
"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. Each one of us are special in our own unique way. Don't you
"Yes, I think I do now, Baxter. Thank you for
answering my question!" Rocky replied.
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, proud of his new discovery.
Rocky said good-bye to Baxter then ran all the way back home.
As he trotted up his sidewalk at home he saw Dillon sitting on the porch-step, crying.
Rocky stopped and sat down on the tail he didn't have, barking a happy hello to Dillon.
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 with excitement and happy to have Rocky home again.
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 school.
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 was special.
~The Happy Ending~