The little boy he belonged to, Dillon, 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.
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. 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 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
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 '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 little puppy, because he didn't remember ever having one.
Dillon made fun of his tail, and how Rocky's muscular body wagged instead. He teased him that the tail wagged
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.
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.
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, 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!"
"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. 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, too!
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.‘
believe his eyes! His little boy, Dillon, was offering a reward for someone to bring him back home, and loves and misses him,
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.
What's your name? My name is Spot, and I'm a Terrier," he anxiously greeted Rocky, jumping up and down like a
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
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 like me."
"Sure there are, Rocky. Where do you live?" he asked.
"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.
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
"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
"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."
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.
looked up, 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.
name is Rocky, and I'm on a journey," he informed the dog.
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
"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 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
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, 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, too. "
"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 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
"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 understand?"
"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
Rocky said good-bye to Baxter, then ran all the way back
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, happy to have Rocky home
"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 school.
It was good to be back home.
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.