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October 29, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The German: Homeless at heart.

Eyes moist and dark. With a vocabulary too limited to understand. “Welcome. This is your home until your mom can take care of you again.”

Confused. Afraid to take a step inside the doorway. Clearly not understanding – or believing: “It’s OK. You’re safe and this is your home.” (The “for a while” goes unsaid.)

Only breathing and inching in upon sighting a handful of her toys and a blanket that’s been bed.  (Needing a good hair brush and those dirty nails trimmed. But have to wait until later – too much for now.) At least a big sigh, and an exhausted willingness to sit.

It’s been a bit, but still a bit unsettled. Stranger in a strange land.

The German. That’s what the neighborhood calls her with their hard narrowed eyes. Yes. The German. So what? It would make any difference if she was Mexican or Asian? Other than maybe she’d be more slight in build. More petite means more dainty and desirable? Maybe a different timbre in her voice? She’s here. Get over it.

I know she plays a little rough. It’s just she’s so eager to have friends again. You should hear her sigh when all yours play outside.

The whole yard thing is so new. The grass so soft and flowers with the “please, don’t stomp.” But in an “unobserved” quiet moment, sitting very still outside:  facing into the wind as it playfully rattling the leaves. That’s progress. The tree noise was so terrifying the first unsettled night. Just look now. She’s following the small birds’ merry chirping. Standing mesmerized in front of the bush with the nest. Only to quickly lunge forward – shaking the bush – wild in delight as the startled birds take to flight. Sigh. At least she didn’t try to grab them.

Oh, neighbor, I know your old fat declawed cat (who should be either inside or on a leash for its’ own good) has always sunned unmolested in this backyard, but you might want to forewarned. She discovered old Grey all hunched up and trying to take a dump yesterday. She paused as few feet back – whether out of kindness or interest, I don’t know. But Grey apparently wanted to leave when done. With quite an effort he heaved himself onto the fence. Annoyed, lonely, or sad, she tried to stop him. Almost caught his lagging hind leg draped down the fence. “No,” I intervened, fearing he’d lose his marginal grip and fall. He sat for a while looking totally perplexed while she danced and pounded the fence below. I know. The German. Wild. Out of control. No manners. No respect.

I know, RC won’t even play with her – even refuses to be in the same room with her. But that’s understandable? The age difference is so great. And things are getting torn or broken. She’s clumsy, not used to being careful. With patience, we think they will eventually get along – if she stays that long.

But she is getting better. We can now walk down the street. She doesn’t huddle so close that’s it’s hard not to step on her feet. We can now make it past the big inflatable yard pumpkins and skeleton hanging from the tree without having to cross to the other side. But that inflatable ghost that’s taller than her, if only the sand filled bottom kept the ghost still in one place. When the wind blows, the ghost rolls, and she’s sure it wants to chase. Maybe Christmas yards will be less threatening…it’s only a few more days to manage.

Halloween? No costume – won’t hold still to even try on. Maybe a movie with cheerful sounds in the back of the house? All the noises, running, and strangeness might just be too much. And the doorbell. She still jumps. That lunge to the window by the front door to see if she’s there. If she’s come back to get her.

Then it returns. The big moist eyes. The sadness. The sitting by the front door. Despite the hugs, the warm safe shelter, the regular meals, still little in spirit. Just a lumbering German Shepherd, still homeless at heart.

(for 2 more adventures of the German, click the RC Cat tag in the sidebar)

A Trick or Treat while waiting for the hobgoblins,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.



  1. BongoDogOwner / Oct 29 2011 7:43 pm

    I love the mood you create in this story. I hope the German is feeling more at home.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 29 2011 10:51 pm

      The German (now napping) sends a slobbery smooch. Her early life was uncertain but she’s no longer treading water and found safe harbour. Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by!


  2. raburcke / Oct 29 2011 10:29 pm

    Great post but Humor?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 29 2011 10:39 pm

      something of an O. Henry twist? (blame the hobgoblin) Appreciate the comment. Thanks for stopping by


  3. Rumpy Drummond / Oct 29 2011 11:44 pm

    I LOVE this story! I was wondering about the German- was NOT expecting a Shepherd.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 29 2011 11:50 pm

      It’s Halloween – things are not what they seem. (big smoochie from the German)Thanks so much for visiting


  4. The Hook / Oct 30 2011 6:19 pm

    You have a kick-ass style, my friend! Awesome tale.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 31 2011 1:02 am

      (You can come visit anytime – I need all the encouragement I can get) The German actually got within 12 feet of RC today…making progress..but I’m not putting up the bandaids yet….Thanks for stopping by!


  5. Janice Lindegard / Oct 31 2011 5:16 pm

    What a sweet story. Thanks!


  6. Bella / Oct 31 2011 11:18 pm

    I love how you build up the mystery surrounding “the German” only to provide the surprise ending of it being a German shepherd! Nice!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Oct 31 2011 11:30 pm

      It’s like Halloween: you’re never sure what treats you have until the end. Thanks for stopping by and the nice comment.


  7. Sylvia Morice / Nov 2 2011 4:07 pm

    Love this story….thanks for visiting my blog today…I’ll be back to read more of your work.


  8. robpixaday / Nov 2 2011 4:54 pm



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 2 2011 5:01 pm

      ….they are always sweet when asleep? ( 2 or 4 legged) Hope you’ve danced through the traffic. Thanks for stopping by


  9. heretherebespiders / Nov 3 2011 12:03 am

    I have a slightly neurotic, young, female Akita (very similar in temperament to a German Shepherd) so I knew right away The German was a dog! You liked my post today, possibly due to Akita pictures, so I came to have a look. Your writing style is indeed unusual – I found myself having to reorganise my thoughts from my multiple-comma natural fashion into short bites.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 3 2011 1:16 am

      Ah, so you’re observant. (Funny how the mind gets an idea and will skip over clues that point to something different.) Consider something: all writing is right. (Like a weed is just a flower in the wrong place?) Glad you stopped by – will be looking for the Akita again.


      • heretherebespiders / Nov 4 2011 11:09 am

        Oh, I hope you didn’t think I was criticising your style! Apologies if that’s what it sounded like. I like it – like reading e e cummings, I have to think a bit differently. A good thing!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 4 2011 1:54 pm

      Extended comment to heretherebespiders’ 2nd comment. Not at all offended by your “unusual writing style” comment. …it seemed like you were mulling over your own writing style also – (apologies for reading too fast there). This blog’s choppy conversational stream of thought style is probably a result of years of rigid forms and traditions of the editing/publishing/research world. A rebellion. Enjoy your chats – and your blog. thanks for stopping by



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