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November 16, 2011 / philosophermouseofthehedge

A German’s Ode to Joy

The panic attacks are less. It just that she’s so attractive. People smile and walk towards us when we are out. They never see it: that the smile on her face suddenly freezes. Or that small defensive step backwards. Or that her eyes searching for escape routes.

A victim of workplace violence.

She tries to maintain composure, remembering her manners. But I can see it in the tensing of her shoulders: “Do they always have to rush over? Do I have to stay and be introduced and exchange pleasantries?” I manage to disengage us. She can’t wait to get to the car: the enclosure representing safety – and escape. Windows to see through – be part of the world – with a barrier to safely hide behind.

Uncomfortable, but a tiny step.

Just doing her job. What she was trained to do. Took a stand to serve and protect – and took the blows. Recovery was fairly rapid the first time with encouragement and rest. But the second, I think it was the child. Despite her memories, she summoned up courage to stand again. But the child. They shoved a child out in front. A child. A small human normally to be protected. She hesitated – generations of genetics and years of training in play. But this child held the Taser. A moment of kindness cost her. Now once again battered, confused, and reconsidering everything she thought she knew was true.

Even German Shepherds get the blues.

So she’s in recovery: regaining confidence and re-grasping that guiding star. Not gathering up all her toys on her blanket and curling up on top of them in fetal position as frequently. Eager now to saunter down the sidewalk (but still seriously regarding and evaluating any human in sight). Relieved to have almost constant quiet companionship, maybe seen as back-up? Able to put down the job and relax a bit. Flashbacks unexpectedly lunge forward; small things abruptly trigger. Yet everything here is safe. And she’s not in charge. So day by day she is able to sit in the sun soaking up soothing vitamin D and appreciating the small birds’ serenade. Pleased she can offer some small appreciated service in return: keeping cats out of their yard. The walled refuge soothes her. Small joys rediscovered. A sense of play re-emerging.

Time heals all. Slowly rebuilding that age-old unspoken bond with humans: trust. It’s obvious she’s mulling it over on occasion. She’s trying to analyze the Great Betrayal: humans attacking so violently – so unexpectedly – armed with lightning in the form of stun guns and Tasers. She was just doing her job, following her training. Serve and Protect. Then, a sigh and a “put that aside.” Things used to be so simple. Not this time.

German Shepherd in training (USAF photo by Robbin Cresswell)

Police dogs are grateful for donated protective / bullet proof  vests. Susie Jean has raised money and donated vests to K9 corps in 41 states. Here’s the story and how you can help. Watch the NBC video about a Florida police dog, shot twice, but saved by a vest.

Appreciating the devoted,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


  1. heretherebespiders / Nov 16 2011 8:08 pm

    Hard to comment without getting emotional. Well written. Sniffle.


  2. Elizabeth / Nov 16 2011 8:58 pm

    This made me tear up; beautifully written, and deeply touching.


  3. The Hook / Nov 16 2011 9:17 pm

    What a gift you have, my friend. Your words are powerful and heartfelt. Well done.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 16 2011 9:55 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement. Easy to write about what is real. The German is having a good day and sends a “paws-up handshake” (new trick – likes to learn)


  4. Snoring Dog Studio / Nov 16 2011 11:56 pm

    Almost broke my heart but knowing that she is loved and cared for is such a gift.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 17 2011 12:07 am

      Amazing how much cruelty and anger is out there. Law enforcement has some “safe houses” for service dogs that need some R and R downtime to keep them fresh – and for dogs with bounties on their heads by drug cartels. The German, although threatened by an individual now being held responsible by law enforcement for his actions, has moved to a forever home out of the line of fire. (no actual pictures of her will be posted.) Thanks for visiting and for your comments.


  5. Bongo / Nov 17 2011 3:10 am

    Awesome post. We don’t always think of trauma to dogs serving in the line of duty. Thanks for reminding us.


  6. preobrazhenskii / Nov 17 2011 6:58 am

    Deeply moving and does show the importance of protection not just for the human, but also for their loyal companion and often protector.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 17 2011 2:59 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts. Agree it’s important and responsible to take care of such loyal devoted partners.


  7. Laura / Nov 17 2011 11:17 am

    Great post — I’m glad the German found her forever home.

    I hope the child from that story got some help, too. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure that parents who send their small child to Taser a police dog are not very good parents.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 17 2011 3:04 pm

      Unfortunately the use of a child (relative or neighbor) seems to be the new trend in crimes nationwide – especially in home robberies: break small window and send kid in to unlock door. Criminals have found that easily obtainable Tasers,stun guns, Mace can eliminate any complication from large dogs. Very sad that adults would endanger a child / train them in criminal activites – and dangerous for law enforcement officers. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.


  8. Janece / Nov 17 2011 1:32 pm

    This is my first time here, and the first of your posts to read. I can see I’ll want to be reading you often.

    My somewhat limited experience with abused or injured animals has taught me that they are often like abused or injured children. They do heal, with the right time and attention, and go on to love again with their whole hearts. Sometimes even for the most unloveable. Remarkable creatures and your dog there looks like a Queen of Remarkable.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 17 2011 3:08 pm

      Big dogs seem to act like preverbal toddlers. And the both have big hearts. Thanks for your encouragement.


  9. sportsattitudes / Nov 17 2011 3:19 pm

    Been quite awhile since I was so moved…in many directions…by a post. Best wishes…and so comforting to know the healing is underway…and will be completed fully within such a loving, caring environment.


  10. melfrommass / Nov 17 2011 4:48 pm

    Poor pup. I never gave this subject matter much thought before. I had no idea that people were cold-hearted enough to put a bounty on a *dog.* Thanks for the education.



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 17 2011 5:28 pm

      Bad people doing bad things. Real 4 legged warriors asking for very little in return. Thanks so much for visiting!


  11. robstroud / Nov 18 2011 12:29 am

    An excellent and very movingly written piece. Thanks!


  12. jannatwrites / Nov 18 2011 5:48 am

    Very touching. German Shepherds are such beautiful dogs. It always makes me sad when police dogs are injured because they didn’t choose their profession.

    We have a rescue dog (Golden Retriever mix) and we still see remnants of past abuse. It gets better with time, though.


  13. philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 18 2011 3:26 pm

    Rescued dogs are the best – they are truly grateful and become totally devoted. We’re been the “this your very very very last chance” home for several dogs who met misfortune…we think maybe they. like Goldilocks, may have been looking for the very best place. They do seem to recover anything. Those Goldens are charmers. Big hug from here. Thanks for the note and the visit


  14. Sonia Lal / Nov 18 2011 5:45 pm

    Poor thing! Glad she recovered.

    And that child needs help, too


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 18 2011 6:17 pm

      Agreed. Children shouldn’t be around others training them to be criminals. Thanks for stopping by to leave a note and visit.


  15. abevanswylie / Nov 19 2011 2:21 pm

    Brings back memories of my childhood companion, Nero (an Alsatian). Always there to protect me no matter what the consequences. Never had a more devoted friend.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 19 2011 3:06 pm

      Sounds like you grew up with a great friend with Nero. Glad you took time to visit. Thanks



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