“Sorry Ace, that is not your tail and it never will be. You did not get a tail. That is the reason we chose you,” I said quietly to our dog. Ace was ‘checking out’ Harry’s tail. I laughed inside my head remembering the story my uncle always told. He was great for stories. He always began this story by asking, “Did I ever tell you the story of why dogs sniff each other’s tails?”
One day, a looooong time ago, all the dogs in the world decided to take a cool dip in the big pond. Before they jumped in they were careful to take their tails off so as not to get them wet. They were having a grand old time swimming the doggie paddle and fetching sticks. Suddenly a cat ran by! Quick as a flash all the dogs ran out of the pond and the wild chase began. Each dog grabbed a tail as he or she ran by but of course no one grabbed their own tail. And to this day, dogs have been sniffing each other’s tails, searching for theirs!
That story always got a laugh. Actually all of my uncle’s stories got laughs. But this story on this particular day got me thinking. Ace has no tail. He never had a tail. The story of Ace’s missing tail is the story of Ace.
It was the winter of 2007/2008. Back then the construction yard where my husband works was protected by yard dogs, big Belgian type Shepherds. But there was also this medium sized brown dog who hung around. My husband called her Honey. She would make her rounds of the construction yards in the area. She was well taken care of but no one could get near her. She was a wild dog. The closest my husband could get would be if he held a biscuit out behind him. She would creep up and take it from him if he wasn’t looking.
Honey had a litter of puppies each year. Like I said, she made the rounds. Those rounds too! Her litters were a combination of Rottweilers (from the big guy down the block), Belgian type shepherds and brown dogs. She always had her litters in the construction yard where my husband worked. She was smart you see. The yard was completely enclosed with high fencing and topped with barbed wire or razor wire or some scary sort of “stay out!” fencing. And, like I said earlier, it was protected by yard dogs.
Honey had had her first litter that we were aware of the year or so before this particular winter of 2007/2008. The crazy thing was that some of her pups would be born without tails! Honey did not have a tail. Until her first litter was born we guessed she had just lost her tail somehow. But then we figured out that it must be a sort of recessive gene or something, the no tail gene.
So during the winter of 2007/2008 our family was anxiously awaiting Honey’s litter because we had decided to adopt one of her puppies. I guess you would call it a rescue. As winter wore on she got more and more obviously pregnant and then one day in April Rich announced, “She had her pups!” “Where are they?” I asked. “Don’t know but she is not pregnant any longer.” So then everyone kept their eyes peeled.
They emerged about a week later. Twelve puppies! (I told you she was well taken care of!) The same combination of Rottweilers, belgians and brown dogs. Once they were eating solid food (my husband and the guys brought food and water out to them regularly) we went to pick one out. It was to be my son’s pup so he got to choose. “I want a Rottweiler with no tail,” was his decision. “But what about one of the super friendly brown ones,” I asked. “Nope,” his reply, “the Rottweiler with no tail.”
We had to kind of reach in and catch this puppy when the day came to take the puppies home. Being that they were in an active heavy machinery construction yard it was not safe for them any longer to stay with their mom. So, true to my word, and against my better judgement, we came home with a little 5 week old Rottweiler with no tail.
The vet was amazed at how healthy a pup he was, considering his story. Ace has been with us ever since! He has his issues, not because of any mistreatment but just because he does. He has issues. But he is the most loving dog we have ever owned (when he is not chasing squirrels, birds, chipmunks…). And he adores his Harry! We got both dogs as pups together and they have been thick as thieves ever since.
And to think Ace is ours because he has no tail! That, dear reader, was my son’s choice and therefore it is Ace’s story.