Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Trials of a Tail

Kaia, our Australian Shepherd is a perfect puppy. She is playful, curious, cuddly, and (my favorite) little. She looks and acts like an Aussie in everyway, except she has a tail. One of the most distinguishing physical traits of an Aussie is their bobbed tails, which are very cute.
When we first saw Kaia, we almost didn't get her, because of her tail; but then she was so little and cuddly. Her offensive tail, black with a white tip, was just like our Border Collie, Kojo's. Who could say no to such a puppy? Certainly not me.
Kaia's tail has at different times become the topic of conversation of what it will look like, and whether we should have it removed or not. Each conversation ended with Terran saying there must be something wrong with Aussie's tails for them all to be removed.
A dark day loomed when it looked like Terran's words were true. Kaia's tail was not cute, it was no longer was covered with the sweet puppy fuzz like the rest of her, but long coarse hair. That day broke my heart, she looked like a little weirdo, a freak of nature.
The climax came when we took the dogs to the park one day, and they started playing with another Aussie, whose owner told us she had heard from breeders that if left long, Australian Shepherds had long rat-like tails, while the rest of them was covered with long hair. After getting home, Terran and I researched about having her tail cut off. Every website we went to used horrible words like "painful", "shock", "rehabilitation", "cutting through the bone" and many others. We could not do that to the puppy who would run to us when she is hurt or scared.
Our saving grace came when we stumbled on a Finnish site about Australian Shepherds. The first words on the site were about it being illegal in Finland to bobb the tails of dogs. We saw pictures of Finnish Aussies with tails. Beautiful, full, normal, long tails.

Proud owner of a Finnish-American Australian Shepherd,


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