The Dog Star: The Case of the Moaning Shepherd

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

I had a guest in my home recently and before we left for lunch I released the dogs from the bedroom to go outside for awhile. Koufax stopped briefly near the guest, moaned softly, and headed off, as if he had an appointment elsewhere. When I let them back in, he looked as his dog bed, checked out a toy, moaned, then picked up the toy and trotted upstairs.

Koufax’s moan is a VERY soft “Hmmmmmmmmm…..”

Guest: Did he just moan?
Me: Yes, he’s a Moaning Shepherd.
Guest: What’s a Moaning Shepherd?
Me: (With no idea where I’m going with this.) You see that he’s white, right?
Guest: Yes
Me: That he’s the same color as the sheep he would shepherd?
Guest: Why, yes, I guess he is.
Me: Well, white Shepherds were used by human shepherds who didn’t want their presence known.
Guest: Why would that be?
Me: (Yes, why WOULD that be?) They were West German shepherds on the border of East Germany during the height of the Cold War. Their sheep would often wander through remote valleys into East German territory, where they would be confiscated if found. It was important that the shepherds’ German Shepherd Dogs not be seen, because the East German border patrol used their own Shepherds for guard duty. So, white was a big plus, mixing in with the sheep. The border guards couldn’t immediately tell if the sheep were East German or West German.
Guest: Yes, but the moaning?
Me: Well, if they were to remain unseen and get the sheep back across the border safely, they couldn’t very well bark, right? That would alert the East German Shepherds. So they had to be more subtle.
Guest: And they were taught to moan???
Me: Well, you just heard him, right? I think it may be racial, actually.
Guest: That’s astounding!

Koufax now wanders back into the room and sits a few feet away studying us.

Me: That’s nothing. Watch this. Fushkist! Fushkist!

Koufax turns his head slightly to the side at the sound of this harsh, nonsensical word, wondering what has come over me.

Guest: What did you just tell him?
Me: To turn his head slightly to the side.
Guest: You don’t mean….
Me: Yes, he understands both German and English.

We go to lunch. Koufax goes to sleep.

© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.


One thought on “The Dog Star: The Case of the Moaning Shepherd

  1. Laughed out loud!! Thanks!
    (Also, I appreciate your often self-deprecating humor in your newsletters as well as your thought-provoking points.)

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