Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A BEAGLE'S LAMENT - "My Tail Won't Work..."

This is a post I would never choose to write.

I don't enjoy my own pain…

But when something goes wrong with Marty, my granddog, well…


Let me tell you the story.

A couple of weeks ago, my sons and Marty came to visit me in my new mountain home for a few days.  We were having a great time.  Until Tuesday morning, when I was greeted with the chilling words…

"Mom, I think something's wrong with Marty's tail."

Adrenaline rush…a glance at Marty…and yes, it was obvious, something was indeed wrong.

This ordinarily exuberant, joyful, energetic fluff of fur was decidedly not himself.  And that other personality who shares his little body – his tail – was dead.

Completely dead.

It hung like a limp rag, between his legs, no movement AT ALL.

I tried testing him, just to see if I could get any reaction out of him.

I tried playing with him, I suggested a walk – I even resorted to tempting him with delicious human food.

Nothing.  Zilch.

I thought of all the disastrous things that could be wrong.  Something with his spine, something with his legs or hips, something with his brain.

And mixed in with my panic was a huge dose of sad…

You cannot imagine how pathetic it is to see a dead beagle tail.

The boys and Marty had to leave to go home.  I was left with fear…

I thought about googling.  Googling about medical stuff is a mixed bag – depending on what you find out.  I have googled physical symptoms about myself.  Sometimes it's reassuring – often it's not.  Let me tell you, a person who has battled with hypochondria in the past, and who is always one fearful symptom away from falling back into that pit of panicSHOULD. NOT. GOOGLE.

Occasionally I am able to immediately eliminate some dire conditions.  No, I'm pretty sure I don't have an enlarged prostate.  I am definitely not pregnant.  It's rather impossible for me to have malaria or bubonic plague.

You get the idea.

But, like a frantic first-year medical student unleashed in a medical dictionary, I can often convince myself that I have a host of other diseases.

But I digress.

I finally decided to google Marty's symptoms.

I typed in one of the saddest sentences I have ever written in my life.

"My dog's tail doesn't work."

To my utter surprise, there were multiple articles on the subject.  Upon reading several, I became convinced that Marty had developed a condition called limber tail, or cold tail, or swimmer's tail.

Also known by another name…

Broken Wag Syndrome.

I know – is that just too sad or what?!

It is a condition that happens to certain breeds in particular, and beagles were consistently listed as one of those breeds.

Basically, though the cause is not completely known, it is suspected to be a condition in which the muscles and nerves servicing the tail are injured. It's kinda like a tail sprain/strain.

We took Marty to the vet to verify our self-diagnosis – and yes, he had a broken wag.

My sister has a Rottweiler, and she has named her dog's tail "Boo."  I started calling Marty's tail – Mr. Boo.

Mr. Boo was broken…

I mourned Mr. Boo.

But eventually, slowly but surely, Mr. Boo began to recover.  I called my son every few hours for an update.  I smiled when he told me that Mr. Boo had *swayed* a few times.  I celebrated when a couple *wags* occurred.

A few days later, when I had to travel down the mountain, I was very nervous to see Marty in person.  What would Mr. Boo be like?

You cannot imagine my delight when I was greeted at the door by one very exuberant, joyful, energetic beagle with an almost fully operational wag.

Mr. Boo was coming back.

I cried.

I realized then how much I had missed Marty's ability to communicate his emotions, his needs – his heart – with that independent little tail of his.  I had missed Marty's joy.

Have you ever felt like you had a "broken wag"?

I sure have.

Times when I just can't muster good feelings.  Times when I just can't smile.  Times when my joy is dead.  When my heart is sprained, when my faith is strained.

Where to turn?

To the only One who can heal me.

You know, thinking about Marty, I pondered the day that Jesus died.  The world thought that He was gone forever.

I believe that the devil thought so, too.

He saw Jesus take His last breath on the cross – and with a demonically smug smirk of satisfaction on his face, he muttered – "Ha.  The wag of my enemy is broken."

The body of Jesus hung there limply, no movement, no breath.


But, the story was not yet fully written.  And in a resounding miracle that arced across the span of human history like a lightning bolt, Jesus rose from the dead!

Joy restored!

Love wins!

And because of the resurrection, Jesus is the perfect One, the only One who can heal my brokenness.

Wag. Wag.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
 he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." (Psalm 34:18)

"He heals the brokenhearted 
and bandages their wounds." (Psalm 147:3)

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news…He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed." 
(Isaiah 61:1)

Have you ever had a "broken wag"?  How did Jesus heal it?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Poor Marty! Never heard of that syndrome, but glad he is recovering from it!! (Maybe I never heard of it since Koda doesn't have a tail per se). I can imagine how distraught you guys would have been until you saw his tail starting to regain its wagginess (not sure if that is a word). I like your analogy; I feel I have a broken tail a lot these days; I need to ask God to heal it to find my joy in him.

    hope all is going good!


  2. This just made me cry. I don't know of anyone who takes life's daily happenings and translates them into Jesus and us, any better than you do my friend. Yay for Marty and his wagging tail, and praise to God for calvary and what it means for each one of us.

    Loved this Sharon!

  3. I agree with Sonja. I'm happy for Marty that he no longer has a broken wag.

  4. Hi Sharon! How I've missed you - and everyone here in Blogland! Been off the grind for a month - not a post and not even venturing in to see what everyone is up to til this evening. This does NOT mean that I haven't thought of you and all - for I have - muchly - wishing I wasn't buried under mounds of curriculum writing and other working priorities keeping me from indulging in my blogging hobby. This story about the broken wag - never heard of such a thing. But, don't I feel like that - rather often, in fact. What a comfort to know that my broken wag in Blogland has hope for recovery!!

    And, I'm so glad to know you're settling in more in your mountain home. I often think of you there - sighing - though, I too could do without the rattlesnakes. And, watching the chipmunks in our back and front gardens is a delight. Watching the cats in the window watching the chipmunks is LOL fun!

    Anyway, best to you and hope to be posting something soon! I really miss the creative respite.


  5. What a beautiful story. I am glad that Marty is wagging his tail again! I learned something new today.

  6. Broken Wag Syndrome. The words DID break my heart. I'm so glad Mr. Boo is back :)

    I have self-imposed aban on webmd, etc. It is so easy to fall into imaginary disease with my poling and prodding!

    Yes, I have lost my wag a few times over the years, but God has always been faithful and brought me out of the pit of despair and I have faith that He will continue to do so in the future.

    My Sunday Scripture:



  7. Such a special, special story. I have definitely lost my wag, probably most often from weariness. So thankful God is in the business of restoring souls and that his joy is my strength.

  8. Never heard of this condition before. Glad Marty is "wagging" again. Interesting how it can be compared to our "wag".


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)