I don't know words very well, but I think they call the thing "Tank." It is a big fat thing with a long nose and it smells of metal and diesel. Though I don't know words very well, I have come to understand that I must go to Tank and bite the cord on my chest. I must worry it until heavy thing that is mine falls beneath me because this makes Man-With-Hat happy and when Man-With-Hat is happy he feeds me. This is good because I am hungry all the time. If I do not worry the cord and instead come back with the thing that is mine then Man-With-Hat is not happy and he strikes me instead of feeds. This is how I learn to worry the cord and drop the thing that is mine even though I don't know words.
I learn slowly without knowing words, but this is not bad because eventually there is a time when I can find Tank every time. I can worry the cord every time and let thing that is mine fall every time and this makes Man-With-Hat very happy. But then there is a time when I go to Tank and it is making a terrifying growling and smells very much of diesel so that I cannot smell the metal. This confuses me so that I go back to Man-With-Hat still with thing that is mine and he strikes and doesn't feed. Later I can find Tank without being scared or confused even when it growls and stinks of diesel, but then it starts to bark very very loud and this makes me scared and confused again. And it makes me sad, because by now I want Man-With-Hat to be happy even if he doesn't feed every time.
But there are other dogs who can do this thing that Man-With-Hat asks. One does it very well and I see it from the cage. Other dog does this thing very well indeed, and so Man-With-Hat brings his friend Man-With-Beard and shows him how well other dog drops mine-thing next to Tank. Man-With-Beard is even more happy than Man-With-Hat and brings very many friends to see other dog drop mine-thing like I see.
Man-With-Beard and friends stand in ditch with just heads poking up while Man-With-Hat sends out other dog to drop mine-thing beside Tank and then go back for feeding. But this time, when other dog goes back for feeding, mine-thing goes woof—much much louder than I could do—and digs up soil fast and throws it far and when soil is gone, Tank is gone too. Man-With-Beard is even more happy and stands above the ditch and waves his arms and speaks loudly.
Man-With-Beard is so happy that he wants to show friends again, and Man-With-Hat sends out other dog again once Tank is there again. But this time when other dog goes Tank begins to crawl, and other dog is scared and stands and woofs and then goes back to Man-With-Hat. Man-With-Beard and all his friends wave their arms and fall down in the ditch as mine-thing on other dog does its loud woof again, and soil thrown again, but this time Tank still there. Dog gone, though, and even Man-With-Hat gone, and this confuses me. But Man-With-Beard must understand because he is angry, and after that I have no cord to worry.
Other dog never comes back. Man-With-Hat comes back, but he smells different and looks different and his words don't sound the same. He is not the same Man-With-Hat, but he strikes the same and so for me is not different. What is different is mine-thing. I carry still but do not drop. This is not confusing very long. New way is simple because in cage there is no food now and I am very hungry. But when I wear mine-thing and Man-With-Hat sends me out, I find food under Tank. It is good food, and is what I eat, but still hungry because food under Tank is not much food. Man-With-Hat is happy though, and I am glad because I want him to be happy, even if he does not feed. Soon I can find Tank even when it growls and barks and even when it crawls. I do this better than other dog ever could have. Man-With-Beard and friends come back, and they are happy when new dog runs under Tank and mine-thing clicks then goes woof like before, and Tank is gone like before. I do not see where dog has gone, but men are happy so all must be good.
I carry mine-thing so well that soon my cage is taken to a different place. Man-With-Hat is taken with me, and I smell much diesel and hear much growling. I do not fear it any more. I am very hungry. We are in a ditch like Man-With-Beard's. There is very much growling and I hear Tank bark like before. Man-With-Hat takes me from the cage and ties mine-thing to me once again. When he lifts me up to the ground, I see Tank on horizon, and know I have done well. Though I have not been fed for days, I know that under Tank there is food. I run across the field, not feeling mine-thing because I am used to its weight. Tank barks and spits, but I have learned not to fear it. I am grateful for what Man-With-Hat has taught me. As I dive beneath Tank, mine-thing clicks.
General Orders, 29 September 1941:
Reports from the Karachev area indicate that the 18th Panzer Division has suffered casualties due to attacks by dogs strapped with explosives. Henceforth, soldiers on the Eastern Front are ordered to shoot all dogs on sight. To avoid unnecessary concern, officers are instructed to inform those in their command of possible cases of rabies in the area.
By command of General Nehring