A retired sheep dog now lives with the flock he used to protect. He used to stand against danger, willing to fight and, if need be, die for the flock.
He lived to provide for the flock’s safety and that is what drove him. Drove him to eat, drove him to sleep, drove him to fight. But now, he doesn’t go out to fight the wolves anymore.
He doesn’t stand guard at night with the other sheep dogs, watching vigilantly for the lurking enemy. Now he’s expected to live quietly among the sheep, following the commands of the shepherd, given to the flock.
Sure, there are a few other retired sheep dogs like him amongst the flock, but they mostly keep to themselves. The sheep start to get scared if the old dogs spend too much time together.
So, he spends most days alone, under the suspicious eyes of the flock, who, not understanding him, are always wary that he may pose a threat to them, despite the fact that not so long ago he would have willingly died for them.
He’s not a threat to them, but they don’t realize that. They see his scars and his sharp teeth and they are worried by them. They worry that he might snap and hurt them, so they keep their distance.
This distance causes him to isolate himself and to resent the sheep. What is his purpose now? Why is he here?
And so it is with the veteran.
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*Photo credit - Jakub Rozalski*