Oliver Hasper had gone through a very bad year. His wife left him and took the children. Broken (and broke) after the divorce, he decided to buy a dog as a companion. Not having a pet store or a dog shelter within 100 miles of his small spread in Earworm, North Dakota, he ordered a German shepherd on-line.

“I even ordered the dog express mail,” Hasper stated. “And my German shepherd was guaranteed to arrive within a week. I went to the nearest airport to pick him up. He was to be shipped in a dog-friendly kennel cage.”

Oliver was expecting a German Shepherd pup

And that’s when things went very, very wrong.


Awaiting him at the airport wasn’t the Rin-Tin-Tin pup he’d expected but a 57-year-old German shepherd named Karl Neumann.

“You can imagine my shock,” said Hasper. “I was expecting this little puppy I could pet and cuddle and I was greeted by a 57-year-old short, squat, bearded guy named Karl. He was an actual German shepherd.

“The first thing that hit me? I wasted a lot of money on dog food, chew toys and pee-pads. The next thing I did was to hide the dog collar and leash I’d brought with me. I didn’t want the guy to think I was into kinky stuff. Plus, the collar was waaay too small.”

The two men embraced, awkwardly and proceeded to Hasper’s home. “He started to screw around with my car radio and, eventually, found a station that was ‘all heavy metal – all the time.’ It was interesting. We bonded over head-banger music and, eventually, I saw that dog treats weren’t the way to go. So we went through a drive-thru restaurant and pigged-out on burgers.”

“My original plan was to get the shepherd all its shots but I didn’t know who to call: the ASPCA or the Department of Immigration. Between the two of us, we settled on a six-pack.”


Despite the awkwardness of the situation, Karl fit in on Hasper’s farm. “It’s sort of a farm/ranch,” said Hasper, “acres of wheat, some cattle. Karl is an incredibly hard worker and the cattle just love him. He plays the flute. We’ve had a couple of really bad thunderstorms lately and the cattle were getting spooked. Karl picked up his flute, started playing and the cattle calmed down immediately. He has a way with animals.”

Karl, The German Shepherd

Still Hasper knew that Karl’s presence might be illegal so he contacted the company that sent him the sheepherder. “I wound up talking to someone in New Delhi named Terrance. He promised me a refund. Instead, I was sent an ostrich. Karl named him Bik Burt and he even rides the thing.”

Frustrated, Hasper took Karl to the state capital of Bismarck to figure out what to do next. “Nobody could agree on anything. I had all the paperwork. We were bounced around from office to office, agency to agency. Outside outfits both threatened me and supported me. Lawyers offered me their services for free, once Karl played the flute for them.

“So, depending on who you talk to, I’m either a champion of the little guy or a slave owner. As long as I don’t have to pay, let them all battle it out in court. By the time they’re done I’ll be as old as Karl.”


Today, this odd couple seems to have found a winning formula. “Karl’s a great cook and we’re both trying to learn each other’s languages, mostly swear words. He plays the tuba, too. So, it looks like Earworm will have its first Oktoberfest this year,” Hasper enthuses.

“And,” Hasper adds, “it turns out he loves chew toys. You should see him with the squeaky ones. And the rawhide bones? He goes through them like there was no tomorrow. I’d call that a ‘win-win’ situation.”

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