A/N: I don't own Hogan's Heroes and I don't get paid for this; it is truly a labor of love.
The humble cottage kitchen was quiet, except for the crackling of a small fire in the woodstove. The elderly man seated at the table cleared his throat, and the woman standing by the woodstove turned to cast a sharp glance at him. She made a show of putting the teakettle on the top of the stove, and then looked over her shoulder at the half-grown German shepherd shivering on the flagged stone floor.
"You found another waif, Oskar?" she asked.
"Ja." The man bending over the dog straightened. "But this one is different, Maria."
"Is it?" Maria walked over to them and peered at the young dog, who was still gawky in his adolescence. "So many pets were left behind by our friends and neighbors, ever since Kristallnacht. But that was some time ago. Where did you find this one?"
The man's voice hardened. "I was called in to treat one of the dogs at the training school for die Diensthunde near Frankfurt."
Maria said quietly, "Frankfurt? That's a long drive."
"Ja. But I wanted to get a look at the place. I needed to know what is going on."
The elderly man at the table spoke up. "You gave up breeding dogs when you saw which way the wind was blowing, boy. What can you do about it now?"
Oskar shook his grizzled head. "I do not know yet. But I must do something. The dogs at the training school—they are being trained as killers, Father."
The elderly man looked down at his trembling hands as he tried to fill his pipe, and said nothing. Maria stepped back from the dog in alarm.
"You have brought a killer into our house?"
"No, no," Oskar assured her. "I brought him home to treat his torn paw, but his handlers are not pleased with his performance so far; they told me to destroy him if his paw will not fully heal. Apparently he is not properly obedient, and is aggressive toward his handlers. They do not want to spend excessive time training a dog who will not react as they wish."
He crouched down again beside the dog and looked him over with a gentle thoroughness. The dog held himself very still, allowing the expert hands to feel his joints and then carefully lift the affected paw.
"He is thin; too thin," the man murmured. "Perhaps the injured paw put him off his feed. Or perhaps he is still grieving."
"Grieving, Oskar?" Curious, Maria approached the dog again.
"Ja. He was found in an empty house by the local police. The occupants of the house had been taken away by the Gestapo: a man, his wife, and a child. When the policeman realized that he was a purebred German shepherd, he took him to the training school."
The dog looked up at him, and although Oskar did not know it, there were tears in the creature's eyes.
Casting her fear aside, Maria knelt by the dog and put her arms around his neck. "Oh, the poor boy, to have his family taken away! We must not let him go back to the training school."
"We won't," said Oskar. "How sad it is that his paw will never heal properly, and that I will have to destroy him."
The dog looked at him sharply, but realized that the man's tone belied his words.
The elderly man cackled. "Well done, boy! But what do you really plan to do with this fellow?"
Oskar rubbed his chin. "They are building a camp near Hammelburg, a prisoner of war camp, it is said. It is going to be very large, and a smaller satellite camp is to be built nearby. I think perhaps this smaller camp will be needing guard dogs."
Maria protested, eyeing her husband with doubt. "But, Oskar..."
"Very special guard dogs, Maria."
The elderly man nodded. "Good idea, Oskar. I know that you were looking for a way to take part in the Resistance."
Maria turned on him. "Hush, Father! Do you want the Gestapo to find us too?"
The old man's eyes gleamed, but he subsided into silence.
Oskar smiled with grim satisfaction. "Ja, perhaps we can rescue a few more like this one. And I think I will be getting back into the dog-breeding business. What do you think, Maria?"
Maria sighed, accepting the inevitable. "I think perhaps we are all mad. But what do you want me to do for this one's paw?"
"Warm soaks twice a day for a week should take care of it; it is only a minor infection."
His wife stroked the young dog's head and looked into the sad brown eyes. "What is his name, Oskar?"
"His call name is Wolf."
"Wolf?" Maria wrinkled her nose. "No. I will call him Wolfgang; it sounds friendlier."
Wolfgang approved of this; it wasn't the name his boy had given him, but at least it was given with care and concern. He licked Maria's cheek and was rewarded with a delighted laugh. Then he looked up into Oskar Schnitzer's kind face and he resolved that whatever this man wanted him to do, he would do. Whatever this Resistance was, he would do his part.
But he would never forget the family he had lost.