July 19, 2011 – October 19, 2020
I’m sitting on my front porch swing tonight, but it’s not the same. My buddy is not here with me. Hercules passed away suddenly, two mornings ago. My heart is shattered into a million pieces. I wonder about 2020. I seriously cannot take anymore.
My Hercules was the most beautiful shepherd I’ve ever owned. He was a one-of-a-kind dog. His personality matched mine to a “t”. That is the same with my daughters and their dogs as well. If you drew a line from dog to person, based on personality, we’d match up perfectly. I remember that first day when Herc chose me. He just plopped down in front of me, looking up and wagging his tail. We knew right then that we belonged together. ♥️
Hercules was a scaredy-cat at times which was quite comical, but he could turn it on when he sensed there was a threat. He was exceedingly devoted to my girls and me. He couldn’t stand it when we weren’t all in the same place. He’d go outside with me but would check frequently on the girls inside. Or, he’d pace indoors from room to room making sure we were okay. The first night without him was the first time in the seven years in this home that I felt afraid. He was our protector.
He was goofy, but yet so intuitive. He knew when I had a hard day or was sad and hurting. There’s nothing like petting a dog to make you feel better.
Herc had this issue with the name Tom Brady. We never taught him a dislike for Mr. Brady, but whenever we mentioned that name, Herc would bark loudly and jump on us. It was a curious thing, but none-the-less, pretty funny. He filled our lives with joy and made us laugh. And now, we cry.
As I remember his life, I find myself ashamed of telling him to get out of the way so often, to stop shedding, and stop the whining. I regret the extra car rides and walks we didn’t take. I regret he didn’t sleep on my bed more often. But I love the fact that he was so forgiving and always wanted to be with me. Whether it was to take the trash out on a Friday morning (he knew the day), or lying in the driveway while I cleaned my car, he would jump at the chance to be with me. And he was always with me on my front porch. I didn’t fully appreciate all that until now. And I’m so sorry I didn’t.
I cannot fathom the thought of moving on without him. And I do not want his memories to fade. That morning, my son went to dig his grave beneath a beautiful tree out back. My daughter went out to help but instead they talked. They came back into the house and asked me about cremation. I immediately broke down and said I didn’t want to leave him here when I move. They figured the same. So they took him away so I could have him back.
I never thought I was one of those people. You know…those people who cremate their dog and set them on the mantle. But it appears that I am. And I’m glad. A friend suggested that maybe I am still discovering who I am. I believe he’s right. I am still figuring out myself. I also realize that sometimes there’s a great amount of pain associated with discovery.
Herc’s bed is still on my floor at the foot of mine and a small tumble weed of hair is in the corner by my door. As upset as I always was about dog hair being everywhere, I’m leaving it. Maybe someday I’ll pick it up. But not today. I grabbed a pair of hairy socks and put them on to come out to my porch swing. I miss my boy. I just want him back. Hair and all.
My heart aches for the dog who loved me with his whole being; whose life’s duty was to love and protect us. He did his job so well.
My takeaway (again) is to appreciate every moment with loved ones (dogs included) because you just never know what day is the last.
Be grateful for the love of a dog. ♥️
Photos credits: Charlie, Mattea, and myself