Story and photo by Maryann
Today was Herschel’s last day. He came to us in a giant cloud of orange fur, all nervous energy. He was the last dog at the shelter two days before Christmas. We have called him our early Christmas present since. He left us on our back porch (thankfully country vets make house calls), watching his domain, the yard he had protected for twelve years. No mouse, cat, fox, coyote, deer or bear passed by our backyard without a good talking to by our Herschel. Or at least Herschel thought he saw and reported out on them all.
Herschel took some time to trust that this was his forever home. He snarled and growled and scared our friends, and me too. He guarded food and couldn’t have anyone near him during sleep times.
But, he learned to trust. His snarls were met with whispers of love and gentle hands and over time he stopped the growls and snaps and became, well, Herschel.
Herschel who took wanders not walks;
Herschel who couldn’t see the rabbit escaping between his legs but could find a pork chop bone on the mountain after the winter thaw;
Herschel who knew the shortest way to every compost pile in the neighborhood; Herschel who whined, because he missed you when you went to the bathroom;
Herschel who loved to play at the beach;
Herschel who knew how to make a bed for himself anywhere–the back of the car, the flower patch the hard floor;
Herschel who always answered yes to the question “Do you want to go for a ride?”
Herschel who was happy just to have found his forever home.
He didn’t have any special talents.
He was just Herschel and I am grateful for all he brought to our family.
He was handsome, he was happy, he was devoted to Michael, and he will be missed.
Fare thee well our Herschel honey.