It was September of 1995 when my good friend Marsha took me to a home on Macland Rd. where a Boxer named Peaches had delivered a litter of, I believe, 13 pups. I was thinking that a brown traditional Boxer would be a good fit for me. This litter had all brown & brindle pups except for two white ones. One of the white ones had a brown spot right on the top of his he’d and he was taken. His new owners named him Andy and the other white pup was solid white with 1 light blue eye and 1 dark blue eye. This one kept trying to untie my shoe and every time I’d place him back with the other pups he would come right back to me. Marsha said, “You’re taking that one!” — and I told her that I wanted a brown one. After the pup insisted on getting my attention Marsha concluded that the search was over and basically demanded that the white one was going home with me. Marsha made a decision for me that would change my life. She found me my very best friend in the world and I’m so grateful to her for that. I named him Herschel after my all-time favorite football player Herschel Walker.
For the next 12-½ years I had a companion to which no other could compare. I think he took more care of me than I did of him. Herschel was special and he left a positive impact on everyone he encountered. You could not be greeted by Herschel and not smile. He was as strong and athletic as any dog I’ve ever known and could run like a deer but at the same time he was one of the most gentle creatures that God ever created.
As Herschel’s body began to grow his ears seemed to grow even faster. They were disproportionate to the rest of his body. They were huge. I was kind of young and stupid and had considered having them cropped. My mother told me that she would disown me if I even considered it so his ears were saved by my much wiser and intelligent mother (Herschel’s grandmother). I’m thankful for her ultimatum because after a lifetime of encounters with others and the many comments about his ears they should have a place in the Smithsonian Institute.
Hershey had so much personality and one of his traits was to tilt his he’d to the side when he was comprehending what I was saying. The first time I noticed this was when I asked him Do you want to go to Gayle’s? — (My sister) He would tilt his head and start literally bouncing back & forth across the room while singing as well. He loved to go to Gordon & Gayle’s because he could run through the pasture and creek and do everything an active kid likes to do. Gordon would wrestle with him extra hard and I don’t know who would enjoy it more.
My brother-in-law Billy once was watching him run across my parents backyard and he commented That’s a good looking dog. I remember feeling proud as if Herschel was my own offspring. 12-½ years later I felt no different.
One night when he was about 2 years old I thought I was going to lose him. I came home and found him beet red along with an empty box of Sudafed with empty packets on the kitchen floor. he’d individually popped out each pill and ate them all. I drove 90mph all the way to the pet emergency hospital in Marietta where they pumped his stomach and saved his life. Another time he and I got separated at dusk after a long walk in the woods and I finally found him hours later in the dark exhausted sitting and waiting for me at our original starting point.
Hersch, being so active his entire life, had to have a few surgeries to repair physical injuries. His most recent was just last year on his left shoulder. It was preformed by Dr. David Filer. Dr. Filer took exceptional care of Herschel and told me that aquatic rehab would be the best form of exercise. It would be difficult for me to drive him all the way to Roswell so I decided that we’d start going to the Etowah river. As active as Herschel was he could not even dog paddle up until last summer. Not only did he teach himself how to swim for the first time when he was 11 years old but he loved it and it helped his shoulder tremendously. I loved it too. Until one day when we ignored the dam’s horn and almost got washed away. We learned to get out of the river when the alarm would sound after that. The river became our favorite spot and we spent many days there.
We’ve had some great times together. I can’t imagine how many miles we’ve walked just he and I. Many times around downtown Dallas, Cheatham Hill, Little Kennesaw, Big Kennesaw once, Vineyard Mountain, Piedmont Park, and even Buckhead. We had our favorite trails that we would wear out and we rode many miles together in his truck.
He was a very special boy and he made me smile at least once every single day for the 12-½ years that we shared together. I will miss him dearly.
There were too many great days in Herschel’s life for me to spend too much time on the bad but as everyone knows Herschel passed away last week and my life will not be the same without him but it was and will be better because of him.
There are so many people in his life that he impacted and was impacted by that I will always be grateful for their kindness. I may not remember to include them all so please forgive me if I forget you for there are just so many.
Thank you to:
East Paulding Animal Hospital- For all your personal care until the end. I knew that he was always getting the best care from you all and I’m so grateful. He loved coming to see you guys.
Shannon- For being so good to him that we followed you to EP Animal Hospital.
Dr. David Filer- For your perfection of what you did to keep him as young & healthy as possible being sensitive all along.
Marsha- Without you I would’ve missed out on the best companion ever. Thank you for bossing me around that day. That day lead to 12-½ years of true companionship between 2 creatures that sincerely cared about each other.
Trey & Family- For many good times and for taking care of him when I had to go out of town. I could always depend on you. He loved Taylor.
Army & Andrew- For acknowledging that he was not just a dog but my boy and letting him always come along. Andrew- For loving him and treating him like he was your own.
Rolin & Denise- For always inviting him into your home even though Dilly & Breezy would have liked otherwise, Rolin- Just for hanging out with him for all those years laughing at him constantly.
Mark & Family- For inviting him and making him feel welcome into your home and taking care of him whenever I would ask.
Troy & Family- you’ve known him right from birth. Thanks for letting him be the only dog allowed to come into your home.
Gordon, Gayle, & Boys- For letting him really be himself and giving him full and free access to come over and run and act wind anytime he wanted to, for taking care of him when I was gone, and for treating him so special.
Katrina- For taking such good care of him in his last days, comforting him around the clock, and making me feel at ease that he was in good hands when I was so far away.
Angie- For letting him sit on the sofa with the other kids and pretty much do whatever he wanted to.
Roosevelt- For Keeping him company while my Dad was sick.
James- For being so personable with him while you were here. I remember when you said that he was standing by your bed staring at you when you woke up ready to get your attention.
Pet Dreams Memorial Center – For treating his body with such care and for doing more to make me feel comfortable than I could have ever wished for during one of the most difficult times of my life. You are a pet lover’s dream.
I’m Thankful to you all!