Hercules went on to the Rainbow Bridge last week. I didn't know he was even sick but something happened in his system and the vets tried to save him and he just didn't make it.
I saw him about 3 weeks ago when our good friends invited us over for fondue. Hercy (as he was fondly known) let me love on him and was in good spirits, so it was a big shock to hear he left us so quickly.
I know my friends are hurting. I received a text several days after he was gone, asking if I had any good photos of him. I didn't know why they were asking. My heart sank because I had just done a huge delete on my computer due to the glut of photos I keep. I was on overload. Luckily, these photos were hidden away in a folder I hadn't dumped yet. This has caused me to take paws and give much more thought to how I preserve my takes.
Hercules taught me something very valuable that I want to share.
My friends and I have done some trading of house/dog sitting. I met Hercules when they went on an Alaskan cruise for a week. He had a thing going on with his paw that was causing him some pain. He had run a course of antibiotics and the pain had returned while I was dog sitting. He was very verbal and I had a fear that he was going to bite me. My friends assured me he wouldn't and I worked through it with him and learned to comfort him even though he was grumbling. The next time I saw him, he was less grumbly and a couple weeks ago, I don't believe he grumbled even once. People can be that way. Grumbly. Read: I haven't felt my best for about two weeks and have hardly had a nice thing to say.
What Hercy taught me is that fear is something to be worked through. I had to trust that he wasn't going to bite me when he was telling me he was hurting. I think that's the way it is with people. That's a hard thing to work through sometimes. I am a runner. I don't like conflict. You growl at me and I just want to get far away from that. I don't want to stick around to find out what that's all about.
I also learned to count dogs when I first met Hercy. Our friends had only 3 dogs for quite awhile but due to some circumstances, they took Hercy in and made it an even 4. I would drive to their house at noon to let them out and give them love. The first day of that, I got in the car to go back to work and my OCD kicked in. I couldn't remember if all of them were back in the house. It was then that I started counting dogs. I do it now at my own house because I have a straggler who likes to hide back in the corner of our lot, sniffing the ground and taking her sweet time. It's easy to forget she is outdoors if I don't count.
All the dogs in my life had taught me valuable lessons. My heart hurts for my friends and I know it will take a long time to adjust. I'll think of him when I am grumbly or I meet people who are grumbly and try to take the lesson I learned from him. And, I'll keep a good count.
Be patient. Recognize. Work through it. Don't run. Count. And, save your photos!