Picture taken by Jillian Carvo 2008
It wasn't until this morning that I realized I personally have never been around when the family pet has passed. I had a cat, Pepé, growing up and when I moved out of the house she lived on to be about 20+ years old! I was sad when she passed but not like I am now; I had been away no longer having that everyday connection with her. Brett & I had two other cats after we got married, Snuggles and Oreo, but they went to another home verses passing away so that was a different for me.
I hold a very special place in my heart for Hershey. Brett & I spoke for him and his sister Mica in early 1999 and found out the next week that we were pregnant with our first child, Alissa. I remember going to pick out the puppies; they were a beautiful litter! Brett picked out the strongest of the group, which happened to be a female (girl power!) we named Mica and I got to pick out the second dog. The runt of the litter caught my eye from the get go; he was so small and adorable! I picked him up and immediately we had a connection! He nestled into my neck and the rest was history - he was ours!
These two were my first true experience of having a dog. (Side note: There was a dog in my childhood, but he was my dad's hunting dog and in my memory he was only around for a very brief time when I was very little. Brett & I also tried to be dog owners in college and rescued a Dalmatian, Pongo. Way too much energy to be a house dog for a college student. Soon after we got him Pongo found a home with one of Brett's Aunt & Uncle's. So that connection, the family pets weren't until Mica and Hershey.) Hershey was always the snuggler and Mica always the one in charge; both thought they were lap dogs! It didn't take long for Hershey to pass Mica in size! He went from the runt to the largest of the litter; and still thought he could be a lap dog!
A few years later, we chose to separate the two dogs as Mica was being quite the bully to Hershey; food and attention were her issues with him. She might have been shorter than Hershey but she was in charge; its all in attitude. Mica went and lived with Brett's parents; her need to dominate/compete diminished and she lived a great life out on the farm. She passed a couple of years ago; her passing didn't affect me like Hershey's has...
This has been hard. Over the last 6 months or so, we have watched Hershey's quality of life decline due to age ailments. But despite his pain and discomfort, he was always happy to see us and so very loving.This last month his ailments had worsened and the time had come...we had to put him down. Oh..that just sucks. There is no nice way to write it; it hurts your heart. I find comfort in knowing that he is no longer in pain; that was hard to see too. As awful as that was, then we had to tell our girls. He has always been here; they have grown up with him in our lives. Last night was a hard night for us all....
I never understood the true heart ache of losing a family pet until now. When I would have friends and family share that they had lost a pet I expected sadness but not truly grief. I get it now. 14 years is a long time to have such a loving and loyal companion...I truly feel like a member of family has been lost.
You may wonder why I chose to write a post about a dog and share it. A few reasons - One, this blog is a part of my history; Hershey is definitely a wonderful part of my history. Two, to share with those who have been there my understanding. Three, to those who have not yet been there to make sure you extend compassion to those who are and have an idea of what someone else is going through.
We will get through this. Time will ease the pain of the loss and memories will always be with us. I'm sure that another pet will be in our future, but there will only be one Hershey. Love ya puppy!