This is the hardest post I’ve ever had to write. The hardest thing in the world is to lose family. Even the members that walk on four legs and are furry.
Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows that they come into your lives, sometimes young and boisterous, other times already an adult and calm, and they touch your heart in a way that no human is able to. Unfortunately, they don’t live as long as humans.
Tuesday night, my best friend, Sam, had to lose her 13 year old chocolate lab, Hershey. He lived a long, healthy, happy life, and touched the hearts of many, including me. He was a huge part of Sam and her family’s life, and even a large part of mine.
He was loving and caring, and adored his humans. There is no way this family could ever replace the hole that he once filled in their hearts.
I managed to convince Sam to write her own feelings, her own memoir, about Hershey. These next words are her’s and her’s alone.
I remember when we first got Hershey, I was probably in 6th grade. We had lucked out because my Aunt and her boyfriend at the time had found him. They were living in Center City and Hershey was already his full size, despite being a few months to a year old. They told us that he was too big for their house and wondered if we wanted him. My sister and I begged to keep him because my mom was on the fence about it. We promised to take care of him if they’d let us have him. After a bit of discussion with my stepdad, my mom said yes to keeping him and so began a long, loving relationship with one of the greatest dogs in the entire world.
Hershey was not a loud dog, unless he was barking at seemingly nothing outside the window. He also wasn’t a licker either. He was playful, loyal, and desperate to explore. I can’t even begin to count how many times that dog got out and took off. For some reason I was almost always the one to chase him throughout the neighborhood. I’m pretty sure I learned my way around thanks to him.
I have a lot of memories of Hershey but I think my favorite of him, is from the one and only year he went on vacation with us. It was the first year after we’d decided to keep him and we went on a fun trip to North Carolina. We stayed in a house with the family but we drove from Pennsylvania all the way there, with Hershey in the car. He was so curious and so alert, he was constantly up and about, looking around. When we got there, he was playful and curious as ever. It’s my favorite because it’s a true depiction of the dog that he was and will forever be in my mind.
When my mom gave me the news that Hershey wasn’t doing too good, I cried. How was I going to handle not having the dog I’d spent so much of my life growing up with? I still haven’t exactly figured out the answer to that question. Seeing him fall into one last sleep is one of the hardest moment of my entire life. I sobbed for almost two days straight and I spent as much time as I could with him until the very end. When I held his head and hugged him for the last time, my heart shattered. I think I’ll forever be putting the pieces back together from his absence.
I love you Hershey. Rest in peace. I’m glad you are no longer suffering and I hope, more than anything your spirit is free to explore everywhere, like you always wanted to do.