She was a beautiful little puppy; very fuzzy, a black coat with creamy paws. Little white eyebrows give her face great expression. When she walked away from you, she presented a snowy white bum under her tail. Her markings were distinctive and eye-catching. But, what to name her? The family wanted "Blackie", "Shadow", "Midnight"..... When I looked at her, she was unique and special and needed a name to match. At first "Murphy" seemed right. Then "Baby Ruth" or "Hershey Bar".

That year winter came early. Nebraska winters are notoriously COLD. Bitter cold winds and little snow. The winter of '83 the snow fell in November followed by frigid cold. Record low temps for the month of December made Alaska look like a balmy island. It was during this time that I was house training her. I don't know if it was my frantic calls to her in the middle of the night trying to get her in out of the cold or just the fact that she liked the name. After several different attempts at picking her name, two days after we met she was "Hershey Bar".

Through the years she would answer to many different versions: Hershel, Little Miss Wilde, Meister (not sure where that one came from), Hersh....and many others. Mostly I called her Hershey Puppy. No matter how old she got, she was always my "puppy".

It's always amazes me how fast a puppy grows. They never seem to stay in that adorable fluffy stage very long. They are so cute, yet that stage is over within a few short months.

We had Susie and Heidi at the time. Both were small dogs. Susie was almost 16 years old...already pretty much confined to the kitchen. Heidi, however, was at just about the right age to give Hershey the companionship and guidance she needed. Heidi was a Dachshund mixed with long legs. It wasn't too long before little Hershey was towering over her.

The winter was long and cold. This didn't seem to bother Hershey, she seemed to thrive on it. Christmas came quickly. What a joy she was to have during that first holiday. It was her first Christmas and we made sure that she had plenty of presents. The months passed and she continued to grow with lightning speed.

The first several nights I had trouble keeping track of her. I had her in a box beside my bed. She would cry....afraid to be alone (her litter had 10 other pups). Wanting to comfort her and show her that all was safe, I would lift her up on the bed so she could snuggle and settle down. Unfortunately, the bed wasn't that big. Sometime during the first night, she fell off the side of the bed. The wrong side. She fell between the wall and the bed. We had to do some quick adjustments to make that safe for her.

The next night, again I lifted her up on the bed when she began to cry. This time the bed was pushed up against the wall, so that side was secure. Late into the night I was awakened to her cries. I looked and looked, but could not find her. Finally, I looked at the foot of the bed. She had fallen into the closest (just inches from the foot of the bed, covered with a drape). When I pushed the curtain aside, there she sat, looking up at me…begging to be saved.

Maybe it was because those first couple of times, maybe not. Hershey would never sleep in bed with me again. She loved to sleep on any bed she could get up on. However, when you would get on the bed with her, she would only cuddle for a little bit, and then leave.

During the day, Hershey was usually left home alone in the house while we were at work. She didn’t seem to mind. In several places where we lived, she had her designated spot on the bed in front of the window. There she could look out at the world around her.

Hershey always had this uncanny knack for knowing what time it was. In the morning she would wake us up just before the alarm. At night, she knew when we were coming home. She also knew when it was the weekend. Because on the weekend, she was part of the plan. No sleeping in on those days….Hershey was always ready to get going.

When Tyree met Hershey, she was almost six months old. She wasn't quite full grown size, but she wasn't very small. Her ears were just beginning to stand up. One was straight up and one continued to point toward center. She was getting taller. Her coat was just beginning to show signs of being full. At this point we still weren't aware that her final look would have very long hair and flowing feathers on her legs.

It wasn't very long before Tyree, too, fell under her spell. Whenever possible, Hershey was always included in our adventures. Meeting Tyree brought great adventure in both of our lives. Tyree had a passion for skydiving. This brought both me and Hershey out to join in the fun....from the ground, of course.

By that fall, Tyree married us both. By that time there wasn't much choice for him, we were a package deal. The joke over the years was that he married me in order to get Hershey. She always had that way with people…constantly winning over new hearts. Tyree always said she was “mommy’s girl”. To tell the truth, she loved us both so much that if we were apart, she missed who was ever gone the most.


From the moment I got her, I wanted to be sure to train Hershey to be a very good dog. Right away we accomplished sit and stay. "No" almost became her middle name. She was always so easy to train. She was very easy to scold and want to please. It didn't take very long to see that she was so very smart. She was constantly learning....even when we weren't aware we were teaching her.

One of her best lessons was about the street. Somewhere along the way she caught on that it was a bad thing to go into the street. She could be at a dead run after a ball and stop at the curb as the ball rolled down the street. The fact that she could recognize all different types of "streets" always amazed me. One time was at a softball game and were playing ball with her. One of the guys threw the ball from home plate across second. Hershey watched the ball, but would not go after it.....the base lines were streets. Go figure.

When we moved to Flagstaff, the street rule became even more important. The yard is very mixed terrain and Hershey (being almost 15 years old when we got there) spent most of her time out the front. She knew her boundaries very well and would not leave her yard. She did enjoy greeting all passersby and would get all four feet up on the curb as she barked, but she would not get off on the street. The neighbors even thought she had an invisible fence. Up to her very last day she new the rule...she never left the curb.

Boundaries were another great rule. Whenever the need would arise, all you would have to do is show her where the boundary was....usually just be calling her back when she reached it....and she would figure it out. Sometimes it was pretty amazing that she did figure it out. When we lived in Florida the boundary in the yard was not very clear. It wasn't a definite line like a street or something. It was an area in the grass between our property and the neighbor's. There might have been a tree at one end. She always seemed to know. I remember once I saw her at the line barking at a cat in the other yard. There might as well have been a fence up....she did not cross the line.

On her first Christmas, Hershey received lots of new toys. By that time, she had discovered her passion for BALL. She always loved to play. Heidi-Bear taught her that ball was a great habit to get into. From that moment on, any toy, especially a ball, was a must-have.

Whenever we would go out for the day, you can be sure that at least one game of ball was involved. If we would ever forget to have one in the car, you can be sure that it was time to get creative. Several times Tyree could be found looking through the trunk of the car, trying to find something to turn into a ball while Hershey stood by trying to be patient.....waiting for a game. An old glove and some duct tape....instant ball. She didn't care; as long as it would fly through the air...she would catch it.

Hershey would play ball until you had to make her take a "time out". It was her passion from the moment she figured out the game until her legs were too old to let her play for long. Even during her last year, when the arthritis was slowing her down, she would dig out a ball from the toybox and take several trips down the hall, bounding like she was years younger than she was.

The toy box continued to grow. Before you know it there were more than it could hold. Whenever we would have company, she would continue to bring out her toys, showing them off one by one. Before you know it, she would have the entire box of toys on display. She thought people came over to visit just to see her and play ball.




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