December 31, 2014. I lost a loved one today. Hercules. We parted ways this morning. The decision to bring the suffering of a loved one to an end is never easy. I hope I did right by you Hercules because you, my furry 10 lb. canine, have taught me how to be a better human. In the simplest of ways you taught me what it means to live the good life… Enjoy the sunshine. Stop and smell the roses, or rather stop for interesting smells. Long walks are good for you. The importance of cuddling, i.e., lap time. When you’re happy to see someone you show it (whether they’ve been gone 5 minutes or 5 days). Always heed your inner explorer. Enjoy every meal as if it were your last. There is no such thing as enough kisses. Check in with those important to you to make sure they’re ok. There is nothing better than naps in the sunshine. Togetherness is everything. Sometimes obedience/discipline is over rated. When you love someone, you’ll do whatever it takes, even when it hurts. How to sit alone and ponder the wonders of the world, and how to be social amongst a group of your peers. How to be a good listener. And how to sit with someone when there just are no words. You’ve seen me at my best and my worst. We have shared six houses in two states. You belonged to someone else when we first met, you were six weeks old, but I fell in love instantly, and when you were six months old, you were given to me to look after. I hope I did ok Herc….. I tell everyone that you are the longest relationship I’ve ever had. They laugh. But on so many levels it’s true. You’ve had 5 other canine companions, Sam & Lila (R.I.P.), Sarge & Levi, and most recently Lola. All the girls were ‘L’s’ and all the boys were ‘S’s’ except for you. Hercules. You lived up to your name quite well. Always a trooper my ever faithful companion and my sidekick. 15 years we have been together, I cry alone today for you, no longer at my side. Hercules. A dog, a Taoist, an accidental mentor and best friend. You are one of a kind, I will never forget you.