Monday, May 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Hero, You are Missed.

On February 11, 2013, we said goodbye to Hero, the second guide dog puppy I raised. Yesterday would have been his 15th birthday.

Hero and I, the day I picked him up from Guide Dogs' kennels. I was 15, he was 10.5 weeks old
Hero was fully trained as a Guide Dog but started having trouble while he was waiting to be matched with a visually impaired partner. He would quit in the middle of his training routes, wouldn't respond to commands. He made up his mind and he didn't want to be a guide dog, he wanted to be our dog.

Close up of Hero's face as he eats a conversation heart that says "My Hero"
Little did we know we needed Hero more than ever. Just a year after Hero came home to us, my father was diagnosed with Cancer. The whole time my dad was sick, Hero stayed by my Dad's side. When my Dad died, Hero remained our constant through sad, scary, and challenging times. There are no words to adequately describe how much I owe to Hero and how much my family loved him.

My Hero with his sad face on
Over the last few years we watched him grow older, his hips gave out more and more, he panted a lot, but he was a happy boy, even until his last moments. As strange as it sounds, I miss helping him get up when he lost his old-man balance. I always felt like he did the exact same thing for me after my dad died. He was always there for me when I needed help and I was honored to pay him back.

Hero at 13, looking out the front door of the house
We miss you Hero. We are so, so, so glad you didn't want to be a guide dog.

13 year old Hero basking in the late afternoon sunshine at the house.


  1. I absolutely know what is in your heart. Hero was, and is, to your mind and heart as oxygen is to your body. Hero, I'm sure was and is the motivation and strength you needed to get over the many too high hills. My Douglas, golden, was and is that way. He is my beating heart, then and now. I can't let him go - nor will I ever. He stayed by me when I needed him. I'll not forsake him now that he is memory. Bless you and Hero.

  2. Awwww, that's such a beautiful tribute to a real hero! He definitely lived up to his name.

  3. What an incredible homage to your wonderful Hero. Thank you for sharing him with us.

  4. Aw. Happy belated birthday Hero. :') That's a very nice tribute, and I'm sorry I'm reading it after such a long time.

    Anyway, since you're following my blog, I thought I should inform you that I've changed its link: It's no longer called the Green Cheese. If you have any trouble viewing it in your browser or in your "Following" list, please let me know!

    Have a great day!

  5. Those are incredibly evocative and beautiful photos of Hero. I hope you have them framed. What a special dog he was.

  6. I'm several months late, but I just saw this post, Mandy. Such a great post and fabulous photos! I love the one with the conversation heart. 15 years is a huge gift, although I'm sure it makes the loss even greater. I'll always think of Hero as Mr. Big Neck, after you sent me the photo of him wearing one of my collars. Hugs to you, Mimi and Cabana