I had known this moment was coming any day now; I just didn’t know how soon. I like to sleep outside and make sure no pesky little varmints enter my yard, but I was starting to move inside to my heated kennel in the garage. The leaves had begun to fall, and the air was becoming crisper every day. Yes, you guessed it. I am a dog, but I am no ordinary dog. I am Hercules, a 12-year old black lab and seasoned veteran of hunting pheasants. I had reason to believe that the pheasant opener was becoming closer each day due to the fact that my owner was walking me twice a day and taking me for runs, which must have meant that he thought I was out of shape. The years have gone by so fast, and I feel as though this may be my last opener. I remember the day when I got taken away from my siblings, and most importantly, my mother. I was so terrified to be leaving them, but at the same time, excited for this new chapter of life I was going to enter. I had always seen these big machines (which I now know are called trucks), but I had never been in one before. I was so excited to finally get inside one of them that I peed everywhere! For some odd reason, my owner seemed to be a little upset but nonetheless, continued to hold me. When we finally got to what I assumed was going to be my new home, they brought me out to the backyard, which was huge but also fenced in. There was a big outdoor kennel that was sheltered underneath the house, and it led to an indoor kennel in the garage. I noticed that there was another dog in there and of course my puppy curiosity told me to go check it out. That was not a good idea. She tried to rip my head off! Curly, a 10-year-old American Water Spaniel didn’t care for me that much right away, but she opened up to me eventually.
After I roamed around the backyard for a little while, I finally got to go inside. It was way too overwhelming and I peed all over the carpet! I continued to pee and poop all over the basement, and my owner continued to clean it up. I thought to myself, “this is awesome! At my last home when I did this, I would have to lay in it for days until it finally got cleaned up, so I made sure to take full advantage of this high quality service. However, after a few days of constantly doing this, my owner began to raise his voice and say, “No!” as he put my nose right into the pile of waste I just left. I started to realize that maybe this cleaning service wasn’t going to continue and I should probably wait and go outside. I got to sleep in my kennel in the basement for a few weeks and man…those were some of the longest nights I’ve had. I would wake up scared, wondering where all my siblings were and then I’d start whining until someone in the house came down to comfort me. After about three weeks, I moved to the outdoor kennel and got to sleep with my big sister. I think this is the point where she finally accepted me to being part of the family. This was also about the time I realized that my name was Hercules, although they often called me Herc for short. I wonder if it was after the famous dog in the movie Sandlot, but I guess I’ll never know.
When I think back to some of my favorite and not so favorite memories, one that comes to mind is my first trip in my owner’s new truck. I can’t exactly remember where we went, but for some reason he left me in the back seat all by myself. At this time my teeth were growing rapidly and I liked to chew on anything I could get my teeth on. I roamed around in the back seat of the cab but couldn’t find any objects that would satisfy my desire. So instead, I decided to chew on the corner of the cup holder in the car door. Man that tasted good! It was brand new leather and satisfied my teething sensations perfectly! But in the end, it wasn’t worth it. As soon as my owner took notice of this, I decided to stick to chewing on my bones and other toys that I got specifically for that purpose. That’s one of the coolest things about