My Beloved Hermes transitioned on September 28, 2021, the following is his story. I have included Chewy Bear as well. They both were magnificent creatures. This story may change over time. Many wonderful thoughts of events keep popping into my head.
Many are aware that Hermes is my long-time friend and companion. He was that and so much more to me. I have never in my life cared for another sentient being as much as I have for this very special dog. He has been with me through thick and thin. He was around five years old when I first met him. He was somewhere around twenty years old when he transitioned. I am just not sure. His health has been on the decline. When his buddy Chewy Bear transitioned on Mothers Day Twenty Twenty-One. He started deteriorating rapidly. He was very cognitive and aware of his surroundings. I feel that his hips were blown and he didn't have the strength to stand up on his own toward the end. Often I needed to come over and lift him up by his belly and backside of his legs to a standing position. He could walk, but you could tell after a few blocks that it started to bother him a bit.
Many years ago I was in terrible shape physically and mentally. In a chat one day with a friend online, I mentioned that I was looking for a white Shepherd mix. He lived on a farm and was the type of person who tended to rescue animals in dire situations. Hermes was scheduled to be put down at the Sauk Country Humane Society. He just was not finding the right person as a good fit. He was severely underweight at the time. You could see his rib cage. My friend was looking for a better placement for him. Hermes was kind of naughty on the farm and would go after some of the livestock, the show chickens in particular.
At that time I was primarily wheelchair dependent, or I used a walker for short distances. I had hoped to find a dog that I could train that would become my service dog. I placed a post on social media that I was looking for a ride to the farm to interview the dog and see if he was a good fit for me. A fellow Marine Corps Veteran stepped up and picked me up. Drove me to the farm, and back home. He would not accept gas money from me at all.
Hermes the naughty boy that he was was tied up to the back steps. He had just gotten sprayed by a skunk. My friend had to give him a bath before we showed up. We had pulled into the driveway and there was my angel. Sitting there almost as if he was waiting for me. We bonded instantly. It was amazing. I asked him if he wanted to go. He popped up and was ready to hop into the truck.
This dog saved my life. He healed me so much on my journey. Often when I looked at him. He had his eyes fixed on me. Forever vigilant making sure that I was ok. He pulled my wheelchair willingly all over the city and learned commands quickly. He knew his directions and variations of directions. All very important things to know when maneuvering through traffic and gatherings of people. Once when we walked out of the church. I dropped the leash onto his back so he could walk free. I said, "turn to the left." He immediately did a ninety-degree turn to the left. a friend Suzann was watching and was flabbergasted. "really? he knows his directions?" "o yes," I said.
Before I met Hermes, my life was a wreck. I was dealing with a severe PTSD flare-up. There were constant daymares and nightmares. I would break out in terrible body sweats and fevers too. I checked into the V.A. Hospital Psych ward three times. I was not well. Hermes helped me so much. Now that he has passed I am experiencing flare-ups more and more every day.
Every dog I train has commands specific to the canine in training. The reason for this is vital. If I am around another dog owner and they give commands to their dog. He would not recognize such language to be for him. I also develop a very specific whistle, and clicks and clack sound with my teeth to give them various information.
When we first had gotten together. Because he is a husky shepherd mix. He just had a desire to burn off a lot of energy and steam. He would get away from me often when we first started working together. Some informed me that training this dog would be impossible. Should have put money on that. Insert naughty smiley face emoji here. He had tags, with my cell phone number on them. Very glad I set that up. People have called me a few times to get him back with me.
One day this bright shining beautiful boy decided to go on a journey. I could not find him in the regent street area. So I gave my specific whistle as he was not responding to my voice calling out his name. He heard the whistle and popped out from between two buildings a good two thousand feet away. I gave the hand gesture to lay down. He laid down right there until I was able to get to him and put his leash on. Yes, I even have hand sign signals for him. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Hermes was a naughty angel at times. This is very true. But what also is true. Over time he realized that he isn’t going to win with that behavior and that my persistent training had gotten him to become in tune with me. Toward the end, I rarely had to give him commands. He just knew what I was needing from him and followed suit.
One day at Unity of Madison Church. A long-time friend named Joe D. was sitting on the platform plucking notes on his guitar. Hermes started mimicking the notes in the key being played. Joe picked up on it and dueling human and dog began. The church was rolling in laughter. Quite often Hermes would feel the spirit moving during congregational songs and start singing with everyone. He loved to sing. The church was just as much his people, as they were mine. As we would often get rides to services from people. He would recognize landmarks on the journey. Often singing in the car the closer we got to the church. When we would get to the church parking lot. Then he was super excited, he was with his people.
He would often sit with me when I was performing on platforms. Just very content to be with his dad. Once in a while he would show off and join in with me while performing. He seemed to feed on the response from the crowd.
Hermes, Chewy Bear, and I were living in a motor home RV camper. We had just lost the building that we lived in. It was where I operated the independent TV Studio Red Dragon TV. The building had been sold. There really were no other options for us at the time. Madison's affordable housing was at less than one percent vacancy. I had come across a free pets clinic. The three of us attended the event. Hermes had developed a tumor that was slightly bigger than a softball on the side of his neck. The dog Clinic was run by Wiscares. They gave my boys physicals and vaccinated them all for free. Then I met with a Wiscares doctor who informed me that they would take care of Hermes and Chewy for free during our homeless situation. They Operated on Hermes and removed the Tumor. It basically was hanging like a huge sack off of his neck. all they had to do was snip the narrow end of the balloon off and this very proud dog was so happy after that. Dear reader, please consider supporting Wiscares. They have done a lot of surgeries for my fur babies. It would have cost me thousands of dollars that I just did not have.
My beautiful boy has what is called Bi-Eye. He has one blue and one brown eye. In some Indigenous American Tribes, they are called Spirit Dogs. Because the mystical equation is that these dogs are special and live in two different worlds. one being the Spirit Realm, the other being the mundane physical world.
I had retired him a couple of years ago from service. I felt that he deserved time off for good behavior. He was slowing down quite a bit at that point. When I had first got him. I was dealing with severe PTSD anxiety-related issues. I could not go in public without being terrible nervous almost agoraphobic at times. Hermes helped me on that journey. He grounded me when I stepped out the door to accomplish various things. Hermes was an amazing being.
Once when I was camping on a farm near Dodgeville during one of my Homeless time periods. Hermes and Chewy Bear were a good three thousand feet away. I would give them a specific whistle and they would look. I would give them a hand gesture in which direction to go. Then I gave them the come-back whistle. They came running right to me and sat down at my feet. One of the other guys who were also homeless and living on that farm was amazed at the communication we had. He had never seen anyone command husky Mixes from so far away.
Chewy Bear Transitioned Mothers Day 2021
Chewy Bear was a beautiful bright loving and protective boy. When I would have a PTSD flare up and get super upset. This wonderful healer figured it out on his own. To come to me and stick his forehead into the side of my leg until I would come down. Once when we were living in a pop-up camper trailer. I had not secured the flaps on the slide-outs. The boys would sleep on one side and I on the other slide out. We had a campsite at White Mounds Sauk County Park. Chewy Bear must have rolled over and fallen out between the flap and the slide-out. I woke up from a nap only to discover that only Hermes was on the other end. I panicked. Both Chewy and Hermes were husky mixes. That dog could be anywhere! I opened the camper door only to discover Chewy bear curled up at the foot of the step to the camper. Just waiting patiently for me to come and get him. He was extremely protective too. Just was not having any other dog get near me. Once a Pit Bull had come charging at me. I am quite sure it was going to bite me too. Chewy Bear got right between us and took that Pit Bull down. It got up and bolted in the other direction.
On October First Twenty-Twenty, after feeding homeless people at the park all day. I had managed to start my apartment on fire. I took some rotting food to the dumpster. The fire alarm went off before I got back to the elevator. I got upstairs and smoke was coming out of my apartment. There were flames coming from the kitchen. I had accidentally set a box on the stove. I was so tired and not thinking. I didn't even think twice after calling the dogs and they did not come. I went in, could not see a thing. I started crawling around and found Hermes, I led him out. someone in the hallway took him, I went back in and found Chewy Bear trapped in his kennel. Hermes must have knocked a chair over and it was blocking his ability to get out. I led him outside of the building. Marines never leave their family behind. It wasn't even an option. I had lost pretty much everything that I owned that day. But I still had what was most important. My Chewy Bear and Hermes.
After chewy bear passed on mothers day. I let Hermes know that he would get all the love until it was his time to depart. I felt like Hermes’ body just could not take much more and he would not be able to walk much longer.
We tried some medications for Hermes. He was slightly responsive to them for a few days. Unfortunately, he transitioned at around 9:30 PM on September 28, 2021. He went peacefully looking into my eyes as I laid on the floor in front of him. he was on a blanket with a pillow under his head. He left me as I lay on the floor with him letting him know how incredible he was and that I would be ok. That it was time for him to just let go. He let out a sigh and was gone. I hope that Chewy Bear has come and got him and lead him to wherever it is that they go.
Hermes And Chewy Bear
Thank you, Chewy and Hermes, my loyal friends, companions, and awesome helpers.
Chewy Bear and Hermes were my bright lights as I traveled through various time periods of the dark night of the soul. They were my rock whenever I felt sad, frustrated, lonely. I am so grateful for these wonderful creatures that had unconditional love for someone who didn't always love himself.
I am looking around to see if there is a new furry friend to add to my life. This has been so painful, my PTSD and anxiety have been going up quite a bit. On the one-week anniversary of his passing. I woke up pretty mad that I have not transitioned. That I had to face another day without my friends. The loneliness in my place is too much at times. I am finding the rehoming fees to be quite high and unreachable on my own. If you would like to help there are more details about that here. Also, my Donations page is a quick way to help electronically. If you are old school I can provide a snail mail address.
Document Updated October 09, 2021 By AJ White-Wolf