In early October 2001, Joe and I lost our 15 year old Cardigan Welsh Corgi to cancer. Knowing that we grieved over the loss of our good friend and family member, our daughter, Carol, found a year old Pomeranian (born Oct. 19, 2000) needing a home. The owner did not have the time and commitment to care for Hermie (Hermes) and had given him away previously to a male friend with two Jack Russells. After two months, the friend was unable to care for three high-energy dogs and Hermie was back with his first owner.
In late October 2001, I met Hermie and his owner at Good News (horse) Farm at Boyds, MD. After an interview, the owner gave Hermie to me and we rushed home to meet Joe – who was not enthusiastic about a Pomeranian. Hermie wisely greeted Joe with a boisterous, unabashed enthusiasm and jumped into Joe’s arms. The bond was made. Hermie has been with us since.
Joe and I did not initially understand the lively and independent nature of the Pomeranian. We soon learned we had a little dog that was intelligent and eager to learn but he emanated from the Northern sled dogs (Poms used to be 38 pounds). So Hermie was also a dog who first liked to please himself, was too brave and needed to be protected from himself.
Hermie also had some behavioral issues, primarily, separation anxiety. He had been taken from his mother at an Amish puppy farm at about 5 or 6 weeks old (much too young) and then was left at home alone and crated for long periods of time by his first owner.
In November 2001, the three of us attended the Silver Spring, MD Thanksgiving Day parade. There, to our wondering eyes, appeared a group of Greenbelt Dog Training dogs in parade drill. Fascinated, we accepted a brochure of classes and quickly enrolled Hermie to become as an obedient dog as we saw in the parade.
This took some time but, a year later, Hermie became a participant in these parades after training with Allie in basic and intermediate obedience classes. Hermie also participated in Allie’s demos at hospitals and nursing homes. At GDT, Hermie met dog friends and still happily interacts with some of these dogs. Hermie is also a pet therapy dog with Prince George’s County Pets on Wheels.
However, dog activities largely stopped in the Fall of 2003 when I underwent breast cancer surgery, chemo and radiation treatment from November 2003 through June 2004. It is with loving appreciation that I recall Hermie lying beside me and carefully watching me on my really bad days. On better days, Hermie would ask to play his favorite game of ball but he seemed to know his main job was being my dog therapist during those difficult days.
With recovery, we are getting back into dog activities and Hermie seems to have a “doggie” grin on his face. Joe and I have our “human” grins back, too.