Out of one tragedy came inspiration....
Sher-Mi's Your My Hero became the model for the Labrador Life Line logo you see today. Some of those who knew and loved Hero became the first board members for LLL. Here is Hero's story.
Sher-Mi's You're My Hero, CGC, CD
A Tribute From A Friend
A Dog They Never Met A Graybeard and Yellow Dog Story
Graybeard stared in disbelief at the computer screen. He turned his head away and glanced down at the yellow Labrador Retriever curled up in her bed beside his desk. He grimaced and looked again at the computer screen. It was bad news.
The old man clipped the dogs harness into the seat belt and backed their truck out of the garage. On most days Yellow Dog would be excited about a ride in the truck. But today something was wrong. Graybeard was strangely silent and he kept dabbing at his eyes with the cuff of his shirt. Something bad was bothering Graybeard. Yellow dog stretched out on the seat and rested her head in his lap.
When he bent down to attach the leash to Yellow Dogs collar she gave him several quick kisses. Her kisses always made him smile. Not today! He patted her gently on the head. They walked silently through the heavy sand towards the ocean. Dune grass rustled in the wind. The rush and roar of the surf grew louder as the pair emerged from the dunes and onto the wide expanse of beach. Graybeard stopped and looked up and down. Yellow Dog sat at his side. They were alone. The coast was clear. He released her.
A furious exhibition of butt tucking complete with flying sand failed to cheer Graybeard. Yellow Dog trotted to the place where he sat in the sand. His back rested on a gray driftwood log. His eyes scowled at the ocean. Yellow Dog approached warily. Had she done something wrong? What was it? What made him so sad and angry looking? She sat at his side and rested her chin on his shoulder. Whats wrong Graybeard? her gentle brown eyes asked. Graybeard looked at his dog and stroked her head. Whatever it was that bothered him wasnt her fault. Her tail wagged happily and brushed sand from side to side..
The old man with the graybeard gathered the yellow dog in his arms and buried his face in the soft fur on the back of her neck. He rocked back and forth and hugged her tightly. Yellow Dog, I have some bad news, he sighed. He swallowed hard and drew in a slow deep breath. Today a friend of ours went to the Rainbow Bridge. We never met him, but we have pictures of him in your photo album. We never met his human either. But we know them. We met them on the LABSR4U e-mail list. Weve known them since the two of you were puppies. We watched him grow up in the pictures she sent us. We told them about you and they told us about him. We got excited when he learned to swim and envious when he got his CGC. We bragged to them when you retrieved your first bird and we even bragged when you failed your first hunt test. Stories about him and his pictures always made us smile. But today something very bad happened to him. He ran into the street and was hit by a car. He was paralyzed and had to be put to down. She didnt understand the words, but she knew their meaning. Her human was sad and anxious. She would be very still while he hugged her.
From high above, a soaring gull looked down and saw an old man and his dog mourning the passing of Sher-Mi You Are My Hero, a dog they loved, a dog they never met, a dog named Hero.
John and Chamois, July 19, 1999
Graybeard and Yellow Dog are fictional characters
loosely based on the events surrounding the life of John Arrington and his crack research
assistant; a yellow Labrador Retriever named Chamois.
... and on the Other Coast ... (for Cathy)
.... and on the other coast, nearby the cold Atlantic, the Tall Man sat down to his computer mail. He was still giddy from a week in the Caribbean and in high spirits, eager to catch up with friends and read the messages waiting for him. The big yellow dog settled near his feet as the man began his task and then startled, as the man shouted out, "Oh, No!" at the words upon his screen.
The big dog stood and put his head against the man's knee and looked worried when the man touched him softly on his head.
The Tall Man read message after message about the injured dog and muttered a clumsy prayer that he hoped would be in time, but of course, was not.
The dog sat quite still as the man remembered a picture of a young and pretty girl and a SUV that was stuck somewhere. As he remembered a photo of a very muddy dog that made so many people smile. As he remembered how much everyone had shared the love this girl had given and gotten from her companions, her friends.
Together, the tall man and the big dog, who looked so much like the fallen Hero, sat and read the messages of hope and then the messages of sorrow and grief and pain. Together they read the beautiful tribute from an Old Man and an old friend and his yellow girl. They viewed the special pictures others had done and the special page of tribute that was done just that day.
Together, the Tall man and the Big Dog sat for a long, long while, in silence.
"Be a good dog, Caleb," the man finally said. "Be a Hero."
Walt and Caleb 7/20/99
Mary Lynn's Poem
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