By Reg Hernandez
Photos courtesy of Sheena Rose Pelayo
Hercules. A name from ancient mythology. A name that suggests strength. The strength that is capable of overcoming any obstacle. Actually, the 12 labors he had to go through to become immortal. Or something like that.
Basically, it’s a name that is apropos for the Shih Tzu (sire) and Japanese Spitz (dam) mixed breed owned by Sheena Rose Pelayo who placed second in Animal Scene’s 2016 My Pet’s Life competition, October edition.
As with the Greek/Roman demi-god of myth and lore, Hercules—the dog—was born with, well, challenges that would dictate his life. And the strength of character that this dog has in overcoming his disability is nothing short of amazing.
You see, Hercules was born blind. He is the “only living offspring from the litter of my furbaby named Gaea,” owner Sheena Rose Pelayo relates. This two-year-old beautiful dog “is special because not only was he born blind, he has two (2) noses.” Sheena’s family does not know how he got his disability, as his parents both do not exhibit any similar conditions.
Getting around blindly certainly can be complicated. Sheena has employed a unique device called ‘The Muffin’s Halo’ to assist Hercules in navigation. Muffin’s Halo was invented by Silvie Bordeaux (https://muffinshalo.com/muffins-story) when her toy poodle started to go blind due to cataracts. Basically, it is a sort of harness you put around your dog that gives your pet a wide ‘halo’ around the head that warns the dog that it is at a wall or door. It is thanks to this invention that Hercules does not run into fixed obstructions.
While the Muffin’s Halo certainly aids Hercules in getting around, we are familiar with the concept that, with the loss of one of our senses, the other senses are enhanced. In the case of Hercules, “I think he feels the textures of the floors, and he uses his sense of hearing, specially when he hears my voice,” Sheena explains.
In Sheena’s care are a Labrador mix (adopted), 2 Japanese Spitzes, and Hercules. They all get along fine and Hercules’ disability is never an issue. Hercules acts and behaves normally, and gets along fine with the other animals. He is “malambing and he is my alarm clock. I never considered him as a disabled furbaby, although I knew that he would need special care.”
While it is apparent that pets with disabilities elicit pity, Sheena’s family accepted Hercules “for being who he is and what he is. No special treatment, because each one of our babies is special.”
She adds, “We joined Animal Scene’s My Pet’s Life because I wanted to let other furparents or would-be furparents that having a ‘furbaby’ like Hercules is not a burden at all. He may have special needs, but I felt his overflowing love and loyalty for me. He gives my family great joy.”
In the same way that lessons can be learned from the legends of yore, Sheena shares with us that her dog Hercules “reminds us that we are connected…The only thing that we, as humans, should know is that our furbabies are not much different from us, if we give more time to understand each other’s needs and wants.”
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s July 2017 issue.