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Loving Hershey from the inside looking out

Thankfully my farmer's nonnegotiable was negotiable.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

November 22, 2022

3 Min Read
Our Hershey BarShelley E. Huguley

She was supposed to be an outside dog. Somehow over the last 12 years she became an inside dog who only went outside to use the bathroom. How did that happen? 

Hershey is our chocolate Lab. We picked her out when my Little was only 2. She's 14 now. The first day we brought Hershey home, I kept her in the house. She was too small and cute to put outside, that is until she started wetting the carpet. Not only did I have a puppy peeing on my floor but my potty-training two-year-old. I had a brief conversation with myself and decided one of them should go. 

swfp-shelley-hershey-puppy.jpgHershey during her 24-hour stay inside before making the backyard her home... temporarily.  (Photos Shelley E. Huguley)

Hershey spent the first two years watching our world from the outside looking in. When she wasn't staring at us with those big brown eyes through the living room windows, she was using the backyard as a chew toy. Anything was game, from hoses (plural) to internet wires to shoes (new or used). "You've just got to make it through the first two years," people assured. We weren't sure she would survive the next 24 hours!  

Ironically, a switch flipped at 24 months along with her urge to search and destroy. She was sweet, trustworthy, playful and protective.  

During my engagement to my farmer, he had a nonnegotiable… no dogs in the house. He said he didn't work outside in the dirt all day only to come home, shower and sit in a recliner covered in dog hair. I decided I could live with that. 

About 8 years ago, we had a snowstorm. The kids and I stood on the inside looking out as Hershey stared back blanketed by a layer of large, white snowflakes, contrasting against her chocolate coat. My farmer quickly purchased a doghouse. But in Hershey fashion, she drug the blankets into the yard and shredded them. So, I made my farmer a deal. I said if I train her to stay on the back mat just inside the door, would he be willing? He obliged.  


At first, she was only invited in during extreme weather events. But that slowly progressed to longer stays and eventually a nightly spot on the end of my son's bed!  

In November, we laid our dear Hershey to rest. Our hearts are broken. She died with a full heart and a geriatric body. Hershey was my writing partner. Daily she laid in the middle of the doorway between my office and the front door, not bothered by the fact that I had to step over her to come and go. She snored loudly as I furiously typed. She was loving, gentle and loyal. She adored the kids and respected my farmer. I think she knew she beat the odds with him. Truth is, he adored her.  


I still find myself looking and listening for her. Despite the ache, I'm thankful we got to love her from the inside looking out. We will miss her but are at peace knowing she is at rest.  

This was Hershey's favorite spot during the day while I wrote. She was with me and yet, when she wasn't snoring, could watch out the front door. I sure do miss her!  

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Farm Dogs

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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