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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Corum

A MAGGIE TALE - Herkle Mania

I’ve never been one to collect stuffed animals. Can’t say why, exactly. Might be that I’m still scarred by my childhood woolen bear giving me hives. Lord knows. But the instant I glanced into the gift bag and caught sight of Herkle’s gorgeous peepers looking up at me, I was putty. Those eyes! They delved into the depths of my soul. Why, I hardly noticed his gangly spider-monkey arms and legs as I reverently lifted him from the folds of tissue paper and hugged him close. He wasn’t just any-old stuffed animal, he was stuffed animal par excellence.

Maggie loved him too. The instant she laid eyes on Herkle’s rich, mesmerizing pools it was a match made in heaven (or the other place). Of course, who could find fault with her placing Herkle in her scopes? She’s Welsh/Wire Fox Terrier through and through. She lives to search and destroy. God made her that way.

So, I’m to blame. I guess. I insisted upon housing Herkle in a basket beside our bed so we could exchange glances each night when I laid my head on the pillow. This must’ve offended Maggie. Or was it that I denied her access to him? Whichever the case, the battle was on.

Repeatedly, I found Herkle’s body draped over the edge of her doggie bed or disappearing around a corner as she dragged him into the next room. I duly reprimanded her each time, but to no avail. She refused to back down.

The final showdown came one afternoon when I realized Maggie was missing in action—a sure sign of foul play. Through experience, my husband and I know to first check her secret lair behind the couch. Anytime she does something naughty, she does it behind the couch. So, behind the couch I crept and sure enough, Maggie glared back at me from the murky shadows. She was hunkered over Herkle’s body like a buzzard over fresh roadkill. Herkle's eye pleaded with me to rescue him.

His eye? I yanked the couch away from the wall and rushed in as Maggie slipped into reverse. With agonizing dread, I whisked Herkle from the threshing floor to investigate the damage. My focal point shifted from the fuzzy socket to Maggie, who kept a safe distance from me with head tilted in a look that might easily be misconstrued as innocent.

“Maggie! How could you!”

Why had I been so obstinate to think I could win this war? I didn’t know whether to scream at her or break into bitter tears at the sight of Herkle’s disfigurement.

In that instant, Herkle’s estranged eye against the dusty baseboard caught my attention. It nearly took my breath. Could his poor little face be salvaged with one drop of glue? I was elated. But Maggie, reading my thoughts, beat me to it. She rushed in and gobbled up the beloved organ right before my eyes.

The rest is history. Part of our history together. We both survived the experience and though I can’t say she’s the better for it, I am the wiser.

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