For almost as long as I’ve been writing about Mackinac Island, you’ve been hearing about Frankie Thill and her beautiful chocolate Labrador Retriever, Hershey. Yesterday Frankie asked that I post the following for her on Facebook:
“My dear friend, Frankie Thill, asked that I let her Facebook friends know she lost her beautiful and loyal best friend, Hershey, today to Spondylosis, a condition that causes a dog’s vertebrae to fuse, creating pain and the loss of mobility. Hershey had been at Frankie’s side for almost 11 years (she was born on Valentine’s Day, 2005, and named after the Hershey “kiss”). She was the unheralded “Princess of Mackinac Island” who made her daily rounds with Frankie and collected treats from businesses all along Main and Market Streets. Frankie was house mother for Ryba Bike Shops for many years, and Hershey became the pet substitute for hundreds of college students who lived on the island and were missing their furry friends from home. She never met a stranger.
There will be many who mourn her loss, but none as much as Frankie. Seeing them together was like watching an image of love walking down the street – two legs and four legs, joined by a leash. If Hershey could have talked, I know she would have been able to finish Frankie’s every sentence. “
Reading through dozens and dozens of comments that were posted (and are still posting) after this came up on Facebook only presses home what a great love the island residents and summer visitors had for this special dog and her owner. As several people stated, “I don’t ever remember seeing you, Frankie, that Hershey wasn’t beside you.” They were a team, a partnership, a dynamic duo – and they had a bond that only those of us fortunate enough to own a great dog can comprehend.
I spent a little time going through blog posts last night and was delighted to find over 30 photographs of Hershey (and friends) that I’ve posted over the years. I want to share some of them with you tonight.
Whether it was in her winter home in Grand Rapids – hanging out with her buddies at the dog park – or on Mackinac Island, touching literally thousands of people’s hearts over the years, Hershey leaves a legacy of total and unconditional love to all who knew her. I think Molly McGreevy said it best yesterday in a comment: “Hershey was a beautiful, gentle soul. She was one of those lifetime dogs. You only get one that is your heart dog. I think she was Frankie’s.” No doubt at all on that one, Molly.
Frankie plans to take Hershey’s ashes to Mackinac this summer and scatter them in the woods she so loved . . . surely the perfect resting place for a Princess.