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Why We Loved Ricky

The world’s best, most handsome Beagle would be turning 17 today.  We still miss him . . .


SNOWY FUN                                                                                                                                                                                    It’s like Ricky William Herman knew he was named after an NFL running back.

To this day, we still go outside in the winter and have “Snowy Fun.” Now it consists of Ryan sledding, Kemba fetching and Henry giggling. But Snowy Fun started in Winter 2003, when my friends (Chris, Gabe and D were most common) and I chased 4-month-old Ricky around his run and tried to tackle him. You’d think four 11-year-olds would have a pretty easy time catching one tiny little Beagle. But you’d be wrong. Ricky wasn’t just fast — he was elusive as hell. Maybe not a full spin move or stiff arm (stiff paw?), but he had tons of jukes in his repertoire, and could slither out of any arm tackle.

Ricky f***ing loved Snowy Fun. Sometimes he even did the tackling (see my Instagram post from six years ago). The caption that goes with it still stands: Happy Birthday, my boy.                                                                                                       — Robby


His favorite activity — from the time he was a pup

KAMIKAZE                                                                                                                                                                                        In Amagansett, Ricky’s food was stashed behind a sliding door in the kitchen. And Ricky would always sniff the door, because he knew it was in there. Except one day, he was sniffing with even more more desperation than usual. So after trying and failing — for the 10,000th time — to open the door with his paws, he tried something different. He turned and walked about 20 paces in the other direction. Then he turned back around, and started sprinting toward the door, kamikaze style. And I’m watching this thinking to myself, ‘there’s no way he’s gonna jump head first into the door’. But that’s exactly what he did! Maybe he thought he could break through the door with his head? (He was fine, if you were wondering). Ricky is the funniest creature I’ve ever met. I’d love to know what was going through his little head at that moment. Although, it’s probably not hard to guess 🙂                                                                                                  — Matt



C’mon, Hal! You know you can’t leave your food that close to the edge!  (Photo: Matt Herman)

We have a wonderfully good-natured friend, Hal, who is definitely a foodie.  Meaning, he gets a lot of pleasure from shopping/preparing/ultimately eating his food.  One beautiful summer morning out at the beach, Hal was craving a bagel and lox breakfast.  So he set out at 9am for what would be a 1-hour shopping trip in search of the perfect bagel, good Jewish nova scotia, fresh cream cheese with particular things in it, the ripest tomato, farmstand onion, and nice salty capers.  At 10am,  Hal began his prep at the kitchen island.  Coffee going, slicing and dicing the vegetables, everything-bagel toasting to perfection, fresh fruit garnish, then final plating.  It was a masterpiece, and everyone was jealous.  But Hal had made the ultimate Ricky rookie error … he took his eye off his plate for just a moment to grab a napkin behind him.  Ricky, seemingly coming from nowhere, leapt two feet up to the island, and devoured Hal’s entire masterpiece.  Honestly, I never saw Hal so angry, and hope to never again.          — Carol



The look

I was planning to go with the Trinity College tailgate story . . . that time Ricky couldn’t reach the buffet table, so he just grabbed the tablecloth in his teeth and pulled the buffet down to him.  But you’ve already heard lots about his food fetish,  so let me talk about his second-most distinguishing characteristic. Ricky was — how to put this?  He was willful.  “Mr. Stubbs” I sometimes called him.  His attitude was always my-way-or-the-highway.  He liked to eat.  He liked to sniff.  He liked to chase squirrels, though in 11 years he never caught one.  What he did not like to do was go hiking with me — something I was determined to get him to do.  Sunday mornings we’d drive over to Trout Brook, and set out.  Five steps . . . and he’d do a 180 and turn to face the car.  Or sniff a rock — forever.  “Come on, Ricky let’s go,” I’d say, tugging his leash.  Same thing again.  Turn around.  Sniff.  Give me that look.  A few more paces.  At this point he’d just lie down in the dirt path — and I’d have to drag him like a pull-toy.  After maybe a half hour, when he was one thousand percent convinced that there was no chance I was turning back, he’d finally trot along like a good little Beagle.                                                                                                                 — Beagle Man


I’ll close with these words I wrote in a post back in 2014, also on his birthday:  Today would be Ricky William Herman’s 11th birthday.  To celebrate this day, you should just do whatever you want.  After all, that’s what Ricky always did.  🙂


Hank Herman