Sunday, June 24, 2012

Heidi--Semper Fi

Heidi was the dog we had before Caitlin. We got her from the Humane Society when she was about 5 months old. In the notes on her that they gave us was the comment, "very sweet," and she was. She was the sweetest and best dog we had ever had.

Heidi was mostly German Shepherd, but she had a few other things mixed in--probably some bird dog. She was interested in birds, butterflies, bees--anything that flew. And she sometimes did a perfect point, the sort you see in paintings of dogs on a duck hunt.

Heidi didn't really need a leash. She would walk obediently beside me, and would even refrain from chasing cats if I told her not to--as long as she hadn't actually started her run. We put her on a leash only in deference to the leash laws.

She would always take the leash in her own mouth, usually doing the entire walk holding the leash between her teeth. After a while, we didn't actually attach the leash to her collar, but just let her hold it while we walked. Once, when we came around a blind corner with her holding the retractable leash in her mouth, a woman jumped backwards in alarm, then breathed a sigh of relief commenting, "For a minute I thought that dog wasn't on a leash!"

A black rabbit lived for several years on one of the streets where we often walked our dogs. In pre-Heidi days, since our dogs were always leashed, the rabbit could hop about safely on the lawn, ignoring the dogs' lunges toward it.

I didn't see the rabbit for quite a while after we got Heidi. And then, one evening, there it was. Heidi bolted forward, came to the end of the 16 foot leash with a jerk, and stopped short.

The rabbit hopped away placidly, unaware that he had escaped only because of  Heidi's devotion to her self-imposed duty to hold her own leash.