This morning, 7 a.m., not wanting to get up this early. I was up late last night working and then wanting to read. It occurred to me last night that one reason I am behind in my reading is because I’ve been working on weekends. So, going to sleep after 2 a.m., I had every intention of sleeping in. Not so. Brett, who sleeps in KJ’s room, was scratching at the door. Woodson doesn’t really wake me up, but he hovers. When I roll over he is standing there looking at me. So I yelled a ‘no’ to Brett, hoping it might give me another 20 minutes, because the boy NEVER gets up. I got about 20 minutes before the next scratch, and instead of going back to sleep, I started thinking about the dogs in my past who let me sleep in, because I am a sleep whore and I never get enough. When I worked at the newspaper, I did, because I could sleep until noon, which was my natural body clock. 4 a.m. to noon was when my body has always wanted to sleep. Working second shift at the paper was perfect!
Kelly, my first collie, I was in 8th grade when I got her, was with me all the way. My mom would open my door to see if Kelly wanted to ‘go outside’. Kelly slept on the bed, often battling me for space, but we worked it out every night. I wonder if that’s why I’m a thrasher to this day? Okay, Mom at the door, Kelly lifting her head and looking at her, then dropping her head back down. Nope, she was good, snug in the bed.
Travis was also a dog who could sleep in. I had him in Idaho when I worked second shift at the front desk of the Sun Valley Inn, then moved with me to Minnesota.
Jazz, too, could sleep in, used to my hours.
Thor, same thing, still worked at the newspaper in his early years.
Then I left the paper and started working at Foss Swim School and morning hours at the church. OMG, I so don’t want to get up in the morning. But I’ve been doing it now since 2008. And these dogs want to get up early on days I don’t have to get up. Grrrrrrr.
Which brings me to Heidi. Although I don’t remember if she was an early riser or not, Heidi is the first dog I remember having. I was in second grade when my dad brought her home from a family in Mankato. My dad was down there on business and they had puppies!
Heidi was a mutt. Some sort of Spaniel. Her coloring was that of a Brittany Spaniel, but she was cocker spaniel size. We were so excited to finally have a dog! I remember feeling so bad that she was sad to have left her siblings that I gave her my favorite stuffed animal (a black and white cow), to sleep with. The next morning I came down to find her shaking it violently, really just playing with it, but I was shocked!
We lived outside a small rural town, and Heidi was allowed to run loose. Heidi was a house dog, but during the day or while we were gone, we left the garage door open a bit where she could come and go. She’d wait at the top of the hill for the bus to drop us off. The retired neighbor said he always knew what time it was by seeing Heidi waiting for the bus.
I remember fighting with my sister, Connie, over who was going to have her at any given time, actually doing a little tug of war with that poor dog who never once told us not to do it. We literally pulled her back and forth, neither one of us wanting to let go.
I could go on and on with stories of Heidi, as we all could about our dogs.
Awhile ago when I first started this blog, I asked Connie to write her memories of Heidi. Even though we were twins, growing up in the same house, we often remember things differently or different things.
Here is what she wrote:
I have two stories that come immediately to mind. The first being when Dad brought her home and the second being up at the Lake.
We were around 8 years old when Mom got a phone call from Dad. Dad was a salesman and on the road about every other week for three or four days at a time. He was on his way home from Mankato, Minn., when he called. The only thing I remember Mom saying was: “A puppy?” All three of us clambered around her with excitement. A puppy? REALLY?
It got too late for us to stay up and wait for the little one to arrive but the morning, I don’t remember if it was just me or me and my sisters – I confuse it with the MANY times on Christmas morning when I was always the first one up and heading downstairs by myself to see what Santa had brought. I went downstairs and remember navigating over the pile of books and an unused window shutter blocking the bottom of the stairs, to find a big empty box near the couch, my mother sleeping on the couch with this furry blondish neck muffler over her throat. Heidi.
My mom’s sister’s family had a cabin in northern Minnesota on Lake Hickory which we got to visit. It was situated right on the lake, down a long, two track dirt road that curved through a heavily wooded area. They had a Dachshund – Brandy – and we had Heidi. She was a Cocker/Brittany cross (back when they were called Brittany Spaniels). Brandy LIVED in the water, Heidi – not so much. We’d shove her off the dock every once in a while just to make her swim, poor girl. One day, we were headed to town or someplace and all piled into the car and started to drive off when my Auntie Juline looks in her rear view mirror and spotted Heidi following us. She stopped and we all hollered out at her to “Go Home!”. She slunk off and we started off again, only to stop again. Heidi was following, but this time she snuck off to hide in the grass/woods. “Go HOME!” Off we went again and out popped Heidi, only this time she was LIMPING! What a faker! I don’t even remember how we resolved it, just that she was smart enough to FAKE a limp – a trick she learned to use going forward when she was being left behind. What comes to mind now was how we thought we could just leave the dogs outside loose at what was to her, a strange home, and expect her to stay there while we were gone – but stay she did. I’ve never been able to do that with any of my dogs since.
What amazes me even more is that my Dad is the one who brought Heidi home. He was not exactly what I would call – an animal person, at least not on the surface. But I also remember him leaning over to touch noses with my cat, Chubasco. Six-feet four of him saying “kitty kitty kitty”. (K, just had to throw that in).
As we always get to eventually with our dogs, each one turns out to be the best dog. Heidi was certainly the best dog. She taught me so much about how to care for her, that I still employ today.