Life Characteristics Learned From Heidi

photo 2It is easy for me to get caught up into how we are helping Heidi on her journey of recovery.  What I have to remind myself is that I am learning so much more about her, myself and life through her.  The following are a list of characteristics that Heidi brings to the forefront of my life.

Unconditional Love/Forgiveness

Heidi has every reason not to trust people.  Over the course of these past few months we have picked up hints to how Heidi was abused and mistreated.  The obvious signs were giardia, weighing 34 pounds, scared senseless of everything and her right side teeth worn to almost nothing, which we attribute to her chewing her cage that she was locked up in.  We do not know the size of her cage, whether it was inside or outside but it was bad enough for her to gnaw.  Also, when she was rescued she was still lactating so her pups were also taken away from her, which strongly suggests that she was used for breeding, AKA a puppy mill mom.  We discovered that she is deathly afraid of the hose when water is coming out of it.  We assume this is because in her cage (kennel) she would get hosed down as this is where she eliminated.  She came to us at somewhere between 2-3 years of age and she was not potty trained.  Keep in mind we do not know if high pressure water was used.  Raising your arms over your head or having an object in your hand that is away from your body makes her uneasy.  These are good indicators that she was hit and hit with force.  I can go on for a few more pages of the things that we notice and are cautious about but you get the idea.  This is her image of what people do, so for her to forgive and trust our family is monumental.  Heidi has so much love for our family, and you can tell in the way she interacts and kisses you with intense motivation.  She will gaze into my eyes and sprawl her lanky body across my lap, sleeping with confidence that nothing can touch her in harm here.  If only we could all live in love with such rest and peace.

photo 1


Having the ability to be free and uncaged has opened a whole new world for Heidi.  When we first got her she had no idea whether to fall up or down stairs so she did both.  To see her pounce on the grass, get chased by one of our ducks and learn how to play fetch are a few things that warm the heart.  Here she gets to live the childhood she never got to have.  I have even caught her on occasion looking up at the stars and she seems so fascinated by them.  You can see the gears turning in her head contemplating on what to do with them.


This dog is literally a clown! She plays hard, runs like the wind and passes gas audibly on a frequent basis.  She does not always do things gracefully and many times looks like an awkward Jr. Higher.  She carries a smile and has a sincere zest for anything we are doing.


One of the most satisfying qualities she has is trust.  This whole new world that she gets to explore is under the security that we provide.  If she ever gets spooked she immediately runs to me for protection and security.  The reason this is so special is that she was a major flight risk when we first got her, meaning that she was so scared of everything that the odds of her running away if given the chance were extremely high.  So not long ago she would have run away from any of us to protect herself, and now she looks to me as her Alpha to protect her.

Childlike Faith

Every day Heidi has to fight what her instinct of survival tells her and do what we tell her to do.  Of course what we want her to do is always in her best interest, but she does not know that.  She exercises that faith daily by taking small leaps of courage to please our commands.

These characteristics are all things that I could do better about applying in my own life, characteristics that would make me a better person, father and husband.  Who would have thought a downtrodden dog that lived a life only valuable for the amount of money that could be collected from her puppies would be the one teaching me these lessons? Today she is a girl who is on the rise who is loved dearly and helping others to better themselves through her story.


  1. Melodie
    Mar 4, 2014

    Another entry that tugs at my heartstrings. Thanks for sharing your angle in Heidi’s journey, Troy.

  2. Ray
    Mar 4, 2014

    Fantastic story. We too adopted a Mal this year, Loki, and learn endless lessons from him daily. Thank you for sharing.

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