2003 Heinz 7/26/2003 – 9/9/2016

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Heinz, July 26 2003 – September 9 2016, was a Cardigan corgi and Australian shepard mix with a “white blue merle” coloring that carried a lot of effects associated with albinism, including complete deafness from birth. Shop visitors saw more and more of him in 2016 as his eye site diminished, hind legs got weaker, and severe skin allergies forced wearing of a cone to keep him from chewing his feet to bits. The first two photos are from Heinz’ visit to Jeff Sahs’ shop during his last full day on earth. The third photo is from a visit to his mother’s home a couple of weeks before. It is clear from these photos that he was a happy and beautiful little (50 pounds!) soul.

Heinz was always a gentle and friendly creature, with a calm and friendly demeanor. He had a very strong sense of boundaries and could hold his bladder and bowels for impossibly long periods until he could go outside. Though completely deaf from birth, he had a normal dog vocal vocabulary, ranging from all manner of barks to a demanding whining whimper that he used more and more recently in the middle of the night as he missed my reassuring touch. From middle age on, Heinz developed a special trusting and comfortable physical closeness with me. He was a fine shop dog and a great car trip travel companion.

As it became difficult and then impossible to negotiate the steep stairs at his former home, Heinz came to live with me full time in early July. With his slightly leaky bladder, overnight travel became impossible and his very demanding medical needs gave me an opportunity to practice caring for a combination sick toddler and demented old Grampa who would sleep all day and fuss all night. Heinz taught me a gentle patience for his demanding medical needs and incredibly slow walking pace that I never knew was possible. He was a as loyal and trusting as any animal could be.

It was extremely hard work to make his daily life comfortable this last year, but he was worth every bit of lost sleep and worry. Heinz’ mother and I gave him every bit of love and attention that his failing body would allow during these last few  years. We both feel that we got the better part of the bargain and that his gifts will be with us as long as we live.

Price:         Priceless

photo-55 Last toenail clipping in back of my warm Camry wagon on September 3, 2016. Lots of gentle tummy rubbing got him in the mood for this chore that he didn’t like very much.

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2004

photo-67  Heinz at about 1 year. I didn’t meet him for the first time until June 2005, a little over a month before he turned two years old. In his silent world, Heinz took the measure of people by how they carried themselves and how they moved around him. He usually stayed at a safe distance before getting to know them as a familiar person.

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2014

 

photo-56 October 24 2014.   Heinz enjoying our weekly morning stroll along the Bay Trail just north of the Marriott Hotel on Bayshore Highway, near the bass shop. He loved the dense smells of the bayshore tidal areas and was always up for a good adventure that took him out of the ordinary routine. These once per week overnight visits were the highlight of my week back then.

photo-36 Heinz happily going along for a car ride on November-24-2014. Back then he was always up for the next little adventure that got him out of the routine in the house, even if it was just a local errand. He traveled well on overnight trips, though, and was a fine travel companion for a day or two going to destinations all up and down the west coast.

 

img_0275 img_0276 October 21, 2014     With Heinz and his pal, Stitch. It was an abundance of doggie love. Heinz represented the quiet side and Stitch is still a ball of enthusiastic energy.

 

img_0767 img_0768 11-15-2014   Coffee and Heinz. What better way to start the day? Heinz and I had such an easy comfort with each other that he didn’t mind me crawling onto half of his dog bed to get some hugs. This two photos are some of my most favorite documented moments like this.

photo-60 November 30, 2014   Heinz comes over to say hello in his mother’s kitchen. These once per week Thursday dinners allowed us to catch up on the progress of garden renovation, Heinz news, and to get ready for Heinz’ weekly overnight trips at my place. It was the highlight of our week. If only he could talk, we could have stayed up all night under the covers telling campfire stories until way too late. Those pale blue eyes of his told me almost anything that I wanted to know without using words.

 

photo-1-16 photo-2-15 photo-3-9December 7, 2014    Heinz did not have a lawn at his primary residence, so enjoying the lawns at the commercial buildings in front of or near the bass shop were almost  always a destination for rolling on his back or just lolling in the sun, whatever the month might be. These afternoon breaks for us represented a nice quiet break in the day’s work routine and a little earned freedom for Heinz to enjoy some outside time without a collar or leash.

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2015

 

photo-61February 20, 2015          The California drought discouraged or prevented adequate watering to keep the commercial lawns alive. The winter rains raised enough of lush green carpet in from of the bass shop front door to give us a lawn feel in the afternoon sun that felt good early in the year.

 

photo-62February 20, 2015     Heinz back home in the evening on his favorite home spot for a safe feeling nap. The naugahyde couch is now gone, too. Heinz wore out the armrests with his head! A deaf dog can feel a little “on alert” status most of the time. They can feel like prey animals out in the world with the limitation that deafness can bring. A jumping start often ended naps if a dream involved the feeling that bears or lions were stalking him. We spent many an hour through the years on this couch watching television or playing mandolin while he slept. The mandolin never bothered him!

 

photo-63February 21, 2015    Heinz napping with his blow up collar on in the bass shop. He was starting to chew his hind feet and lick his bare belly in a compulsive way by this time. The collar diminished his ability to reach these areas of his body, so they had a chance to heal a little. Allergies and a developing habit of worrying his skin to self-injury was becoming a noticeable problem for him. At this time, he was still very aware of how he moved through physical space with this collar  as to not bother the musical hippos on stands. Later on this would change near the end of the year.

 

photo-64February 23, 2015    Napping/resting on the shop lawn in the warm afternoon sun. I can almost smell the warmth of Heinz’ fur in this photo. It was nice to softly nuzzle him awake when it was time to head back inside. Definitely one of his happy places.

 

photo-65March 4, 2015    My beautiful sleeping boy sleeping in his “Office”, the back porch of his primary home. Heinz’ mother provided a safe and clean place for him to be during the day when she was out working. He is completely at rest here, with none of the “sleeping with one eye open” vigilance that could happen if there were unfamiliar noises or activity going on.

 

photo-66March 27, 2015    My happy buddy in the shop with his loving Daddy. This is one of my two favorite photos of Heinz, and I see it every time my cell phone comes on.

 

photo-1-17 photo-2-16 photo-3-10March 28, 2015    An early morning walk in the grassy parts of the buildings in the shop neighborhood produces doggie smiles from Heinz. He looks like a happy little ghost here.

 

photo-1-18 photo-2-17March 28, 2015        A little later that day. A warm buddy cuddle on the shop lawn. Heinz seemed particularly happy and physically close on this overnight trip. We had a very easy comfort together.