After 15 years of being single, I decided that I wanted . . . no, needed companionship – a dog. I researched breeds that would suit my lifestyle and one of the three was the Shetland Sheepdog. A lady I worked with was teaching obedience classes on Monday evenings and told me that the Sheltie was always among the top contenders in the obedience ring and she knew of someone who had puppies. Of course, once you look at the puppies, you’re hooked.
In the second week of August 1992, I brought Heather home. On the 24th of August (as all South Floridians remember), Hurricane Andrew hit. At 10 weeks old, she managed to hold it all through the storm until she could get outside.
She went through three “grades” of obedience and when we entered the ring, I suddenly had trouble with her fainting during the exercises. It was discovered that she had subaortic stenosis (the folks at the University Vet Clinic in Gainesville are wonderful). She left the performance ring and became even more my bosom buddy. Somewhere along the line, she decided she didn’t like men. I would judge the quality of my date based upon the strength of her reaction to the guy. Level one – she gave a barely audible low-throated growl but at level ten, there was the full scale baring of teeth and a snapping/snarling routine that would make a Dolphin line-backer run like hell.
When Bruce first came to the house, she didn’t even raise an eyebrow. In fact, the moment he sat down, she began bringing him all of her toys. Needless to say, I married him.
Heather was 14 years old when we lost her on June 24, 2006. I miss the sound her nails made on the hardwood floors as she followed me around, and it is because of her that we venture into this arena.
We think everyone should have a chance to have their very own Heather.
-- Cay Carmody Ireland
Last updated on April 19, 2019
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