A donation was made in memory of Heather by Doctors and Staff of the Chuckanut Valley Veterinary Clinic on Dec 30, 2008.

Mathew, my sweet son, at age 8 years, came to his father one day and said, “A boy should have a dog.” Charlie had put down his beloved black lab about 3 years earlier and never wanted to go through that pain again. He gently told Mathew it wasn’t in the cards for us. Shortly there after, Mathew went to the library and came home with SEVENTEEN books about dogs. Together, Mathew and I researched the kind of characteristics we wanted in a new family member and decided on a Sheltie. A Shetland Sheep dog. Being a true democratic family, a 3 to 4 vote won out.

I found a Sheltie breeder about 2 hours away and called. She had puppies that were ready to leave. Mathew, Megan and I went down to “just look at them.” There was a litter of 10 puppies - rather large for Shelties. Nine puppies were yapping at the fence watching us. There was one in back, very alert, watching us intently, but quiet. Not a yapper – good characteristic. I said "I want that one." The breeder said no, although she was not show size, she had show colors and markings so she wanted to keep her to breed.

We chose 2 potentials to take to the yard and get to know. I asked that the non-yapper come too. In the end, we convinced the breeder that I would bring her back for breeding if she could be ours. Heather, a good Scottish name, became a Wend.

Heather was smart and very well behaved. When I took her to obedience classes, the teacher basically wrote her off as a froufrou dog. On the final exam, Heather scored highest in the class. She spent the first 3 years of her life as my assistant in my Special Education classroom. One of the best assistants I ever had, I must say. She could calm an upset child like no other. She amazed the staff during fire drills where she heeled off-lease to a field full of 550 children, never wavering from my side.

One of her most awesome roles was as a mother. Heather had 3 litters, 19 puppies in all. I got to live out my other career choice with her and be a midwife. I helped pull all 19 puppies from her body and break their embryonic sacks. Her trust of me was humbling. Heather cared for her puppies fabulously and 18 families have wonderful new members from her ancestry. One puppy in the last litter fell into a divot in the grass and broke her leg. She ended up with a little cast and an incredible determination to not let it stop her from doing everything – and more – than her siblings. Heather watched over her with her motherly love and the puppy melted our hearts. Brenna was meant to stay in the Wend household with her mother.

Heather camped and hiked with us. She loved it when it snowed, as it rarely does here in the valley. She patiently put up with the games that little boys and girls have for their dogs. She was a member of the family.

Heather’s maternal instincts never wavered as Brenna grew up. When they came in from the rain, Heather would wash her dry. When they played with the Frisbee or ball, when Heather got to it first, she always dropped it for Brenna to have and bring back to us for more throwing. Brenna also had the greatest respect for her mother. She always stood on Heather’s left side. She waited for her mother to eat first. When they slept, her body needed to touch her mother’s side – always the respectful left side.

Heather had two bouts of breast cancer in her life. I understand it is a common hazard for dogs that are bred. That and having so many puppies can take a few years off a dog's life. Since last summer, it was obvious that Heather was getting older and more feeble. She slowed down her eating, then stopped it all together these past few weeks. I could get her to take a few bites if the food was covered with peanut butter – her favorite. She never seemed to be in pain, but was making her choice to die with dignity on her timeline. There were many nights in the past few weeks where I was up with her because she was restless and needed help with our steep steps to the outside. We walked quietly together under star lit skies in the middle of the night. They were pleasant, peaceful times together even when it was interrupting my night’s repose.

Tuesday morning, November 18, 2008, I got up and she had spent the night with my son in his basement bedroom. I went down to get her and she had difficulty getting up. I carried her up the stairway and found that she had had a stroke in the middle of the night. Her back right foot was curled up and of no support for her. She was telling me it was time. Charlie had a meeting he could not miss that morning so I made an 11:00 AM appointment for her with the vet. Charlie would be home by then and we would all go together. For the next 3 ½ hours, I petted, brushed and curled next to Heather on the floor. I told her how wonderful she was and how blessed we have all been to have her in our lives. Brenna curled next to her mom until it was obvious that Heather was in a coma. Then Brenna went down to be with Mathew and wait. At 9:45 am with me stroking her head, Heather had a seizure that appeared like a final stretch and died. I was still sitting petting her when Charlie got home 20 minutes later. Mathew stood by, holding Brenna in his arms. I called my daughter at college. After 13 ½ years to the day, Heather was gone.

Charlie dug a grave in the same yard where she lived and played her entire life. I wrapped her in the blanket she laid on at the foot of my bed. After she was buried, I played Frisbee with Brenna. Life goes on.

Heather was as beautiful as she was smart. Had she been a few inches shorter she would have made a wonderful show dog…but then, she would have never made it into our lives. Also, Heather smiled.

Karen W.

Would you like to give in Heather's name?