Monday, 4 April 2011

Remembering Heinz

Those of you who know me will know how much I have always loved dogs. Some of you may say I'm obsessed. You might be a bit right on that one. But this post is in loving memory of the dog that started it all off. My dear Heinz.

Let me explain. At the aged of 7 and a half, whilst living in Germany, we drove half way across the country to find a specific breed Mum and Dad had been eyeing up for a while. When we arrived at the kennels, the thing I remember the most was all these gorgeous puppies running up to us, desperate for some loving and attention. But the one that stole my heart away was Heinz. There he was, sitting at the back of the kennel, not wanting to come out, rather shy, and a bit of a runt. I have always liked the odd ones out more, I never know why, but that is the exact same reason we ended up with Wotan, our one eyed cat (RIP), who had been at the german equivalent of the RSPCA for 4 years because no one wanted a one eyed cat. I did!!

Back to Heinz. So there he was, our little runt. He slept on my lap while Mum and Dad dealt with the formalities, back in the car we jumped, and 6 hours later, he had his first night in the flat. I can still see Wotan's face when he saw that we had brought a dog into his place. Not a happy kitty!

For anyone who wants to know, he was a West faelischer Dachs Brake, or Drever for short. The breeder chose his name, as they were all meant to be working dogs. His batch of puppies was batch H, and all of the had names like Hanelore, Heinrich, and Heinz! So no, he is not Heinz 57, he was in fact a pedigree and the only one in the UK.

Heinz and I, me aged 7 and a bit, Heinz a fresh puppy on his first outing and meeting water

I spent my childhood getting closer and closer to Heinz, and when we moved back to England, he had to go through quaranteen for 6 months, where my Dad was the only who could go to visit him. Heinz never really came out the same dog. He no longer was mummies puppy, but a daddy's boy, and would howl for hours on end until I got home from school.

Heinz lived to the grand old age of 14.5, which was nearly twice his expected age.

I know, I'm mean ; )

A lot of people never understood why Heinz meant so much to me. He was just a dog after all. But to me, he was my world for a very large part of my life. He was my baby boy.

When I had no friends after moving country, he was there for me.

When I was picked on at school and came home in tears, he was there.

When I was down, he would cheer me up.

When I was ill, he would tuck me into bed and watch over me.

When all the boys had been and gone, Heinz stayed.

He was the one constant in my life (apart from Mum, Dad and my Sister of course!).

At my Sisters wedding in August last year

I would take him out for hours during the summer holidays, make a picnic for two, and sit in the sunshine together. He was better than any boy or any friend could be. He didn't judge me. He was always there. He would listen, he would comfort, and best of all, he never argued back!

The day I got the missed call from Mum back in September, 3 days before my birthday, and the text only saying 'call me when you get a chance', will never be forgotten. I had no idea. Only the week before had the vet given him the thumbs up, and he seemed to be coping fine with his arthirtis, and I'd only just been up to see him a few days earlier.

But when I tried calling Mum back, and it was engaged, and so was my sister...I knew that the silence that greeted me when Dad picked up the phone was not a good sign. The fact that I could barely hear what Dad was trying to say through the gulps,  I knew. He didn't have to say anymore.

I left work in a flap, jumped on the first bus to Brighton, and the Mister drove me and my sister straight to our parents. Mum opened the door and I immediately burst into tears. Seeing Heinz flumped on the floor, suddenly no longer able to get up because his legs had just given in, was more than I could handle. I looked deep into his big brown eyes, and I could see he knew it wasn't long now. I cried, he whimpered, we curled up together for the last time in his bed. Even when the vet came, I couldn't bring myself to let go of him. I didn't want him to leave me. He wasn't allowed to leave me. I coudn't imagine my world without him. He was my baby boy, and I was his puppy. Even the Mister knew his place.

Heinz on his last day

To this day I still have his first name tag.

I had also been thinking for many years, that when the time eventually came to say goodbye, I would take his paw prints, and have them tattooed. A month after he went, that's exactly what he did.

Now I will always have Heinz with me, as if he had just come home after rolling in something he shouldn't have, and then jumped up on me like he used to.

Much Love from Brighton,



  1. Crying into my breakfast cereal as I read this. What else did you expect! xxxxx

  2. Lovely Emma, well written.
    I remember visiting him at the quarantine centre, he was so pleased to see us, twas awful not having Heinzy with us for such a long time when he was only a pup.
    The stories we have to share about him will remain with us always sis, he'll always be our number 1 puppy xxx


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