The older I become, the more regrets I accumulate. Some still hurt. Some, I keep beating myself up about. Heiko was one of those I keep beating myself up about. I regret giving him away to an irresponsible family. Basically, I regret ever giving him away.
Heiko loved me. He was devoted to me. Yet I gave him away.
How confused he must have been. How devastated, when he was put into an unfamiliar car with unfamiliar people, leaving his home. It was heart wrenching to see him go.
I thought I was doing the right thing.
At the time, I was breeding German Shepherd Dogs and had three fertile females in the house. Heiko was also fertile. For some reason, it never occurred to me to neuter him and keep him. Instead, I felt I already had too many dogs in the house, and Heiko would just have been an extra.
I had been advised by others that he was not show quality and should not be bred to my show quality females. Unless he were neutered, he would be breeding every time the girls were in heat.
In addition, I spent time training Heiko for the obedience show ring and showing him in competition. He did everything perfectly except one thing – he could never leave my side. Whenever we did the down/stay or sit/stay, he would follow me across the show ring. Although he performed these tasks perfectly at home in practice sessions, he never left my side in the show ring. (Later I had a girl – Kristie – who did the same thing. She never finished her obedience title either.) I was so frustrated with him, I was ready to give him away. And so I did.
The morning after I gave him away, Heiko’s new owners called to ask, “Is he home yet?” Apparently, they had not followed me instructions and tied him to the waist of one of the adults at all times. Instead, when they got home, they took him off the leash to wander the house. Then, one of the children opened the door and out he went. He would not return when they called.
I searched for him for two months
I hired a private plane to fly over the area of his new home – twice.
I took out flyers and had them delivered to every home in the area.
I followed up every call.
He was not to be found.
One woman said she saw a dead dog by the highway. It could have been Heiko. I will never know.
He was just trying to get back home to me. Since he had no idea where he was and he did not have my scent to follow, he was totally lost and confused. The distance between my house and theirs is 81.6 km via Alberta highway 21 South.
I still miss him. I still beat myself up for giving him away. I grieve for him.