June 20, 1998 - Dec. 13, 2006
A lonely dog, Herr Louis' kind,
Was looking for a home;
Her early life was kennel bound
Without a place to roam.
Without kind folks to play with her
And make her feel so loved,
She spent her time within a fence
Where only things were shoved.
She longed to touch a loving hand
And lick a kindly face;
But no one came to play with her
Or take her for a race.
So finally some friends who cared
They took this Dobie in,
Then tried to find a real home
With loving hearts therein.
Now fate had played an eerie part,
For Heidi was her name;
And like that orphan girl of old
Her fortune was the same:
She found a man in the mountains west
Who needed a little friend,
Who had the time and space around
Where the two could hours spend.
Now fields lie there at her door
For her to race about,
And every comfort to her is given.
There is no fear or doubt.
She rides in style most everywhere
To find new friends and places;
And everywhere her dark brown eyes
Bring smiles to all the faces.
It still is hard to break the ways
Of a childhood without love;
But with much time and trying minds
And help from Heaven above,
She tries so hard to mend her ways
And fit within her niche -
To be the friend and company
That make a human's life more rich.
So here we have a story warm
With good fortune for this pair
Who owe it all to loving folks -
The friends we know as D.A.R.E.©Charles C. Hall Thanksgiving 1999
It's been a year since last I wrote
Of this new friend of mine;
So let me take a my pen in hand
And beg a little of your time.
We just were out in winter's land
Where snow is soft and deep;
A trip among the woods does tell
Why I this dog did keep.
Among the beauty of God's land
Heidi does run and play
Like children of my memory old:
Those ghosts of yesterday.
On virgin snow this spot of black
Will raise a cloud of white,
Then disappear in shrouded woods
As if on a joyous flight.
I call her back ere she gets lost
And look along her route,
But suddenly from another way
She appears as if in hot pursuit.
She runs and jumps and bites the snow
And acts so young and wild;
I see in her the joyous eyes
And the wonder of a child.
But be not fooled that all is bliss
That there are no faults or pain;
I give no thanks for her throwing up
And the vet bills are not gain.
She is the kind with a single mind
That focuses on her way;
To her I am a nice kind man
Whom she need not always obey.
She's chewed some things I love
And can not now replace;
And in the house I recent built
She claims all for her space.
At dinner time she eats her own
Then turns to me to whine;
She eyes my plate and licks her lips
Until I cry out, "Mine!"
But in all of this there is a sign,
A symbol of our way,
Of how all men have turned from God
And sought out what we may.
I am among this earthly lot
Who struggle to find the right;
Who needs the Lord of ancient faith
To fill me with His might.
I know I have my Heidi dog
As a gift from Heaven above,
To make me see how I do stray
And so much need His love.
I know I have so much to teach
This growing dog of mine,
But God has much to teach to me
To change my heart and mind.
So now I pray that through the years
Of sharing with Heidi dog,
I will be the student first
And with God will dialog.
And as I pray for patience great
To put up with her wiles,
May God grant this fruit to me
To let me go the extra miles.
As she does run down snowy paths
In a dark and silent wood,
May I forever follow Jesus's path
For a life of light and good.
Then when I stand before His throne
To gaze at His shining face,
May I remember all these years
And thank Him for his grace.
Especially for that grace of black
That plays with rare delight;
That gift I got from heaven above
To give me warm insight
Into the ways of our loving God -
That master for whom we yearn.
He gives to us these canine friends
To help us grow and learn.
So if you wonder if it's worth the risk
Your life with a dog to share,
Just put your trust in the Lord above
And decide you ought to DARE.
©Charles C. Hall
Christmas season, 2000
Heidi is a beautiful full-blooded Doberman Pinscher
who came into my life in April 1999 through the wonderful folks at
Doberman Assistance, Rescue and Education, Inc. - DAR&E
This is a group of dedicated people who rescue Dobermans
from unfortunate situations and relocate them
to loving homes. If you would like to see
the Dobermans they have up for adoption, please
check out the web link www.dobe.net.
It is with great sadness that I notify you that Heidi is no longer with us. Test today confirmed that she had a rapidly advancing case of an acquired from of Myasthenia, an immune-mediated disorder in which antibodies are directed against the nicotinic ACHRs of skeletal muscle, resulting in impaired neuromuscular transmission. In her case it manifested itself by weakening the esophageal muscles. She had gotten to the point where she could not get food down her esophagus to her stomach. Upon a detailed discussion with our vet, Dr. Allen Spaid of Cacapon Veterinary Medical Center who has treated Heidi for most of her time with me, I decided that it was not in either Heidi's or my best interest to allow her to suffer the problem of not being able to swallow food as we tried to find some medication that might temporarily help the neuromuscular transmission. The disease is not curable. In addition she had begun to develop pneumonia from the constant coughing/gulping this situation caused. She was peacefully put to sleep.
I praise the Lord for the seven years of delight - and challenge - that she brought me. She was an extremely intelligent animal which made living an active life with her at my side possible. She had a very strong personality; there was no ignoring her delights or her demands. Through it all I am more and more convinced that the Lord created pets to help us become more like Him. They are an important ingredient of the cauldron in which our souls are purified and molded. I hope that I am a better man because of my time with her. I can think of no greater epitaph for her.December 13, 2006