My aunt had a dog named Heiny. His actual fancy-pants pedigree name was Sir Asti Heineken, but we all agreed that was too much name for a miniature Schnauzer to handle, so we called him Heiny. "Like the beer?" people would invariably ask. "No, like your butt," I'd think as I smiled and nodded yes. Now, even based on the scant information I've provided thus far, it should come as no surprise that my family managed to transform fancy-pants pedigreed show dog Sir Asti Heineken into Heiny, the canine equivalent of trailer trash. I didn't care; he was a great dog with or without a blue ribbon. I became Heiny's favorite early on because I treated him like the human he thought he was, but I was far from the only person who indulged him. My normally thrifty grandfather became suddenly casual about scooping ice cream, and the not quite empty cartons always somehow ended up on the floor near Heiny's dish. And then there was Edith, the neighbor who lived in the back apartment. We'd open the door to let Heiny out and he'd make a beeline for Edith's door, and bark until she let him in. She fed Heiny scrambled eggs or hot chocolate (yes, really and no, I have no idea why) and he'd return after a while satisfied and ready for a nap. ~ One year we celebrated Easter at my grandparents' house, all of us gathered around the long dining room table enjoying a delicious meal. I think I was the first to notice Heiny wasn't at his usual post under the table in case someone dropped any food, an event so unheard of I still remember the pang of surprise I felt. I called for him... nothing. I called again, and he sauntered into the dining room, face covered in whipped cream, with an expression that can only be described as "yeah, what?", and when my mom saw face prints in her beautiful pies on the side porch, I thought she was going to kill Heiny. For real. But Heiny wasn't all mischief, either. One time he was barking, which was very unusual for him, and when I let him out he didn't run to the back yard like usual but stood there in full-on Lassie mode barking at us to follow. We did. A neighbor's dog, leashed in their yard, had tried to jump the fence and was caught, hanging by his collar. Heiny had heard him and saved the day. We were extra casual scooping the ice cream that night.

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