At work I park my car alongside a fence, and the house on the other side of that fence has a Heiny dog. He barks at me if he happens to be outside when I come or go, which makes me think of Heiny. It all started when my aunt scored a dog-sitting gig for a co-worker. I went with her to pick up Heiny, a miniature schnauzer. Nobody was home, and Heiny barked like crazy when we let ourselves in. I held him in my lap on the drive back to my aunt's house, and we hadn't been inside for a minute before Heiny had taken a dump on the floor of the spare bedroom. I thought that was the funniest thing ever, but my aunt was somewhat less amused. Despite the rocky start, Heiny's visit was a success, and my aunt sat for him several times over the next couple of years. Then Heiny's owners had a baby, and gave the dog to a brother living in NYC, which, as I predicted, didn't last. Heiny was up for adoption. My aunt and I went to work on my grandparents, who finally gave consent, and Heiny went to live with my aunt for good.

So let's address the name. Heiny wasn't really his name. He was one of those fancy-pants pedigree dogs with papers and all, and his full name was Sir Asti Heineken of Dorf. Unbelievably, it could have been worse. Heiny's mother was Lady Elsa of Dorf, and his grandmother was Floyd's Mexicali Rose of Dorf. If you're skeptical, consider that I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. Anyway, Sir Asti Heineken of Dorf was a lot of name for a small dog so he went by Heineken or Heiny.

My grandmother claimed to be terrified of Heiny, but I used to catch her sneaking treats to him on the sly all the time. Similarly, my grandfather's stated opinion of Heiny was "ah, that dog" but in the end they were inseparable, whether on walks to the corner picking up cans (grandfather) and discarded chewing gum (Heiny) or snoring on the recliner (both).

Heiny also had a special relationship with their neighbor, Edith. When he was let out in the morning, he'd run back to Edith's door and bark until she let him in. He'd come back ten minutes later or so, noticeable more relaxed. Turns out she was feeding him scrambled eggs and cocoa. I'd have barked too.

But I was Heiny's pal. I paid him the most attention and in return he never left my side. When he had kidney stone surgery I was the only one he'd let hold him, and when he came to my house he'd run up and sit outside my bedroom door until I came out. It broke my heart to hear about how he'd sit and wait there after I'd gone away to school.

As he spent more time with my family he became less pedigree and more trailer park. His fancy dog-show haircut grew out, and we just used to buzz him all over when it got hot and leave him alone in the winter.

Heiny was a good dog. His schtick was that he'd bark whenever anyone came in, and continue  barking until you pet him, then he'd go back to napping or sleeping or resting or whatever he had been doing until you got there. One time he was barking for no reason, and in a plot right out of Lassie he barked until we let him out and we realized the dog next door had tried to jump over the fence and was hanging on his leash. Heiny had saved his life.

He could get into mischief too, don't be fooled. We soon learned not to leave bags of candy less than two feet off the floor (under the Christmas tree was definitely less than two feet of the floor). And the all time classic Heiny story was when, halfway through Easter dinner, I realized something was very wrong. There was no Heiny begging under the table. I called him, and he appeared in the doorway, his face covered in whipped cream. The pies cooling on the porch all had imprints of a schnauzer face in them. I truly thought my mother was going to kill Heiny.

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