If you have loved and lost a dog, you will know that a dog is harnessed at heart forever. This story is all about loving and losing not one but two dogs, Heppu and Hani, who remain harnessed in Sari’s heart forever.
A little love goes a long way
A little love goes a long way; it has a healing power. It has the power to transform a kill shelter to a guide dog. With love and a little tinker bell, Heppu guided his blind companion Hani on walks teaching her confidence. He became her sight. She became his later-life companion. As for their human Sari, she is transformed for life – for having loved and lost. But can anyone erase the memories that are etched forever? That’s the power of paws and fur, which Sari felt with Heppu and Hani – both of whom have crossed the rainbow bridge. They are, however, harnessed at heart forever.
Under a year old, Heppu, a Chihuahua and Miniature Pinscher mix, was at a kill shelter in the US and had only 14 days left before he found his forever human, Sari. The rest as people in the dog-world would say is ‘dogstory’.
More than 15 years ago, Heppu met Sari for the first time. As he crawled up to her shoulder under her hair, Heppu became Sari’s first “official” companion. “Before I chose him, he chose me. And gradually, he taught me the true essence of a human-dog relationship. He taught me the power of compassion.”
Weighing five kilos, but with a “big” personality, Heppu – a Finnish nickname for ‘dude’ – travelled a fair bit with Sari. They travelled from the US to Finland to the UAE. And in the UAE, began a new adventure that changed Heppu’s life overnight, as Hani walked in. A blind dog of almost Heppu’s size, Hani needed not only love and care but guidance.
And Heppu guided Hani quite well! “Heppu always made it a point to show that he was the boss. But to my utter surprise, there was no conflict between the two of them. There was a tacit understanding actually! Hani quickly understood that if Heppu barked, she too had to. He also taught her to be around me when I cooked, so they could pick up whatever fell off the kitchen counter. It was beautiful how the roles reversed, as Hani became the lady of the house and Heppu was the boss outside home and her guide.”
“Heppu was quite a character you know, much more than just fur and paw. So, was Hani. She would sit in front of the mirror and admire herself, with head cocked up although she couldn’t see, except partially when exposed to light.”
A bagful of memories
When Heppu crossed the rainbow bridge, after being ill for six months, Hani had to ruffle herself and stand tall. Soon after, Sari moved back to Finland with Hani. But within a year, Hani was paralysed from hip downwards and gradually headed towards a multiple organ failure.
“It was tough to lose both of them in a matter of 18 months. The loss of a pet is never easy. I didn’t quite realise that losing a dog could hurt that much. But my husband Risto and I had a good run with Heppu and Hani. They taught us how incredible this human-dog bond is. They taught us that if there’s one word that sums up a dog, it’s family.”
That’s why a dog is harnessed at heart forever.
Sari and Risto live in Finland. While they are not full-time dog-parents currently, they enjoy doggy-sitting and constantly engage with animal-focused charity initiatives.
Thank You! 💕 There’s lots of love in this story, not only from us, me towards our Heppu and Hani, but how you have expressed our discussion. Love it! Thank you for allowing us to be part of this adventure. Lot’s of happy tails! 😍🐾
Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories, Sari. Some conversations stay with us forever – the one we had will – the life of H&H with you both 🙂
Lots of love to the “Lady of the house and the boss “..
Thank you so much, Gargi. They are watching us I’m sure and thinking “we are so popular.”