Heidi — a giant schnauzer who lives in Evergreen — takes her job as a pet therapy dog at Exempla Lutheran Hospital so seriously that she even has her own business card.
Heidi’s card lists her favorite hobbies: riding in the car, meeting new people, going on long walks and eating snow. Typical dog fun, you might say.
But Heidi is no typical dog. For more than six years, she has visited patients at the hospital and at Lutheran Hospice and the infusion center. She also loves to visit the residents at LifeCare Center in Evergreen nearly every Monday, according to moms Elizabeth Harris and Debbie Jensen.
Heidi is the winner of Evergreen Newspapers’ 2014 Cutest Pet Contest.
“She likes little kids. It’s a special treat for her when the 3- and 4-year-olds are around, as well as the elderly,” Jensen said.
When Heidi is not doing volunteer work, she loves to dress up. She has dozens of outfits for holidays and sporting events, including a Rockies hat and various Broncos attire.
She’s also a local celebrity, with her own spots in the annual Evergreen Rodeo Parade and the Mt. Evans Hospice Fourth of July Freedom Run. And she loves to stroll through downtown Evergreen with her owners and to run in Elk Meadow Open Space.
Harris and Jensen named Heidi, the dog, after Heidi, the mountain girl character (in both the movie and the book). She’s very obedient, after going to obedience school every week for 10 months during puppyhood, Jensen said.
She also often acts very wise, Jensen said. When Jensen’s mother passed away, Heidi walked around to the end of the bed, put her paw and chin on the bed and had a special look on her face, Jensen said.
“It’s like she sensed it,” Jensen said. “She’ll look right into your eyes and kind of know what you’re thinking.”
As a pet therapy dog, Heidi gets a special grooming before she volunteers. She gets a bath, has her nails cut and gets her teeth brushed, Jensen said. The 10-year-old has lived in Evergreen for a decade. She was born in September 2003 in Kansas City, Kan.