Carolyn Wing Greenlee

Hedy’s Valentine Birthday

Today, my little black Labrador is 5. She still looks like a puppy. I’ve been told that Labs have puppy brains till they’re almost old. That’s probably a good thing. She’s still excited every morning to see what’s outside. We walk the same street she’s traversed for the past 3 years, yet her shiny, black nose is going and she’s checking out the traces of whoever has crossed that road the night before. Deer? Turkeys? The black cat who sleeps in the center of the street? She always wants to greet the day, and her enthusiasm reminds me what a gift we have. So much potential is there!

We are a team. She has accepted that I am the boss—at least today…at least for now. The trainers told me she would always think she’s right and she will always do something, even if it’s wrong. That used to bother me. Now I understand how much a guide dog needs to have that confidence in order to do the work. Now I appreciate how secure she is in herself. It’s from careful breeding. It’s from meticulous puppy training from her raisers, Heather and Amber Findley, and their mom, Sarah. It’s from the gifts God gave her when He designed her before the beginning of time.

When I first saw Hedy, I couldn’t stand her. She stank. She was aloof. I wanted someone warm and fuzzy to cuddle away the sorrows of dimming sight. I didn’t want to have to fight every step of the way. But she has forced me to be more than I was. I have accepted the necessity of keeping up on her skills every day even when I didn’t want to be bothered. My reward is this interdependent partnership that is founded on respect, clear communication, and need. We have needs that only the other can meet. No one else has that place in our hearts.

She is my Valentine, this strong and happy girl. We take care of one another because it’s what we want to do. And when it’s time to go out and face the world, we go together because it’s better that way.

Carolyn Wing Greenlee with her black Lab guide dog Hedy Carolyn Wing Greenlee with her black Lab guide dog Hedy


  1. Mary Holtz

    February 15, 2012 - 8:19 AM

    Dearest C & H,

    Wonderful picture of the girls! Happy Birthday Hedy! You are all heart!

    Hedy has her serious watchful side and also has time to snuggle! What a great job! Dogs are very psychic, try experimenting with just using thoughts to tell her whats on your mind or what you want to go do. Watch how smart she really is!

    Blessings to both of you!

    xoxo all love, m

  2. Jon Spangler

    February 14, 2012 - 10:20 PM

    Happy birthday, Hedy and Happy Valentine’s Day to both of you! You are both witnesses and proof that love is the most powerful force in the universe.

    Linda and I are spending our 24th Valentine’s Day together. To start the holiday we wore our matching “Marriage is so gay” tee shirts to church on Sunday, and we wore them on our morning walk to Peet’s Coffee where they were similarly–and enthusiastically–appreciated. Linda’s birthday was 2/8 ad mine–my 60th–is tomorrow, so February is a celebratory and special month.

    May you and all your friends and readers share many hugs, kisses, treats, licks, ear scratches, and other affection this day and always.

    With love from Alameda,


  3. Nancy

    February 14, 2012 - 9:05 PM

    Dear Carolyn and Birthday-Girl Hedy!

    Happy Valentinus Birthday to Hedy….and many blessed more!

    Thanks so much for the invite to your website and getting to read all your updates…I had missed three or four of them. I just LOVE your gift of expression Carolyn. You continue to Bless and amaze me with such evidence of Christian LOVE you faithfully walk out. You DO inspire Hope with courage.

    Here’s a Valentine for you too Carolyn:
    “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you:
    Jeremiah 31:3

    Nancy C.

  4. Alice Trego

    February 14, 2012 - 9:01 PM

    What a lovely tribute to Hedy, on her birthday and on this Valentine’s Day. And a great testament to what you both have achieved in five years. I had a tear or two well in my eyes.

    Sending XOXOXOs your way!


    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      February 14, 2012 - 11:02 PM

      Actually, Alice, I’ve had her just three years. She was 22 months old when I got her. We should be quite the soul mates by the time I’ve had her five years, but she will also be close to retirement. The instructors said she would be really a great guide at about eight. Other handlers have told me their guides became mind readers. One told me she would say, “Let’s go get some ice cream!” and the dog would stop in front of the Hagan-Daas.

  5. Patty

    February 14, 2012 - 8:07 PM

    And Happy Valentine’s Day too! Love and hugs!

    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      February 14, 2012 - 8:33 PM

      Hugs received and returned. –Carolyn and Hedy

  6. Patty

    February 14, 2012 - 8:05 PM

    Hi Carolyn and Hedy, Happy Birthday to Hedy. Hope that you both enjoy many more years of walking and being together! See you both soon.

    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      February 14, 2012 - 8:32 PM

      Hedy doesn’t look any older than the day I met her. Of course, I couldn’t see her very well then either. She will always be young to me. She sure was happy today. I wonder if she knew. I gave her a massage and prayed for her, nose to tail. How wonderful to have Hedy as a partner! Thank you for your good wishes for her. See you at the book signing soon. –Carolyn and Hedy

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