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The Heidi Chronicles, Part 2: A rescue yields a feminist hero

July 28, 2008 |  8:00 am

HeidiThis is Heidi. Earlier this year, she was “discovered” in the park by a pet talent agency; since then, she has embarked on a one-dog quest to break into the business. This is her Hollywood story as chronicled by Times staff writer Diane Haithman. And this is her “head shot”: photo attached. The longing look was achieved by placing a biscuit just out of reach.

Once Heidi had been “discovered,” it still took me awhile to make an appointment at the animal talent agency. I had to believe I was not setting the dog up for a life of heartbreak, crying into her water bowl about the role that got away. It was time to realistically assess Heidi’s potential.

Her tearjerker bio was definitely worthy of a Hollywood press release: Heidi was found in a storm drain in Houston, Texas, with her litter of puppies. She was less than a year old — and, by the look of the puppies, apparently knocked up by the first black Labrador who came along.

By the time this young, unwed mother was rescued, three of her six puppies had died and mom and the remaining pups were little more than fur, bones and fleas. The pups required blood transfusions. In June 2003, my husband and I traveled to Texas to adopt Heidi, who now has 250 frequent flier miles on Continental Airlines.

The storm drain story made Heidi a feminist hero when she was chosen as Dog of the Day for Mother’s Day, May 8, 2005 on that website. You go, girl, site visitors wrote.

Plus, there’s a little celebrity sparkle: Heidi was rescued by Sonya Fitzpatrick, the former “Pet Psychic” on the Animal Planet network (she prefers the term “animal communicator”). My husband had been doing some legal work for Sonya, and she knew we were looking for a female dog, housebroken, maybe a year old, who could get along with our irascible 16-pound gray tabby cat, Chrysler, so named for his size and because he moved West from my hometown, Motown.

Sad to say, butterball Chrysler died of a heart attack just weeks before we brought Heidi home. But you don’t argue with a professional animal communicator when she says: “Darlings, I’ve found your dog.”

OK, Heidi would have plenty to talk about on “Leno.” But what about talent? While pondering Heidi’s future I happened to see a YouTube clip from “Britain’s Got Talent” in which a 16-year-old girl performed a “canine freestyle” routine with her dancing, jumping, twisting, amazing border collie. And I’m thinking: “Heidi, sit.”

But we all know that talent doesn’t necessarily trump beauty in Hollywood, and look at that face. I began the process of setting up Heidi’s first encounter with “the biz.”

Photo: Alan Feldstein

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