Cheoah – Valentine’s Hearts for the Herd

As we announced yesterday, the Second Annual Valentine’s Hearts for the Herd is underway. To enter our contest, all you have to do is mail a Valentine’s to your favorite member of The Herd (To: Dog’s Name, c/o The Thundering Herd, PO Box 1835, Maggie Valley, NC  28751-1835).

If you chose, you may enclose a check for a donation to Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation (who saved 1,231 dogs and cats in 2014 – see this article for details).

One lucky reader will be selected from all of the Valentine’s mailed to win a beautiful gift basket from Smoky Mountain Dog Bakery! The basket last year was overflowing with awesome treats, chews and toys. We get our own freshly baked Pumpkin Treats from them – which they will gladly ship to wherever you are.

To help you decide which dog deserves your Valentine’s, we will be running profiles of each member of The Herd. This year, we will be doing the order from the dog who received the least number of Valentine’s last year to the most. Which means we start with the wonderful Cheoah the Cheesewhiz (35 Valentine’s cards and $283 last year).

can't be last!

Come on, I am recovering from surgery. I can’t be last again this year!

Late May 2008, the humans received a phone call that a Siberian Husky has been found tied to a tree behind a foreclosed house. Could they foster her for a few days while a home was found? Cheoah knew it was her permanent home the second she arrive, batted her unique eyes (both are two color parti-eyes) on the hu-dad, and settled right in.


With a couch like this, I think this is home.

We often get asked how Cheoah received her name. The story is simple and funny.

A few months before that phone call, the humans ran into a woman who said she was a member of the Lakota tribe. As a spiritual woman, she said, she wanted to meet the Herd. After talking to them for a while (she was quite fascinating), she told them she saw The Herd getting a new female Siberian who would be named Cheoah, the Cherokee word for Spirit.

Well, of course, when this little red headed dog came to be “fostered”, the Hu-dad decided to make the prophesy come true and named her Cheoah. One minor issue. After – and only after – the humans checked to make sure the name really meant Spirit in Cherokee. Of course it does not. It means Otter. So, yes, Cheoah is a dog named Otter.

By the way, we live in one part of the world where lots of people would know that Cheoah means otter. We live just beside the Qualla Boundary, the reservation for the Eastern Band of the Cherokees – where every single school age child is expected to be able to read and write the native language. You can imagine the looks we get when we call a dog Otter. It’s ok, though, because she LOVES playing in water.

dirt on picnic table

I also like playing in dirt.

And where did the nickname Cheesewhiz come from? Just a play on the name Cheoah. Hu-dad is always playing with our names and that just came out one day.

So let’s recap. Hu-dad calls her Cheesewhiz and English speaking people laugh. Or he calls her Cheoah and Cherokee speaking people laugh. Either way, she makes people smile.


So take a deep, long look in these eyes – and send me Valentines!

So, dear readers, Cheoah wants to receive lots and lots of Valentine’s. And, remember, each Valentine you send enters you in the contest to win a fantastic gift basket! And, while no donation is required for the contest, we hope you will take the time to write out a check to Sarge’s and help them rescue even more dogs and cats in 2015!

P.S. – Tomorrow we profile Queen Natasha the Evil!


  1. Bobbie Rae on January 13, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Cheoah’s a beautiful girl. She deserves lots of Valentines! She and my Dusty could be twins.

  2. Murphy's Mom on January 13, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    And wasn’t she the one you took to the nursing home / care home to see the hu-grand-dad as a semi-therapy dog? That might be worth including as part of her story!

    • D.K. Wall (Hu-dad) on January 13, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Excellent point and a huge oversight by the Hu-dad. We will make him clean the dog lot as punishment. Wait, he does that anyway.

  3. Sam on January 13, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Exciting! I’ve always loved Cheoah’s story!

    Monty and Harlow

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