Natasha – Valentine’s Hearts for the Herd

As we announced Monday, 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. Yesterday, we profiled Cheoah. Today, we honor the Queen Herself, Queen Natasha the Evil (36 Valentine’s cards and $368 last year).

Valentine's face

Doing her best “Please send me Valentine’s face.”

Miss Natasha is the only dog in the house whose birthday is actually known – June 10, 2003. She invaded the house as a cocky, confident eight-week old puppy – and has done nothing but gained confidence over the years. Her adopted Mama Bear, Nikita, took Princess Pain in the Butt under paw and taught her everything it took to be a leader of the pack. At Nikita’s passing August 23, 2006, Natasha grabbed hold of the leadership role.

My yard

My yard. My house. My rules.

As for the “Evil” title, she has always reinforced her dictatorship with little stunts. For example, in our old house, we had two dog doors – one that led from the house to the screened-in dog porch and a second from that porch to the yard. One of the great games was chase where someone would take off and the other five would follow in hot pursuit. One particular day, Natasha took the lead, exited the first door to the porch, the second door to the yard, and then ran a full circle through the yard and back through the door to the porch. The rest of The Herd was several steps behind, which gave little Miss Evil the moment to turn around and place her body against the dog door. The resulting collision into the now inflexible dog door rivaled the best interstate highway multi-car crash you have ever seen, and our fearless leader just walked away grinning.

As another example, long-time readers remember sweet, innocent Rusty – the ultimate class clown and a buddy of Natasha. Unfortunately for the Rooster, he was also the butt of many of her pranks. Like when he would be curled up on the couch soundly sleeping, she might reach up, grab him, and yank him into mid-air. He would get the classic “Wile E. Coyote” look before plummeting to the floor.

So, yes, Evil is a good nickname.


A girl has to keep herself entertained.

From her first Christmas when she (and Nikita) took out a Christmas tree to her amazing kitchen counter surfing skills, Queen Natasha the Evil keeps her Hu-dad on his toes and The Herd in line. So, in her usual way, she doesn’t ask you to mail her a Valentine’s card. She demands it. Or else.

Look innocent.

But I can look innocent when it helps.

Tomorrow, we profile Qannik who received 41 Valentine’s and raised a Herd best $448 last year. His goal is to retain the top fundraiser title!


  1. Sam on January 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    She’s a tricky one all right.

    Monty and Harlow

  2. Nancy Bulluck on January 14, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Loved reading about QNTE’s stunts–I could just picture that dog door collision! It just makes me admire her even more, and I’m thinking she may be my choice for this year’s valentine. 🙂

    Thank her and the rest of the Herd for their support of Sarge’s from the very beginning.

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