A little dachshund who forever changed the life of his fur mom and dad, Hey, Dude! LeUnes took on a role larger than life as his mission, beyond showing love to his humans, was to educate many years of elementary school students, and to model a full line of absolutely precious pup wear. Hey, Dude! ruled the classroom of Judy Webb LeUnes, but ruled in a way that a beloved principal is acknowledged when you walk into a room.
You’ve heard of “Bring your child to work” day, right? Hey, Dude! went to school every day with Judy, and he had a teaching base in that classroom as children learned how to communicate with him, and with one another, simply by his presence. The world according to Hey, Dude! was much like that of the children. All were treated with respect, expected to follow rules and class progress, and to listen to the teacher when instructions were being given out.
Because educator Judy LeUnes knew you get permission before you take action, she’d spoken to her principal and because the principal was forward thinking, plus she knew that Judy would never give up until the answer was “yes,” she agreed to the presence of the precious black pup.
Children greeted him by name and he basically had the run of the classroom as the children could give him preapproved treats as part of their reward for good behavior. When it came time for standardized tests, Hey, Dude! went into his little igloo-type home and the cover was zipped up. He never opened test booklet until told to do so.
Not all children adored dogs, as one might predict. In fact, in Mrs. LeUnes’ classroom was a student who had a tremendous fear of dogs. And yet, Hey, Dude! understood why one little girl didn’t reach out for him and seemed to be a bit scared when he might be near her desk. And yet, human and pup locked eyes, both filled with uncertainty and kindness, every day for the course of the school year. Quiet respect on both sides.
Before she left the class the very last day, the young girl said to Mrs. LeUnes, “I’d like to tell Hey, Dude! goodbye.” With compassion and understanding, Judy walked with her up to where Hey, Dude! was and she picked him up and allowed the youngster to reach out and touch the tip of his tail. Hey, Dude! didn’t flinch and the communication link was cemented. It is clear that words are not required when youngsters want to express love, compassion, needs, hopes and fears. The sixth senses that dogs possess are keen, but Hey, Dude! seemed to have superbly keen empathy and understanding for children.
Hey, Dude! had quite a wardrobe befitting his many needs for his public appearances. He went everywhere with Judy, willingly and happily, and he was beloved across the Brazos Valley by generations of Judy’s elementary school students, many of whom had grown to now young adults, many attending Texas A&M and Blinn.
One year, one of Mrs. LeUnes’ students’ fathers had run for College Station City Council, and won. On the day of his swearing-in ceremony, Mrs. LeUnes received permission to take her class (it was within walking distance) to the swearing-in ceremony as a surprise treat for the class. Hey, Dude! also attended, and because of the important civic occasion, he was dressed in his tuxedo. Children learned both civics and respect for public office that day, courtesy of Hey, Dude!
All of his life, Hey, Dude! brought joy and shared love with everyone around him. His life was devoted to doing good works and just his mere happy presence alone kept students entertained, calmed, and encouraged. They loved the treats they could give him as their rewards for doing their work promptly.
In his “off hours” at home with Judy, Arnold, and their full family, Hey, Dude! was ever at Judy’s side, along with his siblings. The LeUnes home is known as a gathering place for all living creatures who need a haven to rest, and they’re all lovingly cared for, well fed, and well attended to medically as Judy has speed dial on her phone for her veterinarian and gets VIP treatment whenever one of her babies requires medical care.
The great, successful “Wienerfest” Brazos Valley came from the inspiration of Hey, Dude! in Judy’s life. People who love their dachshunds are a special group of people; just ask them why they love their dogs and within the first minute, you’ll know their devotion. Wienerfest was something that Judy and friends she gathered together established to benefit the Aggieland Humane Society. The Wienerfest races were exciting and dogs of all breeds were invited and welcomed to come out and be a part of this exceptional fundraiser.
Hey, Dude! was more than a dog, a fur baby, a pet. He was, in fact, a bright life who forever impacted the lives of those he saw and who knew him. Hey, Dude! was an inspiration for education, civic pride, and love and care for all animals in the Brazos Valley. He was one more child in the very large LeUnes family, and he is forever loved and remembered.