Over the next few days, I'll be writing up short profiles of the five intrepid travelers that will be hitting the road later this week: Hank, Fred, Joan, Jim and -- last, but not least -- the car. We start with the newest addition to this cast, Hank.
We're lucky to have Hank. In fact, anyone is lucky to have Hank. We adopted Hank a little more than a year ago from a beagle rescue that had picked him up from a shelter outside Richmond the night before he was to be put down. (And, yes, the shelter probably tells everyone that sob story to light a fire under whatever tookus needs motivation, but it's a good story nonetheless).
We decided to get a second dog largely because we felt like Fred needed a playmate. Fred -- like his male owner -- had gotten a bit paunchy, and we thought getting a rambunctious pal would help improve his health. This worked for about a week, as the beagles were playing together in the yard, chasing balls and generally getting along well. Alas, it was too good to be true, as Fred couldn't handle the fact he was doing something active for the first time in a while, and blew out an ACL in his knee (yes, dogs do have them too). That was soon followed by his blowing out the other ACL. But more on that tomorrow. Now, back to Hank:
We don't know how old Hank is; we think he's about 2. We know nothing about Hank's first year, except that was pretty horrible. When he came to us, he was unbelievably skittish, especially where I was concerned. He was terrified of me from the start, though only when I was standing over him or walking toward him. If I was laying on the couch -- which has been known to happen -- he had no issue. Hank also has never appreciated the loud, profane outbursts that tend to occur when I'm watching Jets games. Like me, the mere mention of the word "Favre" terrifies him. Hank is always aware of the shortest path to the dog door, and any sudden noise sends him scrambling through it. He then likes to poke his head back in the door to make sure the coast is clear before re-entering.
The good news: Hank is an incredibly sweet dog. He frequently curls up and sleeps right next to Joan, and we've never seen him bare his teeth or do anything remotely aggressive. He barks occasionally, but it barely registers. And like Fred, his loyalty can be bought with a treat.
The bad news: Hank ain't the brains of the operation. Joan estimates he knows three words: "Hank," "Treat," and "Food."And we're not positive about "Hank."
We have no idea how he'll handle this trip, since every time we put him in a car, he seems to think we're returning him to his previous life. As a result, he's shaking much of the time he's in the car. He's also gotten carsick a few times, so we'll have to see how that plays out. My guess: He'll be a wreck for a week or so, and then settle into the rhythm of the trip.
What we do know is that he'll love being with us all the time, especially Joan. He LOVES Joan. Probably because she hates Jets games as much as Hank.
Tomorrow: Fred, the Bionic Beagle