It’s been awhile since I wrote anything about Hank, my 105 pound yellow Lab lap dog. It’s not that Hank has been boring, far from it. It’s more that I have been largely successful in my attempts to completely ignore him.
But maybe he caught wind that CityView (that’s my dayjob, FYI) is doing a story about pampered pets. Maybe he heard me discussing it on the phone. Maybe he heard that there are dogs out there who get facials, massages and treated to $100 a night luxury suites when their owners go out of town. Perhaps Hank heard there was a better life out there, one currently being enjoyed by his peers, and he decided to go looking for it.
(Cue booming instrumental music here.)
Whatever the case, Hank escaped yesterday. Twice.
The first time was in the morning and I got a call on my cell from a neighbor who said he’d found Hank roaming the streets. I don’t know this particular neighbor, but my cell number is on Hank’s collar. I told the kind man that I was on Fort Bragg and would get there as fast as I could, but that if he didn’t want to be stuck with Hank while he waited on me, he could just walk Hank over to our yard and put him out back, where we have a tall fence.
Actually, I should backtrack a bit to say that when the neighbor told me he had my dog, I thought for sure he meant Mazzy. We leave Mazzy outside in the day time because she likes to destroy things when she’s inside. We just pulled out the Christmas decorations last weekend and already two Snowmen have been executed, their poly cotton entrails left stretched across the living room. Hank, however, we leave inside all day, precisely because he likes to escape. So I assumed that the roaming dog was the one who had the benefit of not being confined by brick and mortar. And then I realized that Mazzy’s collar doesn’t have my number on it. You see, we haven’t quite decided how much we’d actually want her back if she were to go missing. We’ve speculated that maybe if she got out and some sweet family found her, well maybe that would just be God’s plan. Unlike with Hank, whom we had microchipped the very same week we adopted him, after a year and a half of owning Mazzy, we haven’t decided if Mazzy is chip-worthy.
So the roaming dog was Hank and it still remained to be seen just how it was that Hankdini had managed to escape. When I got to my house Hank and Mazzy were both (thankfully) in the backyard, but the front door to the house was standing wide open. Hank, like the dignified house dog he is, had simply opened the door and walked out. I should have guessed. This is the same dog who, back when I attempted to crate train him, not only managed to unlatch the crate and let himself out, but managed to unlatch the crate and get out even after I tied six bungee cords around the crate in an effort to keep it closed, hence his nickname Hankdini. Of course a deadbolt was no match for Hank.
So I went to the back door to let Hank inside and what did I find? My dogs had decided to create their own doggie door. Somehow one or both of them completely shredded the lower part of the storm door. I suppose it had seemed like a good idea to them, and I have to admit that it is sort of convenient.
Later, while I was at the dentist for what seems to be my weekly visit (I have one tooth that is probably now worth more than my car), I missed several calls on my cell phone. Turns out they were from our veterinarian and the message left by a very nice woman in the vet’s office said simply, “Mrs. Sanderlin, we have Hank. Someone found him roaming the streets and couldn’t reach you so they brought him here because our name is on his rabies tag.”
I called her back and asked if they would give him some shots while he was there. She told me he was up to date on all his shots and didn’t need any. So I asked if they’d just poke him with an empty needle or something, you know, so he’d associate opening our front door and walking out with pain. She laughed. I wasn’t kidding.
It’s mildy (but only mildly) amusing to consider that one of the reasons we have dogs is to protect our house and act as a burglar deterent, when the truth is that a potential burglar is far more likely to reach our door and have Hank hold it open for him while he carries out our TV.
And then there’s today. Mazzy didn’t seem to want to go outside this morning so, since it’s winter and I was only going to be away for about an hour, I left both dogs inside and then double checked the lock before leaving for the gym. I had been gone a scant 30 minutes when my husband called to say that a third neighbor had called him to say she’d found Hank. This neighbor has a beautiful backyard where she often hosts garden parties that are nothing short of magical. Apparently Hank had found her koi pond and was having the time of his life terrorizing the koi.
I rushed home and got there just as my husband did, with a sopping wet Hank in the back of his truck. The front door was again wide open and Mazzy was nowhere to be found. We spent an hour driving around the neighborhood calling out for her and we’re going back out again in a bit. And we’re really starting to regret not microchipping her. So if you see this dog (the one in the lower left corner, with the pink collar), probably rooting through your garbage can, please let me know:
1 P.M. UPDATE: The vet’s office called again a few minutes ago. They said a fourth neighbor (at least we’re not bothering the same people every time!) had found Mazzy and called them. The office manager had volunteered to pick up Mazzy from the man’s house because he said he was in a rush and trying to leave town. I got his address and arrived just as the office manager had claimed Mazzy and was about to load her in the car to take her back to the vet’s office. This is the point in this post when I owe a HUGE shout out to Cape Fear Animal Hospital, who not only have great vets and techs, but who are nothing short of amazing at customer service!
Mazzy is home now … and she and Hank are shackled to the water heater in the basement. Just kidding. But it might not be such a bad idea…