Smiling at us upside down.
Reach Kelly Housen at 324-7730 or firstname.lastname@example.org Saying goodbye to our pick of the litter People talk about once-in-a-lifetime pets. Animals that are special, that set the standard for all other pets. The Housens lost our once-in-a-lifetime pet this week. Hank, a Jack Russell Terrier, lived to the ripe old age of 102 dog years. I’m not exaggerating when I say that everyone who met Hank loved our smart, peppy dog. Even cat people loved him. Our story with Hank starts on a Christmas morning. My sister and I were sitting on the floor in our matching pajamas (a Housen Christmas tradition), in an avalanche of discarded wrapping paper and opened boxes, when our parents pointed to a gift that we missed. A thin rectangle, wrapped and hung on the tree. It was a photograph of a little brown and white dog. Our Christmas gift was the pick of her litter. When we got the call that the puppies were born on a February night, we went to pick our pet the next morning. As soon as we looked at those four tiny balls of fur that were less than a day old and hadn’t even opened their eyes to see the word, we all knew. That small one, with the brown ears, white stripe down his face and brown spot on his back – that was our dog. That was Hank. He was six weeks old when we brought him home, and really stinkin’ cute. He had that puppy breath, those razor sharp puppy teeth and the inherent curiosity of a pup. The first night, we blocked off the door to the powder room, covered the floor with newspaper, put down his bed in and put him in for the night. Then he started to cry, that whimpering, sad little noise that puppies make. He didn’t stay in there long. The rule was that when we got a dog, he was not allowed in anyone’s bedroom. So the first night my sister and I camped out with Hank in the family room, so he wouldn’t have to sleep alone. On subsequent nights, we’d sneak over to the powder room, grab the Hankster and creep back to our bedrooms. Then, we found out that our mom was also sneaking Hank into her and our dad’s bed. Eventually, that became his bed too. Some of Hank’s habits from when he was a puppy had to change as he got bigger. He had to stop laying across our necks. (He found a new favorite spot that remained his favorite for the rest of his life – in between your legs, with his head on your ankle.) We had to put a stop to him climbing in the dishwasher to lick the plates, once we started to worry that the dishwasher door might not hold him anymore. He continued to love riding in the car, shotgun of course, on a special cushion, covered in yellow fabric with John Deere tractors on it. Those big, brown puppy eyes never lost their power. During dinner, you’d feel a slight touch on your leg, look down and see those eyes looking up at you from your lap, convincing you that yes, you did want to give him some of whatever you happened to be eating. Preferably meat. Not french fries, unless they had ketchup on them. Hank was a true Housen through and through, which meant he liked his schedule. He ate dinner promptly at 4:30 p.m., and if you were even a minute late, you’d feel the stare. He’d stare at you, then walk to the kitchen, willing you to follow. Those same eyes could say “I cannot believe you’re doing this to me,” every time we gave him a bath, in the big concrete sink next to the washing machine. After every bath, Hank would run outside in long circles around the perimeter of the yard. Inside, he would start by the hearth in the family room, run through the hallway, into the dining room, under the table, back through the hallway and re-enter the family room. Then he would go and roll in whatever smelly thing it was that made him stink enough to need a bath in the first place. Hank was a terrier at heart, and took his role of keeping his backyard kingdom free of vermin very seriously. When Hank was in his prime, squirrels would never venture a paw into our yard. He was fast, and almost caught a squirrel once. He did catch a frog, which is not something you want your dog to do since frogs secrete something on their skin that tastes terrible to dogs, resulting in rivers worth of doggie spit. As Hank got a little older, he stopped chasing the squirrels. But he would still sit at the edge of the deck, keeping rodents away with a well-timed bark or two. Throughout his whole life, he never wanted anything more than to be close to someone and the occasional belly rub. And all he gave us was love. It’s hard to open the door to my parents’ house, and not see Hank run to greet me. It’s hard not to call for him when something drops on the floor in the kitchen. It’s hard to know that we won’t be able to run his silky soft ears through our hands again. It’s hard when I find a Hank hair, still embedded in a black shirt. I know there will be other pets in my life someday. But I know there will never, ever, be another pet like Hank. Thanks Hank. KELLY HOUSEN | 09.08.10 | SPARKweekly.com
Always in my heart.
This is Henri relaxing in the car on the way to the Outerbanks for vacation.
Lukey considers himself a "leg-man"!
Maggie is a fun loving, active dog and we have thoroughly benefited from the vet services at Crest View Animal Clinic. The caring, knowledgeable, professional staff have guided us through Maggie's recent health issues. We highly recommend Crest View Animal Clinic to all pet owners!
Resistance is futile.
Teddy's First Christmas
Teddy's First Christmas
Tegan & her wonderful malamute smile!
Our sweet, beautiful brindle American Bulldog.
My friend Tucker!
Sweet, sweet boy.