Hanks's 1st Christmas - White Schnauzer Dog.

Hank, The Rescue Pup

At nine weeks of age, Hank was already a pup waiting to be rescued. His was not a case of neglect, but a set of convoluted circumstances that had befallen a tiny, baby boy. Like all puppies, he was precious and it was love at first sight for me and my husband. Nevertheless, we had no idea what a remarkable role he would play in our lives.

Shiloh, our older Schnauzer, all but danced on her hind paws when that little, snow-white fellow arrived on the scene. Time to become acquainted wasn’t necessary, for within minutes they were doing laps ‘round the couch. Hank’s stamina and determination showed immediately as his little legs dug into the carpet trying to keep up with a full-grown dog.

With oodles of extra love and attention, Shiloh had coped with the loss of her lifetime pal, Josey, fairly well. Still, she was overjoyed when that rowdy, young boy entered her life. I wept thinking we should have provided her with a new friend sooner, and before those tears were dry—more tears began—tears of joy because Shiloh was so "taken" with Hank.

That first evening, I knew there was something mystical about Hank. After a good romp and a nap, he awoke and took off to explore his new home. Soon he had located Shiloh’s food dish. He promptly picked it up by the edge, dragged it into the living room, and plunked it down at my feet. Goose bumps raced from my head to my toes; Josey had always placed her dish at my feet, no matter where in the house I might be. Yes, even in the bathroom! No doubt, Hank’s dish maneuver was Josey sending a playful "stamp of approval" all the way from Rainbow Bridge. More tears tumbled!

Hank was up for anything that involved being rough and tumble and he cared not that Shiloh was much larger. When they weren’t wrestling or playing chase, he would lavish me and my husband with kisses. From dawn until dusk his tail wagged and he bounced instead of walking. I often thought he should have been named Happy!

Life was good.

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Quite abruptly and with only a few subtle signs, Shiloh was blind by the time Hank turned one year of age. My husband, Jerry, and I were overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. I read everything I could find about living with a blind animal and had lengthy visits with our vet. Regardless of all I learned, in my mind I knew Shiloh would never truly enjoy life again. She would eat, sleep, and become an old dog before her time. I was numb with sadness for Shiloh. Her active, action-packed life would become nothing more than a memory.

Well! Not only were we astonished with Shiloh’s ability to adapt to her handicap, but Hank transformed himself into her personal seeing-eye dog! He began to fetch her dish, as well as his, at chow time. Other behaviors also indicated his awareness of her plight and he worked daily making adjustments to better her life.

What’s more, Hank then appointed himself as Shiloh’s disciplinarian. When she’d begin to dig the carpet or bedding to make a nest, he’d gently grasp one of her front legs in his mouth, lift it up, and hold it! He detested when she was scolded for her naughty habit, therefore, he took care of business before we even had a chance.

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The devotion of Shiloh and Hank has intensified to the point they are inseparable. And, if it is necessary for them to be apart, you’d best wear ear plugs! They have unleashed sounds of anguish that I didn’t realize could be made by man or beast.

Our one-time fears are now a thing of the past and Shiloh’s life is filled with joy, thanks to Hank! Together they have learned how to cope with her blindness, and to get past most any obstacle that comes their way.

Hank now zooms by Shiloh until he notes body language that indicates she’s "ready." He zips by her once again, in close proximity, with a favorite toy in his mouth. Shiloh strikes like lightening, grabs hold, and the tug-o-war begins! And, wrestling matches are still a part of each day. Many times Hank pretends Shiloh is winning—even though he is now the larger of the two. He rolls on his back and pretends he can’t get up while she works him over. Oh, how her tail does wag!

Shiloh is always Hank’s first concern, but he takes care of me and my husband also. If we are sick, he snuggles up in bed with us awaiting our recovery. Should we want to play ball or go for a walk, he’s ready! He is one busy, but happy, fellow.

When the four of us crawl into bed at night, Hank is literally zonked out within seconds, and it’s no wonder. His life is devoted to the needs of every member of his pack, and especially Shiloh…his blind charge.

As I drift off to sleep at night, I often wonder if Hank is really a snow-white Schnauzer, or an angel in disguise…

~ Kathleene S. Baker ~
Copyright © 2007

Kathleene and husband, Jerry, reside in Plano, Texas. A freelancer, she has contributed to newspapers, anthologies, magazines, online ezines, and writes a weekly column entitled "Heart of Texas" for Frank Talk Magazine. Kathy also writes for Southern Tour Magazine, and is Editor for Starfish, a daily inspiration ezine. Kathy's website: www.txyellowrose.com Email: Lnstrlady@aol.com
[ By: Kathleene S. Baker Copyright © 2007 (Lnstrlady@aol.com) -- {used with permission} ]

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