Hank is the sweetest 3 year old Redbone Coonhound you ever did meet, which is why we couldn’t help but adopt this hunky fellow so we could have him all to ourselves.
I had begun browsing online with the idea of finding a companion for Dutch when I came across Hank’s Petfinder.com listing. His image caught my eye and after reading a brief description about his disposition, I inquired to learn more by emailing the rescue organization. A week passed without an answer, yet I still had Hank on my mind. So I emailed them again to follow up. I received a response saying that Hank was, in fact, already adopted. I replied to say thank you for letting me know and also to ask the rescue to inform me if anything should happen to change with his arrangements. At this point I accepted that he wasn’t meant to be our dog and I halted my search. It was still very soon to think about adding another pet to our household with the loss of our dog, Duke, occurring just a few months earlier.
Approximately two weeks went by when I received an email from Hank’s rescue organization letting me know that his adoptive family had to return him due to no fault of his own. Their other dog was not accepting of him and did not care to share the attention of her owners and they said they would have absolutely kept Hank otherwise. Reading this, I felt a flicker of excitement in my heart. Was this a sign that I was ready to have another dog? I contacted my husband right away and asked if we could meet him. He immediately said yes.
In order to meet Hank we had to go through the adoption process to show how serious we were about adding him as a permanent member to our family. This included an extensive application as well as a home check. Once we accomplished these tasks, on Labor Day weekend we made the drive to a Los Angeles suburb where Hank was being boarded. Of course we took Dutch along for the ride too.
Hank was a handsome boy, there’s no doubt about it, but he was so very timid. After 45 minutes of trying to get him to come to us, my heart sank as I shared my concern with my husband – I just didn’t think we were ready for a challenge like this. Dutch didn’t pay too much attention to him, and so that was a disappointment for me as well since my main priority was to find a friend for her that my husband and I would both love too. I was nearly in tears as Hank shivered, hiding behind a trash can. Then, the woman I had been in contact with arrived and suddenly Hank came out of hiding. They had developed a special bond over the time Hank had been in and out of rescue and it was evident at the sight of her. He jumped and hugged her, wagged his tail uncontrollably – his entire energy changed! She suggested we take Hank for a walk around the block together and I am so glad that we did as this act showed me the kind of dog he really was. Hank was shy, yes, but he had soulful eyes and a pleasing personality; this gave me great hope.
We decided to take Hank home with us with the intention of keeping him, however, the rescue offered to take him back if for some reason we weren’t settling in okay at home. The drive home was long considering the holiday weekend traffic, and this gave me entirely too much time to doubt my feelings. I was upset – had I falsely adopted a dog that I was not emotionally ready for? Would he still be painfully timid when we got him home? How would he react to our cat? Would Dutch warm up to having a new dog around? My questions came and went during the entire drive home, but my husband reassured me we were doing the right thing. We were giving a dog another chance and offering him a better life. We were saving a life – who wouldn’t be thrilled about that?
My husband's reassurance eased my anxiety about the decision we had made and it came to fruition when we made a bathroom stop while on our road trip home. We took turns entering a fast food establishment and as I returned to my husband and the dogs, Hank was happy to see me. He walked toward me with a softly wagging tail and nuzzled his head into my hands. I then sat with the dogs in the grass beneath the shade of a large tree and Hank seemed different to me. He stayed close to me and I felt a bond being forged in that moment – I described it to my husband as magic.
Once we arrived home, both dogs tore through the house and out into the backyard. As my husband and I caught up to them, Hank was trotting through the grass in a state of glee. His tail was held high, he rolled on his back and presented his belly, he even took dog toys from inside the house and brought them to us to play. He was a completely different dog! I almost couldn’t believe how alive he suddenly was and the relief that waved over me was all consuming. He hardly even acknowledged our cat, Handsome, and the cat seemed to not care either. We played in the yard together as a family until the sun set and called our parents to tell them about their new grand-dog. Before the day was over Hank hugged me and my husband. He was home. My mother-in-law and father-in-law have already sent Hank and Dutch a fun filled care package full of treats and toys to help us celebrate our new addition. How thoughtful is that?!
Contrary to his rough start in life being pulled from a hoarding situation, adopted for one year before a divorce forced Hank to be returned, adopted a few weeks later by a couple whose dog did not accept him and was returned again – Hank has now found his forever home. And the best part about it this happy ending is that we have already created so many memories in the three short weeks we have had him. It’s been so fun getting to know him and see Dutch enjoying life with a new friend. Though we still miss Duke tremendously, I am so glad we made the decision to adopt Hank when we did, and I feel pretty silly for doubting myself through the process. Hank's adoption has benefited us and him in ways we probably don’t even realize and we are looking forward to many, many more years of creating memories together. Welcome home, Hank!
The look of being forced against your will, times two.