Eighteen months ago Dan and Vicki laid their friend and family member, Bo, to rest. Following over ten years of love and companionship, Bo, a German Shepherd, succumbed to a spleen tumor that ruptured, an untreatable condition characterized by massive internal bleeding. Their veterinarian humanely put an end to his suffering.
This was a difficult time for the family as they grieved the loss of Bo, who’d been their constant companion for all those years, providing friendship and affection through the ups and downs of family life.
Yet, as much as they missed Bo, they missed having a family dog even more. So, when an ad for a young German Shepherd appeared on Craig’s List a few months later, they didn’t hesitate to place a call to the owner.
Vicky and Dan learned that the dog was 2-years-old, a purebred, an “outdoor dog.” and named Hank. Being very interested and, perhaps, thinking they’d found “Son of Bo”, they made an appointment to meet him and off they went. When they arrived at the owner’s home, the shock set in.
There was Hank, tethered to the end of a 6-foot log chain that was hooked to a tree. He was covered in mud and his play toys were pieces of metal off of old machinery. There was no food or water in site, and nothing more than an old door propped against the side of the house for shelter. He looked to be at least 20 pounds underweight as he sat on the bare ground in a yard that was strewn with every imaginable kind of junk.
The owner came out but the conversation was short: “Take him or he’s going to the pound.” So, they gave the man some money, put Hank on a leash, and got him away from there as quickly as they could without looking back.
As Vicki describes it, “our hearts sank at anything having to live there. He was pitiful but so friendly and wanted to play as soon as we put him on the leash to come home.’
Like any dog, Hank just wanted someone to notice him, to touch him, to show him some kindness and let him know that his life was worth living. Vicki and Dan had plans to do that and more for this poor creature that had known nothing but loneliness, neglect and indifference for all of his short life.
Vicki and Dan live in a rural area of Southwestern Michigan, with open fields, country lanes and a quiet lifestyle. Dan works as an operations manager for a large farming company, while Vicki divides her time between a job, taking care of her husband and two beautiful children, and a horse boarding business, Rolly Acres, which they operate on their property.
This is now Hank’s home. A place where he isn’t left to wonder if there’ll be any food for him that day. A place where he can curl up safely in a warm home and at the feet of the people who love him, instead of seeking comfort on the cold, hard ground. A place where’s there’s always a gentle touch to remind him that he isn’t dreaming. For a dog that has known little in the way of comfort, companionship and affection, he might just think he’s reached heaven.
But, will it stay that way?
….to be continued…
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