HANK CHRONICLES

The Pond Monster

The Pond Monster

Last week, Hank was out for a walk with Craig by the pond. They discovered this new creature. Hank ran around the pond, through the backyard, onto the porch and flew onto the couch. I was sitting there reading quietly. I don’t think his feet touched the floor of the porch between the steps and the couch.  Actually, this is a a fake alligator to scare away the Herons who fish out the trout in our pond. It fooled Hank …

Hank on his couch

Hank on his couch

Chillin'

Chillin’

Hydrangeas with dead tree

Hydrangeas with dead tree

Corral Garden

Corral Garden

The corral garden is actually Craig’s canvas. It’s all his design. I add a few things here and there such as the blue birdhouse and birdbath. On the other side of the garden is a lovely glass ball I bought at Mount Vernon while visiting family. Oh yes, did contribute a Hosta plant called “Ginko Craig”.

Below is the patio garden which we started several years ago. The Russian Sage makes me so happy. The Hollyhocks are really beautiful this year. There’s also a spray of Baby’s Breath that I plan to contribute to Hillary’s wedding next weekend.

Patio Garden

Patio Garden

The Hank Chronicles

002

Hank and I go for a big walk every morning on the driveway. He wakes up at 5am for breakfast.  He is crazed with energy. Jumping, nipping and generally tearing around the kitchen. I read in the Dog Whisperer that every dog needs 45 minutes of exercise before they are ready to start listening and training. Hank starts focusing about halfway down the driveway.

The garden is lush and full of produce in August

The garden is lush and full of produce in August

Lettuce, Zinnias, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Tomatoes, Corn, Beans and Squash.

Lettuce, Zinnias, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Tomatoes, Corn, Beans and Squash.

I made a delicious yellow squash casserole.

Saute onions and squash which has been sliced 1/2 inch thick.

When squash is soft and onion translucent, pour into casserole dish. Cover with crushed Ritz Cracker crumbs. Top with parmesan cheese. Add layer of sliced tomatoes. Bake for half an hour at 375 degrees. Yum. There were no leftovers for lunch.

THE HANK CHRONICLES

Hank has been living with us for the past 3 weeks. He is our fifth dog and our third Golden Retriever.  Hank is the first dog I am determined to train so that he becomes compliant and well-mannered. To that end, I have been reading several books about dog training/raising including one text by the “Dog Whisperer” and another old stand-by about raising a puppy you can live with. Hank sleeps in a crate every night which Craig calls his crib. It’s supposed to mimic the wolf caves from ancient times. Hank actually does love his crate and goes there during the day for naps. We put him to bed for the night around 8pm and he no longer cries.

I am vigilant about training Hank to do his business in the outdoors. His preference is to visit the lush carpeting under the pine boughs. His next favorite are the mulched garden beds. I take him through the vegetable garden every morning where he runs up and down the rows. We have not seen one rabbit or deer in the garden since Hank’s arrival. We’re hoping the rabbits moved next door.

Hank wakes up every morning around 4:30am. I take him outside and then back onto the porch. He falls back to sleep if I stay there, crunched on the small couch under a big blanket. If we’re lucky, he sleeps for another hour. Then it’s breakfast, another trip to his favorite toilette and I wake up. We go for a walk that has become a routine. Past the pond garden, around the tennis court, down the driveway (two deer ran in front of us today) and then back up the driveway. Hank sniffs around until he figures out that I am gaining. He runs to catch up and then starts sniffing again. We end our walk with an inspection of the vegetable garden. I have been picking cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, raspberries and blueberries. Hank runs around in the raspberry bushes and helps himself to a morning snack. We return home and he collapses for a two hour nap.

I decided to take him to work at the residential treatment center last week. Used the “ask for forgiveness, not permission” philosophy. The residents jumped up and down, squealed and took turns holding Hank. I had never seen them all so joyful, caring and loving. I had the best therapy session with my client who tends to ruminate about the existential hopelessness of the universe. She was positive and smiled for most of an hour.  I have decided that Hank is a natural therapy dog. He’s been great for me. Gets me walking two miles every day, watching much less tv and generally soaking up unlimited affection.