What Would Hank Say?


This is Hank at my desk in the “French Room”. He appears to be quite interested in literature which has led me to consider his thoughts regarding life in general and more specifically, the current government in St. Johnsbury. Two years ago, following Town Meeting, I started attending select board meetings. There had been significant changes in approved appropriations and newly elected select board members which signaled a change in the approach to town government. I kept a blog at the time called St. Johnsburyitsallpersonal to help me process my observations. The only information I am currently getting is through the Caledonian-Record and casual conversations with friends and acquaintances. I am teaching courses on Social Movements and community projects. It’s time to walk the talk and show up. So, it’s back to Monday night meetings twice a month.  I will include my reflections on Hank’s perspective.

First, Hank’s accomplishments need to be catalogued.

  • Hank will sit upon command (verbal and signal)
  • Hank will stay for up to 20 seconds.
  • Hank will sit by the side of the road when a car passes.
  • Hank will retrieve a ball and drop it upon command (not immediately, he has to think about it for a few seconds)
  • Hank waits for his people to go through the doorway before he enters. This is monumental since we were used to being run over by previous dogs.
  • Hank does not enter the tennis court when the ball is in play.
  • Hank will come to a full stop in the middle of a run when he hears his name. He looks and waits for a command.
  • Hank takes only 15 minutes to calm down when he meets new people.
  • Hank has learned to “soft bite”.
  • Hank is capable of rolling over but he is not asked to practice this skill on a daily basis.
  • Hank is improving in his ability to tolerate the leash. He needs more practice.
  • Hank waits to eat his food until the command “ok eat your breakfast/dinner”. We only ask him to wait for a second. It still counts.

Right now, based on newspaper articles and anecdotal information, Hank would probably say that it is crucial to identify the Alpha Leader of the pack. The Chair appears to be the Alpha but given the unease of the pack (the remaining members of the select board and community) this is not so clear. We need to observe the individuals in question Unfortunately, Hank will not be able to attend the meetings. Although I listed a comprehensive and impressive list of his abilities and accomplishments, he is not capable of sitting through long, boring, confusing meetings run by short-sighted individuals. I am getting ahead of myself here. It’s not fair to make these determinations without attending meetings.