Wednesday, December 14, 2016

by Buddy Henry

January of 99,myself and a few friends were planting pines on a
piece of property that Phillip Newman had recently purchased.
I received a cell call from my wife, Becky.


She said "Cha-ching!"

Our female Boykin Spaniel was in the process of delivering a litter
of pups.

It was exciting to know that,
first,we were going to have some new pups to raise and also
we knew they would be marketable.The pups were fun to raise,but,
at six weeks of age we were going to have to sell the pups
which we were growing attached to.
There were plenty of buyers who quickly picked out a
puppy,except one,
and this will be what the rest of this story will be

Hank,actually his registered name is "Herniated Hank Henry" was the
puppy everyone rejected because he had a small umbilical hernia.
Becky and I would point this out to everyone,so this was probably
the reason he was rejected.
But except for this small hernia,Hank would turn out to
be exceptional in every way.

When it was time to feed the pups after they were about four weeks
old,Hank would be the first to meet you at the gate.
He was just plain excited to see you.
We dubbed him a "Bonkin" because he would be bouncing
up and down when you came to the pups pen.
At the time I thought it was because he wanted to be the first
to eat,in retrospect I know it was
because he wanted to show his love.

All the pups got sold,except Hank.
We got a call from a prospective buyer.
They were ready to buy Hank.

Becky looked at me and said,
ain't for sale!!!"

When Hank was nine weeks old, he and I walked out to the end of the
driveway to get the newspaper.
That had been Abby's job,Hank's Mama, up
until that morning.
I put the newspaper in his mouth and ran back to the
house with Hank right behind me.
After that morning all I had to do was
open the door and say ,"Hank,Fetch it up!"
For the next Eight years, Hank
acted like it was as exciting to him as it was for me to see him
retrieve the paper.

The paper was just the  beginning of Hanks retrieving ability.

When Hank was nine months old I took him to his first dove hunt.
I had never fired a gun around Hank.
I was a little scared to shoot because his mom was

The birds started coming in.
With Hank by my side, I fired my
gun and luckily downed a bird.
I ran to the bird with Hank right beside
me and was saying "Hank, fetch it up!".
I put the bird in Hanks mouth and
ran back to my shooting blind with Hank beside me.
I gave him a lot of praise,poured some water in my hand
and let him drink from my hand.

That first day shooting I shot nine birds
and except for the first bird that
I put in his mouth he picked up the rest of the birds
and would hurry
back to the blind and graciously accept my praise.

As the years continued Hank became an excellent retriever.

We hunted together for the next eight years.

When in the dove field,Hank would sit
right beside me and help me watch the sky for birds.
He would be so
excited he would wimper when I was missing birds,almost showing
disappointment in me for missing.
I would talk to him and it seemed as if
he understood me.

I consider a couple of times in the field as "great family
moments"in my life.

My two daughters got to go hunting with Hank.

Leslie & Buddy- two nurse anesthetists in the same family!

My oldest daughter, Leslie, took her video camera on one shoot.
She shot some footage of Hank in the "field".
His enthusiasm is very evident on film.

Buddy & Lana

My youngest daughter,Lana (who at the age of sixteen had never shot
a gun) and I were invited to my neighbors just a few hours
before the shoot.Lana and I went out in the yard and I showed
her how to shoot a 20 gauge shotgun.
We went to the hunt and Lana shot many times.
Hank was very patient with her.Lana finally shot down a bird.

I don't know who was
Lana,Hank or Me!!!.

Lana shot down two birds that day.
Like I
said,"A great family moment".
Even though retrieving was my intent for
having a dog, a Boykin Spaniel,
retrieving was
a minor part of the
happiness Hank brought to our family.

He was truly a "companion".

His loyalty to Becky,my children and I is something that is
difficult to
You would have to own,or maybe I should say, be blessed to have
an animal such as Hank,to understand one's feelings toward a family

Hank was "Homeschooled".
He was never a problem student.
His only
limitation were my limits to teach.

I could say,"Truck," and over the
tailgate he would go.
He would stay in the truck until I said "Out.".
I could say "Kennel" and point to the direction I wanted him to go
and he would "kennel-up".
"Sit","Stay",anything I asked ,he was happy to

Water.He loved it.He would swim for pleasure like an eight year
old child.

Time to relax,Hank would jump up on the front porch swing with
me and lay his soft,beautiful head on me and nap while I napped.

Until Hank, I didn't really understand the bond one could have with
an animal.

Now I understand when people say,"like a member of the family."
We had Hank for eight years.

Today, due to a sudden illness,liver and kidney
failure, we had to"put him down".

Becky and I were with him as the young
veterinarian administered a euthinizing dose of a barbiturate.
We were able to pet him as he went out.

Pain,sorrow,memories streamed through our

I'll never say as I used to,"He's 'just a dog'."
He was much more.

Becky and I have a small piece of property with an artesian spring
on it.We spend time on the property nearly everyday.
When I would open the
tailgate to my truck Hank would sit until I said"Out."
Most of the time
he would run to the spring for a "dip".

We buried Hank down by the spring
today,we poured some "spring water" on him and covered him with

If you ever need someone to define "Love" ask me about
"Happy Herniated
Hank Henry".