Jordan took the boys out to Bastrop Wednesday evening because I had to go to Houston for a conference. Hank had been acting kind of funny and didn’t want to come inside. Everyone went to bed, and Hank stayed out as he had many times before. Jordan’s folks live on 17 acres, so given a choice, Hank would many times rather roam than be inside.
The next morning, when Jordan went outside, she found him. And he was gone. She was glad Patrick and Wil weren’t awake. Jordan’s dad took him to the barn, and on Thursday Frank took him to the vet to be cremated.
Hank was anywhere between 11 and 14 years old. We never were able to learn his exact age. In the last three months, his arthritis had rapidly hobbled him and he could barely see. So maybe it was time. But the last few years, roaming those 17 acres, he had been as healthy as ever. When we sold our house and moved to a townhome in Austin, Jordan’s parents let Hank live with them on their property. Really, he became their dog.
Freed from the suburbs and his limited dog walks, he got very lean and strong. He chased rabbits and squirrels and got muddy under the barn’s porch. He would roam the park lands outside the Wilsons’ property and people would call us (our number was still on his tag) to let us know where was. Always, we’d reassure the caller, Hank will make his way back home. Just turn him loose. He’ll get back to where he needs to be.
And so he did. On the porch. Eyes still open. Looking out on the grounds of his estate. As was his habit and practice.
We’ll miss you, Hank.