Our magnificent Airedale Hank crossed the rainbow bridge on March 21st. He was our second ATRA Dale and gave us 12 years of love, laughter and protection. He came to us at about six months of age. My wife DeAnn had a career change forcing her to work in Chicago for over a year while I had employment in IA. She wanted a companion dog and we both loved terriers. It was a tough year for all of us. Hank being a typical puppy would entertain himself if we didn’t. With his razor sharp canines, he damaged tables & chair legs in seconds. He ground up over six inches of an oak banister in a rental home in minutes. And who hasn’t experienced diarrhea cleanup duty in a dog crate.
As Hank grew up he got large, very long legged at nearly 30 inches at the withers. He weight 80lbs (Oorang?)and was a master counter cruiser who had a vast whining vocabulary when begging for treats or attention. Once when he was about four, while kenneled, our home was broken into. The thieves knew their time was limited as Hank nearly tore apart a metal crate trying to get at them. The thieves actually left items near the entry point they had planned to take. The investigating officers said it never would have happened if he had been loose in our home. Going forward, he was always on the prowl. Hank loved his little sister, Murphy our Irish Terrier, they played and hunted together in our fenced in back yard. We took him to a introductory AKC Barn Hunt and he immediately found the rat hidden in the straw. Not a sport for him as one of the requirements is to go through straw bale tunnels without upturning the bales. He was so tall, even when crawling, he flipped all the bales off his back!
We walk our dogs nearly 50 miles a week on nearby trails and when we travelled. Hank has been to the Boundary Waters, North Shore of MN, the Dakota’s, UT National Parks, WV, MO and even Florida. Typical terrier, always using his nose to seek out, catch and destroy a rodent of any size. He learned quickly that raccoons were worthy opponents. We have always fed birds & squirrels which of course encourages the nighttime bandits to invade our yard. Our terriers would run anything out or down in seconds. Naps got longer as he accumulated birthdays. He had a special fuzzy pillow that he would never share. That pillow went on all our trips! He loved boat rides, swimming or just going for a summer creek hike looking for deep pools of cold water. For the last year, he wore a harness so we could help him navigate stairs and just help him up at time. Our walks got slower and much shorter.
Six months before he crossed, we adopted “ Arlie” from ATRA so he had two female terriers to pay him homage, and they did. Our children are all grownup and moved away. When ever they came home, Hank would grab a toy to help him control himself and his tail would actually do the full circle wag when he was excited. Our daughter came home over Christmas last year and brought her two yr old Irish Terrier named Winston. We had four terriers in our house all with different energy levels and nap requirements. When Hank got angry at the other dogs, it only took a short growl and they scatter for cover instantly.
He will forever be missed and never forgotten.
Steve and DeAnn Howard