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Winning Isn’t Everything: The Skateboard.

3 Jun

Up until now I’ve posted about a few of Hank’s many conquests, his bossy yet poised sister Alta and a few throwback tales from his “younger” days.  But today, the target in his crosshairs of destruction decided to fight back…and Hank lost.

Some days, Hank treks with Michael to the skydiving office, located at the airport.  Opposed to his usually relaxing days spent lounging on the couch at home, or recreational days at the dog park or hiking trails…these days at the office are very busy for Hank.

His tasks include, but OF COURSE are not limited to:

  1. Security:  Airports are very busy.  Hank is in charge of monitoring who is driving, walking, scootering, running, skateboarding or golf-carting around the office.  Considering he is stationed at a skydiving company, there is a constant stream of enthusiastic customers and their families in and out the door.  Each patron has to be properly inspected, sniffed out for good intentions and given proper clearance to get within a leash length of his Dad.  Note: “proper clearance” can and will be revoked if adequate petting, ear scratching and excessive doting comments are not maintained.  
  2. Babysitter:  Around the corner from the office door there is another office owned by an airplane upholstery company.  It is run by a very nice family, who just happened to adopt a Chihuahua-Labrador mix.    Weighing in at a whopping 3 lbs, Max is a whole lot of sass and based on the amount of taunting directed at Hank, enjoys getting the “big dummy on the leash” jealous of his free reign and lack of restraints.
  3. Ambassador: Many first time skydivers are both nervous and excited about the jump from a perfectly good airplane.  Jokes are told, music and movies are played in the office, all to ease the tension and nerves of those a little more nervous than excited.  But no matter how sweaty your palms or soprano your voice, nobody can resist the hapless, lovable, snuggly Hank-face.  He puts people at ease and distracts them from their impending “leap” of faith; but, there’s no such thing as a free lunch…the cost of your comfort is paid in lots of head rubs and belly scratches.
  4. Anti-Ambassador:  Although Hank does lots of good work in easing the nerves of customers, all his efforts, despite their good intentions, are not always well received.  Many skydiving students and their families are visiting the Los Angeles area from faraway lands, and sometimes those faraway cultures are not as dog-friendly as ours.  In these cases, Hank’s bumbling approach…tongue slung out the side of this mouth, tail wagging wildly…is met with screams, arms waving and jumping for higher ground.  Put yourself in Hank’s paws: take out the knowledge of English and universal body language, common sense and communication skills.  What do you have? Playtime.
  5. Stealing lunches, and lunch scraps: Duh.
  6. Exercise coordinator: The patch of grass on airport property, where Hank is permitted to frolic during the day, is about 100 yards from the office door.  Hank is not yet, nor ever will be, well-behaved enough to take himself to the grass…and therefore requires some supervision. This back-and-forth a few times a day lends some sunshine and exercise time to parties on both ends of the leash.  Two birds, one stone.
  7. Barricade:  Hank’s favorite place to sit in the office (when no laps are available) is in front of the door.  Whether this is to maintain tight security or for the nice breeze through the cracks around the door, it definitely makes sure nobody gets by without pay their dues to the troll under the bridge.
  8. Deputy Sheriff: On the other side of the office is a large hanger housing the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue bright-yellow helicopters.  They frequently take off and land throughout the day and because of the close proximity, generate lots of noise and wind.  Upon takeoff and landing, Hank barks relentlessly and the helicopters and their occupants.  Paying no mind to their intimidating helmets and uniforms, or the incredible din that overpowers his bark completely, Hank firmly stands his ground and alerts all around him that a helicopter is moving, under his orders.
Now, to today.  Hank went to work with Michael and began carrying out his duties as usual.  He can listen to airplanes take off all day, helicopter blades that drown out all other noises, engines revving up when the Porshe club is around but there is one thing on the airport that Hank will not tolerate.  Skateboards.
Skateboards are used by the skydiving staff to get around the airport quickly.  There are three or four that sit in the office for general use and while immobile, propped against the wall, are not at all threatening to Hank.  However, once they are wheel’s-down and that first push is made, Hank and the moving skateboard are at war.  Hank was outside as a jumper hopped on the skateboard to cruise across the parking lot.  He immediately bolted after the zooming skateboard and began biting at the back wheels.  What we can only assume were Hank’s attempts to stop and destroy the skateboard, failed…miserably.
No bloody mess, or rush to the emergency veterinarian…just one very startled, embarrassed little Hank puppy with three bright-white tiger stripes on the side of his nose.  Missing some hair and whiskers (the effect on his already lacking balance, to be determined), Hank looks a little like a dog dressed as a cat for Halloween, and a lot like a dog that lost a fight with a rolling skateboard.
He doesn’t seem to have any pain, except to his ego.  But that’s not stopping him from soaking up the extra attention.
And practicing his “pitiful” face.
…and it works.
Finally, something Hank could not eat; except a course of proverbial humble pie.  Hopefully he will be wary of moving skateboards, and think twice about doing more than barking from a distance…but who knows?
Human Translation:  Take the high road.  You’re able to withstand the gridlocked traffic on your daily commute, the barista that smiles and writes your name diligently on someone else’s cup, the ins and outs of a stressful job and a neighbor that thinks your backyard is her recycling bin.  Despite your patience and acute ability to not sweat the small stuff on a regular basis, there is one particular thing that makes your blood boil.  It’s probably trivial: maybe the tone in which a coworker answers the phone, a lady at your gym that insists on a professional blowout and Hollywood makeup regime for 7a.m. yoga or the moviegoer “whispering” on their cellphone during the movie.  These things are annoying.  And once in awhile a perfect storm arises, where they occur at the end of “one of those days” at the moment when you’ve had just enough…at that point, throwing a piercing glare or reliving your 7th-grade spit-ball champion years with a few kernels of buttery popcorn is just the ticket to turn that day around.  But on all the other days in the year, let it go.  Take the high road, chances are these icing-on-the-cake annoyances aren’t on anyone else’s radar, and if you try and bite the wheels by making a big deal, you’ll end up with tiger stripes on your face too.

Archives: Peanut Butter, Part One.

6 Apr

This is the first Stuff Hank Eats archive post.  These are all the crazy instances where we were like, “He ate what?! …we should really write these down.”  The plan is to scatter these posts during bouts of good behavior, because those can’t last long, and times when we just can’t resist sharing Hank’s stomach’s war stories.

This is how the story goes…

I had left Hank and Alta home alone while I was at work one day.  I had recently moved into my studio apartment and still had an Aero bed inflated, serving as a makeshift couch/extra seating.  Hank had taken a liking to this bouncy flat bed, it didn’t require the effort it took to jump on the real bed, and was much bigger than his dog bed.

I walk in the door and the first piece of shrapnel I come across is a peanut butter jar, licked clean, wrapper shredded and the top chewed to oblivion.  The further I travel into the 500 square feet, I see a lovely (not pictured for your own good) puddle of liquid peanut butter barf on the aero bed.  Completely grossed out, I look to my two lovely companions for a guilty party.  Nothing.  Totally stoic, they both sat there staring at me, as if there are empty peanut butter jars laying around all the time…and I am crazy to look so surprised.

Disclaimer: The peanut butter jar was not left on a low coffee table or cupboard, but had just been bought at the grocery store and was sitting on the countertop with the rest of the non-perishables that I had hastily unloaded.  In order to get to the jar, the guilty party had to pull it down from the counter; proceed to pop the lid off (a task frequently simulated while holding a stuffed toy and removing it’s stuffing through an ear or ripped seam); peel back the paper/aluminum “freshness” seal and reveal 18oz of delicious, salty, nutty goodness.  Yes, you read correctly…the paper seal was peeled back, and we found it whole, and detached from the jar, not ripped or shredded. Apparently, a workday was more than enough time to accomplish these feats.

I begrudgingly cleaned up the disgusting regurgitated peanut butter from the cracks of the Aero bed, almost getting sick myself…as Alta and Hank sat perched, staring at me.  I decided to leave the two furry suspects at home, get away from the stinky peanut smell and go get some dinner out…convinced that I would figure out the guilty party later.

It was easy.

There are about 16 servings in an 18oz jar of peanut butter.  That’s about 256 grams of fat and more importantly… 2,400mg of sodium.  To put it in perspective for us with thumbs, think about sitting down with a spoon and eating two jars of peanut butter.  How would you feel?  Bloated? Gassy? Sick? Uncomfortable?

Check. Check. Check.

When I got home after dinner it was easy to tell which dog had committed the salty crime.  Alta was snoozing away in her bed, her conscience seemingly clear, unaware (or apathetic) of Hank’s uncomfortable situation.

Hank on the other hand, was in rough shape…

He was sprawled out on the bed, then slowly moved between the floor and his bed.  Visibly bloated, Hank would lay on one side, passing gas from both ends, then flip over to the other side, groan, and repeat.  It should have been a doggie Pepto commercial, minus the catchy tune.  It was pretty clear Hank wasn’t in any medical danger, but it was also clear that he was super uncomfortable.  I imagine it would be like that feeling after a particularly gluttonous Thanksgiving dinner, then polishing off all the leftovers, maybe stopping by the store for a few extra fixings that went on sale the day after.

Picture the saddest, fat, puffy puppy face you could imagine on this already cute (in a pitiful sort of way) dog and that’s what face we were looking at for the next two days.  The bloating went down, the bathroom antics (not pictured for everyone’s visual safety) lasted for a few days, and because we learned our lesson about leaving the peanut butter within paws reach…we’re not sure if Hank learned his about leaving it alone.

Stay tuned for the perfectly rational conclusion of Hank vs. Peanut Butter…cheers!

HUMAN TRANSLATION: Learn to reach.  Ordinarily, you wouldn’t think a dog – lacking thumbs, reasoning and long-term memory – would have a tough time getting into a peanut butter jar so gracefully.  Sure, any strong-jawed dog could chew a hole in the soft plastic and proceeding to create a giant mess of chewed plastic, gooey peanut butter and dog saliva.  But Hank not only popped the lid off the jar (turning it into a tiny red frisbee and then chewing it to oblivion afterwards) then peeled the paper seal away, revealing what he had been after.  Besides keeping peanut butter far, far away from our furry friends, we can learn a lesson from Hank and his stomach suffering.  Whatever goal is seemingly out of reach, high up on the counter (or in a toy box on a tall shelf), keeping focused and breaking down a large goal into smaller ones will make it easier to achieve.  To us, getting a scoop (or entire jar) of peanut butter is a no brainer;  but to Hank, with no thumbs, standing three feet below the edible target and never having screwed off a lid in his long two years…breaking it down into smaller tasks made his ultimate goal a reality, along with the following internal (and for us, external) agony.  So whatever your big goals may be: 5-year-plan, emotional growth, physical fitness, career achievements, lifestyle changes or financial benchmarks; make a list, draw a diagram, read your tarot cards, talk it out…whatever works for you, break it down into smaller, easier to manage goals and they’ll be yours sooner than you think.