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Aquaphor: The Snake In The Grass

11 May
I’ll start off again by asking all of you about to think “put your stuff away and Hank won’t eat it…” to pause and look around the room, pick out the most inanimate, tasteless, odorless, noiseless and least fun looking item…and where it is located.  Is it under 6ft off the floor? If you answered yes, that item is fair game to Hank.
Now, think about the frantic 20 minutes before you leave for work every morning: trying to clean up the dishes, make sure gym bag is packed, let the dogs play outside, pack a lunch, and everything else that springs up out of nowhere (i.e. Alta’s knack for bolting out the gate while I’m busy balancing a few bags and a coffee mug and charging the neighbor cat that has been taunting her).  Would you remember to move the remote control from the coffee table to the top of the refrigerator?
The randomness of Hank’s recent destruction was especially surprising because, aside from it’s squishy texture, Aquaphor has no fun smell or delicious taste, it doesn’t squeak or rattle in the the bottle and would be difficult to stomach in one sitting.
Common uses include (but are not limited to): dry & chapped skin, cracked hands & feet, chapped lips, minor cuts & burns.  According to it’s website, Aquaphor is a fan favorite amongst Moms (drool rash & diaper chaffing), Athletes (blisters & windburn), Beauticians (chapped lips & taming eyebrows) and many more.  Oddly enough, not once in their website does Aquaphor mention being a substitute for a delicious dog treat.
Dubbed “fragrance-free” and sitting helplessly on the coffee table in it’s unassuming (but expensive) tube, the brand new bottle of  Aquaphor didn’t stand a chance once it landed in Hank’s crosshairs.
Licked clean.  Not just broken open and sampled…and after discovering it wasn’t salty peanut butter or sweet and sugary, discarded it to collect dog hair.  The tube was bone dry.  Every last ounce licked from the inside, he even managed to get the few drops from the inside of the cap (which he had bypassed and went straight to chewing the bottle in half).  This bottle of Aquaphor was plucked from it’s resting place on the coffee table, chewed in half and then it’s sticky, slippery contents were consumed entirely.
For those of you not familiar with the consistency of Aquaphor (water-based jelly), maybe you’ve used it’s petroleum-based counterpart…Vaseline.  The only joy I can imagine Hank getting out of this particular conquest was: that his tongue kept getting stuck to his face, nose, the floor, Atla, dust bunnies…acting as a makeshift, sticky Swiffer for all the remnants I had missed while cleaning.  Yuck.
Unlike the peanut butter, and unlike what you’d expect after eating thick, water-based jelly straight from the tube…Hank was fine.
No wiser for the wear, but no gassy, bloated groaning and rolling on the floor.  I’m sure he rather enjoyed the water-based jelly poop that he experienced for the next few days, but thankfully for all humans involved-no barfing or indoor explosions needed cleaning up.
Even after a few hours of this later that day…
…still no ailments to be seen.  Luckily, Aquaphor is water based, so other than preventing his intestines from chaffing, dryness and minor burns, and making him loose as a goose for a few days…there wasn’t a need to call the poison control hotline (a number which we keep on the fridge).
HUMAN TRANSLATION: Beware of the snake-in-the-grass.  Whether it’s a sneaky co-worked vying for your job, a stranger watching you a little too closely or the best friend who pinky-promised not to tell an embarrassing story…keep an eye out for the unassuming.  We’re careful to keep the leftovers locked away in the fridge, the bread basket high up on the shelf, valuables away in drawers and anything that shakes/rattles and rolls far, far away from Hank…but sometimes it’s the thing you’d least expect that comes back to get you.
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This is Hank…

19 Mar

He was a free puppy.  Michael picked him up from a makeshift pen in someone’s backyard, one of eleven puppies in an accidental litter.  Now, two years old, Hank loves normal dog things: hiking, running, chasing birds and digging holes in the yard; and human things: sleeping on a bed, riding in a car and most of all…eating people food.  However, whether the less-than-perfect dog vision or youthful curiosity is to blame, Hank has expanded his hunt for delicious people food to well, anything that piques his interest.

When choosing something to chew, consume or destroy Hank does not discriminate against things that are inedible, unreachable or hazardous.  Standard dog toys are no match for his thirst for stuffing; empty carcasses of plush-comrades have been shaken for days before surrendering to the trash; rubber, Nylabone (yeah, right) and anything claiming to be good for teeth or “super-extra-tough” is shredded into tiny chunks and consumed. Because of his hunger for variety, we’ve never been able to pinpoint what exactly attracts his attention, therefore spend at least 10 minutes before leaving the house hank proofing.  Hank proofing is a fun game where we hide, put away and stow anything smelly, sparkly, wiggly, pointy, jingly, shakable, breakable, valuable and those wild card items where you just don’t know (so you hide it anyways).

Despite our efforts, opening the front door is always an adventure.  More often then not we find some treasure Hank has claimed and, (with some valuable exceptions) end up snapping a photo and  laughing about a) his determination b) his technique c) the remnants d) his current physical condition or e) all of the above.  Family & friends inevitably  get a daily dose of Hank’s exploits plus a photo, so I thought I (see below) would extend our documentation to the Internet-machine and all of you who miss out on Stuff Hank Eats.

Ever get in trouble for something when you were young that despite tirelessly explaining to Mom & Dad that your older sibling told you to do it, you were blamed for anyways?  Well, Hank has an older sister, best friend, partner in crime named AltaAlta is my Heinz-57 mix of German Shepherd and Doberman; she’s five and very bossy.  While we haven’t been able to prove anything, there’s a good chance Alta is behind most of Hank’s antics…even though she is typically curled up on the couch overseeing Hank’s newest disaster unfold with a Cheshire Cat smile curled on her face.

Now, before any of you Harbor Dog owners point any fingers…I must add a disclaimer that Hank and his puppy training were never neglected, nor was he ever given dinner scraps off plates, fed from the table or allowed to beg.  We worked extensively to train him on Invisible Fence, potty training and the basic commands, which so far, he obeys without a problem.  He gets regular, rigorous exercise: hiking, swimming and romps at the dog park; and is only left at home occasionally during the workday.

Due to inevitable sad moods and excessive crying, I’m no longer allowed to watch dog movies so I’ve never seen Marley & Me…but this documentation is not a heartfelt story about the dog that “changed our lives forever”.  Although, after reading a few of these Hank-tales, it’ll  be obvious that, to us, the value of having dogs that can outsmart hiding places, love unconditionally and make us laugh-till-we-cry on a daily basis, far outweighs the cost of replacing, well, a lot of stuff.

So, Hank, Alta, Michael & I hope you enjoy your frequent dose of Stuff Hank Eats.  Cheers!