Linus the Lion(s)

24 Mar

Yesterday I mentioned two lion toys that I bought Hank & Alta at PetSmart while they were waging war on the groomer.  This is Linus the Lion, a toy in the “Mighty Toys” line of Tuffy’s products.  

So far, they have been the most resilient plush dog toy that has been able to stand up to Hank’s playtime: shaking, ripping, de-stuffing, shaking some more and then carrying around the carcass like a trophy. Notice: there are two identical Linus the Lions…like most siblings, sharing isn’t easy – or rather nonexistent – for Hank & Alta; therefore, we have two of the exact same toy to prevent snarling, snatching and stealing the toys from one another.

A well-made, durable, plush dog toy is hard to come by, and of course, they don’t come cheap.  Running at least $20 a piece, when they do crumble to Hank’s relentless affection…I try and make them last as long as possible.  This, is Piglet…

Piglet used to have four legs, two ears, and a squiggly tail (see below).  He’s currently down to two legs and a body/head…after lots of stitching and re-stuffing…he looks more like a seal-pig.

Tuffy’s rates all of their toys on a “Dura-scale.”  Linus the Lion rates a 7…

And Piglet the Pig rates an 8…

If the Dura-scale has anything to do with predicting how Linus the Lion’s life will unfold, his demise is going to be much swifter; and judging by all that mane hair, tempting ears and long tail…much more gruesome.  If Piglet is still hanging tough, Linus will just have to survive some days home with Hank alone and he too can have his very own set of scars.

At least Hank is happy, and busy, for now…

HUMAN TRANSLATION: Never trust a “durability scale.”  Ever dropped your iPhone and cracked or broke it, despite the “super tough” and “durable” exclamations on the packaging?  Durability scales are not real, or at least made to be proven wrong.  When something breaks (or has it’s stuffing ripped out) channel your inner MacGyver, get out your duct tape and chewing gum…and fix it.

Eat Your Veggies.

23 Mar

Today is a day off.  It began like this…

After an ample amount of snuggling, breakfast, stretching and more snuggling, Hank, Alta & I set out to conquer a mighty to-do list.  Don’t feel bad for my travel companions riding around in a car during the day… they ride around in a doggie hammock hooked across the entire backseat, that rocks them to sleep in between parking lots.

One of the errands on the to-do-list-that-wouldn’t-quit was a trip to the dog groomer (insert ominous music here).  For reference, Hank hates everything noisy and electrical: he battles the vacuum cleaner, howls at the electric toothbrush and hairdryer, hides from the power tools and barks at the blender.  Being that neither Hank or Alta have rhinestones on their collars, could fit into a designer dog carrier or have their “hair done,” I couldn’t bear to choose the “Pawdicure” off their menu of treatments, so I opted for simple “nail grinding” over “nail cutting.”  It was supposed to be better for their nails.  Big mistake.

I’m not sure if the wrong turn occurred when they tried to put a muzzle on him, or right off the bat when they turned the grinder on: it sounded like a belt sander and made a burning smell.  One solid head butt and some gnarly scratches later…Hank left the groomer with two paws of trimmed nails and a look from the disheveled groomer that said “Have A Nice Day, Don’t Come Back!”   Hank, looking annoyed but victorious, hopped into his hammock with his two new lion toys and Alta.

Feeling bad about the nail grinding, I decided to take my two companions for a long hike…hoping that chasing birds, running up and down hills and storming through mud puddles  would help them forget their traumatic spa experience.

The hike was great, dogs were exhausted and seemingly had forgotten I had taken them to the evil lady with clippers earlier that day; so when we left for dinner later, I expected they would be too tired and collapse into their beds.  I’m sure I was right, for awhile at least, but at some point while we were gone… Hank got a second wind (and Alta had nothing to do with it).

This is Hank’s bed, filled with the shrapnel of a Frosted Flakes box and what was left of a box of organic lettuce.  Strange combination you say?  Nah, Hank was merely trying get a balanced meal…either that or it was incredibly satisfying to rip through plastic packaging, that annoying tape that seals it and cardboard.

HUMAN TRANSLATION: Always eat your veggies.  Whether you count the cucumber in your sushi, sip fruit & veggie Jamba Juice or abide by the tried and true “an apple a day…,” eating a balanced meal is good for you.  Just ask Hank.

Treat yourself.

21 Mar

Ever felt like this?

Maybe the morning after too many libations or Thanksgiving dinner? This is the face I came home to yesterday, and what this photo hides is Hank’s bloated belly and gas while rolling side to side, groaning in discomfort. After minimal sleuthing I uncovered these:


Yes, Hank opened the sliding doors on my lower kitchen cabinets and helped himself to an entire container of chocolate frosting and a box of uncooked pasta. For reference, considering Hank weighs only 65 lbs., imagine sitting down and crunching down eight helpings of uncooked pasta and washing it down with two tubs of chocolate frosting. Yum.

HUMAN TRANSLATION: Treat yourself. As gossip rags and TMZ inundate us with 101 Ways to Get Flat Abs in 1 Minute a Day, and every no-carb, low-carb, sugar-free path to the beach body of our dreams…Hank reminds us to remember to treat ourselves. Eating healthy and exercise is important, but whether it’s spaghetti or sundaes, once in awhile it’s good to indulge.

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!