Happy Tails Hank’s Story

By Shaley Johnson

“Are you sure Hank is the dog you want?” asked the Shelter Director. “He’s a timid boy with a tough past. He’ll take some time to adjust, and you’ll need to gain his trust. But if you can do that, he will thrive.”

Jolie looked at Phil. Phil looked at Hank, and back at Jolie. And that was it. Love, in its truest form. They took him home the same day. 

Found in southeast Kansas as a stray, Hank was a fighter. A clear victim of abuse, he arrived with burns and lacerations on his face and neck. One shudders to think about what he endured. Of course, Hank is the only one who knows what really happened to him. 

He was posted on a rescue page in hopes of transferring him to another shelter to recover from his injuries. CCARE discovered Hank and wanted to take him on. He arrived on New Year’s Eve – a frightened, sweetheart of a dog with his head down and his tail tucked between his legs. CCARE was determined to put his best years ahead of him.

As he began to trust his new friends at CCARE, it didn’t take long for Hank to become a fan-favorite. Volunteers would boast about his spunk, the gleeful energy he brought to every walk, every playdate. 

One day, during a routine veterinary visit, Hank finally revealed the party tricks he had been hiding – he was a trained dog! From “sit” to “shake” to “roll over” and “speak”, Hank knew how to wow a room. It was clear this boy was special. In their five years, CCARE had 𝑛𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 seen a dog quite like Hank.

Hank was picky about making dog friends, which promoted him to being adopted out to an “only dog” home. Application after application was reviewed, but months went by and none were quite the right fit for mister Hank. That is, until the Kaspers came to meet him.

Phil and Jolie Kasper had just lost their dog of 15 years. They weren’t sure it was the right time for another best friend. But when CCARE sent them a video of Hank doing some tricks, Jolie just 𝑘𝑛𝑒𝑤 they needed to meet him.  Phil was resistant, but when Jolie and daughter Jalyn set up a meet and greet, Phil tagged along, and the rest is history. It was a perfect match – love at first sight.

Three months later, Hank was finally adjusting to his new family, and they to him – learning each other’s personalities, likes, dislikes and routines. It was 11:00pm on a Tuesday, seemingly just like any other. Just as Phil was drifting off to sleep, he was awakened by Hank’s telltale bark. Something was wrong.

Phil knew Hank had to have seen something. As soon as Phil looked out the window, he saw it too. A dear neighbor, battling dementia, had decided to take a walk around town. Thanks to Hank, the Kaspers were able to get out and help their neighbor get the medical attention he needed. Had it not been for Hank, this situation could have been much worse. Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear dog tags.

These days, Hank can be found doing what he loves – being with his humans, whenever he can. Snuggling has been added to Hank’s long list of tricks. They can’t change Hank's past, but they re-wrote his future. And as the Kaspers will tell you, Hank has not always been easy, but he has always, always been worth it. 

“It's like he's always been with us,” Phil said with a grin. “And I still don't think we've seen everything he can do.”

And that’s the magic. When the right dog finds the right human...it's as if it always was. 

The preceding story was reprinted with the permission of the Clay County Animal Rescue and Education Center. Your perfect match could be waiting for you too! See the dogs available at CCARE by visiting http://ccareinc.org/available-animals. And don’t forget the 3 days - 3 weeks - 3 months rule to give your dog the best possible chance at adjusting to your family.



Intake day

When found as a stray in southeastern Kansas, Hank showed signs of abuse from lacerations and burns on his face. (Courtesy photo)


Adoption Day

Hank found his forever home on April 10 when he was adopted by the Kasper family. In only a few short months, he has made himself an invaluable member of their home. (Courtesy photo)


Happy at home

Hank and Phil, happy at home. (Courtesy photo)