Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hankaroo - 5 Year Anniversary

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

We acquired our first pet five years ago today from the SPCA. When we adopted Hankaroo (whose name at that point was merely "Hank"), he was only a 9-month old pup. The paperwork at the SPCA claimed he was a Treeing Walker Coon Hound mix. Based on his temperament and look, however, we believe he is predominately a Boxer.

During the drive from the SPCA, Hankaroo sat on Cathryn's lap in the front seat because the back was filled with the doggy-crate we had just purchased. When we arrived home, he immediately started to run around and sniff everything in our Lafayette Ave. apartment. He proceeded to then pee all over our Living Room floor. We both yelled "Noooo," and quickly took him for a half-hour long walk around our West Side neighborhood. We had to take him for two more walks that night after similar incidences. When it was time for bed, we put him into his crate...where he spent the night whining and keeping us awake.

The first couple months with him were extremely tough (to say the least). His previous owners did not properly train him. He had leash aggression and severe anxiety issues. He had more energy than an Energizer battery and we only had a small 500 sq. ft. apartment (without yard access as well). We quickly learned we had limitations as loving parents of an energetic pet and he had limitations as a faithful companion. While we believed we were equipped to handle a nice friendly pet, we were not as confident we ready to handle Hankaroo.

We ended up taking him to obedience class where he improved. After that, we scoured the internet and read books to find solutions to other problem behaviors that the obedience class did not help in. We paid for an obedience specialist to work with us one-on-one. We worked hard (and continue to work hard) with him on making him a happier and more well-behaved dog. We became loving parents to our dog who needed special attention and help.

With time and patience, we found a very happy place with him where we learned what we were capable of as owners, and where we accepted his limitations as a pet. We learned that some battles were just not worth fighting (like Hank on the couch). We learned that sometimes we misinterpret acts of kindness (like everytime Hankaroo jumps on someone so he can give then a kiss). We learned that every creature has irrational fears (like Hankaroo not wanting to eat next his waterbowl if it is too full out of fear he might somehow get wet). While we are not sure that he might have turned out more well-behaved with an owner who had more experience training dogs, we are sure we did the best we could - and believe it is more than 95% of the people out there as well. He is a happy animal, and we could not love him more.

While we don't know if we would ever adopt another pet from the SPCA (nor recommend a President do it - regardless of what a poll may show), we do know we do not regret making Hankaroo a member of our family for one second.

In honor of his celebrating 5 years with us, we would like to share with you his many nick-names.

Breakaroo - When Hankaroo is being destructive.
Gooey OR Rooey - When Hankaroo is being ultra cute.
Hankapoo - When Hankaroo is going, ah...., look at the name again.
Hankaroo - The name on his collar.
Lickaroo OR Kissaroo - When Hankaroo is trying to lick us.
Roo Roo Roo Roo - When Hankaroo is being barky.
Roo-Cifer - When Hankaroo is acting like the devil.
Spankaroo - When Hankaroo is being particularly playful.
Spanks - See Spankaroo.
Stinkaroo - When Hankaroo smells particularly bad.


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