It was another year before I took Cinder down to Kentucky and introduced her to Khan. The Robys were so nice and so hospitable, I couldn't hardly believe it. Larry was extremely sick then and I felt bad that I was being an inconvenience, but Johna insisted it was fine if I came and stayed in the spare room. I tried to help out with dishes and such. Then Cinder wanted nothing to do with Khan. We waited, still no interest in standing. After she should have been standing and was not I took her into a local vet for a swab and he said she had pyometra. Well, then I was faced with the hard choice of spaying her immediately or trying treatment and risking a very sick dog. There was certainly no chance of breeding at that time. After some agonizing, I decided on treatment and took my dog back home to Wisconsin.
She recovered with barely a change in behavior, she certainly never acted as sick as she could have and the veterinary advice was to try and breed her on the next heat. So back to Kentucky in March of 2004. Sadly, Larry had passed away by then. The spare room was occupied by relatives, and I had no money, so Cinder and I slept in the car. Still, she had no interest in Khan Man. AGGG! This breeding stuff can be frustrating. Then one afternoon we left her in the kennel and went about 50 feet off, talking and only somewhat watching, and suddenly they were tied. The next day she was back to growling at him. Cinder is one of those very short window of opportunity bitches.
But, in May, she easily whelped a lovely litter of 6 babies. Hank was named after Hank the Cowdog (Head of Ranch Security) by David. Those were some of David's favorite books. Originally I was going to keep a girl, but the little red female I liked did not like Dane. She was unusually opinionated for an 8 week old puppy, and not particularly friendly except to me and David. So when John Rossy said he really liked her I let him take her home. Well, she turned into a really good working dog and a watchdog, still having no love for strangers but very intelligent and devoted to her new family.
Then there was Hank, a left over puppy with a sweet, laid back personality. He might have been for sale until I started working him on stock and he showed his wonderful talents. Then he wasn't for sale any more. He wasn't always easy to train but always gave 100% effort and frequently did things way better than I expected.
|Hank helping to dog break calves|
He is the go- to dog for handling our neighbor's sheep when they ask us to help pen them.
He qualified on ducks and sheep for the finals in Colorado a couple years ago and he ran ok, although not making it to the top 10. I think he might make it into cattle this year, based on Post advanced runs, but I don't know that I will enter. Finals is a much more high pressure and anxiety producing thing for the handler, for me anyway, than it is fun. And that translates right down to the dog.
I don't have a Hank puppy of my own, since it seems like his litters have always been impossible timing for me to raise a pup, but I have his niece Tessa, who seems more like him than anyone else. Plus, he's still a young dog, so the Hank history has more chapters to go in the future.