My friend Heather always told me I need to write a story about Hank. I have had the beginning of Hank’s story in my heart for a long time. Today I knew how to finish it.
A Dog’s Best Friend: A True Story
Hank, the Newfoundland, was a friendly dog. The little girl across the street thought that Hank was the biggest dog in the universe. He wasn’t, but his extra large size had helped him make a lot of friends. Hank’s very best friend was Calla. Calla was graceful and lean with short hair. Hank was big and clumsy with too much hair. They had an ordinary friendship, but to Hank it was one of a kind. They enjoyed playing chase and eating ice cubes. Calla was a fast runner, sometimes too fast for Hank. But Hank was extra slobbery, sometimes too slobbery for Calla. Whenever Hank’s big, blue van drove up to Calla’s house his tail would wag and Calla would run out to greet her friend. They were different, but together they were great.
One day, a big truck came to Hank’s house. Three men got off the truck and began to pack up the family’s things. When all that was left were a few dust bunnies, the truck drove away. Soon Hank’s family piled in their big, blue van. They drove the familiar route to Calla’s house, and when they arrived Hank’s tail began to wag and Calla ran out. “Stay, Hank. It’s time to say goodbye.” The people friends hugged and promised to stay in touch. Hank whimpered and laid down. Something seemed wrong.
They drove for many days. There were windy roads in West Virginia. Iowa was full of farmland. In Nebraska a tumbleweed danced across the highway. On they traveled into rocky Wyoming and the mountains of Utah. They passed an onion truck in Idaho. When they got to Oregon they saw many things – a desert and a river and a forest of evergreens. It seemed liked the big, blue van would never stop. But it did. “This is your new home, Hank. Come and see.” Hank got out and felt the crisp ocean breeze and smelled the salty air. This wasn’t home, but he liked it.
A few months went by and Hank grew to love the beach. When the weather cooperated the family would go for a walk there. Many nice people wanted to pet Hank, so he let them. Some dogs wanted to play with Hank, so he played. Other dogs barked at Hank, afraid, so he stayed close by his family. He always had fun, but he missed his friend, Calla.
On one particularly sunny day, Hank was loaded into the big, blue van extra early. “We’re going to meet a friend.” said his mama. They drove a few miles and got out. From around the corner came a black dog with short hair. “This is Bella.” Hank sniffed Bella. Bella sniffed Hank. Bella and Hank raced down to the beach, where they chased a tennis ball and splashed in a creek. Bella was sometimes too fast for Hank, and Hank was sometimes too slobbery for Bella, but their tails wagged and wagged. Hank knew Bella was different, but together things felt great again.