[Nancy Parker-Simons is the manager at the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch in Medina, TX. For the last several years, Nancy, her husband Tony, and Kinky Friedman have helped rescue over 2,000 abandoned animals. She has a wonderful blog where she writes almost daily about the miraculous animals at Utopia.]
By Nancy Parker-Simons
Hank was a stray in San Antonio and was picked up by the Pound. A kind man rescued him from there and then brought him to us, after Hank had been neutered. When Hank arrived, he was scared and starved down, so I cooked him up a couple of warm, cheese quesidillas with minced garlic, before the sun went down.
The following morning Hank was gone. He had jumped over the fence during the night, so we alerted all of our neighbors and then Kinky, Tony, Ben and I spent three days searching frantically for him, in the coldest weather that we have ever had.
We’ve never had a dog not come back to the ranch when they got loose and we were worried sick about Hank being out in the cold weather, without food, so we fixed him up a small pen with food inside, in hopes that Hank would return during the night and at least eat the food, but that didn’t happen.
On the third night of him being gone, at eight-thirty in the evening, our neighbor called to tell me that she thought she saw Hank hunkered down, on our road near Highway 16! So, Tony and I jumped into Buttermilk, our 14 year old Explorer, to hopefully go rescue Hank.
At the end of our third round trip we were fixin’ to turn around on 16 to go back home when I spotted Hank in the headlights across the highway!
We crossed the road and parked Buttermilk about five feet away from Hank and he looked really scared. Tony got out and walked over to Hank and he let T. pet him, but every time that Tone tried to put a leash on him Hank would balk and then take off running, but he kept returning to Tony. Then I had a light bulb-moment! “Tony, we’ve got flour tortillas and cheese in the back of Buttermilk!”
After Hank had eaten seven or eight tortillas and a small amount of cheese to fill his belly we kept trying to put a leash on him, but he would have nothing to do with it. We were frustrated and we knew that we couldn’t leave Hank.
While Hank finished off his tenth tortilla Tony said, “Nance, it’s twenty-two degrees outside and nearly ten o’clock. I think he will follow us home. Let’s give it a try.”
When we started to take off Tony whistled and called for Hank and he started following us across Highway 16! I was so happy I cried, as we took turns encouraging Hank to follow us. I had to open two gates for Hank, because he couldn’t cross the cattle guards and it took us thirty minutes to drive the two and a half miles back to the rescue ranch.
When we turned onto our driveway Hank stopped, so I got out and talked to him and then T. whistled for him and Hank followed him and Buttermilk into the rescue ranch and I locked the gate behind them.
Then Tony parked Buttermilk at the small pen and then fed Hank a few more flour tortillas and then he walked inside the small pen and purposefully turned his back to Hank and pretended that he was fixing the doghouse and Hank walked into the pen and then I ran up and quickly closed the gate behind them! Hank was home!
Knowing that Hank could not escape from the small pen, with a roof, we drove up to the trailer, so I could fix him some scrambled eggs. While Hank’s eggs cooked, in the skillet, I called Kinky to tell him the great news and Kinky seemed even more excited than we were.
I cooked Hank scrambled eggs with garlic and sausage for three days, so he would know that we were the good guys. A week later a volunteer accidentally let Hank escape from his pen, but instead of running away he played with her and then he raced back to his pen.
For the six months that Hank was out here, he never once tried to run away again and we adopted him to a nice couple, who have totally spoiled him rotten.