Meet the ASL Spokes-animals: Hank Atkison!

Welcome to the first piece in a series of bios about the Spokes-animals of ASL Solutions!

Hank Atkison

Hank is beautiful, simply put.

Hank is the Head Spokesdog for ASL Solutions, and he loves his job. He's honored to take on the family business from the former Head Spokesdog, Bessy. Hank is a loving, klutzy, and sweet bloodhound who was born in late 2017 and adopted by his family in early 2018. Hank has black and tan coloring and long, long ears. When Hank was a puppy, he actually used to trip over his ears! His registered name is Sir Hank E. Pank, because one of the older humans he knew used to call him Hanky Panky  he’s known to have a mischievous streak.

Hank’s humans adopted him because one of the humans’ grandfathers had a bloodhound when he was growing up, and he just knew he wanted to live with and love another hound dog. Hank was born in Kentucky, and currently resides in Illinois.

Hank is an energetic dog much of the time, but on his lazy days, he can be found sleeping wherever it is that you wanted to walk. He saves his ASL Solutions CRB for night-sleeping, and enjoys the heater when it kicks on. He was, after all, the first official tester of the CRB.

Hank on his way home for the first time!

Hank attended dog obedience school when he was but a few months old. When he graduated, he ate his diploma while they were taking pictures. He doesn’t remember too many of the commands, but can be persuaded to sit for a treat  he knows his worth. When it’s time for a treat, his human will call “woo-hoo!” and unfortunately the neighbor dog, Theo, picked up on this tidbit, so now Hank has to share his treats.

Hank’s favorite treats are hot dogs and milk bones, and he also likes to snack on the occasional pecan, as his humans have pecan trees in their yard. He can even shell them in his mouth! One of his favorite toys is a big rope, with which he likes to play tug-of-war with, versus Theo or humans  though, Hank always wants to win. He is also willing to play fetch with the rope. The problem with fetch is Hank’s lack of precise depth perception combined with his large size: as he’s returning the thrown object, he just kind of keeps going and barrels into his humans.

Seriously, who could resist tossing a deflated football around with Hank?

Some of Hank’s hobbies include trying to take Theo’s collar off; biting Theo’s toes; digging holes; running from tree to tree after squirrels; chasing animals into trees (squirrel, raccoon, groundhog) and then barking at them until he is hoarse (sometimes the poor animals are there for days at a time); and stealing things (and only returning them if you trade him something he wants for it, and that doesn’t always work) like wallets, UPS packages, spatulas from the grill  if it’s available, he will try to steal and destroy it. He likes to say that he "explores the world with his mouth".

One package Hank stole was a particularly fancy winter coat, and when it arrived, his humans weren’t home to run interference. Well, when they pulled in the driveway, there was Hank, carrying the coat by the collar, bits of fluff falling out and distinct chunks missing. Another coat was purchased, and the precaution of a plastic mail delivery bin was procured. Hank chewed on the bin instead, and the second coat luckily remained intact.

Hank is very convincing when he talks to the squirrels.

Hank can be convinced of the presence of a squirrel, despite the tremendous scent abilities (if you have a treat in your pocket, he knows) that bloodhounds possess  if you tell him there’s a squirrel in the tree, he might start jumping up and down, dancing on his hind feet, barking nonstop at the imaginary squirrel. He takes squirrels very seriously. He’ll chase the odd cat, toad, or snake, but squirrels are his passion.

There are some things that Hank could do without  he doesn’t like getting smacked by the cats (who does), he doesn’t like it when Theo pees on him (again, who would), he does not like the UPS or Fed-Ex people, and he doesn’t like getting his eyes wiped.

An absolutely irresistible puppy. Look at those EARS.

Hank is a happy-go-lucky sweetheart. He likes to let you know that he loves you by wagging his tail and demanding attention  hugs and pets, particularly. Hank also has this way of looking at you, like he adores you and loves you and wants to please you  except, that is, when he’s sneakily gotten something that he wants that he knows he shouldn’t have gotten. You can tell when he’s done something wrong, because he hangs back and won’t want to come up to you.

Sometimes the neighbor dog, Theo, gets a little too rambunctious around the humans and Hank will stand between Theo and the humans, especially kids, to make sure Theo backs off and cools down. Theo might think he's the boss, but Hank is much bigger. He can stand up on his hind legs and put his front paws on your shoulders. When he was a puppy, those big paws of his looked adorable on such a small body, but he grew into them well.

Hank all curled up on the deck. It's amazing how such a big dog can fold up like that.

On his first day of being adopted, his humans made a stop at somebody’s house, and he was very well-behaved the whole time. Mostly. When his new human said “It’s time to go!”, that’s when Hank released his bladder onto the floor. Hey, he listened, just not in the way that his human meant!

Hank stays at a kennel when his humans go places for longer periods of time, and his report cards are always paw-sitive. He’s always a member of the clean plate club and demands pets and kisses from the staff, but apparently he gets bossy with the toys around the other dogs. Considering his thievery of Theo's last birthday present, this isn't difficult to believe.

Hank’s ideal day would involve playing with Theo the neighbor dog, chasing squirrels, getting lots of treats, and snoozing. He likes snuggling up against his humans, too. He's become an important part of their lives, and they, an important part of his.

A perfect example of Hank's lovably inconvenient sleeping spots.

Photo credit: Pamela Mulvey, Gloria Atkison, Rocky Hill Farm and Kennel (last puppy picture)
Written by: Skye Isabella Rose Iwanski


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