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Hood's Winks – House has emptiness after Tank (Dec. 30, 2015 issue)

Wife Gail and I moved to Erwin in July 2007 with Boo Cat Hood, Jake Dog Hood, and Tank Dog Hood. Life was good.
Then we buried Jake—the dog that liked everybody—in 2010, and Boo in 2012. I wrote a column for The Erwin Record after Jake died. The last few lines of that column said simply,,,
“We still miss Jake. Our beloved younger dog, Tank, helps all he can, but he misses Jake, too. Long live Tank.”
Tank lived for five more years and a few months. His death is tough for me, but almost unbearable for Gail. This is the first time since 1968 that we have lived with just the two of us in the house. There was always some combination of children, dogs, cats, and even, for a year or two, a huge python snake!
Our house is now silent, it seems, with no dogs or cats padding about the house. We can hardly stand it.
Tank delighted in moving things. Gail had heavy landscape timbers flanking a bird bath. A young Tank dragged the landscape timbers to various locations in the yard. We left it that way.
Tank was not the friendliest dog in the world when it came to strangers. He truly believed that his primary reason for living was to protect Gail and me. He further believed that anything that moved was out to get us.
When we first moved to Erwin, Tank knew nobody but us, Boo Cat, and Jake Dog. Everything and everybody else was new, and therefore not to be trusted. Our then preacher, Steve Rembert, came to visit one day—and never, ever, returned again.
That was the first time we realized that Tank might be dangerous. After that we kept him—literally—on a short leash.
Tank had one of the strangest quirks of any dog we’ve ever known. As a puppy, he once slipped and fell when moving from a rug onto a floor. Thereafter, to his dying days, he would not walk forward across a slick floor. He would instead walk backwards! Every time! I swear that’s the truth and Gail will confirm it!
Tank was a purebred German Shepherd and a beautiful dog. He—like raccoons—had what appeared to be a black mask that covered his eyes like dark glasses. Everyday he would go to the back yard, lie down in the one spot from which he could eyeball most of the yard, and go on duty.
He scanned the yard, moving his head constantly in little steps from left to right and right to left to check everything. What with the scanning and the black eye mask that looked like dark glasses, he looked like the Secret Service guarding the president.
But he will never do that again. How will we stand it?