The touching and true story of Hank, a silver dappled dachshund, who discovers he may have a talent to comfort people as a therapy dog. Does he have the “right stuff”? Grab Hank’s leash and look over his shoulder with author, owner and handler, Mika Ryan, as Hank narrates his heartwarming journey from young pup to old dog. Hank introduces you to his family members along with his real-life dachshund friends. Young readers will discover a variety of dachshund sizes, colors and personalities. Hank spotlights their differences and how he becomes friends with them all. Read about Hank’s challenges as he shares the tests he must pass and the commands he must learn to become a therapy dog. Does Hank have the courage to complete the task? Many children will be able to read this story on their own or with help from an adult. It is also appropriate as a bedtime story for infants and younger children who will enjoy the color, the story and the dog illustrations. This book is the perfect gift for Dachshund fans. However, anyone who loves dogs will find this a sweet and informative book about a little dog with a big personality who lived an extraordinary life.
Targeted Age Group:: children
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I had every intention of writing this book during the decade that Hank and I were busy as a pet therapy team. I was continually inspired by his confidence and ability to bring smiles and comfort to everyone we met. However, life just seemed to get in the way and I never put pencil to paper. It wasn’t until Hank passed away in September 2019 that I realized how lucky I was to have been his owner, handler and friend and that it wasn’t too late to share his story.
Through the tears, I’ve done my best to write a fitting tribute to Hank. This book was my effort to convey how he truly enriched the lives of others and shared his gift of love with all he came in contact with, both human and canine.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I also wanted to provide a glimpse of the road that Hank and I traveled to become a certified pet therapy team. Often, I would hear from owners that their dog would make a wonderful therapy dog because they were so friendly. A friendly disposition is only a small part of what makes a successful therapy dog
This book was written through Hank’s eyes so the young reader might gain a small appreciation for the multi-faceted skills required of him as well as what was required of his Mom (the author!).
To adult readers who may be sharing this book with their children or their students, I hope I have conveyed that Hank had to be comfortable in any setting… hospitals, assisted living homes, hospice, schools and libraries. I didn’t realize how noisy hospitals were until we walked the halls visiting patients!
As his handler, I had to pass a test that insured I understood the nuances of every population we would visit… children, hospice patients, cancer patients or Alzheimer and dementia units where rough petting and bear hugs for Hank were the norm. Not once did Hank ever squirm or try to Jump off the lap of a patient who squeezed too tight. He was always steady and calm.
Finally, this book was both a joy to write and cathartic to write as I miss Hank every day. I trust my readers will fall in love with him as did so many people who shared his inspiring journey.
Hi! I’m Hank, a silver- dappled dachshund. Mom and Dad brought me to my new home when I was only 3 months old. The ground was covered with snow and it made my little paws cold!
Mom assured me I would love making tunnels in the snow with my new dachshund friends.
Wait! Are there other dachshunds here?
That snowy day was the beginning of my amazing adventure filled with friendship and love.
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