'Hank's so handsome (yep, the cliché rings true - all dog owners believe theirs is the best looking, no point in debating it), people often stop to ask us what breed he is and where he's from. Some people find it weird when we say he's a rescue from Cyprus, not from a British animal welfare shelter or charity. Even weirder if we reveal that we picked him out on Instagram, and then he was handed to us at a motorway rest-stop carpark at midnight a few weeks later. But for us, he's just Hank and he came to us the only way a cute, odd little peanut like him could.
I grew up with rescue labradors and have wanted my own pup for years. Luckily my husband also loves dogs (and, being Aussie, finds himself on the other side of the world to his) and after talking about it for a couple of years, we finally realised that 'finding the right moment' was never going to happen. So we took the plunge and after hearing about the amazing work that the Wild at Heart Foundation does, we went through their short but thorough vetting process and began to stalk all the various shelter feeds on Instagram and Facebook. So it was one Sunday morning, while doing some obligatory scrolling in bed, that I came across an adorable, sandy coloured pup who'd been abandoned with his mum, tied to a tree by the roadside. There was our boy, perfect even down to his given name which suits him beyond measure.
14 months on from picking up our quivering little peanut by the M25, he's grown into his paws (if not his ears) and become a slightly bigger, cuter and odder peanut. We've had, and continue to have, our ups and downs. Rescue dogs come with a certain type of baggage (although, don't we all). Hank has come a long way, although he's still funny about doorways, buses and tall men, prone to digging up the garden left to his own devices for 45 seconds, has serious selective hearing if foxes, cats or squirrels are about and his non-stop scavenging instinct is a constant source of worry. This isn’t restricted to food by the way, a plastic bag is among his recently ingested items (sigh).
But! His sweet 'chatter', affectionate nature, beardily beautiful face and infectious energy have us completely hooked, and anyone else who meets him quickly falls under the spell too. Hank won best in class at the mixed breed category at the Marylebone dog show about a month after we got him (this was a complete accident by the way, we were walking past and they asked us to join in!), and we now know he's a Segugio Italiano mix-breed. Even Nikki herself is a fan of this lovable rogue! He's helped us make new friends in an area we'd already lived in for four years and having the Wild at Heart community on tap for advice and general dog-joy is great. Watching Hank grow in confidence and knowing we've been able to give him a good shot at life is truly the best (and worth all the rascal moments).'
- Louisa Nash