Hank - today, you turn 10! I feel so blessed to have know you for almost half your life!

You see, when your daddy brought you home in February 2006, I wasn't too sure what to think of you. Growing up, I never really had a pet dog — we would get strays who never seemed to live more than six months due to the busy traffic on the highway by my parents' house. I learned not to get attached. And I was not too fond of the jumping and licking.

But now, all that jumping and licking means the world to me. Hanky Poo, you've been there for me so many times when I've just needed someone to make me feel loved and special. And you do that every day — even when I know you aren't too happy with me for putting you up in the garage. 

Even though you've got some gray on your chin and you are the equivalent of 62 human years, according to, you still have a lot of spunk in you!

One of your favorite things to do is go fetch your bird.

That BG sure gives you a competition for it too — and always makes sure you bring it back :)

I think Baby Gurl is your best friend in the whole world — after mommy and daddy, of course. Next summer, when it's warm and she's old enough, we'll put you two together so we can have Baby Hanks. In fact, that's the whole reason we brought her to stay with us — even though I've begged God to let you stay with me forever, I'm pretty sure you'll have to leave us someday, and I want a little Hank Junior. 

You also just love playing in the water - as most Labs do. I bet you think we bought our new house just for you, with the five acres to run and ditch close by. You weren't the total reason - but yes, you did play a role in it, brown eyes. 

And don't even get me started on how much you love your daddy's truck and going for rides. If you notice the tailgate is down, you are running as fast as you can to jump in — even if you just sit there all night until we coax you into the garage when we go to bed. When we do go for rides, you love the wind in your ears — but aren't too thrilled about oncoming traffic. 

You're one of those extremely special dogs who will do anything to make us happy. I once fed you celery and even though you spit it up once, you still ate it, because you thought it's what I wanted you to do. I think one of your favorites is after we have bacon or sausage for breakfast, because you always get a piece of bread with some of the grease — I think you consider it doggie gourmet! And the great thing is, we can feed you table food and you still eat your doggie food — and most importantly, don't beg for our food!

It's hard to tell whether you love mommy or daddy more. I think you love us both just the same. And although we may gripe about the bad breath and slobber, we love you to the moon and back - and can't imagine life without you. When we're gone for a day or so, we always seem to talk about you. 

You're pretty fond of our friends, too. In fact, you were Auntie Bel's New Year's kiss this year. We like letting you come in to run around in the basement when we're having parties. 

And you LOVE kids. Although you may knock over adults or big kids, you know that the little ones need to be handled with care. Payton has been one of your best friend since he was just six months old. He still asks about you. Hankaroo, I so hope that whenever we finally have Baby R, you'll still be around and love our babies as much as you do our friends' children. 

Just a few weeks ago, one of Daddy's coworkers left his wallet in the work truck and had to swing by and get it. He joked that you weren't that great of a guard dog, considering he left with a big ring of slobber on his pants. But I know that if you ever felt we were in danger, you would protect us. 

You scared us a year ago with the heartworms, but you've been doing great since. I hope you have (at least) 10 more years left in you. Hankaroosker, you are my best friend in the world after your daddy, and I'm so happy that you are in my life. 

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