Today our beloved dog Hanley had to be put down. He was the most wonderful companion dog I have ever known, and he will be sorely missed.
Hanley lived a long and happy life with us. He just turned 16-1/2 years old last Saturday, and he brought us many years of joy. We are so thankful to God for the time we had with him.
When we moved to St. Louis in 1995, Linda and I decided to adopt a dog. We had three criteria: The dog had to be small, female and have short hair. We visited at least three agencies and saw many dogs. The APA in Richmond Heights is where we first met Hanley.
We perused the puppies at the APA and could not quite find the right fit, so we checked out the adult dogs, which are typically more difficult to place into homes. When we entered the kennel area where adult dogs were kept, chaos ensued. Every dog in the place seemed to be barking, howling and acting crazy. Hanley, however, was calmly and quietly sitting at the back of his kennel. As Linda approached his kennel, Hanley came forward and simply licked her finger through the chain link door. He owned Linda's heart at that point, but we still had a problem.
Hanley didn't fit any of our criteria. He was male, larger and very hairy. So, we decided to look at more dogs located at other agencies. We played with puppies and petted more adult dogs, many of whom would have made great pets. Trouble was, Hanley stole our hearts! We finally confessed the obvious: We had to return to the APA and adopt Hanley. Fortunately for us, he was still there when we returned. He would be ours for sure.
We took him home that day and, since the APA was on Hanley Road, we decided to toss his given name of Simba and replace it with Hanley.
Linda and I have been married for 18-1/2 years and Hanley has been ours for 15-1/2 of them. He's been around longer than most of our friends' children!
During our seminary years, Hanley would wrestle with all the other dogs around our Gulf Drive apartment. He often slept on our bed and routinely cuddled with Linda on the easy chair every evening. We used to wonder aloud how anyone could simply abandon a dog as beautiful and well-behaved as Hanley.
Hanley, or Hanley-hoo as we sometimes called him, loved us through seminary, five job changes and finally a move to Maine. He kept Linda safe when I worked late during seminary, and even put up with our new kitten Country constantly pestering him. When our younger dog Foster nearly died during the move to Maine, Hanley somehow found an extra measure of strength in order to pick up her slack (at least that's how it appeared).
Hanley always looked young for his age, and people were amazed when told how old he really was. He always looked as if he were smiling and enjoying life. I think he was indeed very happy, and we were so happy to have him as our dog.
Goodbye Hanley boy. Thanks for loving us so well and adding immeasurable joy to our lives.