Sunday, June 3, 2007

Rains Came, Dog's Gone

Hank was swept down this drainage pipe. PHOTO CREDIT: WTVT-13Two days ago we wrote about preparing for this year's hurricane season in the article "Hurricane Season 2007". One of the things we mentioned was to be aware of your pet's needs after the storm. Heavy rains tend to erase all the familiar smells that help dogs navigate their local haunts. We also warned against allowing pets off-leash immediately after a storm or allowing them to venture into standing water.

That was June 1st, the first day of hurricane season. It was also the day a rain storm in the Gulf of Mexico was designated Tropical Storm Barry and headed toward Tampa Bay. The next day, June 2nd, Tampa's WTSP-10 and WTVT-13 TV reported that Hank, a lovable 20-month old yellow lab living in Largo's Green Meadows Mobile Home Park, jumped into a retention pond to get a toy football as it floated past. The pond had filled to overflowing in the wake of over six-inches of rainfall from the storm. The water was moving so swiftly that Hank couldn't fight the current and his owners watched as he was swept into a drainage pipe.

The storm has subsided. The rains have stopped. The water level of the pond has fallen. Hank is still missing.

UPDATE 5 June 2007
After hearing Hank's story, county work crews were out at the retention pond removing vegetation. So far they have not found Hank's body, so the family is holding out hope that Hank is still alive.

UPDATE 6 June 2007
The news has come to us that Hank has been found, but the end of the story is not a happy one. His body was found several hundred yards downstream. He has been laid to rest in his human's back yard.