Hank was bred by Mike Capozzi, out of his fine female Jubalee, by Boquet River Pal Patch. I had the pleasure of watching both of these outstanding hounds run and both are an important part of the lineage of the kennel. I’ve had several of Pal’s offspring. I was at Mike’s when these pups were born but didn’t pick Hank up until the fall. I don’t recall how many were in the litter but it was a bumper crop. Hank and Pella were Mike’s keepers from the litter and that fall, Mike and I did a puppy swap and Hank was headed to Pennsylvania. He fit right in and I kenneled him with Hoss (Cymbrian Hans Blix) and the two made quite a pair. Hoss was about 16” and Hank was 13 ½” at best, Hoss was a chocolate tri and Hank more a traditional black, white & tan tri color. They got along extremely well except at feeding (Hoss was fed outside the kennel) and I ran them together quite a bit. They were close to the same age, with Hank maybe 6 months or so younger, they wrestled and horsed around but it never got out of hand. Hank was a chewer and he destroyed several boxes for me. He actually made a back door in one box.
Around 8 months or so Hank was ready to start. I box trapped a rabbit at my mother’s house and Hank took off. I remember as if yesterday, that little bugger ran that rabbit check free across the creek and up the hill and back to a junk pile. I couldn’t wait to tell Mike. Hank continued to progress and he was circling rabbits fairly well so I decided to pack him. His brain was not ready for that & he felt that he had to have the front whether he could handle it or not. I thought I had blown him up. I tried running him braced and again solo. Solo he was great, no problems but as soon as I put him with another hound, he started his racing for the front again. After talking with Mike and several others I trusted, I decided to only run him by himself for a while and even not running him at all for periods of time. In the back of my head, I knew he could do it and had all the talents necessary so I wasn’t about to give up on him (others may have).
Finally after maybe a year or so, he was back running with the pack. The more hounds with him, the better he was and soon was a very valuable member of my pack. He was funny about some things, he loved being petted and scratched in the kennel but didn’t want touched out in the field. He was all business as soon as he left the kennel. He was a large pack hound and I regret that when he was in his prime, I didn’t get him to a few LP trials. He loved being right there with a bigger pack. He seemed to have a pretty good nose but he would not open unless he was sure and I can still see him in a tough scenting spot, working the line with it right between his legs but he was silent until he was positive. He did this once at our club fun trial and the judge told me he had it but wasn’t opening. In about 20 yards, he opened and was off. For the next decade or so, Hank was a pack leader and a joy to take afield.
Time slipped by and before I knew it, he was old. He wasn’t the pack leader and it bothered him. He wasn’t the alpha male and I could tell he wasn’t happy about it. He was relegated to running by himself and his field time was reduced dramatically. He was always a good boy and I loved having him in the kennel. A few years ago, I believe he started suffering from dementia. He would bark at the wall and go in the kennel and bark at the floor but he never missed a meal and was never at the vet. Pretty remarkable feat. He split his ear once and was covered in blood but he kept running the rabbit. I pulled a 3 inch thorn from his foot and as soon as it was out, he was back in the pack. He was one tough hound. He never opened on anything other than rabbit his entire life. He bounced deer and it never fazed him. The pack got into a porcupine once but Hank never got a quill.
I knew the end was coming but I was still not prepared. The night before he passed, he walked the hallway as he did often, remembering that he was once “cock of the walk.” I buried him next to his niece Onwasa and a few tears fell into the cold January clay. Hank will be with me in my heart forever.