Yep, it’s Hank again…..
Hank is in the midst of taking a deposition for the case of The Strange Sounds in the Night when Drover comes tearing onto the scene screeching about an attack and a baby and oh, Hank it’s awful! Hank doesn’t pause for an instant. He streaks into the ranch yard (an area prohibited from the cowdogs) to find Little Alfred preparing to eat his cake and no danger visible anywhere. Drover is such a dupe. Now Sally May is sure to wallop him. But on the other hand, Little Alfred is offering him a bit of cake. Perhaps this won’t turn out so bad after all…
When Sally May returns she finds Hank wearing the evidence of his guilt. For, of course, the devoted mother wouldn’t dream of blaming her own son, no she just assumes that Hank must be guilty because he’s got cake smeared all over his face. She throws him out of the yard and throws a shovel after him.
Hank is depressed. The only reason he broke into the yard was to protect Sally May’s son, don’t you see. And to be treated this way after all of his work and devotion……. He decides to abandon the farm and go to seek his one true love, Beulah, the beautiful collie with the tapered nose.
So he and Drover set out, swearing never to return to the farm. But a run-in with Rip and Snort, the coyotes, convinces Hank that in order to win Beulah’s love and affection he must wear a powerful perfume – dead skunk. Hank bedaubs himself accordingly then sets off to claim the heart of his true love.
Will Beulah be able to resist Hank’s charms? And what about the ranch? Will it be able to operate without Hank’s guidance?
It’s me again, Hank the Cowdog. It was your normal, average, run-of-the-mill spring afternoon on the ranch – until Drover brought the news that Sally May’s baby was being attacked by a giant rattlesnake.
And suddenly it became un-normal, un-average, and un-run-of-the-mill. [pg. 1]
I was shaking again, and I mean all the way down to my toenails. I crept forward – sniffing, listening, waiting for the ineffable … uneffitable … inedible … whatever the dadgum word is, to occur. Inevitable. [pg. 13]
After Hank ventures into the front yard, he has an encounter with Little Alfred, Sally May’s son.
Now, we need to get something straight right here. Your top-of-the-line, blue-ribbon, higher-bred cowdogs are famous for their incredible strength. As a group, we’re probably the strongest breed of dogs ever known to mankind. I mean, shredding monsters, destroying obstacles, breaking into locked buildings – that’s commonplace to us, just part of the job.
But what many people don’t know is that, while we’re licensed by the federal government as Dangerous and Lethal Weapons, we also have hearts of gold. We love children, and at an early age, we have to take a solemn oath never to bite or harm a child.
So here’s the point. Anyone else who had throwed a headlock on me would have had tooth tracks over ninety percent of his body, and I mean within a matter of seconds. It’s impossible to strangulate a cowdoge without several winch lines and heavy equipment.
Unless it’s done by an innocent child, and see, our Cowdog Oath forbids us from biting or scratching a child. So there I was, being dragged around the yard by Little Alfred and I couldn’t get my wind and things was getting a little serious.
I just went limp and hoped for the best. [pgs. 16-18]
It’s hard to deny the crime when you’re wearing the evidence.” [pg. 20]
After Hank and Drover abscond from the ranch, Hank decides to catch a fish for dinner. His plan is simply to dive in and snatch it.
Most experts regard fish as fairly stupid animals, yet we must give them credit for having a certain dull-witted instinct for survival. Even though my attack was perfectly planned and flawlessly executed, somehow the fish got wind of it. And with one flick of his tail, he vanished.
Canceling the mission at that point was out of the question. I mean, you get into some heavy physics, with thrust and forces and vectors and other stuff that’s much too complicated to go into. It’s the kind of stuff we deal with every day in the security business but …
The point is that once you get a mass of pure muscle traveling downward at a high rate of speed, the physical forces unleashed can’t be reversed. Furthermore, in the event that someone miscalculated the depth of the water, this projectile is likely to enter the creek, pass through the shallow liquid, and strike the bottom with tremendous force.
That darned creek wasn’t nearly as deep as I thought, never mind what color it was. I buried my nose in six inches of mud on the bottom. [pg. 38]
Stasstisstics, satisticks, suhtickles … numbers collected by governmental agencies show that most of the people and animals who drowned between 1945 and 1984 had their heads under water. [pg. 39]
Drover advises Hank to take a bath before visiting Beulah. Hank replies,
“Drover, you have missed the entire point. The fragrance of dead skunk is an ancient love potion, known only to tribes of wild coyotes.”
“I sure didn’t know that.”
“Nobody expected you to, son. What you don’t know about women would fill several large holes.”
He looked up at the clouds. “Sure glad you’re not courting me.”
“That makes two of us, Drover.” [pg. 92]
When Hank receives an emergency alert he responds with alacrity.
We went flying down the hill. In situations like this, I go to DefCon Five and turn on maximum speed, which means that I become a blur of motion streaking across the pasture. Anything unfortunate enough to get in my way is broken, knocked aside, and sometimes even burned. [pgs. 114-115]
Hank tells several lies to get Rufus in a fight with Rip and Snort.
Hank, Rip, and Snort get drunk on silage.
Hank claims that ‘the fragrance of dead skunk is an ancient love potion’.
The high point of the story is when Hank arrives at Beulah’s ranch and begins to court her. The language and expressions that he use are so exaggerated that they can only be viewed as jokes. What I found more disturbing as a romantic element was Miss Scamper, the beagle whose sultry voice and flirtatious behavior beguiles Hank.
‘Darn’, ‘gosh’, ‘shuck’, ‘heck’, ‘geeze’, ‘dang’, ‘dadgum’, ‘holy cats’, and ‘dadburned’ are used frequently.
Conclusion. I, as a young adult, enjoy reading Hank the Cowdog. I find it offers me perspective and relaxation when I’m stressed, and, because of my age, I am able to enjoy the humor and leave the silliness behind. However, I do not believe that young readers will be able to read Hank the Cowdog without being encouraged in silliness and sarcasm. For this reason, I do not recommend Hank the Cowdog for young readers, while reserving the right to enjoy it myself.
Note: This is a review of Faded Love not the entire Hank the Cowdog series.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret