This is my new best friend. His name is Hank and he is 100% pure-bred Americanus Muttus. I have no idea what breeds got together to create Hank, but I'm sure glad they did. I adopted Hank recently and it's one of the best things I've done in years.

Hank came to me already housebroken (well, most of the time) and he's as sweet and gentle a dog as you've ever seen. He's also a real affection hound as well. If he feels I'm ignoring him, he will force me to pet him by getting right in my face until I've scratched his ears and given him a pat on the head and then, and only then, will he continue on his merry way.

Hank's favorite game is tug-o-war and he'll bring me an old tennis shoe of mine that he has claimed as his own and stands there, tennis shoe in mouth, until I try to take it away and the contest is on.

Hank also likes to play fetch, but he hasn't mastered bring back whatever I throw. When I throw his favorite toy (the aforementioned tennis shoe) he'll run like mad for it, sniff it and come back to me empty pawed. Every now and then, he'll bring back the thrown object, but he really has to be in the mood.

Hank loves kids and my granddaughters are crazy about him. In fact, so is everyone who meets him. He's a bit shy, especially around men and I suspect that he was mistreated in the past. that's a real shame because you couldn't hope to find a better companion than Hank.

I have to brag on Hank a bit and tell you that he is very smart. I had only had Hank a few days when he realized that the alarm clock going off meant that it was time to get up. that's great except for the fact that I no longer need the alarm clock because every morning at 4 a.m., he's in my face telling me to get out of bed. Unfortunately, this habit includes weekends and vacation days.

Last week I was on vacation and, sure enough, every morning at 4, there was Hank telling me it was time to get up. Well, after a few days of me telling him to go back to bed, he got the idea. This morning (Monday) was my first day back at work and when the alarm rang, Hank looked at me as if to say, "Hey! You wanna turn that thing off so I can sleep?"

If you've thought about adopting a rescue dog, I highly recommend it. I got Hank from the local 4 Paws Society and they're great folks to deal with. they always have lots of animals for adoption, but be prepared to fill out some paperwork.

If you'd like a great friend like Hank, contact the folks at 4 Paws Society and set up a time to see the great animals they have for adoption. their number is (337) 287-3552.