Happy tales for Troy Bank’s Howard

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All’s well that ends well and it looks like the last days of Howard the Dog will be a happy tale to tell.

When it seemed as though life was going to keep kicking Howard in the teeth, the folks at Troy Bank & Trust took him in, sort of.

The bank’s employees didn’t actually take the neglected and obviously abused dog with a hint of fear and a lot of love in his eyes into the bank but they did take him into their hearts.

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Howard made his home beneath the shelter of the bank’s drive-thru and the employees and a host of loyal customers brought him tasty morsels ranging from home cooked grits and bacon to racks of ribs.

Howard accepted their generosity with a bit of skepticism. After all, the scars he carried caused him to be cautious. Even though Howard was far better off than he had been roaming the streets of Troy and rummaging through restaurant garbage cans, he still had no home. Then along came loyal bank customers, Tommy and Carol Youngblood.

Tommy would drop by the bank at noon with a lunch for Howard that rivaled his own. Then his wife, Carol, began to come along at suppertime.

“We would feed Howard but he wouldn’t let us pet him,” Carol said. “One night, we waited until he had gone to sleep and Tommy picked him up. We sat and rubbed him for about 20 minutes. He was not happy and he sulked but he did let us rub him.”

After that, Howard was more willing for the Youngbloods to pet him but he seemed to prefer a woman’s touch.

“Gary (Guthrie, TB&T president) had decided to sedate Howard and take him to the vet to get his shots,” Carol said. “But since I was able to pet him, there wasn’t reason anymore to do that. When I petted him, he just rolled over on his back and Tommy picked him up and we took him to the vet.”

Howard had heartworms and he was treated for that. He got a flea bath and treatment and a good once-over by Dr. Doug Hawkins. And, the Youngbloods took him home. “Dr. Hawkins said Howard is about seven dog-years old but has the body of a dog of 12 years,” Carol said. “He has really been abused.”

But Howard is now living with the Youngbloods and in the lap of luxury.

He has a soft bed in the Youngbloods’ climate-controlled kitchen, plenty of food to eat and water to drink and the run of the neighborhood at Heritage Ridge. A dog’s heaven for sure. And, he has a best friend in Carol Youngblood. “He doesn’t want me out of his sight,” she said. “We don’t have a fence and we worried that, if we let him out, he might not come back. But he’ll stay out for a few minutes and then come scratch on the door to come back in.” Howard has been a near perfect pet. He doesn’t bother anything in the house and sleeps like a baby at night. He’s a smart dog and he’s living the life of Riley and seems determined to not mess it up.

But, Howard’s just a foster dog. The situation at the Youngbloods’ is not permanent. “Tommy and I both travel a lot and we just don’t need to take on the responsibility of Howard,” Carol said. “He’s a wonderful dog. He has changed completely from where he was when he was living on the streets. He will make a good pet and, already, someone is seriously considering providing a permanent home for Howard.” That someone has a couple of dogs that went to play with Howard at the bank and, if things work out, not only will Howard have a permanent home, he’ll also have playmates and live happily ever after.