Rhonda (veterinary technician at PAAS) and I had the privilege of meeting Zach Skow – Hooch’s Dad – – okay his owner. Hooch is a testament to a dog’s ability to forgive.

He was rescued from a shelter in California. He was 35 pounds underweight, wouldn’t eat or drink, had badly cropped ears and a broken tail.

A thorough examination by a veterinarian disclosed Hooch’s tongue had been savagely removed at its base, likely to prime him for the role of a bait dog.

Hooch - American Hero Dog

Hooch tilts his head up, Zach takes a scoop of dog food in his hand and throws it to the back of Hooch’s throat, gravity takes over and down the hatch it goes.

When he gets a drink of water, he immerses his face in a deep water bowl, water goes everywhere but he manages to get enough down his throat.

Hooch now works with Marley’s Mutts Miracle Mutts division as a therapy dog for abused, autistic and special needs children – he is gentle, patient and kind.

Zach recently left California with Hooch on his American Hero Dog tour entitled “Drooling Across America”.

Videos confirm that Hooch drools – – -a lot.

In the course of a year, we will see dogs like Hooch that have been abused, bear permanent physical scars and yet, once they know they are safe, their tails begin to furiously wag, they thrive on attention and are eager to please.

In addition, many pregnant dogs and cats have waited until they knew they were safe – then they deliver their precious cargo.

One cat waited until she was safely in her owner’s truck and delivered before they could get home.

It never, ever, ceases to amaze me and always reinforces my belief that we have much to learn from our pets – – yes dogs and cats.

For me, it was Sarge (now the resident greeter at the Norman Veterans’ Center), for Zach it is Hooch.

They enrich our lives and we are forever changed.

Hats off to Hooch – – Sarge – – and the thousands of dogs and cats who’ve overcome extreme abuse and now love and trust us.