If you're from this area, the book series Hank the Cowdog was practically required reading. And I'm sure for many of you, myself included, it was among the first chapter books you ever read. Sure, there was Babysitter's Club and Boxcar Kids, but the quixotic adventures of the lovable, albeit smelly, cowdog Hank reigned supreme in Texas.

Sadly, the creator of Hank, John R. Erickson, just lost his West Texas M-Cross Ranch to the recent panhandle grass fires. M-Cross Ranch is also the "home" of Hank and the setting for the Hank the Cowdog books. According to KCBD:

A barn, pickup and tractor are all that are left on the M-Cross Ranch after fires in the Texas Panhandle devoured more than 400,000 acres. [...] Erickson and his wife Kris were able to escape the fire without harm, according to his daughter, many of his cattle were killed in the fire. His horses survived the blaze.


The M-Cross Ranch will live on in Erickson's 69 Hank books, which have "received awards and critical acclaim, and the books have sold more than 8 million copies worldwide" according to Wikipedia.

The real life Hank, however, was actually an Oklahoman, as explained in this adorable video of Erickson:

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