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I remember my dear, old dog, Frankie
Em and Thatcher

GAYS MILLS - I know in my column I often complain about my dopey ol’ coonhound Bud. I lament about his laziness and complain about his lack of coon-scaring abilities.

However, today, I was thinking about “my” other dog. I put that “my” in quotations, because although he will always be “my” dogger at heart, he hasn’t really been mine in a long time.

Frankie is wee, little Jack Russell terrier, who used to be quite spunky. Now, at almost 10 years old, he is what my brother calls “a bonded senior” to his ancient beagle, Trixie. The pair spend the majority of their time laying on the sofa and barking at trucks and motorcycles that drive past my dad’s house.

Frankie came to the forefront of my mind recently, when my brother texted me late at night about him.

“Something is wrong with Frankie,” the first message read. Immediately I thought Mr. Frankles must have went to the big doggie bed in the sky.

“Call me as soon as you get this,” the text continued.

Being on a much different schedule than my third shift CNA brother, I called several hours later.

My dad answered and told me that Frankie was in fact still alive, but suffered a small injury. Not being the young whippersnapper he once was he snagged his leg on the wooden bench my dad has in front of the bay window, that is Frankie’s favorite place to sun himself.

Nothing was broken, just tweaked and he assured me and the scrappy little dog seemed to be getting along much better after a little R and R.

The whole incident had me reminiscing about the origins of the little pup.

About nine years ago I found him being given away on the bulletin board, all the way in Hillsboro.

His previous owner was a registered nurse with a few small children and really had no time for the little guy they called Pipsqueak.

I brought him home and he was instantly a hit.

He got the name Frankie from the book ‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt. I had just finished reading it shortly before I picked him up. So naming him after the scrappy main character, just seemed fitting.

In his younger days, the little dog was quite adventurous and would take any opportunity to run off and meander the streets of Gays Mills. On more than one occasion, he would even come scratching at the door of the Crawford County Independent to say hello to his person.

Charley never failed to be amused by this, capturing many timeless photos of Frankie sitting on my desk or me riding my bike with Frankie on a long lead, which would allow him to run at a speed he far preferred to my slow waddle.

After a few years of ownership, I moved to Madison, leaving Frankie with my parents and a promise I would return for him.

Unfortunately, finding a place that accepts a small dog is no easy feat.  But luckily for Frankie he had found his true calling in life.

My mom struggled with not being able to take care of herself or others after her stroke and the feelings often caused bouts of depression for her.

It seemed though, when Frankie came into her life, she found a true companion to take care of. And Frankie loved her just as much in return. She spoiled the little dog to no end, often times feeding him excessive scraps giving him a rounded barrel appearance.

He would snuggle with her on her chair, complete with his own blanket. Snoring the day away in a peaceful bliss.

When my mom was hospitalized for the last time program, it seemed as though Frankie knew something was up and moped around every day she was gone.

When she was placed in hospice, my mom of course wanted nothing more than to be at home. Since that wasn’t an option for her, we decided the next best thing would to bring Frankie to her.

Normally, the hospital requires a lot of paperwork and approvals to get a dog to come in for a patient, but the hospice liaison assured me they tend to turn a blind eye when it comes to the comfort of their patients in comfort care.

My mom had just had a serious procedure done to change a bandage and set up her wound vac. A procedure from which she never fully recovered in a sense of being awake and present like she had been a few days prior.

However, when we placed Frankie in her hospital bed, the comfort he brought was apparent. She woke up enough to greet him and place her hand on him lovingly and they allowed him to snuggle under her covers close to her for several hours.

After my mom passed, at her funeral next to her urn we carefully placed a small picture of Frankie in a silly sombrero, one that always made her laugh.

Frankie hasn’t really been the same without her, but he still is a joyous happy dog. He loves baby Thatcher and special treats and I like to think one day, when it is his time, he’ll be reunited with my mom somewhere off in the great beyond.