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Underdog to Wonderdog: Frankie!

The face that launched a thousand– okay, 556 — blog posts and a book

People who are involved in the animal welfare community are oddly insulated. We tend to think that everyone knows about the importance of adoption, the evils of buying from pet stores. But according to the Humane Society of the United States, “Nationwide, only about 20 percent of dogs in homes come from shelters—the rest come from other sources.”

That’s pretty shocking.

Somehow, many, many people still believe that dogs adopted from shelters or rescue groups are inferior.

Frankie and I are here to tell you otherwise, in a nod to the Animal Planet show featuring Andrea Arden, dog smoocher extraordinaire. This post doesn’t have the production values of the TV Underdog to Wonderdog, but it would be hard to beat Frankie’s success story for dramatic impact.


Frankie is an International Dog of Mystery. At age four or five, he was found wandering the streets of Tucson (I suspect amnesia) where he was noticed by Pima Animal Care Center. He was plucked out of obscurity under the aegis of Arizona Schnauzer Rescue by my friend Rebecca, who sent me his headshot. She clearly had an eye for a diamond in the rough.

The rest, as they say, is history.


After Frankie and I got over a mutual period of adjustment, the creative juices began to flow (well, in his case, it was pee). I wrote about our adventures together for The Bark, Tucson Home, and Your Dog, the Tufts University veterinary school newsletter.

But in spite of his diminutive size, Frankie was too much dog to be contained in a few magazine articles. He needed his own book.

The result: Am I Boring My Dog: And 99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew.

Book spokesdog

I was responsible for the drudge work part of the promotion, sending out letters, trying in vain to get Oprah’s attention. Frankie got the glamor job, the world book tour.

Blog Star

One video and promotional tour just didn’t cut it for Frankie.   Threatening to go on strike and refuse to appear in any additional promos, he presented me with a list of demands, including top billing by name in the header of my blog and a commitment to write about him once a month, minimum. He had me under his little paw.

Inspirational icon

Blog, shmog, Frankie said next. He had a message to spread and needed a larger national presence. Greeting cards, cocktail napkins, refrigerator magnets… he did it all.

He’s one determined — not to mention photogenic — pup.

Frankie says, Live the life you have imagined. Rescue a dog.

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  1. Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    When you all sum it up like this it is quite impressive what Frankie has achieved. I will not tell this to Viva, she noticed Frankie’s book – and book tour – before and she is annoyed with my lack of initiative. To have it all summed up in one place, she will just throw it in my face: “See!”.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Not to mention that Kenzo’s name is on the blog in larger letters than her name (and that it wasn’t there at all for a while….)

      • Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        You couldn’t resist 🙂

        • Edie Jarolim
          Posted July 23, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          Well, you can call me a liar for claiming to have a guilt-free zone 😉

  2. Posted July 23, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    You didn’t share what Frankie thinks about having his blog replaced by a purveyor of meats. Have you told him yet?

    BTW, great way to show the impact of rescuing one little dog.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Shhh. I didn’t tell him. And since his eye sight isn’t what it used to be, I’m hoping he won’t notice. I could always tell him that I’m blogging about meat for his benefit.

      Thanks, Pamela.

  3. Posted July 23, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Amazing the power our dogs have to change our lives. Frankie is a great spokesperson, or would that be woof -dog, for adoption. I’m going to miss your and Frankie’s blog, but I’m looking forward very much to your new blog. I hope Frankie makes appearances. I can’t imagine he’s going to settle for the sidelines.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Deborah. I am definitely planning to include Frankie now and then. You’re right about his not wanting to be sidelined!

  4. Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    That’s quite a portfolio for such a little guy. It’s hard to believe I ever used to look down on small dogs. Frankie is proof that personality is everything.

    Thank you for all you and Frankie have done to spread awareness about dog rescue. And for writing such an unforgettable book!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Aw, what a nice thing to say, Kristine. Thank you!

  5. Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    That Frankie is quite the celebrity dog. I feel very honored to have made his acquaintance in person.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      And modest despite his great fame, don’t you think? 😉

  6. Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    What a great post and what an amazing and inspirational dog Frankie is!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jen. And, yes, Frankie is a wonder dog!

  7. Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    It is kind of a mind bender to not know what Frankie’s “past” life was. Our “rescue” Star came from one of my Brother’s friends that mistreated her, so we knew a little about her before she came to live with us.

    The little things can cause us to make big leaps. You started a blog and wrote a book, and that’s pretty cool.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Actually, I wrote a book and started a blog to publicize the book but I’m such a marketing genius that I gave the blog a different name, and one starting with “W” rather than “A” — as in Am I Boring… — thus ensuring that my blog would be at the end of every blog roll and no one would ever associate it with the book. Frankie is a far better marketer than I am.

  8. Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Underdog to Wonder dog! What a wonderful story about Frankie’s rescue! What a lucky pup!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      I was the lucky one, Prudence. I didn’t always realize that but I do now. Thanks for coming by!

  9. Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    That’s a pretty impressive list of things Frankie is responsible for. And how many dogs get to go on their own book tour? Congrats!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted July 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Frankie, nodding modestly, says Thank you.

  10. Posted July 27, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Frankie really is a total Wonderdog! 🙂

  11. Posted July 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like Frankie has a terrier personality. Great spunk.
    Frankie looks very much like BJ. He too looked very scruffy when I adopted him.

    I’m visiting from Raising Rama’s Blog Hop. Come visit me.

  12. Posted August 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    We wish you the best – have lots of fun!


  13. Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Aww, gosh, love re-viewing Frankie’s debut video. I still get a big laugh out of it. Amazing how the little guy launched a thousand blogs – and now on to Freud’s Butcher! Who knew!?!

    My site is still going, visit to see the latest additions, I’ll be heading in a new direction soon too I hope, so thanks for setting sail on a new blog and showing the way!~

  14. Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I am so glad you shared that video again. I still don’t know how you got him to sit still and pose in all those outits. I know my dogs wouldn’t do it.

    Who’d have thunk it? Frankie rocked the blogger world. He’s an icon now. 🙂

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Ha! I was crouching underneath him the bed that doubled as his hot air balloon and holding on to his butt. Believe me, he did not sit still for more than a minute or so at a time. It took quite a while to get those segments shot — and that was by a professional.

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