Expect the Worst!* And Be Utterly Surprised & Thrilled When You Get the Best

Me and Frankie in front of the (old) Go Pet Friendly mobile

Me and Frankie in front of the (old) Go Pet Friendly mobile. This may be my favorite picture of the two of us

No one could ever accuse me of being an optimist, or of being warm and fuzzy. One of my childhood friends, who only began reading this blog since it returned in August, was surprised to discover the depth of my feelings about Frankie, I’m that guarded about my emotions — and apparently always have been.

In fairness, the depth of my feelings about Frankie came out of left field for me, too.

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!

I’m not suggesting that I’m unfriendly or mean — at least never intentionally. But a protective part of my personality, along with an inability to suffer fools and bullies and a tendency to shoot off my mouth, have been known to get me into trouble. And then there are my raging insecurities. I never know to what strange places they’re going to take me, public and private, anywhere from paranoia to arrogance.

What am I getting at? That, like all of us, I have a skewed image of myself, and so have been blindsided by the profound kindness that so many people in the pet blogging and pet loving community have offered me in this time of grief over Frankie — a kindness that, some claim, my own actions have inspired.

The Gifters

Frankie by AJ EmmIt started with AJ Emm, who created the wonderful pet portrait for Frankie pictured here and sent it to me as a gift, out of the blue. (If you want one of your own, click on The Art of AJ; you’ll get a 20% discount if you put in the code FRANKIE).

She wrote:

You were the first person to make me feel like I was part of the “dog blogging community” after I started PupLove. Yours was the first blog that I did a guest post for.

I was also thrilled to get the wire sculpture of Frankie – it was a delightful surprise. But it was from my niece Rebecca, who I can always depend on to be amazing.

The Bloggers

And then I introduced Frankie’s Fund.

I got the first inkling that something special was happening on December 3, the day after I first posted about the fundraiser for senior dogs in Frankie’s name.  What should arrive in my inbox but a post from Something Wagging This Way Comes titled “3 Stories about Edie Jarolim and Why Knowing Them Will Help Dogs.” I can’t even type that without tearing up again.

It is a long, beautiful tribute and an exhortation to donate to Frankie’s Fund that, through the post itself and the comments, reinforced the notion that sometimes you touch other lives in a positive way without knowing it. I remember, for example, speaking sharply to Kristine of Rescued Insanity when she claimed she wasn’t a “real writer.” I was probably harsher than I might otherwise have been because I was also talking to myself, regretting all the time I wasted — still do — not believing in myself. Because I didn’t hear back, I figured I had pissed her off rather than inspired her. Apparently not. Kristine wrote in the comments section:

Edie has been a huge source of support over the years and a reason for why I am still blogging after all this time and frustration. She admonished me once for saying I am not a “real” writer. Even though I still don’t think I am, hearing a professional writer say that to me will forever remain in my mind.

Do I have to speak sharply to you again, Kristine?

Pamela continued her efforts to spread the word today, in a post titled Too Dog Tired to Blog, proving she is a true admirer of Frankie and his tenacious terrier spirit.

***

More posts followed, several in the midst of a tech crisis that had me panicking that I had lost a year’s worth of Will My Dog Hate Me, including the post I had written about Frankie’s Fund. Subscribers to this blog got some pretty strange things in their inbox… That’s what I get for trying to change web hosts in mid-fundraising drive.

December 5

From Roxanne Hawn, on Champion of My Heart: Dog Bloggers Unite in Grief and Charity. This alert to Frankie’s Fund is especially meaningful because it also mentions the Campaign in Remembrance of Viva of my friend Leo (aka Kenzo Hovawart), who also had to say good-bye to his beloved dog recently, and because Roxanne has been going through so much herself with her sweet Lilly.

From Kerri Fivecoat Campbell, on Pet360.com, Grieving Your Dog Is Even Harder When He’s a Public Figure. Kerri is someone whose writings about dogs I have long known and admired, but we never really interacted except on Facebook. Pooh pooh social media as a time sink if you will — hey, as I often do — but in this case it led to a raised awareness of Frankie’s Fund on a great site. Not to mention a chance to bring Frankie back for a quote.

From AJ, punmistress extraordinaire of I Still Want More Puppies, on Grouchy Puppy: The Perfect Holiday Gift for the Dog Who Has Everything. A twofer! This heartfelt and appropriately pun-free post promoting Frankie’s Fund is doubly meaningful because it not only was written by one of my favorite bloggers but because it also appears on another of my favorite blogs, Sharon Castellanos’ Grouchy Puppy. Sharon is dealing with the issues surrounding the care of her senior dog, Cleo, and has been very supportive on social media too.

December 6

From Karyn Zoldan on Tucson Tails, In Memory of Frankie, The Dog Who Inspired. Karyn is a good friend here in Tucson. It’s kind of like with my niece; I expect her to be amazing, and she didn’t disappoint with this moving synopsis of my life with Frankie and promotion of Frankie’s Fund.

December 10

From Amy Burkert on Take Paws, GoPetFriendly.com’s blog, Making a Difference with Frankie’s Fund. This made me verklempt for many reasons. First, there was this:

In some ways, Edie was my mentor – though she didn’t know it. Every time she published a post, I’d pounce on it … reading it once for the story, and then going back two or three more times to study it for the language,  rhythm, and style that I hoped would somehow seep into my brain and find its way through my synapses and keyboard onto this blog.

I had no idea, but I was thrilled that someone as smart as Amy, who is a naturally gifted writer (damn her!), took my efforts so seriously — and they are efforts, since I rewrite everything endless times.

And of course there was the description of the interactions with Frankie that Rod and Amy — and, less successfully, Ty and Buster — had. Because he hated to travel, few members of my pet blogging community got to meet him at conferences.  So first-hand testaments to Frankie’s essential Frankiness, by people who actually met him, are rare and precious.

Needless to say, I’m also thrilled that a blog with as large a platform (and an RV!) as GoPetFriendly.com is sharing the word on Frankie’s Fund.

The Donors and the Sharers

Since I started Frankie’s Fund, I monitor Facebook and Twitter more closely than ever before, though I’m not always able to update my status report or put out tweets about it. Self promotion, even in a good cause, is difficult for me. So I notice every share, every retweet, and every nice comment. I realize that sounds a bit stalkerish but I really appreciate the help.

Above all I appreciate the donations, large and small, as well as the lovely dedications that accompany them. Jennifer Kachnic, the president of GreyMuzzle.org, which is administering the fund, sends all the donation forms to me. I keep a running list of the donors and the dedications made, as well as the total of the money collected, on Frankie’s Fund: A Progress Report. But it doesn’t begin to express what all this has meant to me, how important keeping Frankie’s memory alive through the worthy cause of giving senior dogs a loving end, has been.

Loss is funny. People say that when you lose a loved one, you lose part of yourself. But they don’t tell you which part. In my case, it was a little bit of my confidence, a lot of my identity. I’ve long thought of myself as a caretaker for Frankie, a former travel writer. Will I be a travel writer again, even though I have lost so many of my contacts? Do I even want to be?

All this support, all this (dare I say it?) love… it tells me those things don’t matter. That I’ll come out of this okay, whatever I decide, because so many kind and generous people have my back.

*Apologies to my friend Jackie Dishner, who writes an inspirational blog at Bike with Jackie and who signs her emails Expect the best!

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18 Comments

  1. Posted December 13, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Oh, kid. I’m so glad you’re feeling the love and support in this time of transition. I know it’s very hard. You’re doing a great job coping with the grief (outbursts and all) that come with the territory.
    Roxanne @ Champion o recently posted..Just for Fun An Allergic Reaction, Puffy Faced DogMy Profile

  2. Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I just wanted to say that I am very sorry for your loss. I have had to say goodbye to three dogs, dogs who were my dogs as an adult. (there were also two best friends from my childhood that I lost a long time ago.) And no matter how many years we have with them, it is never long enough…can never be long enough. They make us laugh, comfort us when we are sad, sit in silence next to us when we simply need companionship. They stand as silent witnesses to all of our struggles and triumphs, and without them our lives are missing an integral piece. They claim our hearts, along with our sofas, and they change us. And when they leave us, we grieve and mourn more deeply than most people will ever realize. Well, people who have never shared their lives with a four-footed angel anyway. I think setting up that fund in Frankie’s honor is a wonderful way to celebrate his life and all the love and joy he brought into yours.
    All Things Collie recently posted..The snow has finally arrived!My Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your very eloquent description of what dogs bring into our lives. And for your nice words about Frankie’s Fund.

  3. Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    You’re so right-on about losing a part of yourself, and I think for everyone the part they lose is a little different. I know how much Frankie meant to you and I can imagine the hole that opened up when he passed. This is a time when you’re reassessing so much of who you are and where you’re going … let some of those less-than-flattering ideas you had about yourself go, too. Choose to believe the things other people see in you and it will be one last gift that Frankie was able to give you.
    Amy@GoPetFriendly recently posted..Friday Pet Photo ChallengeMy Profile

  4. Posted December 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you. Being a pessimist means never being disappointed. It is by far the most optimistic way to approach life!
    Vera Marie Badertsch recently posted..Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)My Profile

  5. Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure exactly when I started reading your blog — it was just some time shortly before Frankie left our world — but I’ve enjoyed reading it each time. And something about your stories of your life with Frankie touched my heart. Perhaps it was the memories of my own previous dog, Kissy, and my life with her. Whatever the reason, your words touched me in a way that made it impossible for me to not donate to Frankie’s Fund. I only wish it could have been a larger donation. Grief is a very personal emotion, one that we each experience in our own way. Eventually, the heart-stabbing pain subsides but thankfully not the good memories. I wish you love and peace, Edie.
    Sue recently posted..LOVE IS GOLDENMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much, Sue. I don’t recall how much you donated but it’s been my experience that those who wish they could have donated more have been among the most generous. Honestly, I am grateful for every dollar and every good wish that comes with it.

  6. Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi Edie, I haven’t visited in a while but saw Pamela’s post and was happy to hear about this great cause, though so sorry to hear about your loss. All of us, or I guess those of us who are lucky, will have to deal with the medical bills and emotional upheaval of caring for a senior dog one day. The seniors who have no one to care for them are the ones that really break my heart; maybe this fund will inspire a few more bodhisattva-like foster people to volunteer to take in these precious souls.

    Again, so sorry for your loss but it is wonderful you are channeling it into something so positive. I’m going over to donate now.
    Kirsten recently posted..Date Saturday at Basye and Bryce ResortMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted December 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Nice to see you again, Kirsten. Thank you for your kind words — and, especially, for donating to Frankie’s Fund.

  7. Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    You are much kinder than you give yourself credit for, Edie. You may try to mask it all you want, but we’re on to you, as was Frankie. ;-)

    P.S. I totally love Frankie’s portrait AJ Emm made for you. Makes me want one of my dog Clooney I lost in 2011. I still hear her bark at my door every now and then. It’s comforting to know our pets’ spirits stay with us, even when their bodies cannot.

    Hugs!
    Jackie
    Jackie Dishner recently posted..The Prescription for Pain is CompassionMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Damn — you mean my tough cookie act isn’t working! Thanks for being on to me, Jackie!

      Do go to AJ Emm’s site to give yourself the gift of Clooney’s portrait: http://www.theartofaj.com/ If you put in the code FRANKIE you will get a 20% discount.

  8. Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I’ve always loved your blog posts, your writing, your love of Frankie and your humor. Even though you think you’re reserved, your passion shines through. You’ve touched a lot of people–I so looked forward to each blog post and your Facebook musings. I’m glad Frankie continues to help other elderly dogs through your compassion. Keep on doing what you’re doing–you deserve all the accolades!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much, Hilary.

  9. Posted December 14, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    A very moving tribute to moving tributes. I’m so glad you feel the love. You’re the best and the real deal, Edie. I love you for it.
    Deborah Flick recently posted..Interview with Alexandra HorowitzMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted December 14, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Aw, thanks, Deborah. I always look forward to your comments (which I know I can consistently expect). You’ve helped me through a lot of tough times.

  10. Posted December 15, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I am happy for you Edie, for all the tributes you have received, not only to promote Frankie’s Fund, but also for what you “have” meant for other pet bloggers. I can only join the lines!

  11. Posted December 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    When my husband calls me a pessimist I always counter that I am a realist, but after reading this, I have to admit he is probably right.

    I am so sorry I didn’t respond. I am terrible at that, especially when something touches me deeply or when I am overwhelmed, as your comments often made me feel – as this does now. I never know what to say and want to be appropriately grateful yet articulate, not gushing and sobbing as I truly am on the inside. The last thing I wanted you to think was that I was angry and I sincerely apologize for that. Blame good old fashioned shyness. :-P I will never forget your kindness or your support. And I will never forget Frankie.
    Kristine recently posted..The Source of So Much FearMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted December 16, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Oh, Kristine, now I feel bad. I was really just giving you a hard time about not responding. I have a tough time taking compliments myself. No need to apologize, honest — and especially not for apologizing now!

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