It’s been a little more than a week since I decided on a departure plan for Frankie: Wait until November 1 to say good-bye and, in the meantime, spoil him by giving him delicious treats and by not forcing him do anything he doesn’t want to do, such as riding in cars and going for walks in the neighborhood.
Frankie has always marched — or I should say not marched — to the beat of a different drum.
It’s a plan that sounds good in theory but several people expressed concern. Why prolong the pain of saying good-bye, some said. Wouldn’t it be better to just pull the bandage off quickly?
The Long Good-Bye
I can now answer definitely that I don’t feel like I’m prolonging the pain; rather, I’m regaining the joy.
I can — and will — mourn later but I’ll never have another chance to see Frankie bury his little head in the bowl and practically lick off the ceramic because he loves the cheap cat food I’m giving him. And I no longer have to weigh the “good for him to have exercise” argument against the signs of fear when it’s clear I want to put him in the car.
Yes, I’ve been sobbing over him on occasion, but far less frequently than I did when I wasn’t sure whether I was doing right by him. I’m busy trying to figure out the treat du jour. I thank Frankie’s fans on the Will My Dog Hate Me Facebook page for their suggestions. Who knew cat food was doggie crack?
In addition to the Friskies, the treats have so far included Trader Joe’s Cocktail Pups (all beef, all natural, nitrate free, my idea) and cheddar cheese Ruffles (potato chips were the suggestion of Leo, aka Kenzo Hovawart, and not a smart choice, given my propensity for eating 10 or 20 chips to every one that finds its way to Frankie).
But it wasn’t until yesterday that Frankie hit the real dining jackpot. I went to a brunch buffet armed with little plastic bags and filled them with slices of grilled turkey, salmon, prime rib, roast beef and half a Sonoran hot dog (sans toppings). I’m lucky I wasn’t attacked by coyotes when I got out of my car.
The goal is to maximize the joy without incurring intestinal distress and so far, I’m pleased to report, I’ve succeeded.
In fact, Frankie seems to be thriving on this diet — I could swear it’s been improving his memory. But of course there’s far more incentive to find a fast route to the kitchen when roast beef, rather than kibble, might be waiting there for you.
17 thoughts on “Operation Spoil Frankie: A Progress Report”
I’ve been so crushed by the loss of little Rosie of Everything Rosie. All I can say is, “Spoil ’em while you got ’em!”.
Perhaps it’s the preservatives in these foods that are keeping Frankie going? Have you found the canine fountain of youth? Throw out that organic kibble and feed your dog cocktail weenies!
I’ve got to admit that this is making me a bit nervous! What if I can reverse time and keep Frankie with me? I will say that Frankie’s blood sugar is a little high — nothing to worry about as long as I continue his insulin but probably not good to sustain for any significant period of time.
Our timeline is unknown, but using your example, I’m definitely making efforts every day to spoil my sweeties. Thanks for the ideas.
I love this the most: “I can now answer definitely that I don’t feel like I’m prolonging the pain; rather, I’m regaining the joy.” Beauty in the sorrow.
Thank you. It was a wonderful discovery.
Honestly, I’ve been wondering if our “low fat diet” world is what’s part of causing the high incidences of Alzheimer’s in humans after hearing many people talking about coconut oil for it. Your observances of Frankie are making me wonder it even more. Maybe the brain’s neurotransmitters need a lot more fat in their diets than some are getting? It’s great you’re spoiling Frankie! He and you both sound like you’re having a great time doing so together.
I agree that the low fat craze isn’t doing anyone much good. I will say, though, that in Frankie’s case, it’s probably the diabetes that brought on the dementia. There’s a correlation between high blood sugar and Alzheimer’s in humans so it would make sense that there’s a link in dogs too.
I don’t know if the high fat/high protein is really improving Frankie’s focus but yes we’re both enjoying this program.
Sounds like you are both having a brilliant time, and making many brilliant memoires to hold onto when the time final comes to say goodbye!
Yes, this period could have been far more terrible; it’s fun to see Frankie enjoying his food so much. This may not be the period I most want to remember because it’s laced with sadness, but it is one that I will never regret.
Have you tried tuna fish or salmon? The dogs at mi casa dogs them so much you would think they were big cats. My elderly greyhound was slowly losing weight and when I switched the big spoonful of good quality canned dog food that gets mixed into the kibble to Wellness 100% salmon she ate all the food all the time. So I upped the salmon and she gained 5lbs.
No fat (or low fat) = no fun. Final words.
Oh, Frankie is not having trouble eating. I’m just trying to spoil him with new wonderfulness. Frankie is fond of salmon, but I figured I’d give him things that he hadn’t had before — including all variety of sausage. The danger is my dipping into his stash…
Here’s another thought, or a few, how about spoiling the heck out of a pet who is not in distress and not deciding when to “let him go” at some prescribed date? I speak from experience having had to make the tough decision more than a few times, and I firmly believe for a person who is not holding onto their pet for the wrong reasons, who knows when an animal has lost that something called “quality of life” (and I fully realize that quality is different for everyone), the animal does let you know. The trick is to be paying attention and not be afraid to act when it’s time. I’m quite sure some people do need someone to come into their home and tell them, but that is not true of all.
I think you’re right Cathy, and I’m just writing a post to that effect. I wrote about what was right for me, but I’m sure that’s not the case for everyone.
Delighted to hear you and Frankie can regain some of the joy, what a wonderful gift to receive at this moment.
I don’t think you’re prolonging the pain either. I love that you’re spoiling him and giving him what he wants. I don’t know many dog owners who don’t do this for their dogs, I just don’t think they consciously think (and write) about it as you are.
I laughed when you said “who knew cat food was doggie crack?” You ave no idea how many times I have caught Cupcake stealing Nick’s cat food when I wasn’t looking. It was getting harder and harder to hide it from her before Nick passed. It is definitely crack to her.
Spoil Frankie. Give him a chip or two. Salmons sounds good too. Frankie’s joy makes you happy and that’s enough.