Frankie and me (cropped)
After a period of adjustment

Exactly nine years ago today a small, alien creature entered my life — and forever changed it.

It was October 22, 2004, the day before my birthday — the date I had originally chosen for bringing home my first dog, a scruffy waif named Frankie of undetermined age, maybe 5 or 6.  What better gift to myself than the gift of canine companionship? But my friend Rebecca, the rescuer who convinced me I needed a dog in my life even though I was a travel writer, had already done the home inspection and I thought, “Why wait?” I was anxious to see if he would settle in okay.

He didn’t. Neither did I.

Frankie lay on my couch, looking deeply depressed, refusing to eat. As far as I could tell, the only demand of this spontaneous hunger strike was that he be returned to Rebecca’s home. I was strongly considering complying with this silent demand. What on earth had made me think I could figure out the ways of this species? This dog hated me, and it was all my fault because everyone knows that dogs are a man’s — and a woman’s — best friend. I was clearly unworthy of that kind of devotion.

I spent much of that day crying and also the next. I felt like a completely failure. But, slowly, as fear gave way to hunger on Frankie’s part, despair gave way to stubbornness on mine. I was determined to make that dog like me.

And the rest, as they say, is history.


I was planning to write about the highlights of the life Frankie and I have had together but it’s too difficult. I see that history is going to repeat itself, as far as the waterworks are concerned. Letting Frankie go may be the toughest thing I ever have to do.  At least I hope so because, right now, I can’t imagine anything worse.

So I’ll just say this. I might do a few things differently if I had it to do over again but I did the best I could, which is all any of us can ask of ourselves.

But adopting Frankie? That I will never regret, even in the face of this pain.  I couldn’t have known it nine years ago, but he was indeed the best early birthday gift I could have given myself.


28 thoughts on “When Edie Met Frankie”

  1. Love this post. Oh, such hugs to you, dear heart. Just so — no matter how awful it is to lose them, life would have been grayer without them. He won’t be completely gone, not really — our Lanta, Grace and Charlie still roam through our lives, nudging us with memories.

  2. I can imagine that’s too difficult to write about now, Edie. You once described adopting Frankie was “a leap of faith”. I still think that is the best description I ever heard about adopting. And now you do that again in a way, when you have to say goodbye. Only the bravest can do what you are doing, then and now. Frankie is blessed having you as his parent/caretaker.

    1. You’re right, saying good-bye in this way is definitely another leap of faith, with the even greater uncertainty at times that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you for your comforting words.

  3. Oh, Edie, my heart breaks for you. Your words describe what any of us who have ever had our hearts captured by a precious companion know all too well – tears are dripping here. Enjoy this time with Frankie, and rest easy that you have been the best guardian he could have ever hoped for. His trust in you is proof of that. Hugs!

    1. Thank you, Kim. I sometimes cynically think Frankie transferred his affections to the primary food source, whoever that might have been, but that’s okay too. I got as good as I gave.

    2. I’ve been following you for a few weeks now, and every time I’ve read one of your posts, I’ve darn near bawled my eyes out. Sometimes I’ve had to switch from my contacts to my glasses.

      My first fur-baby was a (large) toy poodle named Kissy. I’d grown up around miniature poodles; and after my Mom passed away I adopted her last one as my own, so it was only natural for me to want my own. Kissy was with me for all but the fact four months of her life (15-1/2 years). We went almost everywhere together. We had a bond between us that I’d never had the likes of before (or since). Even though she’s been “gone” for nearly ten years, she has never really been gone…she’s always in my heart and thoughts.

      I just want to say that you are doing the right thing for Frankie; and, no, he won’t hate you. It’s hard enough to go through with a decision like what you’re facing without having those nagging doubts. I decided about a week before that it was time to let Kissy go. I knew that if she were to lose her fight while I was away from her, I would never forgive myself for not being there with and for her at the end. I spent her last 2 days with her, holding her and letting her sleep in my lap. I alternated between just tears and all-out bawling like a baby. But I had no doubts about letting her go. She had suffered, silently, long enough. She had done her best to not let on that she was hurting inside. But our vet had leaked her secret.

      I’m sorry this is so wordy, but I just wanted to let you know I’ve been through the pain. And my thoughts and prayers are with you.

      1. Thank you for your very thoughtful — and not too wordy! — note. I especially appreciate your understanding about those nagging doubts…. aside from knowing how much I’ll miss Frankie, they may be the toughest part of this whole process.

  4. I’m so glad you stuck with it and that you and Frankie had these years together. I’ve been pondering what might be different between facing a loss like this the first time or facing another one (and knowing what it’s like). Either way, I’m sure the anticipation is its own version of hard. Thanks to the blog and the greater social world online, I’m glad you’ll have the support of a large community of people who understand. We will stand witness to it all. As lonely as it may seem, you’re NOT alone in this.

    1. Yes, there’s a part of me that understands what the hospice vet was saying when she said most people don’t wait once they make the decision. But I wasn’t ready — and though on some level I’ll never be, I’m glad I gave myself the time to say good-bye.

      You’re right, I would have had a far harder time without the pet blogging/social media community. Aside from a few insensitive folks — there always some — the support has been phenomenal and deeply comforting.

  5. I am glad you had each other too. I’m just so sorry he can’t be with you forever.

    I can’t add anything that will help but I am thinking of you. I hope I will be as brave when my dog’s time comes. Thank you for sharing a small part of Frankie’s life with us so we can all remember him.

    1. That part of sharing life with a pet sucks, doesn’t it?

      Your good thoughts are much appreciated. I don’t know how brave I am — I only write when I’m not completely crazed — but it’s therapy to talk about what I’m experiencing.

  6. You and Frankie had such a wonderful life together…It did require that “leap of faith: from both of you but look at the many rewards that leap brought you both…This entire series is touching me more than you can know…You are saying things that i’ve never been able to put into words…Thank you

    1. We have had a good run, it’s true.

      Trying to figure out and express how I feel is something that helps in this difficult time. I’m honored to hear that I have also managed to tap into the way you and others feel — it means a lot to feel like I’m helping.

  7. I can only echo these sentiments. I haven’t had to go thru it yet, either, but I cry with you anyway. Your book and your blogging are now and will certainly be helpful for me when I get there with Bearly. Thanks for those. And virtual hugs to you both.

    1. Thanks very much Kate — and you’re welcome; I hope you won’t have to think about this for a long time with Bearly.

  8. It’s amazing how much of your lives they become and how much they change it. Who knew you would go on to write a book and start a blog about Frankie? I am so glad you didn’t give up. I am sure Frankie feels the same way.

    I admit that the closer we get to November the more I start to tear up too. I feel your pain Edie.

    1. It’s true, Mel, I never could have predicted any of this. Life takes us on strange journeys!
      I hope you feel my denial too, then! Much of the time I tuck the bad part away…

  9. Sending a big hug! What’s that old saying it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved? Having two dogs myself I am dreading the time this will come – I am hoping a long way off!

  10. What a sweet post. My heart breaks for you and all that you are experiencing. I hope your being held in the hearts of so many is of comfort to you, even though I know nothing truly can take the grief and pain away.

    1. It does help, Deborah. You’re right that nothing can take the pain and grief away entirely but the support feels like lots of virtual hugs, which I need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *