Frankie dining-001
Operation Spoil Frankie in operation

Trying to keep it together this week has not been easy.

I have been counting insulin needles to see if I have enough, but not too many. I need to reuse some, which is not unusual. I have always doubled up, using one for Frankie’s two shots each day, to save some money — so sue me — but in the last few weeks I have been throwing them away after only one shot, a luxury. But I realized I might be running out, and I don’t want to buy a new box.

I have been laying in supplies, treats for Operation Spoil Frankie (OSF), with the same attempt of proportion and control where there is none.

I have loved this little furry creature who is now lying peacefully asleep on my bed without proportion. Control? Living with a pet, being responsible for his life, and now his death, is the ultimate control. I would give anything to relinquish this last bit of responsibility.


It helped a bit to have several friends come over to see Frankie last week and confirm that he really doesn’t have much quality of life; even his treat taking is desultory. I reminded my friend John of the time, about a year and a half ago, when Frankie jumped up on the couch and lodged himself between us while we were making out. John in turn reminded me that Frankie not only leaped up on the couch, but jumped up and stood on John’s legs to stare at him, in hopes of scaring him away. That’s the Frankie I want to remember, not the little ghostly imposter who has taken over his body, who can barely figure out how to get up  on the mattress on the floor.

There are no pictures of the couch incident, but I have documentation of one relating to another guest, my friend Rebecca, Frankie’s rescuer. On my birthday, Rebecca noted that her Brussels griffon, Charles, was also celebrating his 15th. Frankie has not always been overly kind to Charles, who is now getting the last laugh, as it were. For a chuckle — I promise — check out Charles (Not) in Charge.

Frankie with Charles — who got the last laugh


By any measure, Frankie’s last weeks have been good ones, and not only due to the implementation of OSF. He has only had a couple of thirsty nights caused by high blood sugar, fewer than in some periods. He tends to have an iffy stomach but, with the exception of one small puking incident, he hasn’t been sick.

And of course he doesn’t have any sense of the future.

Frankie snoozing peacefully this morning. That ear never fails to bowl me over
Frankie snoozing peacefully this morning. That ear never fails to bowl me over

For me, life goes on as usual in some ways. Frankie sleeps much of the time and, not wanting to wake him or annoy him when he’s awake, I keep my stroking and weeping over him to a minimum. I have assignments to complete, and there is a compartment in my mind, the one that lets me do the work, that denies what I have committed to do. Aside from those weeping bouts and some flashes of sheer dread, I have been largely calm, or angry at things that have nothing to do with what I am really angry about: Having to say good-bye to Frankie.

I use the term “saying good-bye” and, of course, euthanasia, but the fact is I am taking my friend’s life, and a part of my heart along with him. How can anyone be expected to get her head around that?


I’m not sure that I will write any more this week, except perhaps for a few words on Friday to add to the post I have already planned. I will be going away with my friend Karyn directly after the doctor leaves, to a lovely place, Ramsey Canyon, hummingbird central for Southern Arizona; we will stay at a B&B that is known for its pies. The second night, we will bunk with another friend, Bonnie, who runs a wine tasting room outside Willcox; needless to say, wine will be involved. The week after, my friend Cynthia is hosting a wake.

Leaving my house, enjoying nature, surrounding myself with dog-loving friends, drinking heavily… In theory, this will all be soothing and cathartic. But I don’t anticipate it will begin to fill the gaping absence. Time, I know, time…

And a change of subject. Probably. That is, I doubt if I will continue this blog for a while — this time I know better than to say never — so I want to say now how much it has meant to have so many people respond to my words, to empathize and, some have said, take solace in what I have written. I will continue to read and cherish every comment — assuming no assholes turn up, which they usually don’t — even if I don’t respond to them.

28 thoughts on “Frankie’s Final Week”

  1. I’ve always kind of liked the phrase “lifting you up.” It usually means “lifting you up in prayer,” but I like the simple idea that by me thinking about you this week somehow helps you remain standing amid the grief. I’m glad you can get away after Friday. Hugs!

  2. Edie, you know I understand everything you have said here. And while we need reassurance it is time, the overwhelming idea that we are responsible for making the final decision is mind boggling.

    I like what you said about keeping your tears and grief to a minimum around Frankie. As I was holding Sunny, I had to keep bringing myself to a place of peace and calm and breath my love and warmth on her. I did not want my sadness to be her last memory of me. Surprisingly it also calmed me down and gave us a wonderful few last minutes together in peace.

    It will never be easy, but it is loving and Frankie will always be there in spirit tormenting you and Charlie, while you wait to see who he sends to take over his amazing role in your life.



    1. Miriam, I cannot tell you how much I admire what you do, giving senior dogs a wonderful life for whatever time they have left, going through the pain of losing them over and over. It’s been a comfort to share this sad experience — and an inspiration.

      But now I’m worried about who Frankie will send. He always was a perverse little pup! 😉

  3. I think you have said here – but it bears repeating- is that part of what makes this pure hell is that Frankie looks fine. I thought about this while trying to say good-bye to him last week. He would trot purposefully through the house, ears bouncing. Then trot purposefully into a corner and be unable to get himself out. Much as I might want to, there’s no denying Frankie’s mind has already left on an earlier flight. You are helping his body catch up.

  4. One last farewell to Frankie the True Wonderdog from over here in Denmark, the Frankie who we all came to love so much – apart from Charles maybe, although, did he enjoy it? – please add a slice of liverwurst to OSF from us.

    Wishing you strength the next couple of days, and we will be with you in spirit when you enjoy your friends, nature and a strong drink, or two, and whatever you need, to get back on your feet.

  5. Trying not to sob at work. Edie – my heart aches for you. I have never been good at goodbyes, that’s why I could never commit to a date. I like to fool myself into thinking it’s not “time” because they suddenly perked up or showed enthusiasm.

    I have no doubt you are making the right decision. It just pains me that you have to go through it. I don’t care how many times I say goodbye to one of my dogs, it will always break my heart.

    I will be thinking of you this week and wishing you some peace.

  6. Beautiful and bittersweet post. That “control” piece is the hardest.

    I too always try to work to be in a place of calm, so my grief isn’t upsetting during those final goodbye days, but it is hard. I am glad you have a plan for the after time.

    XO, Edie and Frankie.

  7. I will be thinking of you also and of the ones that I have “lifted up”. I can tell you it still does not feel like I lifted anything up. A good friend who is a vet tech recently wrote something that did resonate with me when we were chatting about the loss of her sister’s lovely dog. She said something to the effect that “short life spans are the price we pay for loving them and having them in our lives.”
    I am sorry for you loss and do know that we all understand it.

  8. Well, this week you are not sobbing alone. Even though I’ve never met dear Frankie I feel like he’s a dear friend. And, yes his little ear is amazing. Cracks me up. There’s something so poignantly cathartic about laughing through tears. Bearing the incredible responsibility of taking care of your sweet boy for all these years which now includes helping him to painlessly and fearlessly exit this life surrounded by love and tenderness is an experience that plumbs depths beyond words. So I’ll stop babbling except to say kudos to you for your excellent plan to spend the weekend with good friends and wine.

  9. Edie,

    I have been there, and still I have no wisdom for you (not that you need it). We do the best we can, and our little ones depend on us to do just that. Most of the time, it’s easy. But that final decision is gut-wrenching, even when you are (mostly) sure it’s right.

    Perhaps my only advise would be this: don’t cry in front of Frankie if you can help it. There will be time to cry after he is gone.

    Hugs, Alison

  10. You have my sympathies! We’ve had to let four of our Greyhounds go over the years, and there’s always a bitter part of me that is angry over things to do with killing my dog. I knew every time that it was time to let go, and sometimes we had more time than others to prepare for it. It’s the hardest thing in the world to let them go, but you’ve really done right by Frankie! I hope your trip is wonderful and cathartic and that you are able to find peace with the decision sooner rather than later.

  11. Oh, Edie. I’ve been reading and rereading your words. You’ve perfectly articulated the heartbreak of having to let go. It will never cease to amaze me just how much one little dog can change the course of our entire lives. Yes, Frankie will take with him a piece of your heart. But you will have a piece of his to carry forward. I’m thinking of you and wishing for peace for you and Frankie.

  12. Please don’t stop blogging at least from time to time…so many of us will be watching for a post and hoping that you are doing well…and want you to continue your thoughts with us as we share ours with you. Frankie has loved you from the moment he came to you, and you can’t have anything better than that!

  13. Wishing you and Frankie peace. May memories of your years with Frankie bring you comfort. My heart is breaking for you, Edie. I know how hard it is to let go of Frankie; but you are doing the most selfless, loving, generous thing you possibly can at this point in his life. Don’t ever doubt that.

    And, by taking time to get away, you are doing yourself a great favor. When I had to let go of my Kissy — nearly ten years ago — I packed some clothes and “things” for hubby and me, threw them in the back of the car, and after saying our final goodbyes to my “baby”, we drove down to Savannah and spent the weekend drowning our sorrows. It wasn’t long enough, but it was all the time either of us could take. And it turned out to be the beginning of our healing process. Your Blogville family is here for you; and we’re all keeping you and Frankie in our thoughts and prayers.

  14. Edie – my heart goes out to you. I’ve had to let two dogs go, and I know I have at least one more because Zora is already 10 years old. It’s hard to make final decision knowing that you are the one who determines when your pet’s life will end – but you are truly doing something kind for Frankie. The little imp you knew is gone, and it’s time to let the imposter go too. In time you will have just warm, sweet memories of the “real” Frankie. xo

  15. I can feel your pain and heart breaking as you write and my heart breaks a little for you. I know it won’t help, and I know it won’t make it any less awful and I am worried that this will sound cold, but the lead up to something, the hope of it not happening even though the “sensible” part of you knows that it is makes you feel like there is thing big mountain in front of you and that you won’t be able to climb it. Almost makes you panic.

    However the day will come, you will say good-bye and then you will break down and sob and that’s ok. However eventually the tears will stop and the come less frequently. Although every inch of you will hurt you will find a way to survive, eventually to live again. There will be that moment when you will hit rock bottom but from there the only way is up!

    I don’t quite know what I am trying to say… I am trying to help!

    Massive hugs and lean on your friends x

    1. That doesn’t sound cold at all, Lauranne. And you’re absolutely right, it is the mountain ahead that is now making me panic — not almost! And you and other wonderful people who have written to me are helping, honest. It’s a great comfort not having to go through this alone.

  16. Your unique ability to create truth and beauty in this devastating time will be Frankie’s legacy to all beloved dogs and their guardians. And, you can look back through this eloquent chronicle when you need to connect with the reason you had to let Frankie go, or when you just need a good cry.

    I think I speak for all your readers and friends when I say, brava, gracias, buena suerte en el Dia de los Muertos.

    1. Thank you. I know you remember our visit to the pet psychic in Sedona, but I’m not sure if you recall that I once consulted another pet psychic about Frankie’s past before he came to me — I don’t myself recall exactly when or why — who said she saw Frankie with some Spanish speaking people and that his original name was Amigo. So he will particularly appreciate your speaking to him (and me) in his native tongue.

  17. Thank you for being so brave to share your experiences so publicly. You will no doubt be helping people for years to come. Thank you also for being so brave to share Frankie’s life with us over the last few years. This way we can all mourn and all remember.

    I am thinking of you both.

  18. Oh, Edie, my heart aches for you … I think I understand some of the pain you’re experiencing? My rat terrier-mix, Sneezle, is 18 and 3-legged (one of the horses stepped on her 3 years ago, and the leg had to be amputated). She’s still eager for short walks, treats, and meals, but she’s getting tired.

    I pray each day that I’ll have the wisdom, courage, and compassion to make the right choice at the right time — and for her benefit, not mine.

    It sounds as if you are in the process of doing exactly that. And that you and Frankie are both so fortunate to have had each other.

    Please know that you are both in my heart.

  19. Both you and Frankie have touched my heart (and the hearts of many) in a very deep and meaningful way. My heart breaks for you this week, and I will be holding you in my thoughts today, tomorrow, and for days to come. Loss and grief are strange beasts… until we’re in the midst of them, we never know what form they will take. However, know that there are those standing by to provide a hug, a kind word, a glass of wine, or whatever you need to get through. <3

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