Look at that face! Can you even stand it??! Yesterday I celebrated ten years with this dear dog, my Frankie. I figure now is a good time to write down our story, for posterity.
On the night of May 5, 2004 I was at a college party in Milledgeville, GA – celebrating the last day of classes, the start of summer, and Cinco de Mayo. It was the end of my freshman year and I was staying in town for the summer, having just moved in to a house with my brother, Will. We had discussed me getting a dog to keep his dog company, even going as far as visiting some local shelters to look at adopting in the week or two leading up to the summer. But none of those dogs felt like a right match and we decided that the perfect dog would come along and we would know it when it did.
That night of May the fifth, I happened to walk outside of the house party on Franklin Street and spotted a scared-looking dog out of the corner of my eye in the shadows. I called to him sweetly, and after a little coaxing, he somewhat reluctantly came over to me; head down, tail between his legs, but wagging sweetly. He was collarless, skin and bones, filthy, covered in ticks, but sweet and desperate. He was so desperate for someone to love and take care of him – and feed him! All of his ribs showed, even his hip bones jutted out. I sat with him and petted that nasty fur and looked into those beautiful, coal-lined eyes. A couple of the guys from the party came over to pet him and he took off, obviously frightened of men. I asked them to go back inside and I waited for the dog to come back, and after a few minutes, he did. We sat for a few more minutes together and I knew I couldn’t leave him. This was my dog, he found me, and I couldn’t just go back in to the party, forgetting him. No, he was coming home with me. I called my brother saying, ” I think I found a dog.” Without hesitation, he said “Really? Cool, do you need help bringing him home?” I drove a VW Beetle at the time, so it was a legitimate question considering that we weren’t really sure how he would fit, and it was a good idea for Will to meet him first anyway. I told him where to find me and he was on his way.
In a few short minutes, Will arrived and this dog, though terrified of the other males, warmed up pretty quickly to him. When we tried to get him in the car though, we soon realized he was also terrified of cars. He wouldn’t get in, too scared. We didn’t know what to do and looked at him like, “Come on, we don’t want to leave you here, you have to get in there” and finally, I think we picked him up and got him inside for a frazzled two mile drive back to my brother’s house. But as soon as we arrived back home and let him out of the car, the dog was fine. Warmed right up, all smiles, got busy exploring the house, and immediately became friends with Jade, my brother’s part-Besinji mutt, also a rescue dog. Of course we had to think of a name to call this new dog, and I had a couple of really bad ideas (Wilson, I think was one?) but Will’s first suggestion was “How about Franklin? For the street you found him on.” Sold. It was perfect. (Over the years, the name got shortened to Frank or Frankie. Now I only call him Franklin when he’s in big trouble, which is rare. :) )
I took him to the vet the next day for a full round of shots and discovered he had heart worms, which required some medication but otherwise he was healthy. I left him to get a full bath, grooming, and removal of all the ticks that were all over his body. Ticks are so disgusting to me and there were so many. I needed some help. I think the vet said he removed thirty-something ticks from him. Huge, engorged ones that had been there for a long time. Poor thing. I picked him up after a few hours, grateful for the doc’s help in getting him cleaned up and took him home.
It didn’t take long to fatten him up, his instincts to eat were so desperate and voracious. We soon learned that if we left anything edible where he could get it (even countertops weren’t safe as he could stand up on his hind legs to reach), Frank couldn’t help himself, those instincts to eat were too strong. (Thankfully, he now trusts that he will be getting regular meals and hasn’t snatched anything off our plates in years. Good boy.) And we probably fed him too much, I admit, but we couldn’t help it. We felt bad that he went for so long without food and nearly starved in his past life, plus he was so grateful for the food we gave him. So he got real fat. (Don’t worry, he now weighs in at a healthy 65 lbs, down from his heaviest of 80 lbs.)
Anyway, that’s the story of how Frank and I found each other. Maybe another time I’ll write more about our ten years together, but to celebrate our big anniversary, we had my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, plus their two dogs (Jade, who’s still around, and Lola, who came a few years after Frank) over for a Mexican feast and to trade stories of this beloved dog. Oh, and to take pictures of the dogs in a tiny sombrero, of course. It is Cinco de Mayo after all!
On the menu: homemade guac and chips (those were inhaled so quickly, no pictures were able to be taken), fish tacos with cabbage slaw (yummy – I used this recipe) and pico de gallo, chicken tacos, yummy Mexican rice (awesome recipe here), and seasoned black beans.
And this! A margarita cake, courtesy of this cupcake recipe that I followed exactly, except for increasing the bake time to 50 minutes and cutting the icing recipe in half (it called for SIX sticks of butter). It was amazing. Dense, but light, limey, and not too sweet. It was a big hit.
Frank got treated to a few bites of tacos, a few milk bones, and lots of kisses and pets from everyone. It was a good day. I’m so thankful for my best dog-friend.