You know how parents tend to overreact with their first kid? How they immediately assume the worst-case scenario so that every funny bump is cancer and every new word means their child is destined to win a Pulitzer?
This is me with Frankie.
He’s actually the second puppy I’ve ever adopted, Gracie being the first. When I adopted Gracie, though, I also had three kids at home, a traveling husband, and I was co-president of the PTO. There just wasn’t time to get all worked up over her every move.
But now I only have one kid at home and he’s bigger than me and other than stocking the refrigerator (almost daily), he needs very little from me. Which gives me plenty of time to fuss over Frankie.
I bought him that stuffed tree toy – the one with the squirrels inside that he can wrestle out. He loves it and figured out how to get the squirrels out in only minutes.
So, I bought five or six other puzzle-type toys because, you know, he’s brilliant, so I’m trying to help keep that brain exercised.
He sleeps in our room at night in his little crate that has a moon and stars quilt and a handful of plush toys. I tuck him in and cover the crate with a blanket so he doesn’t get cold from the air conditioning. But before he goes to bed, we snuggle while I read. He curls up in the perfect little wrinkled ball against my side and has sweet puppy dreams that cause him to wiggle and makes squeaky noises. It’s distracting. But I don’t mind.
He is a sunny guy who loves to chase bugs, marvel at the chickens, visit with the kitty and roll down the hills like a kid-
He’s so brave that when I ran the vacuum the other day, while Gala cowered in her crate crying and Gracie had to be put outside (and still stood at the door barking at the vacuum), Frankie simply watched the vacuum from where he was lying in his bed, wagging his tail at me each time I came close in case I wanted to take a break and play.
He is polite while Gracie sniffs him and dismisses him, patiently waiting for he to decide she will love him.
And he is patient when Gala goes gaga over him — tossing him around with her nose, placing his entire head in her mouth and smacking him to the floor with her paws. She loves him in a BIG way and he never backs down from it.
He is considerate, having mostly figured out the house-training, but when he does have an accident, it’s always on the puppy pad.
And then, there’s his crystal blue eyes and the way his skin pools around his waist and legs when he sits down and those huge feet and that gorgeous golden coat. Yes, I do know he doesn’t look like the puppy-store puppy, but to me he is beautiful.
I’m trying to refrain from posting pictures hourly on Instagram and Facebook. I don’t want to be that person, but here are a few shots of my little Awesome Possum –
On Thursday, Frankie’s belly ballooned up to twice its size and he began trying to eat grass, dirt, and anything he could get his mouth on. I went into full on panic mode. Checking his mouth, examining his vomit.
After he threw up multiple times and got no relief, I put him in his crate because it was the only place I could put him to stop him from trying to eat everything within reach. He lay there forlornly, chewing on his toy while whining softly in pain. I imagined the worst.
He’s dying, I thought.
Nick texted our vet, who is also our friend and neighbor and he came over to have a look. Frankie was happy to see him and wagged his tail, offering kisses, and jumping up for attention. Chris said this was a good sign that he wasn’t dying.
Because we were leaving the next morning for a mini-vacation, he did suggest that we go over to his clinic and take an x-ray – at least rule out that Frankie hadn’t eaten something he wouldn’t be able to overcome on his own.
The x-ray showed LOTS of gas and lots of food, but no dry-wall screw or wine cork, or any of the other things I imagined he’d swallowed. He sent us home with instructions not to feed Frankie and to bring him back in the morning for another picture. Hopefully, in the meantime he would be able to pass the gas and whatever was causing the distress.
I cradled Frankie for a long time before tucking him into his crate that night. I cried and cried, partly because I was scared for him, but mostly because I realized that Frankie will die someday. And it will hurt like hell. And the reason I let 94 other dogs and puppies be adopted out from under me had less to do with commitments or time or Gracie or the other excuses I used, and more to do with avoiding this. I don’t want this pain. Ever. And now here I am. Setting myself up for it, all over again.
In the morning, Frankie’s belly was half the size it had been and his x-rays showed that all was well. Most of the gas had passed.
He will live. Hopefully for a long, long time.
Hopefully, long enough for me to figure out how I will handle it when he goes.
Nick told me I shouldn’t write this, it’s too depressing. So, I’m sorry if I’m a wet-blanket on your sunny Tuesday, but maybe this little diatribe will remind you to hug your fur-babies while you have them.
And don’t take any moment for granted.
There’s always time for another hike or another game of fetch or a simple snuggle before bed.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about my writing, blogs, books, and upcoming appearances, visit CaraWrites.com. I’d be thrilled if you followed me on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram. You can sign up for my monthly newsletter (in which I always give something away to a random subscriber!) right here.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments of this blog or by email at carasueachterberg @ gmail.com
If you’d like to know more about OPH and how you can volunteer, donate, foster, or adopt (Gala is STILL waiting!), visit OPHRescue.org.
And finally, if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present (and probably a few Frankie pictures!), be sure to join my Facebook group, Another Good Dog.
Have a wonderful week!
Just in case (like me), you can’t get enough, here’s a couple more pictures of my new baby….and my latest adventure with Gala….
Gala was my assistant book fairy this past week in celebration of Hide-a-Book day. Here’s the post about it, and here are a few pictures from our adventure: