Today’s post is not a joyous one. Our elder dog, Frankie, a red smooth-haired miniature dachshund, passed away Monday morning. She was 16. In her last few months her health changed so much and so it became clear that it was just time. For being the runt of the litter and the one her mama shunned, she had a long life and we have some great memories of her.
I have not posted about it because I wanted Robert to get home from UGA for the summer before we told him. We got her when Robert was in 4K. She taught my boys how to not be afraid of dogs. We taught her to sit and shake hands and helped her recognize words and phrases such as, “potty”, “go ride”, and “snack, treat”.
Oddly enough as Rob was reading another town’s newspaper Monday evening, he came across a memorial notice for another family’s pooch who had also just died. It was so good that I wanted to share it with you here.
An excerpt from Dr. Robert Thatcher’s book, Something Nice to Do 365 Days a Year:
“I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.
We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The four-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest up to God.”
That excerpt was eerily similar to my morning experience at the vet’s office, although I was not as composed as the four-year-old Shane. I sobbed like a baby, knowing that it was good and right to let her go.
Frankie was the reason we have Beans. Frankie’s disposition was so good that we decided to get another dachshund while Frankie was still able to show her the ropes of what being a dog in the Ward house was like. She was a good teacher.
Although she was no longer able to care about sitting with me on the sofa for my quiet times and coffee, I will remember her doing so faithfully when she was able. I promise there were times that while I prayed she would look up at nothing with her head cocked to one side as if something were there. I often wondered if she wasn’t looking at an angel sitting in on my quiet time. Her gaze seemed to be so intrigued that her tail would wag.
Her last morning here, I bundled her up in her blanket and she sat with me in my lap for one last cup of coffee. Beans seemed to understand something was not right and gave us some space.
It is weird without her. Beans and I are having the hardest time adjusting since we were a triple threat around the house. Beans looks for her and sits in the crate at times. I have locked the crate so Beans won’t sequester herself away in the laundry room and begin emulating “big sister” in this capacity. Beans wonders where Frankie’s food bowl is that she always cleaned up after when Frankie would finish and wonder away from it.
And so, when she was gone, I prayed thanking God for the blessing of her life and His blessing ours through her, a dog, but one of His creations nonetheless.