Time is running out for my four legged son

Frank was our first surprise baby.

The day after Matt proposed me (without a ring) he took me for a drive. I thought to buy an engagement ring. But I was a bit surprised the place Matt wanted to take me was on the side of a country road, and it said “Humane Society”. I had come to the US one week prioir and had no idea what Humane Society was.

But the second I saw the back yard, heard the barking of puppies, and understood why we had just visited a pet store, I knew what the place was. It was a place where I would meet my first four-legged son. My fiancee was getting me a dog!

They had three puppies, two girls and a boy. The girls were nuts, “take me home now”-type, cute, looked like Rottweiler puppies with black backs and tan tummies. The male puppy looked shy and had a bumb in his head, and maybe it was the slightly dumbass look he had in his face made us want to save him from the crazy sisters.

His name was Floyd. He and his sisters were found by firemen in a burning house. They were the only ones to survive the fire, so nobody knew what breed he was. Mutt, of course, but of which breeds, no idea.

We knew right away, a name like Floyd wouldn’t do. He looked like a little sausage with his pot belly, a Frankfurter of his own breed. Me and Matt had met in Frankfurt, Germany, only a few months before, and the picture of Frank Sinatra looked approvingly from the hallway wall when we bought our first baby home. There was not much discussion, the name Frank was perfect for him.

Matt spent days in the flight school, and I spent days of taking photos of my new puppy and send them back home to Finland. My parents were happy about the engagement, but they had never even met Matt. “He is smart I can tell” said my dad about Matt “he knows you already so well that he knows you could leave a man, but you could never leave a dog”.

And we never did. Frank followed us back to Germany, and loved running on the corn fields of Northern Bavaria, getting into dog fights with the snobby German Sheppard and just looking at the view for hours of the Main river valley from our balcony. Frank had his own passport, and even took a cruise boat for a few times to Finland to meet my family.

The first time we went to Finland was nerve-wrecking, not for me or Frank, but for Matt and my dad. We had been married for a year, I was already pregnant and they had never met. My letters back home had told everything about Matt and Frank, so I was sure the visit would go just fine. But I knew how nervous my dad was when we drove to my parents’ yard and my dad greeted Matt by saying “Welcome to Finland, Frank!”

Frank was in Finland with me 5 months later too, when Matt was already deployed in Kosovo, and I was 7 months pregnant. I remember thinking, I must feel this same kind of love to my child as I feel to this innocent hairy boy. (Little did I know, and unfortunately Frank has had the second spot in my heart ever since my daughter was born).

Frank loved snow in the North, but wouldn’t swim in the cold Baltic Sea. He enjoyed swimming though at the sunny beaches of Florida when we moved back to United States. He has always been a great traveler, and has always been on a vacation with us, moved with us from here to Europe and back, from the Southern States to Upstate New York. If we couldn’t find a hotel taking pets, we would keep on driving until there was one. If it took three vet visits and lotsa dollars, we booked him on the flight and made sure the import/export papers were fine. And flew with a baby or two or three and a dog in a carrier.

He has gotten us evicted from an appartment (more than once). It always surprises me that people think we would rather give up our dog and live in some temporary appartment than just move to a new one (while waiting on closing a house, or another move).

But he is our first baby. Frank is part of our family. He might little nuts, but being goofy and being crazy are a big bonus in our crazy world taveling family. Maybe he even got it from us.

We have noticed some more than just common goofiness in the past year. Frank has gotten old (over 10 years now), and crumpy, and even started showing his teeth in a not good manner to some people. He still likes running after bunnies at the Rocky Mountain mountain side, but he sleeps most of the day now. We knew something was going on, but the vet visit last fall went well, and he seemed to be healthy for his age.

But the past couple of months, he has started doing some disgusting things, he has never before done. Drooling like a maniac, drinking from the toilet, eating paper, trash and toilet paper. And smelling really bad. From both ends. This weekend he started coughing and having like breathing difficulties. I though he must have a chicken bone or something stuck in his throat, from digging all that trash outside.

Matt took our four legged son to a vet this morning, and as it seems, it wasn’t a chicken bone in Frank’s throat.

It was a tumor in the back of his tongue.

Nothing they can do, not many days/weeks left.

And this is the part I get too teary and I need to stop writing.

And just so my dad can understand, in Finnish:
Frankillä on syöpäkasvain kielessä, jota ei voida leikata.

  1. Oh, I am so sorry about Frank. He looks like a real sweetheart. He’s had a great life and family and so much love, though, remember that.

  2. Aina kun kirjoitit Frankista, mietin onko samasta haukusta vielä kyse. Frankhan on ollut osa teidän elämää alusta saakka. Olen todella, todella pahoillani. Lemmikkeihin kun vaan syntyy niin syvä side. Antoiko eläinlääkäri Frankille jotain kipulääkkeitä?


  3. Olen tosi pahoillani. Lemmikistä luopuminen ottaa tosi koville, tiedän kokemuksesta. Lämpöisin terveisin: Sanna A

  4. Frank is a good and faithful friend.We love him.We are so sorry.
    It will be a sad loss.
    I love your story about his name.
    I definitely remember walks with him in Germany & how he goes and gets the lease when its time for his walk, his disagreement with the German Sheppard, his love affair with his girlfriend in New York, and his appreciation for having his head rubbed!Ole’ Frank, we love you.

  5. Deep breath.

    Oh, Katja. I knew you wrote a post about dear, sweet Frank last night, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until this morning.

    This just breaks my heart. I know how hard this was for you to write. I know how devastated you all are right now, and I hate that I know just how you feel.

    I loved reading about how Frank became a part of your family. And imagine my surprise at reading what Frank’s “original” name was, Floyd.

    Believe it or not, “Floyd” was Bismarck’s name when Steve first got him at the animal shelter as a puppy! And because the shelter told Steve that he was a German Shepherd mix, Steve wanted to give him a German name. And so he named him Bismarck. How funny that Frank and Bismarck have such similar “naming” stories!

    Frank has had a wonderful life as a part of your family. Believe me, I know that that does not take away the pain of this diagnosis. But he was saved from that fire in that burning house, and then he was saved again when he was adopted by you and Matt.

    How many dogs can say that they had their own passport? Have lived in numerous states – and even countries? Have had the opportunity to swim in the Baltic Sea (even if it was too cold for him!)?

    I loved reading about how you would drive from hotel to hotel until you could find one that would take dogs. And how you put your love for Frank above any temporary apartment eviction (I don’t understand people who can give up a dog just for an apartment, either).

    My heart is breaking for you. And my heart is breaking for Frank. He has known so much love just from being in your lives. He is one lucky guy.

    And when that time comes (I hope for all your sakes, it’s further away than they’re saying), Bismarck will be waiting for Frank up there, and they’ll be running and romping and playing, and laughing about how lucky they were – these two mutts named Floyd who ended up with families who loved them to the moon and back.

    Much love to you and Frank, Katja. Please let me know if you need anything. I will email you my phone number if you ever need to just talk, vent or cry.


  6. Saat naisen kyyneliin! Tuo kun on aivan liian tuttu tunne meidän koiraperheessä ja sanoinkuvaamattoman suuri suru, mikään muu ei auta kuin aika aikanaan… Nyt ei löydy oikeita sanoja kun niitä ei ole. Voimia ja halauksia täältä kaukaa! t. Marja & pojat

  7. Saw your post on Twitter. Sorry about your furbaby. Yeah, Norwegians thought we were crazy for bringing our dog when we moved there. She put up with six months of quarantine in the freezing hinterlands … and still loved us. We lost our furbaby three years ago, and I know how much it hurts.

  8. I am so sorry to hear that. I know what a wonderful and crazy (with all respect to you Frank!) dog he is, and I also know how much of a family member he has been in your family.
    He’s had a wonderful life with you guys, and although this may not make you feel any better just remember that your best friend will go to heaven like all dogs do.

    Hugs to all of you, Anna

  9. Oh hun, my heart breaks for you! I don’t think you could ask for a better mama/dog relationship than what you and Frank have. I was very, very close to my dog who passed away, gosh about 15 years ago and I still think about him daily. And this may sound weird but when I’m going through a difficult time, my dog shows up in my dreams and from then on I know it’ll be OK. Frank will always be with you.

    Also, and I’m not trying to make this only about my dog, but he died of cancer, a tumor in his nose which they couldn’t remove. When we found out they said he had 3 months max to live. He lived for another 4 years (without any kind of treatment). Frank will always be traveling right along side of you. xoxo

  10. Voi itku… Kyyneleet tippuu taallakin. Iso lammin hali. Teille molemmille.
    Komea poika teilla onkin. Hyva poika.

    Mekin on matkattu yhdessa kahden ison haukun kanssa. Toinen tuli Suomesta ja toinen tarttui Filsuista mukaamme. Mutkat taipuu suoriksi vaikka vakisin naittenkin takia; kaveria kun ei jateta. Mutta namakin vanhenevat, toisella on lonkkavika ja tiedan mita on viela luvassa. Ensimmainen, koiralapsistamme (vanha poikahan se sitten jo kylla oli) avitettiin hellavaroin ikiuneen mun sylissani ja kylla oli paha paikka.

    Frank on onneksi saanut elaa hyvan, hyvan elaman kanssanne ja nyt loppuaikanakin siita pidetaan hellaa huolta; ei tarvi elaa esim. villikoirana yksin, ilman laumaa ja olla kivuissaan ja pahassa olossaan ilman apua.

    Rankkaa ja surullista se on silti… Parempaa kaveria kuin hyva koira, saa hakemalla hakea.
    Lammin hali.

  11. Found this quote for you…
    “Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

    your twitter bud, g_fox

  12. Voi etta! On ne melkeen kuin lapsia ja kylla sulla tulee nyt sitten kova ikava. Itkuun meinasin minakin taalla ihan pilkahtaa.

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