Friday, 26 August 2011

Lucky to have our Frankie

Last night a 'family tragedy' was averted... just.

My two dogs love playing in the pool area - they chase each other carelessly around the edge and try to lap up the cold water without falling in. Dad never usually leaves the dogs in the pool area unattended, to be honest they are just like kids, but today he remembered the green bin out there on the street and did a mad dash for it. And of course... yesterday was the day that Frankie fell into the pool.

To set the scene, this dog is our family's rock... after the death of our beautiful Arnie who was part of the family for 14 years, Frankie filled the space that Arnie left such a huge hole in.

Our darling Arnie

Frankie has a very special place in my Dad's heart and from the first day they met, he jumped into Dad's arms and fell soundly asleep. Frank is a replacement grandchild for my parents and luckily for them, is the most affectionate pup we have ever had. Dad and Frank are the best of friends and spend most evenings cuddled up on the lounge watching TV.

He is the most gentle dog - a total sook - and every time our newest puppy gets in trouble Frank is the first to freak out and run away, fearful that we are yelling at him. He is totally obsessed by food. He puts himself to bed when he is tired. He puts his paw up all the time as if to 'shake' hands (its his only party trick) and most of the time, he uses it completely out of context - we think he does it just to be cute. Frankie rarely does anything naughty and suffers a serious case of separation anxiety whenever he is home without human contact.

This photo made us fall in love with him (then called Bandit)

Our little man Frankie at about 3 months

When we picked Frankie up we had so many names picked out for him including Batman, Radar or Gizmo to name a few (seriously, check out those ears), but ultimately 'Frankie' won the mainstream vote and settled into life as our family pet. And settle in he did. 

Frankie cuddled up with my Mum on the lounge

Fast forward 9 months and we quite nearly lost him. And I can guarantee we would never have got over the devastation. 

He must have fallen in as Dad ran out to drag the green bin off the street and around through the side gate. When he returned to the courtyard a few minutes later he could see Sooki our other pup jumping around the pool area, but no sign of Frankie. Because of the way the backyard rises at the end, we cant see into the pool from the courtyard at the side of the house. Dad yelled out but still couldn't see him so he walked up the courtyard steps and heard some faint splashing. As he started to worry, he ran towards the pool and could just see Frankie's ears popping out from the top of the water. 

Luckily Frankie was trying to swim but he had fallen in on the opposite side of the pool steps and was desperately trying to claw his way on to the ledge with his paws. He was panicked and scared and was tiring himself out. Dad yelled out to him and said they made eye contact as he ran towards the pool gate and fished him out by the collar - just in time. Frankie was exhausted. He didn't even shake the water off like dogs do when they get wet - he just stood there shivering and coughing up the sea salted water. Dad was relieved and probably a bit teary (though he would never admit it) and apparently Frank just climbed into Dad's lap and they both sat there for a few long minutes, cold, wet and totally frightened. 

My poor Frankie. My poor Dad. He would never have forgiven himself if something was to happen. Should our neighbour have been getting his bin in too, Dad would have stopped for a chat. If Dad stopped to get the mail out of the letter box or kindly help the little old lady across the street with her bin, Frankie would not be with us today. 

Dad and Frank - the best of friends

This little story goes to show just how quickly something like this could happen. And this was with a dog, not a child. My heart goes out to all those families who have lost a child in a backyard pool. 

Today I am thankful that we still have Frankie and my Dad is a happy man.

L x

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