Today my pooch, Franki, and I celebrate our 11th anniversary. (Or at least, I celebrate it, and Franki feels like something is special happening cause she’s getting a lot of extra treats today.)
I haven’t been able to remember the exact date that I adopted her for a number of years now, but I knew it was sometime around January or February, so a few weeks ago I went back into my old livejournal archives and found the post about the day we went and adopted her. Today, it turns out, is that day!
I was 14, in 9th grade, and I had been wanting a dog for awhile. I was always a huge animal lover as a child and had quite a lot of pets through the years, but my mom had always held of on having a dog because we had moved around a lot and lived in apartments and it just didn’t seem like a good idea–not to mention while I was a fairly responsible child I hadn’t necessarily proven that I was responsible enough to care for something so dependent on it’s owner. I can’t blame her for holding out at all. But, finally the time had come when I had begged enough, cleaned my room enough, and showed my mom enough cute pictures of dogs that she caved.
It had never been a question in my mind that I was going to adopt a dog and not get a puppy. After having an incredibly disappointing experience with a rescue group I turned to the LASPCA website for other adoptable dogs. We did, in fact, live in a condo, so my mom and I agreed it would have to be a small dog and that was what I was on the lookout for. There was one small pooch that looked like he’d be a good fit, and better yet he was a Pomeranian mix (my mom’s favorite dog). So we drove out to East LA to meet him and hopefully take him home.
Alas, he had already been adopted. But the shelter had another dog on the way back from an adoption even that the shelter later assured us was a medium small ish dog. Truth be told, I already knew exactly what dog she was talking about, because I had basically memorized all the faces of all the dogs they had listed on their website. It was this black and tan dog named “Serenity” that I had looked back at many times and was super intrigued by, but had dismissed due to the fact that she was labelled “Medium” and my mom and I had specifically agreed to a small dog.
But… my mom had already driven over 40 minutes with me to this shelter just to be told the other dog wasn’t there, so she said we should wait and check out this medium sized dog.
It was, of course, love at first site as this bumbly 9 month old puppy (in other words, fully grown but as fully amped as only a puppy could be) ran out and started chasing a ball. She pooped immediately, which my mom actually took as a good sign, “Well, at least you know what you’re in for.” I couldn’t believe that my mom was down with me taking home this 30 pound medium-sized dog, I was ecstatic.
We signed the adoption papers, waited for her to be spayed, and a few days later my mom picked her up after work and brought her home. My mom is actually the one who came up with the name Franki, too. Serenity was pretty much the least suited name ever, considering Franki was anything but serene when she was a pup. I remember taking her to the fenced in park across the street to let her off the leash and immediately panicked as she ran… nay, flew around in circles going about 50mph. I was panicked because she had just gotten out of her spay surgery, still had sutures, and was under strict orders not to do any physical exertion.
Franki has been my constant companion since then, and has zoomed after countless numbers of balls, dissected countless stuffed animals, devoured countless bones. We had a rough first year as I learned what it meant to be a dog owner and she learned what was and wasn’t okay to do, but over the ten years following that she has grown to be the best dog a girl could ask for. She has always been super smart and highly trainable. Even now she picks up new tricks like it’s nothing (that is–when I’m not too lazy to actually do some training with her.) It’s really quite amazing how the bond you have with your dog grows over the years, and how much more you understand each other. Franki and I know each others routines, and we know how to read each other.
While she’s starting to show her age more and more, she’s pretty spry and people are usually surprised to learn that she’s 12 years old. She still loves to chase balls, though we try to limit how much we let her go at it. Her all time favorite activity is eating, followed closely by rolling around on her back in the grass.
I love her so much, and it’s very bittersweet as the years pass. Every year I get to spend more time with her, and she just grows more gentle and I feel more connected with her. Yet every year she grows older and more fragile, and my heart breaks a little every time I see her struggling just a little more to get up, getting tired just a little more quickly after chasing the ball, sleeping just a little bit more throughout the day. We make her life as comfortable as possible, and the good news about living in a tiny house is that she has very little distance to go before she gets to be outside and she’s always nice and warm next to the heater. She gets lots of fresh air, has lots of space to explore when we go outside, and has probably about the best life a dog could ask for at this point.
I just love her so much, and I love how we have been able to grow together over the years.