March 16. That was the fateful day that brought Frankie and me together. My life since then has been largely consumed with his physical and psychological rehabilitation and with the fallout of bringing a new dog into my home. There are definitely some things I would do differently if I had it to do all over again.
But saving this sweet boy isn’t one of them.
We’ve had lots of good stuff and lots of hard stuff these last few months.
Physical recovery. Frankie’s wounds all healed nicely, but they were severe, so that took some time. I think it was probably harder on me than him. He took it all in stride, with a little help from some Really Good Drugs. His fur has all grown back. Which is great, but now whenever I call him Frankenstein, it makes no sense. Takes all the fun out of it for me.
He had to have two surgeries on his hip, which resulted in severe muscle atrophy. We’re working on rebuilding his muscle strength. Dogs are so adaptable, though. When his leg is weak, he just doesn’t use it. Which isn’t helping his leg get stronger. I’m always saying, “All four paws, Frankie.” And then the clever boy uses all four!
I really hate to say it, but Frankie is, in fact, a great big sissy. So much so that he put one over on his vet and she thought he was still in terrible pain and was recommending removing his leg! I declined, of course, and went with him to his next appointment. Sure enough, when I was there doling out a constant stream of treats, the doctor could do whatever she wanted to his leg.
Huskies are like that, more than one vet has told me. Great big sissies!
We do exercises every day called sit-to-stands, which is exactly what it sounds like. I didn’t realize until after several weeks of these exercises that to Frankie, “sit” means “put your bottom on the ground and then stand right back up.” So now we’re working on really sitting. And I taught him the cue “stand,” which has been much more useful than I ever thought it would be.
I also taught him how to stand up on his back legs. I’ve taught all my dogs this, both because I think it’s cute (you should see how long B’Elanna can do this! She could be a circus dog!), and because it builds their abdominal muscles. Strong abdominal muscles means I don’t have to do things like help them get into the car. It’s a very good thing to be able to lift your front end off the ground if you’re a dog. You can do things like this:
That’s my Chassie-girl, snacking on leaves straight off the tree. Ginny and JoJo do it, too.
So you can imagine the other thing you can do when you can lift your front end off the ground, right? Hello, counter surfer! Frankie’s a bit taller than my girls. He doesn’t just counter surf, he steals things out of the kitchen sink. And I basically taught him to do that. It’s one of the many reasons my mama is so proud of me. But really, how many Rubbermaid bowls does one person need, anyway? Especially since they make awfully good eatin’?
Managing an adolescent. This has not been easy. At all. I’ve made mistake after mistake. Which means I’ve broken up a number of fights, have (almost) learned to put stuff away, and have made several unplanned visits to the vet.
This was the result of one of them:
Kinda pathetic, huh?
I didn’t get Frankie’s crate door closed when I went to church one Sunday. Three hours later, I knew it was a bad sign when Frankie met me at the front door. He’d been chasing Katie and Jool for who knows how long. They have their claws, so they fought him off. Fiercely.
Did you know that in the heat of battle, a cat will often sink its claws into its opponent and leave them there?? Neither did I! Dr. Tate said that they get to whacking so fast that they don’t retract their claws before whacking again. The claws come right out.
It sounds kinda novel…but it’s not. It’s akin to having your fingernails pulled out. Very. Painful.
They’re both fine now. Katie lost two claws; they’re growing back. Jool lost five. All but one is growing back.
I seriously doubt they’re ever gonna be friends with the Frankfurter, though.
You’d think he’d steer clear of them, too, right? Oh, no. He had scabs all over his face – close to his eyes, even – and I pulled one of their claws out of his head by his ear. But he still thinks they’re the very best toys in the house.
On a positive note, Dr. Tate said that if he’d really wanted to kill them, they’d be dead. So at least he’s not a wanna-be kitty murderer.
Adolescents are exhausting. For all of us. But you know what? They eventually grow on you. Frankie’s energy is infectious. He is almost as silly as Chassie. The boy definitely makes me laugh! And even though he’s not (yet) a lap dog, he’s a lover. He’s not drippy-lovey, but he does enjoy affection. And playing. He even enjoys a game of fetch, which I don’t think huskies are really known for.
There are still a few altercations, but no fights in weeks. Ginny, Chassie, and Callie Sue all play with Frankie. JoJo seems to be thinking about it. She was the very first one to make friends with him, so I hope she decides to give him another chance.
Frankie is such a sweet dog and adolescence doesn’t last forever. He’s eager to learn and has a gentle spirit. He’s made enough progress with his physical rehabilitation that it’s about time to get serious about finding him a forever home. If you or anyone you know is interested in meeting Frankie, please let me know!