Meet Frankie.

He is a dog of undetermined breed, undetermined age and undetermined origin.

He showed up at my friend Ingrid’s house a couple of months ago. Her son had come home from work one day and found this little dog in their yard. He greeted him as if they were long lost friends and promptly followed him into the house and jumped onto his bed as if he’s been living there all his life. At first Ingrid was very unimpressed with this little dog, as – admittedly, was I. He’s terribly hyperactive, bullied the other dogs, chased the cats, barked, yapped, licked feet and never, ever, stop when he’s trying to coach you into a ball game with him. Ingrid tried to find a home for him but the little dog clearly had no home, or nobody who wanted him back. Grudgingly, Ingrid realized that he would have to stay (she’s against sending dogs to the pound) and Henk proudly gave him a name.

Frankie.

As time passed, Frankie grew on all of us. It became very clear that he was very intelligent and very, VERY loyal to Henk. I soon realized that Frankie probably knew that Henk was his boss long before Henk knew that Frankie existed. I can’t help but believe that Frankie came looking for Henk and when he found him, it was clear that he would never leave his side willingly. Frankie started to grow on me when I realized how upset he was every time Henk left. We literally had to close all the windows and doors, because Frankie would spend the better part of an hour throwing himself at the door and looking for a way out of the house to follow Henk. Loyalty and love like that could not go unappreciated.

My relationship with Frankie also developed over time. Frankie was pretty skittish of strange people in the beginning and I was no exception. I took affront to that I’ll admit, because I’ve always been very good with animals, and slowly set out to show Frankie that I wasn’t the beast he thought I was. I tried throwing him his ball but – although he appreciated it, it didn’t bring us closer. Then, as I started coming to Ingrid’s house after riding, I realized that Frankie loved the smell of my riding clothes and shoe. So, I gave it to him to lick and do whatever dogs do to the Nasty flavours that I carried on the soles. Our bond grew and soon, Frankie settled with me, seeing me (I suspect) as a temporary substitute to Henk when he wasn’t around.

Really, Frankie saw me as his.

So, now whenever I’m at Ingrid’s and Henk is not, Frankie is my shadow, my surrogate son. When Henk is asleep and I’m awake, the little dog would come to me and keep me company (in the hope that I would get up from behind my computer and play ball with him). Ingrid always tells me that when Henk leaves and he knows I’m coming, he tells Frankie:

“Don’t worry, Alyss is coming with her boots…”

I don’t know how much the dog understands of it, but I can say that whenever I pull my car into the yard he starts whining like a little puppy. Needless to say, I’ve grown quite fond of him. You see, Frankie’s taught me a lot about determination and focus. I’ve never in my life encountered an animal that can be so focused on something, so goal orientated. If Frankie wanted something done, he would try and try and try again until he was either too tired to continue (after which he would rest, then start again) or he’s succeeded in getting what he wants.

It’s something I deeply admire in the little dog and a trait I hope to practice in my own life.

P.S. I took these pictures this morning, though I have to apologize, I have not yet brushed my hair. Yes people, this is Alyssa uncut… 😉

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