Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Frank, The 'Family Dog' ...

Frank is our “family dog”…

He became a part of the family in a moment of weakness on the part of my parents. You see we once had a dog at the time my little brother was very young and had just worked out the whole walking thing, but she was too rough.  Tosca – the then family dog – dwarfed him and thought that it was great fun to knock him over every time he stood up, highly entertaining, yes, helpful … not so much. My parents “ummed” and “arred” about this issue, she was a wonderful dog but she simply had too much energy. Eventually they made a hard call and did what any parent would do, they found a new home for Tosca so that my brother might have a fair chance to walk without being flattened every time he tried.

I was very sad and from that day on asked for another dog. The question “What would you like for Christmas or your birthday?” was always answered with “a dog”. I am a huge lover of animals, if I had had half a chance we would have housed a zoo, we had hamsters, rabbits, lots of fish, and for a while a cat adopted us but we never had another dog.

Ten years or so later I thought I would give the whole please can we have a dog thing one last try. My Father’s argument had always been “Boo, listen we can’t have a dog because I work on a contract and at anytime we might have to leave”. This time though, I was ready and replied with “Daddy, if you had got one when I first asked you it would most likely have been dead by now”. To cut a long story short, I won the argument.

Frank the Boxer has been a loyal member of the family for the last 12 years, we found him in a pet store in Dubai. He is a pedigree pooch – not that that matters – originally an American and has a huge amount of paperwork to prove it.

Frank then called Peter, was imported to Dubai from the USA along with a Rottweiler and a Great Dane. They were to live in an apartment and be the companions of a wealthy Arab gentleman, however for one reason or another he never came to pick them up. 

So for the fist six months of his life Frank lived in a kennel, not the most brilliant start to his life. On the upside it was a nice kennel, he was well looked after - they had large clean rooms, lots of toys, big beds, air conditioning and they even had a television playing the cartoon network in each kennel. There was a large indoor enclosure with lots of space for him to run around and there were plenty of other dogs to keep him company. It was, I suppose, comfortable and it could have very easily been a lot worse. There was just one strange thing - Frank had never been outside! From the time he was brought to the pet store He had lived 100% indoors, he had no idea what sand was, had never seen a road or a field, he had never been to the beach, everything outside of the warehouse he once called home was foreign and alien to him - it was also a brand new experience. It was hilarious.

Frank came with us on almost every family outing, the desert, the mountains, and amongst other places we took him to the beach, which, very quickly became is favourite place in the world. He loved the sea, hated swimming, but he loved the sea. Stones were is favourite game to play. He would find a stone and pick it up and carry it around. This would normally be the biggest stone on the whole beach that would fit in his mouth. After a while the stones started to affect his teeth and we all stopped throwing them for him. Which really upset him as he couldn’t understand why we didn’t want to play his game anymore. One day we gave in to his puss-in-boots style puppy eyes, only we would make sure that we threw the stones into the sea, this we thought would be safe as he didn’t really like going in the water … we were wrong, he was so happy that we had thrown the stone that he went in after it… found the stone with his paw and then, after inhaling deeply, he would put his head under water and fish around for the stone, he would then pop his head up out of the water with the exact stone that had been thrown in in the first place. This brought all of us to the floor, first in amazement and then in hilarious fits of giggles. Frank was extremely proud of himself and would take his stone up the beach were he partook of his second favourite thing to do, he rolled and he rolled in the sand… the sand stuck to his face and went in his mouth but he didn’t care, he was happy.

Ever since that day, whenever we have been at the beach with Frank we have always thrown stones into the water, it has in a way become somewhat of a party piece … but he doesn’t mind, it’s his favourite thing to do!

Last year my Mum and Dad left Dubai in search of greener pastures, they are also on a mission to find the one place on the planet that doesn’t have cell phone reception. My Father has become allergic to his phone, but that’s another story. When they left Dubai they moved temporarily into their apartment in the UK. It is an animal free building and so Frank was not going to be going. Instead Frank came to Crete for his retirement, after all he really was my brother and my dog.  The old boy sunbathes, sleeps, snores, eats and farts … in that order! He has grown old, his back legs suffer from where he was hit by a car in his younger years and these days he spends about 90% of the day sleeping, the other 10% he spends complaining that you have quite unnecessarily woken him up! The only time that he will adjust his routine is for the beach, which is where my husband and I took him this weekend. He smiled the biggest smile I have seen since his last beach excursion and on his own went to fish a stone out of the sea. This time I had my underwater housing ready to prove how daft our loving, loyal, now a bit creaky and raggedy rounds the edges, Frankie really is…

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