Frankenstein. The Dog.

animal wisdom dog wisdom dogs Sep 14, 2022
Smiling Dog

Back a long time ago when I was married to my second husband and we lived up in Nederland, Colorado (home of hippies, down vests and hiking boots - this was the 1970’s, after all), we acquired a dog. 

I’m not quite sure how we ended up with him. I think he just showed up one day, looking a bit tatty and definitely hungry. He was a good-sized dog, with longish dark mottled fur that went every which way. He had a great smile. 

Nobody seemed to know who he belonged to or where he came from, so we invited him in - and he came. 

Frank looked a lot like this, except fluffier and scruffier.

We had no idea if he had a name, being collarless and obviously without a permanent home, but he looked as though he had been pieced together using various dog breeds and some really strong twine, so we named him Frankenstein. Frank for short. 

Frank was an awesome guy. He loved being in the house. He loved his food. He loved going for car rides. Walks were his particular favorite. He was quiet. 

He had just one problem.

It was impossible for him to stay in one place for any length of time.

We found out very quickly that his middle name was Houdini. He could literally get himself out of any confining situation. When he’d get loose, he’d go down into town and socialize. It was hard for him to remember exactly where he lived, and his escapes usually involved leaving his collar and ID at home.  The townspeople quickly learned with whom he was bunking, and someone would invariably flag us down as we were out searching for our recalcitrant child - “Are you missing this guy?”

He never apologized. He was always so proud of his escapes, and would smile and smile. It was pretty hard to be angry with him, as he was so delightfully goofy about everything he did. And he always seemed happy to be back with us. 

“Yeah, that was a great time! I saw Danny, and Silvio and his dog Pepper, and we hung out at the reservoir for a while, and then Katie gave me some treats, and then you came by and brought me home! What a day!”

Spending a large number of our waking hours looking for our wandering dog was not exactly how we wanted our lives to be. 

We tried everything to get him to stay home, but he always got loose, always had a great time, and was always happy to come back - and then he’d leave again.

I think he got lonely. We both had jobs, even though mine was part time, and we couldn’t take him with us. So he made his own fun.

What he really needed was a 1500 acre farm with someone who could spend all day entertaining him, and with whom he could make some sort of contribution, even if was just sitting beside his person while he ran the big cab tractor. (I can totally see him doing this - “Turn left here!” Oooo, you almost hit that rabbit, good miss. Your furrows look nice and even. I love this job.”)

With great sorrow, we took him down to Boulder, to the animal shelter. We’re cowards. We didn’t ever find out what happened to him. But with his smile and engaging nature, we hoped he found that farmer and his tractor, and had a beautiful life. 

While he was with us, though, he taught us a lot.

  • Smiling is great exercise for your face.
  • People are kind.
  • If you ask, you get, even if it might not be exactly what you were asking for. And that’s okay, it’s good to be flexible.
  • Life sends all kinds of adventures; enjoy every one.
  • If life seems dull, make your own fun.
  • Good people always give you treats.

Keep smiling. People will wonder what you’ve been up to, and you can tell them you’re thinking about a dog name Frankenstein, who had a great line in smiles.

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