This is my childhood friend, Francie, sitting on what has become known as “Francie’s Rock” at my parents cabin.
I will never forget Francie, or how she came to live with us.
One day after school, I was sitting in our kitchen waiting for my Dad to come home from work. When he got home, he came inside and said “I have someone who wants to meet you”. I was excited to see who he was talking about, and looked out the window at his car in the driveway. I didn’t see anyone out there, and turned to Dad with a puzzled look. Dad told me to go outside to his car. I ran outside excitedly, but still didn’t see anyone there. Just as I was about to turn around and go back inside, I saw a tiny puppy jump up to the drivers side window of Dad’s car! I screamed in delight and ran to the car. Francie was so happy to see me – she practically jumped out the window and into my arms! It was love at first sight! I was laughing and crying at the same time, as my Dad stood there and smiled. Apparently someone he knew from work had a dog that had puppies, and this one needed a new home. What a happy day that was!
Francie lived with us for almost 20 years. She was the most playful, loving dog ever. When you looked into her eyes, you could literally see the love she felt for each one of us. She slept on our beds, she played with us in our yard, and she especially loved our weekend trips to the cabin! She knew when we were packing to go and would follow us around the house as we packed, her tail wagging wildly. When it was time to go, she was always the first one in the car, looking at us with a “let’s go!” look and a smile on her face. Yes, a smile. Francie smiled a lot!
At the cabin, Francie loved to chase frogs into the lake and chase squirrels up trees. She knew how special the lake cabin was to all of us, and she loved going there as much as we did. She especially liked to sit on a very large boulder that was partially sticking out of the ground and look out at the lake. That was HER rock, and she loved it.
When I moved out of my parents house, it was so hard for me to leave Francie behind, but home is home and that is where she belonged. Over all the years Francie lived with us, she had her favorites. First it was me, then it was one of my brothers, then another brother, and yet another brother. She loved my Mom, and my Mom loved her. But it was always my Dad she loved the most – right up until the end.
When Francie was gone, we could still hear her footsteps throughout the house. We’d turn to look, expecting to see her, but sadly she wasn’t there. At least not physically. We knew she never left us. Even to this day, she lives on in our memories and in our hearts.
Today is National Dog Day. A day to celebrate our four-legged family members – whether they are still here on Earth with us or not. They know you are thinking about them.
Sweet dreams, Francie. Go find those frogs!