an essay by
Tony Boswell 2003

My dog is moving away. His mom is leaving and he is going with her. I know it's best for him but I'm going to miss him dearly.

I've had pets before; fish, gerbils, other small animals that you could only feed and look at. I've never had an animal so dependent. Not only for food but attention and love. Franky is an individual with a personality. He demands a great deal of attention and I'm going to miss that. He has taught me a lot about life and about myself. I've learned more about being a man by acting a child with my animal than by trying to be like any of the men I've known.

My dog, Frank, has taught me, by example, the meaning of true, unblinking, unconditional love. He greets me, every time I return home, with the same boundless enthusiasm that he did the day before or even the hour before and I know that he is truly happy to see me. Frank does not know deception.

He does not see my flaws as he stares patiently at me awaiting my attention. Patience is a virtue. When I do get upset and yell at him he is still happy to come back to me. A grudge has no value to make it worth holding on to.

Frank has taught me that a bug on the wall can be more captivating than any movie on cable. That you need no more than a stick or a ball to have fun. That our yard is a brand-new adventure everyday and should be examined in detail for new surprises.

I've learned from him that every open-handed stranger is a potential friend and that every unknown sound should be checked out. That making a little noise yourself in the middle of the night for no reason never hurt anyone. That no word holds as much potential as outside.

Physical contact is it's own reward and all favors should be repaid with kisses. It's better to drive with the windows open and the wind in your hair than with the windows up and the air conditioning on.

I've learned the benefits of a regular, healthy diet and that a treat after meals is okay. Getting your back scratched is one of the greatest pleasures on Earth. Smell everything, look at everything, go everywhere, be everywhere, do every thing. And after that, fall soundly asleep, wake up the next day, have a good stretch and do it all again.

Frank dreams late at night. You can hear him start to whimper and try to bark through a mouth that's asleep. As he chases those cats into the dark corners of the night, I hope that sometimes he dreams that I'm running there beside him. And maybe every now and then, we'll catch one.