Loves Of Our Lives!
The Tale of Frankie & Remi
(from the Tracy Files)
I thought I would share a little backstory on how our beloved corgis Frankie and Remi came to become part of our family …
In 2008, while we were on a four-week vacation, our cat that we loved so much passed away. He was our golden ray of sunshine, an exceptionally loving orange tabby aptly named Cupid. We knew he was older, but his passing was totally unexpected. When we learned he was failing while we were in Rovinj, Croatia (below), Tom booked me a one-way, non-refundable ticket from Venice to Calcutta to Chicago to Los Angeles to the tune of $1,500 which was more than both our round-trip tickets for that trip cost.
Yes, we’re crazy for our pets! I was going to take that flight all by myself hoping that I would arrive in time to prevent Cupid from passing or at least be with him when he died. On the morning of my flight, we awoke to the news that he had died the prior evening. Thankfully (and luckily), the flight was subsequently canceled, and we received a full refund.
So, you must be wondering, what has that to do with Frankie and Remi? Serendipitously, on that very same day in Northern California a litter of Corgi puppies were born. Frankie and Remi were two of those puppies; but it would not be until two years later that our paths would cross. After Cupid died, we got another cat (Skeeters) who we adored, but he was not so enamored with me (although he loved Tom). All I got from him was the hiss. Finally, one evening while being ignored by the cats, I decided to get a dog for all the unconditional love I was missing from Cupid.
We decided we’d try to find a corgi, and fortuitously my mom’s dog groomer was looking to re-home two of her corgis to make room for a show dog.
Which was great! Except that Tom only wanted one dog, not two. Especially two rambunctious youngsters who needed to be kept busy all the time to stay out of trouble. You should have seen Tom’s face the first time he met them as they raced around the house bouncing on and off the sofa, barking and herding everything in sight.
Not that they weren’t well behaved, in fact they were perfectly obedient for the first four months we had them. We didn’t even think Remi knew how to bark as you never heard a yip out of her. (She is now officially our Head of Security with quite a loud, girlish bark.)
Although Tom was not fully convinced, Remi & Frankie went to Hollywood (or Pasadena to be technical). It was a long drive from Northern California, and the back seat made for close sleeping quarters.
A few weeks later while we were walking the dogs at night, Tom tripped and fell on the sidewalk and went flying headfirst into the street attempting to retrieve Remi, who had escaped our grasp and disappeared into the night shadows. Fortunately, Remi returned and, after hoisting Tom out of the gutter, we limped up the street with a bleeding Tom who was now convinced more than ever that we had made a great, big mistake in getting two dogs (not sure how tripping was the dogs’ fault). Look how innocent they were.
After waiting nearly the entire night to be seen at Urgent Care, they cleaned his knees, but we passed on his elbow as it didn’t look that bad (or so we thought) and we wanted to go home. Wrong decision … a few days later a red streak started creeping down Tom’s arm … he had a bad infection. After spending two days in the hospital on an IV drip of antibiotics, we thought he was good to go.
By the following Friday, Tom was still feeling crappy and his back hurt. A visit to the ER and an x-ray revealed what looked like the beginning of pneumonia. In light of the fact that Tom had just fought off an infection, they recommended that he be admitted to the hospital, but we elected to go home with more antibiotics. Again, the wrong decision.
The next morning Tom felt worse and upon arrival back at the ER he was instantly whisked to a room. Tom would not return home for 105 days.
For 105 days it was just the dogs and me (and friend Mary and Tom’s sister Deanna, along with countless numbers of friends), but when push came to shove it was Frankie and Remi who licked my tears away at night and snuggled in bed as autumn turned to winter. (Sniff, sniff, even nearly ten years later it makes me weep.)
(To make a long story short, and if you are interested in Tom’s story of his illness and recovery which resulted in $1.9 million in medical bills … that’s not a typo and fortunately we had excellent insurance coverage … check it out here.)
On Christmas Eve, Tom came home. The dogs, who barely knew him when he left, did not recognize him now that he was a walking skeleton. Nonetheless, they showered him with unconditional love, watched over him during his recovery and slowly won him to their side.
Frankie is not a doctor, but he played one at home.
The past ten years have flown by with more joy and happiness than I ever could have imagined. Our first outing was to Malibu to take a herding class where I chased the sheep and Frank and Remi chased me. Tom lamented that the $150 we spent for that day would have bought more than a few martinis or Spanish GinTonics.
The four of us have logged countless miles walking and hiking.
When they were younger we would hike all the way to the top of Griffith Park to the Observatory …
… but now we limit it to Fern Dell …
… or short hikes to get their “Hollywood” on. Frankie’s barking keeps the rattlesnakes away.
Cherry Canyon behind Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge is also a fun outing. Liz’s Loop is more our speed than the Ultimate Destination these days. Even when they were younger they had a four mile limit (short legs!). Once I actually had to lug Remi back to the car as she was so exhausted.
They do love to stop for a picnic, too.
Speaking of lugging, Frankie had a terrible outing once where not only did he roll in horse manure but then he was stung by a bee and I had to cart him back to the car resulting in both of us being covered in green poop (YUCK). While I don’t have a photo of that episode, here is another one of Frankie being covered in something yucky that he found in our backyard.
They also enjoy excursions to Echo Park Lake …
… and Caltech, where they’ve received an advanced degree in Barkology many times.
A few trips to the beach, and this look from Remi convinced us they were not enamored of water.
But she does love to get a tan … especially while wearing my old bathing suit.
Frankie and Remi are always happy to help out in the kitchen, but when onions are involved, they first don protective goggles outside.
They love walking in the neighborhood. Kids and adults often stop us for a chance to pet the corgis … and sometimes to take photos of them.
They are such hams.
Both Frankie and Remi enjoy watching sports with Tom, and will even dress up to support his teams.
While barking fools when walking, Frankie and Remi do enjoy a good dog party with friends, Kona and Kaleia … especially when home-baked dog treats are involved.
Their favorite holiday is Halloween, where they go scouting the neighborhood for the best photo shoots.
Remi loves trick or treating!
They actually love posing for every holiday.
They also like parties.
And can you ever get tired of looking at those cute Corgi butts?
It is hard to believe that Frankie and Remi are turning 12 this year.
Fingers crossed that we have many more years ahead even though Frankie had a recent brush with cancer.
Frankie and Remi have been such a delight and have enriched our lives endlessly. And, although I didn’t know it at the time, they arrived just when I needed them most. So, I am hugging my dogs extra tight today (Tom and the cats too!) and I hope you are doing the same with your cherished pets.
(Tracy Note) I wrote this for National Hug Your Dog Day.
Of course, at our house, every day is National Hug Your Dog Day.