Frankie — an abused terrier mix who drew widespread media attention after he was found beaten, tied to a tree and shot in the face — has found all the love and care he was denied for so long with his new family in Napa.
But according to Frankie’s new mom, Claudia (the family asked that their last name not be used), the love and compassion has flowed both ways.
“Frankie is teaching a new level of love and compassion to our family,” she said, adding the little dog has given each of her four grandchildren an enduring gift in the three months he has lived with her.
“Miles, our youngest grandchild, has special needs,” Claudia wrote in an email. “Miles is highly intelligent and intellectually several years ahead of his age (8). He is sweet, affectionate and incredibly funny. When we brought Frankie into our lives, we weren’t too sure how it would go with Miles because he has always been intimidated by dogs. It has been so rewarding to watch their friendship grow. Still a little tentative sometimes, but never fearful, Miles is learning to trust dogs.”
Frankie has taught Arianna responsibility, Claudia continued.
“Arianna wants to be a vet when she grows up,” she wrote. “She is learning about the realities of caring for a dog and is very helpful with feeding, exercising and trips outside to go potty.”
And for the two oldest grandchildren, Kamryn and Jeremiah, Frankie is providing a lesson in compassion.
“They have a much better understanding of Frankie’s past,” Claudia wrote. “Kamryn, who is experienced with foster dogs, has a good understanding of what rescue dogs’ needs are. She was especially helpful those first couple of weeks. Jeremiah is very gentle with Frankie and loves to spend cuddle time with him on the couch. He especially loves it on those occasions when Frankie climbs under the covers with him at night.”
Former owner charged
with animal cruelty
Frankie was found by a group of campers Sept. 14, 2012, near Foresthill after they heard him whimpering for two days.
The dog had been beaten and shot in the face multiple times with a pellet gun. The badly injured canine was taken to a veterinarian in the Bay Area and then was traced to Scooter’s Pals, a Nevada County “last chance” rescue organization that had microchipped Frankie about six months before adopting him out.
Frankie’s former owner, Mark Steven Pope, of Foresthill, has been arraigned in Placer County Court on one count of felony animal cruelty. He is set to return to court April 18 in Auburn.
Frankie subsequently underwent several surgeries before being adopted by Claudia and her husband, John.
According to Claudia, she started her journey with no intention of adopting another dog.
“When our dog passed a few years ago at the age of 17, my husband and I thought we would probably not get another dog,” she said. “We were so busy with our four young grandchildren, and felt like we didn’t need another dog to care for.”
But after Claudia retired in November, she started to rethink her position.
“Our oldest daughter started fostering dogs for a local rescue organization,” she said. ”I would go over to their house and there would be dogs everywhere ... I could see that these little dogs were bringing love, humor and a new purpose into their lives. It began to pique my interest in having a dog again.”
Claudia said she grew up with a rescue terrier and had always loved the breed.
“I knew I didn’t want a big dog, I knew I wanted a smart dog,” she said. “I also knew it would be better if we got an adult dog, not a puppy. I spent hours and hours on Petfinders, looking at pictures.
“That search led me to Frankie and I knew the moment that I saw his picture that he was the one for me,” she continued. “He spoke to me.”
Claudia said she knew nothing of Frankie before she called his foster mom, who directed her to his Facebook page.
“I spent a few hours giving it a lot of thought,” she said. “I ended up submitting an application that day ... I thought, if it’s meant to be, it’s gonna happen.”
Claudia waited all day and by dinnertime, she had resigned herself to not hearing back.
But that night, she received an email from Scooter’s Pals founder Susan Wallace, who thought she would be a good match for Frankie.
Frankie joined Claudia’s family on Jan. 17.
According to Claudia, Frankie has not needed much of an adjustment period.
“He is the sweetest little dog, very smart, affectionate and well-mannered,” she said. “He likes everyone in the family, but he is definitely ‘my’ dog. He often follows me around the house, just to make sure I don’t escape.”
The family expected him to have issues, but it has been an easy transition, Claudia said.
“There occasionally are signs that he’s got some insecurities,” she said, citing his separation anxiety.
“He’s had a lot of changes,” she added. “We think he’s around 5 years old and he’s been through a lot in those five years. But he’s a happy little guy.
“We often think about what Frankie went through, wonder how anyone could hurt such a sweet dog, and wonder how he could still be so loving and trusting,” Claudia said. “Frankie is the living example of how some dogs, just like some humans, can emerge from such horrifying circumstances and still have a good life. We marvel at him every day.”
Most recently, Frankie underwent one last surgery, for a congenital cataract, on April 2.
“He goes back at the end of April to see the surgeon who did his jaw surgery,” Claudia said. “They will do a CAT scan, but it’s just a follow-up.”
Claudia expressed gratitude to Scooters Pals, both for saving Frankie’s life and for providing for his medical care, including his surgery last week.
“Scooters Pals has established ‘Frankie’s Fund’ to help other dogs with emergency medical needs,” Claudia noted. “We hope that Frankie’s followers will consider making a donation to this fund.”
For information on Frankie, formerly known as “Butch,” visit his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Hope4Butch?ref=stream. Scooter’s Pals is paying for any further treatment to restore his health and eyesight. Donations to Frankie’s Chip-in at scooterspals.org are very much appreciated.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.