Frankie Retiring from Therapy Dog Work. Together We Move Into a New Phase of Life.

Going through photo’s of Frankie’s therapy dog work, ran across this one when we had a special request to visit Froedert Hospital. This man had a stroke and he LOVES dachshunds.  Frankie made his day! 

I thought the tears were done. Yesterday I sent notice to Libby’s House, Senior Assisted Living and Sharon S. Richardson Hospice letting them know that as of July I will be retiring Frankie from her therapy dog work. While I’ve contemplated this for quite some time (semi-retiring her in January) I felt a relief in letting the facilities know, but I find myself having a hard time with it today—knowing this decision is now final.  But I won’t ignore the tears and will accept it as a way for me to move through this.

I’ve always known how much my work with Frankie has meant to me—it has been huge. A part of me is finding a great deal of peace and comfort in knowing her and I can enjoy quality time together, just her and me. But another part of me is having a hard time knowing one phase of our life together is complete. I had no plans to share this today and was planning to wait until she was officially retired in July, but I felt the need to write about it.

As I told Libby’s House and Sharon S Richardson Hospice I have no doubt God meant for me and Frankie to travel the path we have. While my heart feels such a loss, it also is feeling so blessed remembering all the wonderful memories of our therapy dog work. And I’m really grateful I was given this opportunity.

Frankie’s health is good and it truly is just a feeling I have in my heart that now is the right time to have Frankie retire. She deserves it and so much more. As I started to contemplate this decision and was finding more time to blog, as well as work on my new book, I found an acceptance in it all. I want to enjoy our new phase of life together and not get lost in the sorrow of what we’ve let go. With every end is a beginning. I remind myself to be still and listen.

Frankie and I will make one more visit to hospice this month and then one more to Libby’s House in July. Frankie will retire just in time for her 13th birthday in August. We’ve begun our summer by going for more impromptu walks, Frankie soaking up the sun and all the good smells as she rides in style in her pet stroller, bike rides with the wind blowing through her ears, lots of naps for Frankie, and much time snuggling and appreciating all that she means to me…. her papa, and her dog sis, Kylie.

It has been quite the honor and privilege to witness many “golden moments” watching Frankie roll into a room, filling it with sunshine, joy, and love. To witness a feeble hand reach out to pet her, a smile move across a lonely face,  and a memory return that was lost-there simply were no words in those moments, it can only be felt by the heart- and my heart expanded in ways I can never describe adequately in words. To share Frankie with someone who only had days or months yet to live, and give them the love that only a dog can, cracked my heart wide open each and every time. I welcomed that opening as it reminded me what this thing called life is all about. In each of our moments together doing our therapy dog work, I was reminded to not take life too seriously, and to enjoy each glorious moment…

Stay tuned as I’m working on a video of photo’s of Frankie’s therapy dog work and will share that sometime in July.