Things We Lose. Things We Keep.

Franny in the Daffodil Rhodie

Tonight we said goodbye to our beautiful Australian Shepherd, Francesca.

At almost sixteen years old, we have been trying to prepare ourselves for this day for the better part of a year with middling success. As other milestones in our lives passed, we all wondered if this would be the last time we would enjoy them with Franny. We marked as small triumphs the days that Francesca saw; Andrew’s return from Europe, Coming home from vacation, this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Amazingly, Franny slowed but never gave up enjoying her life until this past week, when she could no longer walk under her own power.

Franny and Michael play Tug O War

Franny and Michael play Tug O War

We are grateful that all of us could be with her as our veterinarian gently helped Francesca to die. Andrew, Claire, Melissa and myself were able to stay with Franny for her last breaths; petting her and crying until she was gone. It was as good a death as any of us could hope for; surrounded by those we love and those that love us.

Portrait of an Aussie as a Young Dog

Portrait of an Aussie as a Young Dog

Many of our posts center on our efforts to simplify our lives; to reduce the hold our busy, shore based world has on us as we strive to become full time cruisers. Tonight, our lives are indeed less complicated but we are poorer for what we have lost.

But this is what we keep. Memories of nearly sixteen years, marveling at Francesca’s intelligence, beauty and grace. She has been at the center of our family’s collective life for so long that it is impossible to recount Claire and Andrew’s childhood without her. She was there for Melissa and me when those same children grew up, went to college and had lives of their own.

That is what we keep.

Francesca did what all great dogs do; she made us better people.

Franny and Andrew on Moonrise

Franny and Andrew on Moonrise

5 thoughts on “Things We Lose. Things We Keep.

  1. Your lives were richer for having shared them with Franny which makes it all the harder to say goodbye. In the days I made weekly trips to your house, she was my gate greeter and a wonderfully calming presence. Thinking of you all with sadness for your loss…. Teri

  2. Michael, I spoke with Melissa this morning when I read this post, but I want to say to you, as well, we are heartbroken for you all at this news of having to say goodby to Franny. Words are not adequate at these times. Franny was a beautiful light in the world. We loved knowing her. We will be thinking of you guys–so much!

    Love,
    Chere and Edwin

    • Thank you Chere and Edwin. The house does feel empty without her. I have given Skipperdee notice that as the sole quadruped of the household, he will need to step up his game.

      Give Mia an extra hug for us.

  3. Oh I’m so sorry to hear about your loss:( I know how much a dog can mean to you. We have two.

    We aren’t taking them on our trip so before we leave we have to place them in good homes.

    I hope you have a Merry Christmas and move on from this. Thanks for sharing and posting those wonderful pictures of Franny (by the way my sister’s name is Frances aka Franny)

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