Welcoming a dog into your life means a trip (or two!) to the pet store, as there are so many items that help to ensure they’re comfortable, like crates, beds, water and food bowls and many toys. Making these purchases is just one way to show you care for your pet — however, some families have to take shopping a step further.
“We're now looking for homes that are on one level, so Frank never has to do stairs again,” Alex, Frank’s dad, says.
Frank, a 4-year-old Miniature Dachshund, went home with Alex, and his wife, Janelle, in 2018. From the start, the trio’s bond was strong — maybe because they moved to various parts of Canada early on in Frank’s life. The pup’s comfort quickly became the family's rock as they were on the go.
“He’s the alpha of the household — Frank’s the center of attention,” Janelle shares. “Honestly, he's our entire life. He's our little baby. We cater everything to him. He's pretty much our son. He's a forever toddler.”
Strangers are mesmerized by the pup, too, and are often eager to pet him.
“A lot of kids will scream at Frank from across the park,” Alex explains. “We've had multiple people pull their cars over to the side of the road to come and meet Frank. And the first few times, especially when we were in bigger cities, it was a bit jarring.”
Alex and Janelle grew to appreciate peoples’ admiration for Frank. Now, they live in a smaller town in Canada where the dog continues to be a town celebrity (especially at the dog park). He’s not afraid to kiss just about any pup he meets.
Even though Frank loves socializing, he also appreciates hunkering down with his family — especially when Alex was in dental school during the pandemic. He’d push Alex’s laptop off his lap and sit there to cuddle.
And when Frank’s not cuddling with his parents or hanging out at the dog park, he turns his house into a playground. He’s created his own game of fetch where his parents throw the ball, he’ll retrieve it, and they have to chase him around to get it back. He'll even turn Alex and Janelle's things into toys if they’re not in the mood for games.
“We learned over the years that he has this mischievous trot. It’s like, ‘click, click, click, click, click’ over the hardwood and is usually a sign that he has something, which is my slippers,” Alex says. “But actually, over the last year or so, he's learned to adapt. So he will slowly walk by because I think he figured out his trot was giving him away.”
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When the family briefly moved in with Janelle’s parents, Frank had an entirely new space to play — his parents did their best to ensure the environment was safe.
“My parents have tons of stairs in their house. So soon after we moved here, we were trying to contain him. We put baby gates up,” Janelle explains. “But now and then, he would escape and go up or down. That's when we noticed that he started shaking one night, and we knew something was off because he wouldn’t snap out of it.”
Janelle and Alex rushed Frank to the emergency room, where they were told he was shaking because of the pain. They took him home, but he still had a wobbly walk and would yelp when they picked him up. Luckily, Frank was scheduled to have surgery in 2 days.
“He had a slipped disk in his back,” Janelle shares. “So they were able to decompress his spine and remove that extruded disk material. And so far, he's made a 100% recovery.”
When they first brought the pup into their lives, many recommended they sign up for Fetch Pet Insurance. Luckily they did because Fetch covered half of Frank's medical bills (totaling around $10,000).
“Thank God we had the Fetch Pet Insurance policy, or else that would have been a huge cost, and I don't really know where we would have gotten the money from, so it was very helpful,” Alex says.
Frank took around 8 weeks to recover, which included strict crate time, rehabilitation, hydrotherapy and laser therapy. But 2 weeks into his post-op care, he was itching to run and play again.
Life looks a little different now for Frank (and his home). He has to take things slower and not run as much as he used to — but he’s still happy traveling with his two favorite people. And Janelle and Alex are willing to do anything to ensure he’s safe when they’re back at grandma and grandpa’s house.
“We've boarded up the couch so he won't jump off, and we have ramps now,” Janelle shares. “We changed our entire house layout to accommodate him so we won’t have another episode.”
The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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Photo by Alex and Janelle