Quirky, compulsive, lovable - and oh, those eyes - Frank climbed his way into Ann Weaver's heart.
- Story by Denise Jacobs, photos by Ann Weaver
For Heidi, it was love at first sight. She adored Frank right from the start. Penny noticed Heidi’s attraction and hoped the street dog might have found his forever home.
Weaver was unconvinced. “Taking him in seemed overwhelming,” she says. Still, she couldn’t quite forget about the street urchin.
By the time Weaver decided she would take Frank into her home, it was too late. Frank had been adopted by a first-time dog owner in her 70s. But being just a year and half old and 40 pounds, Frank proved to be too much for his senior rescuer. He was, as Weaver puts it, “high maintenance.”
Frank was returned to foster care again at Penny’s Pampered Pets in 2008. This time around, Weaver was ready and willing to open her heart to the cocker with the big blue eyes. Frank had found his forever home.
From the beginning, Frank was “food insecure,” probably from living on the street without a family for the first year of his life. Regardless of how well Weaver fed Frank, he would still occasionally climb on the dining room table and even, on occasion, the kitchen counters. Weaver learned to keep crumbs at bay.
“I exercised him a lot,” she remembers, “because he would eat all day every day if I would have let him.”
Frank was also obsessed with tennis balls. A chaser of anything that moved, rabbits and squirrels above all, Frank would chase a ball until he couldn’t run anymore. If he couldn’t coerce a human to toss him a ball, Frank would gently nurse a fuzzy tennis ball, chewing it and whimpering all the while. Weaver speculates that Frank may have been separated from his mother too early.
At home in Bay St. Louis, Frank shadowed Heidi. As she aged and went blind a few years after his arrival, following Heidi around the house became a full-time occupation. Later, Frank companioned Heidi through the loss of her hearing and the onset of dementia. When Heidi died, Weaver didn’t have to grieve alone; Frank was right there beside her.
Frank’s passing came more abruptly than Heidi’s, and his obsession with food factored in. One night he helped himself to an unopened box of dry, unsweetened cocoa powder that Weaver had left on the dining room table as part of a science kit. She planned to use the cocoa the next day at work to demonstrate how dirt interacts with water.
Frank consumed the entire box of cocoa powder and died of toxic food poisoning. Weaver hadn’t even thought of the cocoa as food - just part of a science experience - otherwise, she would not have left it on the table.
Frank was a senior himself at the time, after enjoying ten years of a lush life and lavish care by Ann. Nevertheless, Weaver remembers it taking many months to come to terms with the loss of Frank. Things that helped were allowing herself to feel the grief, to reminisce over pictures, and to talk about Frank - a lot - to her friends. Her advice for surviving the loss of a pet?
“Don’t go home to an empty house,” Weaver says.
At the time of Frank’s death, Weaver was lucky enough to be fostering four-year-old Willie, another cocker—a “sweetheart of a dog.”
“All my dogs in heaven must have looked down on me with compassion and decided to send me a really well-behaved and healthy dog,” Weaver says of Willie.
Why does Weaver gravitate toward cockers? The energetic dogs are a good fit for Weaver’s active lifestyle.
“I can play with them,” she says. “Cockers are always up for something, like if I pulled out a leash right now, even though we’ve already been out, Willie would jump at the chance to go again.”
“And they’re always happy - their tails wag constantly. They always crack me up!”
If Weaver is such a fan of Cockers, why doesn't she buy one from a breeder?
"I prefer to adopt," she said. "There are so many dogs that need homes, and although they come with their challenges, fosters are so unique and great companions!"
Hancock County Adoptables
The dogs below are available at the Hancock County Animal Shelter as of June 12, 2019. Call the shelter at (228) 466-4516 for availability.
BUZZ has the "head tilt" down pat, doesn't he?! This adorable 8-month-old Labrador Retreiver mix puppy is innately sweet, craves attention and affection, and despite being a baby among mostly adult dogs, he is incredibly confident and upbeat. He loves going for walks and looks forward every day to playing in our exercise yard. We find that he does best when walked using a harness. Buzz would be an awesome addition to any family large or small, or fill the role of BFF for a single person/couple or active retirees looking for a fun-loving buddy to share adventures. This little guy will likely require both house and crate training, but the rewards of the love and companionship this fella will bring you, are worth the responsibilities of puppy training. We hope you'll consider giving Buzz his forever home... he promises to love you "to infinity and beyond!"
Buzz's adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. An approved adoption application always applies.
CAP has taken little Colette under his paw; they share a kennel and since doing so, she has blossomed and is no longer a fearful, trembling pup. Despite his stature, Cap is very gentle with small dogs and kiddos.
Cap is an affable, goofy, sweet-as-pie 4-yr-old Hound dog, who if he could, would likely sing a song about the woods, squirrels, and "the one that got away!" He is most definitely a country boy! He is quite content to hang out with his many doggie pals at the shelter, romp around our play yard, and follow our kennel techs around as they clean. He will pick up toys and carry them around, and then "zoom-zoom" around the courtyard, amusing himself. Cap is likely not house or crate trained, but he walks fairly well on a leash/harness. He truly loves people, and he is quite gentle with children.
While he is happy here at the shelter, he deserves to have a home and family of his own. He would do best in a home with a (privacy) fenced yard or with lots of acreage to explore. This agile boy can climb a 4-ft chain-link fence with ease. Cap would love to join active kiddos in their outdoor adventures, so please consider adding him to your family.
Cap's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies.
SIX MONTHS AND COUNTING...
That is how long beautiful, sweet DOTTIE has been hoping for her "second chance" family to come her way. Why doesn't anyone want her? We just can't figure it out. She is one of the sweetest, easiest, most loving dogs to come through the shelter. PLEASE come meet our sweet Dottie soon!
She came to us as a stray, so although we don't know much about this beautiful girl's past, her body gives us a few clues. Motherhood is behind her now, and we hope her future will be one of love and family. This 4-yr-old Pointer/Hound mix has a gentle nature and a sweet spirit about her. Dottie just wants to be loved, and she seeks out the affection of our staff and volunteers.
We think her "dots and spots" are unique and beautiful, and so is her personality. She is friendly with other dogs and seems oblivious to our shelter kitties. Her calm nature would make her an ideal companion for active retirees, a single person/couple, or even a family with children. She is just that well-socialized and trustworthy.
We do not know, however, if Dottie is house trained or crate trained, but she does keep her kennel clean and "goes potty" as soon as we take her outside. She looks forward to going for walks with our volunteers, who equally look forward to hanging out with her. She is pure joy and happiness! Please consider adding this mature, curvaceous gal to your family. She has so much love to give her forever family!
Dottie's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, spaying, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Dottie is heartworm positive, but she is currently on a heartworm preventaive and doing great. An approved adoption application always applies.
This handsome boy is MATT, a 2 yr old Treeing Walking Hound, with a stellar personality who never meets a stranger. He can often be found lending a paw to our kennel techs as they clean kennels and make their rounds. He has many doggie pals here at the shelter, and he loves to play with kiddos of all ages. Matt would love to join an active family or single person/couple, seeking a fun-loving canine partner and friend. Matt walks well on a leash/harness, and although he keeps his kennel clean, we are unsure yet if he is 100% house or crate trained. This sweet boy exudes all of the wonderful qualities for which the Hound Group is known and beloved... except for the trademark "hound dog" barking. Matt is kind of quiet and prefers the company of people to raising a ruckus. If you've never had the good fortune to share your life with a hound, well, here's your chance! ?
Matt's adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Matt is heartworm negative. An approved adoption application always applies.
ZESTA is as sweet as she is lovely! This 1-year-old Calico loves to be rubbed behind her ears and settle into the first available lap for cuddles. She has very discerning tastes, which includes listening to country music, dining on yummy fish dinners, and relaxing on a comfy bed (when not in your lap). Zesta would be a welcome addition to any family large or small. She is great with other friendly cats, too. She is litter box trained and utilizes a scratching post. Go meet this beautiful, gentle cat, and you're sure to fall in love.
Zesta's adoption fee is $30, which includes worming, spaying, vaccinations, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. An approved adoption application always applies.
SEAL loves people, and can't get enough of his BFF here at the shelter... our dedicated volunteer Nancy Dahlgren, who volunteers her time working with our doggies. She is especially fond of this sweet 2-year-old Labrador Retriever mix with lovely light green eyes and reddish-blond fur.
While Seal is friendly with the other dogs in his living area, he can be dog selective when choosing new pals. So, we recommend a meet-and-greet at the shelter with existing family dogs, if he is to join a home with multiple pets. He is great with older children, and would also be a fun companion for a single person/couple, or active retirees.
He enjoys being outdoors, so a home with a fenced yard and daily walks are a must. Seal is very affectionate and will reward your attention with lots of kisses. We are unsure yet if he is house or crate trained, but he does keep his kennel clean. Please give this fella the chance to show you the same love and affection with which he showers our staff and volunteers.
Seal's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, neutering, vaccinations, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies.
This happy, loving boy is LANE, a 3 yr old American Pit Bull Terrier mix, who is not only handsome, but very charming as well. He gives great hugs and kisses, and never meets a stranger. He a pretty calm fella with other dogs, and makes friends easily. He is a super friendly and loving boy! Lane came into the shelter in very good physical condition and is very well-socialized, so we feel he was part of a family very recently. He walks well on a leash and never seems in a hurry. Lane is a very content and obedient dog, and is best described as having a medium energy level. He sits for treats, and seems eager to please, so it may a great bonding activity to continue Lane's learning of new commands. If you've been seeking a buddy for companionship and to share in your adventures, then Lane is your dog. He would also be a great choice to join a family with children of any age because he dotes on even the smallest of kiddos. We hope you'll stop by and meet this terrific boy.
Lane's adoption fee is $37.50 ("Lonely Heart"), which includes worming, neutering, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating veterinarians. Heartworm status is unknown. An approved adoption application always applies.
PRINCESS is a lovely one-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix, who possesses a gentle spirit and sweet nature. She is very quiet and would rather impress you with her good manners than with "showy" barking and silly antics. Instead, our Princess is quite regal, as her name implies, but very warm and appreciative of affection. Our techs are observing her kennel habits in hopes of determining if she may be house trained; thus far, she has kept her kennel very clean. She behaves cooperatively in her kennel and walks cautiously on a leash/harness, but she does not pull.
Princess is great with other friendly dogs, and enjoys the company of calm-natured children. We are unsure yet how she feels about cats. As soon as we know more about this sweet girl, we will update her profile. But, in the meantime, please stop by and meet her. She may be the perfect addition to your family, whether it be a single person/couple, active retirees, or a family with children.
Princess's adoption fee is $75, which includes worming, spaying, vaccines, microchip, and a free vet check with one of our participating. Princess is heartworm negative. An approved adoption application always applies.