Friday, 3 October 2014

Frankie goes home - the true story of a lucky dog.

As many of you already know Terry (my husband) is a freelance photographer.  He is usually out and about photographing sporting events or fetes but a few weeks ago he was asked to cover something completely different.  This is the headline that subsequently appeared in the press

A runaway dog has been dubbed a real-life 'Littlest Hobo' after covering an epic 120 miles across five counties during two months on the run. 

and this is the story, with thanks to Terry Fisher for the photograph and to the Western Daily Press & Western Gazette for the words.

Rescue dog Frankie slipped his lead on his very first walk with his new owner James Brooks, 56, who posted an appeal on a lost dog website.

Over the following weeks the Labrador-cross was spotted in 14 towns and villages across Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, West Berkshire, Somerset and Dorset.

The three-year-old was finally captured after taking refuge in a cowshed after being bitten by a badger. Bedraggled Frankie was battered, bruised and emaciated following his adventure but is now on the road to recovery after being reunited with James.

His epic tale mirrors the popular Littlest Hobo TV series of the 1960s, 70s and 80s where stray Hobo the German Shepherd travelled from town to town despite attempts to adopt him.

Mr Brooks said: "We were only able to track him down thanks to talking to people to spread the word, people phoning me and messages on the website."He crossed five counties during his time away. He has certainly got a great story to tell, if only he could talk."He was in pretty bad shape when we got the call from the vets to say they thought they had our dog, but it certainly shows he is a strong one.

"I don't think there is any doubt that he will be able to enjoy long walks."

Mr Brooks, his wife Emma and daughter Becky, 16, adopted Frankie from a rescue home in Derby, on June 27, as a companion for their black Labrador Jay. But when Mr Brooks tried to introduce the two pets, Frankie – who had anxiety issues – slipped his lead and darted into a field near their home in Stanford in the Vale, in the Cotswolds.

The family spotted him in nearby villages over the following days but were unable to catch the frightened dog, and posted an appeal on www.doglost.co.uk. Sightings immediately flooded in from Wicklesham, Faringdon, Longcot and Woolstone in Oxfordshire, before a horse rider spotted him in Upper Lambourn in West Berkshire.

The daring pet – which has distinctive horizontal ears – was next spotted by builders in Baydon, Wiltshire, who fed him sandwiches. He crossed main roads and farms until he was seen in Lambourn, West Berkshire, rifling through a skip in mid-July.

Miraculously the Labrador-German shepherd cross even returned home at the end of the month, but ran off before baffled Mr Brooks was able to catch him. "I was sitting in the garden and I heard the metal gate rattle," said Mr Brooks. "I went to look and I couldn't believe it – there he was running off. "We even cooked sausages in the garden to see if we could tempt him back."

The trail went cold for three weeks before, incredibly, a report came in from Bruton, Somerset, to say a very skinny Frankie has been spotted on August 14. Five days later a dairy farmer found him cowering in a shed in nearby Sherborne, Dorset, and took him to a vet, who diagnosed Frankie with blood poisoning after a badger or fox bite to the cheek.

Staff at Kingston Veterinary Group nursed him back to health – thanks to donations from local animal lovers – and were able to track down Mr Brooks through the lost dog website.

The family took him home last Thursday and he settled in immediately "We are taking him for longer and longer walks and he is putting on much-needed weight. Of course, we have now had him chipped."


I'm so pleased the story had a happy ending – how different it could have been.  Thinking about Frankie and dogs in general inspired me to share a few pretty book covers with you. I hope you enjoy looking at them.



We've been enjoying some beautiful autumn days in the UK but on the other side of the world, it’s the beginning of spring.

Here are two spring time photographs of our gorgeous granddaughters enjoy the sunshine. They are just getting over a nasty bout of flu so it’s nice to see them looking so well.

Zoe Rose

Lilly Grace 

Photograph's courtesy of our daughter in law Karen Fisher, you can see more of her work at; Family Tree Photography

Have a wonderful weekend, thank you for your visit. 

33 comments:

  1. Man, that dog has some tales to tell. 5 counties! Glad to hear he is home now, and enjoying his walks. This must be quite an unusual story Terry had to cover. I've enjoyed the doggie book covers as well, especially Dogs of Myth. There's something strong and bold about that husky's face. Good to know your grand daughters are recovering well from their flu. They look so pretty!

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    1. Thank you Claudine, we were really worried about the girls, but I’m happy to say they are all on the mend now.
      I love the look of Frankie. Something tells me it might not be the end of his wanderings. He just has that look in his eyes.
      Thanks for your visit, Barbara x

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  2. That's really a lovely story....
    Which reminds me...of....The Incredible Journey..
    by Sheila Burnford..Made into a film by Disney,
    back in 1963...I had watch this film 100's times,
    yes 100's, with my daughter, used to have it on
    the old Betamax. Yet! I've only seen the ending..
    Once! Yes! Once! When l first saw it at the cinema.
    It's a happy ending, l know, but, such a tear jerker!
    If anyone has time, check it out...Must be the 1963,
    version...Not, the silly follow up...!
    I should think it's on line....U~Tube..etc...
    "You will need tissues".

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    1. Hello Willie,
      I love the incredible journey, but I’ve never seen the film.
      I read the book back when it was first published (in the 60s I think),
      I was a teenager at the time, and I can remember being absolutely inconsolable. My dad got quite cross with me and told me to throw the b****** thing in the bin, but of course I didn’t. He read it after me and also shed a tear or two.
      What with that a Black Beauty my teenage years were pretty upsetting!
      I managed to find a copy of the original book a few months ago, and it’s now on the shelf waiting to be re-read, but I must also look for the film. I’m sure I would enjoy it.
      Thanks for calling in, Barbara.

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  3. Barbara, this is one lovely and touching story!!! Frankie's ears are FUNNY! But what an interesting dog - he is a ramblin' dog! What would we do without nature, without pets? Surely many a charming book would not have been written. Great selection of vintage books done with the love for nature. Good morning my friend! Anita

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    1. Good morning Anita,
      I agree with you about his ears, funny but cute. I don’t think Frankie will stay in one place for long. He looks like the kind of dog that just yearns for adventure. I hope he stays safe from now on.
      Thank you for your sweet comments Anita, I always look forward to your visits. Barbara xx

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  4. Hi Barbara, great dog story and wonderful photograph. It's amazing the stories you read about dogs and cats travels and survival. I love the choice of picture books to go with this story.
    And your little grands are just beautiful!

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    1. Hi Alex, I wish I was I had the skill to write a story about Frankie. Just think what he must have seen and done during all those weeks, there is definitely a story waiting to be told.
      We are very proud of our little granddaughters.
      Have a good weekend, Barbara.

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  5. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful story. The stuff novels and films are made of.

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    1. Hi Tracy, Frankie’s story would make a brilliant film, only one problem someone has to write it. I really hope someone does. Thanks for calling in, Barbara.

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  6. What an extraordinary dog Frankie is ! And such a cutey too. Thank goodness he made it through his little adventure.

    Jean

    x

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    1. I’m with you on that Jean. I'm so glad that farmer found him and took him to a vet.
      Enjoy the weekend, Barbara. x

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  7. Everyone loves a good dog story, especially when there is a happy ending! Your granddaughters are adorable! Have a lovely weekend!

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  8. What a wonderful dog story. They are so resilient aren't they? The grandchildren are adorable, like little angels. Have a lovely fall weekend.

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  9. What a wonderful story! I am so glad this adorable dog was reunited with his family. He had quite the adventure that is for sure. Your husband did an excellent job on the photo!

    The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn't is new to me and it looks fabulous.

    Your granddaughters are just beautiful. :)

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    1. Hello Stephanie, I’m sure Frankie has some stories to tell, but I hope he stays at home for a while now.
      Thank you for your kind words about Zoe and Lilly. We think they are beautiful too – but then we would! xx

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  10. What a heartwarming story!! I'm glad they were reunited. And what beautiful grandkids you have!!

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    1. I do love a happy ending, so thank goodness Frankie was OK. Thanks for calling in and saying nice things about our granddaughters. :-)

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  11. Such beautiful granddaughters! :)

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    1. Thank you Nikki-ann, we think so, but then we are pound grandparents! Have a lovely week.

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  12. What an incredible story Barbara! I am so glad that the dog found his home at last. He is such a handsome looking dog.
    Love the selection of books you have listed about doggie stories, wonderful illustrations. Especially Stein the retriever running with a toy reminds me of my motherinlaw's beagle. He tends to snatch shoes or anything he can find if he wants attention��
    Your grand daughters are lovely.

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    1. Hello Shashi, welcome home! We used to have a beagle called Kelly. I didn’t realise just how mischievous they could be until Kelly came to live with us. His favourite thing was to sneak up on me when I was cleaning, grab the duster and run away. It was an excellent way to get my attention and a game always ensued. The trouble was he would also chase things when we were out walking and a couple of times we lost him for several hours. Very frightening especially when there were roads near by. He always found his way back though and lived to a good age. Thanks for coming over, Barbara.

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  14. When I heard that story, I thought it would make a good children's book. It already is! I also thought of those credit card commercials from a decade or so ago...they chronicled a dog getting lost and finding his way back home through hitchhiking. It was one of those "priceless" commercials.

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    1. Hi Stephanie, I have to say I’ve wondered about where Frankie was headed. Did he have a plan? Was he trying to find a previous owner? I don’t suppose we will ever know, but it is intriguing.

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  15. Loved reading this story. Amazing!

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  16. Great dog story, what a sweet dog. Too bad he was bitten by a badger. Rescues make THE best pets!

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    1. Hello Linda, I hated reading the part about the badger thank goodness the farmer found him and took him to a vet. Maybe it will be enough to stop him roaming, which can only be a good thing – can’t it? Happy Sunday, Barbara.

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  17. So glad this had a happy ending!

    When my dad was a kid he had a White Spitz, which he had to leave with his grandparents when he moved away from the farm. That dog showed up at their new house in Houston, which was something like 280 miles away. How did that dog survive crossing through Dallas? How did he even know where to find them?

    Animals really are amazing. Truly.

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    1. Hi Kristin, thank you so much for calling in and commenting on my posts, it’s always such a pleasure to make new blogging friends.
      I was very pleased for the happy ending too.
      Dogs really are incredible there is so much we don’t understand about them, their homing instincts for a start! I do keep wondering if Frankie was trying to find his way back somewhere, but when I think that it makes me sad, so I prefer to imagine him happy with his new family. Barbara

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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