The other love of my life


Middle age is a funny thing.  I mean, I’ve just now realized that that’s where I am in the timeline of Frank.  Middle.  Maybe there’s just as much ahead of me as behind me… maybe not.  But it’s the middle.  The middle.

I’ve loved many things in my journey to the middle.  No point in making a list.  It contains the usual things.  If you read my strip then you’re already familiar with the “love” list: Lezley, Lauren, Bob, my family (both non-furry and furry) and then there’s Lucy.

Yesterday I had to take Lucy to the vet.  She’s been having an issue with her inside nail on her left paw.  I’d taken her there a few weeks back because of this and the techs managed to get the nail off.  They had to sedate her to do it.  It was the worst feeling ever.  They allowed me to sit with her as she went under.  Feeling her body fall limp made me think of things I didn’t want to think about… like that day in the future when she doesn’t wake up.  It was horrible.  As they took her away I descended first into basket-case, then into straight crying.  I knew logically she was going to be fine… maybe a little sore and groggy… but fine.

Lucy is a dog like no other.  I’ve had her since 2007… and did a comic about it.  The vet said then she was about 3 years old.  She’s been nothing but a pain in the ass.  She doesn’t listen, she’s mean, she’s loud. she has a tendency to run away… and I would move Heaven and earth for her.  She’s destroyed our doors, our window blinds, our window screens… and yet, when that warm little 15lb. body curls up next to me, it’s okay.  It’s just okay.

I thought as she got up in years that she would chill out a bit.  Nah.  Now, when she (and myself) were younger, I did hope she’d calm down.  Now, I relish her insanity.

So yesterday we had to go back to the vet.  The nail that was removed a few weeks back began to grow in funny.  Her toe was still swollen.  She has a high tolerance for pain, so if it did hurt her you’d never know.

I thought they’d only give her a antibiotic shot and we’d be on our way.  That’s what I thought…but no.  The vet didn’t like what the nail looked like so it had to come out.  It bled… a lot.  I didn’t see this of course, but I got the report.

I felt sick.  No one wants their dog to bleed.

Lucy was Lucy… she wouldn’t let the techs wrap her foot.  So, they had to sedate her… again.

I felt sick.  Again.

The rest of the night I made sure Lucy was as comfortable as possible.  The sedation and subsequent wake-up juice leave her groggy… not to mention that collar.  I love this dog… this pain-in-the-ass little dog.

She’s fine.  She’s more than fine.  Like me she’s got more years ahead of her.

The middle is an interesting place to be.

Categories: dog process


The 12 Year Old Squirrel

I debated if I should write something about Bob the Squirrel turning 12.  It wasn’t that much of a debate really…it was just me talking to myself.

Which is essentially how I create Bob the Squirrel.

In squirrel years, a 12 year old squirrel would have already been dead for 7-9 years.

Did I ever tell you about the time that this squirrel saved my life?  I may have alluded to it, but I don’t think I ever went into detail.

It was 2007.  I was having a lot of problems.  I was confused.  I was miserable and just assumed that I would always be miserable.  I was in a marriage I was too much of a chicken to say I didn’t want.  I was at a crossroads with the strip, then a very young 5 years old.  Lots of other things were not going my way.

I was confused.

I felt trapped.

I didn’t let anyone know how deep in the hole I was.  Why?  For the same reason why I never told my mother about how bad I was bullied in junior high school.  Back then I’d repeat to myself, “Just take the hits Frank, you’ll get through it.  They can’t possibly keep hitting you forever, right?”

Fighting back is impossible when the bully and the bullied are both you.

In all the years of being bullied in school, thoughts of suicide were always just out of my realm.  I never considered it then, but I knew it was an option.

This time, there was consideration.

Suicide is selfish. One of the most selfish things one human could do to those that love them.

Well, I was there.  I was a coward.  I wanted out. I wanted out the easy and quick way.

Looking back on this now, it truly disgusts me that I let myself get that far.  That being said, I am not ashamed to talk about this.  Not. At. All.

I wasn’t going to say anything to anyone, I was just going to go.  Again, I didn’t tell anyone how bad I was…but, I’m sure my demeanor at the time (around May 2007) was decidedly dark.

Just as I was ready to go, I had one last thought: How would I update the strip?

I’d read accounts of people being on the verge of suicide only to be pulled back by something small and simple. Prior to my experience, I thought those stories were made-up, trite bull.


But completely true.

My entire world was falling apart under my own gravity and my thought was: “How am I going to update the strip?”  My life wouldn’t be the only one I’d be ending.  If I was going, so was Bob.

A talking, wise-ass, cartoon squirrel saved my life.


That’s not to say that once this realization hit me it went from prunes to plums for me. I still had a ton of personal things to work out.  A few days after the realization, I made the decision to walk away from  the marriage and life I’d built.

Bob the Squirrel, July 31, 2007

Bob the Squirrel, July 31, 2007

The only things I took with me from that life were my clothes, computer, drawing board and Bob.  I may have hurt a lot of people by doing this, but staying wouldn’t have worked either.

Bob the Squirrel, August 7, 2007

Bob the Squirrel, August 7, 2007

It’s not easy to start all over.  Trust me.

I made the decision to deal with starting over in the strip itself.  Drawing it all out was better for me than any intensive therapy ever could be. Sharing it with my readers was even more of a help. No one knew that I was contemplating ending it all, only that I was ending my marriage.  I got many wonderful emails from fans willing to extend their virtual shoulders to me to cry on.  All because of a squirrel.

Since then, I’ve bought a house:

Bob the Squirrel, June 9, 2008

Bob the Squirrel, June 9, 2008

got my Master’s degree:

Bob the Squirrel, August 9, 2010.

Bob the Squirrel, August 9, 2010.

and added years to both my life and Bob’s.  I’ve found the love of the most beautiful woman in the world (soon to be my wife):

Bob the Squirrel, December 24, 2013

Bob the Squirrel, December 24, 2013

the joy of owning the craziest and most insane dog in the world:

Bob the Squirrel, September 20, 2008

Bob the Squirrel, September 20, 2008

and a wonderful daughter:10150340298761493

things I never would have had if Bob wasn’t there to talk me off that ledge.

So, as Bob the Squirrel spends his last year as a pre-teen, I look forward to all the other future things he’s afforded me.

Happy Birthday dude.

And thanks.

Categories: announcements art dog



1 Comment

sketched on a lazy sunday morning… lucy the jack russell terrier was having an unusual quiet moment… and i thought i would capture it before all hell broke loose… which it did shortly after.

Categories: dog sketchbook