Saturday, November 1, 2008


Most of you have already met Frankie, or at least have heard of him through stories or conversations. Last weekend I took this photo of is one of the few times he actually stood (or sat) still. I really like the photo because it captures the essence of what he is, complete with a background that resembles his heritage (mixed as it is...after all, he did come from the Humane Society shelter).

When David my son and I chose him out of the 30-some dogs at the shelter at that time, we were told he was some "lab mix", which tends to apply to most of the dogs at the shelter. It was over a period of several weeks of internet sleuthing and research we finally came upon his main genetic makeup - he is (mostly) a Rhodesian Ridgeback, also known as an African Lion Hound. They were bred in the late 19th century in southern Africa by colonists, guessed it, hunt lions . The characteristics that convinced us are the coloring (reddish-brown coat, white markings and black snout) and the body shape (he has longer rear legs), but the clincher is a strip of hair on his back (and other places) that is coarser, and will curl in the opposite direction of the rest of his coat. The parts that are definitely NOT Ridgeback are the shorter ears, a curled tail...and odd-colored eyes, one brown and one blue.

Which brings me to his name. Frankie was the name he had at the shelter, and we all thought it would be good to give him something new and appropriate for us. "Frankie" just didn't cut it...we thought. Kristin came up with Argos, who was Odysseus' dog that waited faithfully 20 years for his master's return, when others had given him up...I really liked that one. David came up with Bowie, after the rock singer with one blue eye. It was on a drive home while I was listening to music by Frank Sinatra, and the announcer made a comment about "old blue eyes"...and I thought, of course! Frankie = ol' blue eye (singular)...and the name stuck.

By the way, lest anyone think that his genetic make-up, particularly the part about hunting lions, contributes to any sense of bravery in Frankie...forget it. He is a very gentle dog that scares easy, especially around the 4th of July.

As for the photo, it was taken while hiking at Rowena Crest, at the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, east of The Dalles, Oregon. It's about an hour's drive east of Portland.

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