Writing this is painful… but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my long-term partner in crime.

Fran was in to walking with me and the pooches from very early in the Pooch Walk journey. Ice or snow, wind or rain, hail, sandstorms and, of course sun and heat. Regardless, Fran was always there… suitably dressed and ready to roll.

The dogs all loved Fran. On occasion, as opposed to waiting for me to arrive at the dog park she may have been delayed in traffic, leading to me starting the walk on the understanding that she would catch up with us.  However, it was rare that Fran had to hurry up. The dogs would watch the car park waiting for sight of Ron’s truck or, if further away noses were always in the air, waiting for a familiar scent to catch the wind . As soon as she was detected I stood and watched the pack sprint back towards the car park, where they all milled around waiting for some Fran fussage! Once they were satisfied that the meet and greet had been successful they would walk with Fran as they returned to me. The walk could then recommence.

Fran loved the dogs with a passion ! She went from someone who was wary of dogs into someone who didn’t hesitate to grab a cuddle with Luther, a 95 lb Doberman, every time they met. Indeed, most interactions with dogs, crew or otherwise, turned in to a mutual love–fest! Angus, who doesn’t often express affection loved to be in Fran’s company, both outside and inside, where he Iooked forward to unwavering love and reassurance that he is the most handsomest dog in the world!

When the Pooch Walk got busier and numbers increased Fran switched her attention to walking my dogs Angus and Dexter so they didn’t have to travel with me. Very quickly the dogs established a routine where they would gather, watching the front door at a specific time and ignoring all car door noises until they heard Fran exiting her vehicle. Then, for a few moments pandemonium ensued! Following fussage time the dogs would get saddled up and go off to enjoy a romp in our local dog park. Again, the weather wasn’t a concern for Fran … her primary objective was to exercise and tire out Angus and Dexter, get some walking in herself and spend time talking to an increasing number of dog park acquaintances! Indeed, whenever I took my dogs to the park I was always amazed at how many people knew the dog’s names and enquired as to where Fran was. I shouldn’t have been surprised as, over the years I came to realise that Fran had or made acquaintances everywhere!

Interrupted by illness and ongoing debilitating treatment over the last 5 years the walking frequency reduced until physically it became too difficult. However, that didn’t stop Fran (and Ron’s) involvement with the pooches. Angus and now Daisy still got their excitement quotient with regular visits, where they knew that the treats would be flowing. Fran also got to see a number of pooches that she knew from her Pooch Walk jaunts who staycation with me. When they met again the love fest was rekindled in spades, with everyone feeling much better for it!

Fran started walking with me when I had a total of 2 dogs (one being Angus !). She was always supportive, full of encouragement and willing to drop everything to come and help me. Whilst friendly, Fran was fiercely protective of family and ready to challenge anyone who tried to take advantage of a person or dog in her company. For many moons after Fran switched to walking Angus and Dexter the Pooch Walk pooches always kept a hopeful eye out and had to be called back if they thought they saw Ron’s van drive in to the car park as it would mean that Fran was coming! Earlier today, when Ron came to visit, our dogs were pleased to see him. They also spent time looking for Fran and wondering where she was!

Fran is at peace now and free from pain. I will always be grateful for her; for her love, passion, tenacity, bloody–mindedness and support. Her family, and her pooches, all miss her very much!

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