January 3, 2013


I came downstairs from putting the kids to bed like I always do, and Frank wasn't home. Neither were the dogs.

 Oh, how nice, he must be taking them for a walk.

 I call my mom and Skype for almost an hour. Hmm. No Frank still. "Where R U" I text message.

My phone rings. It's Frank. "Something f'd up just happened."

Terrible thoughts run though my head. Car Accident?

"Maple fell in the river, and I had to jump in to get her out."

Mind you, it is 34 degrees out, pitch dark out and snow just melted recently, so the waters are high.

"Are you okay? Is she alive?"

"Barely. I don't know. Get some warm blankets quick." Click.

Blankets, Dryer, Clothes for Frank, turn on shower,  radiators on 5, bed for Maple. Check. Waiting...

Both come in soaked to the core. I wrap Maple in a blanket. Frank starts shivering uncontrollably. He can't undo his clothes. I pull them all off and he hops in the shower moaning. Maple is barely hanging on.

Let me digress. Maple is seriously the best dog in the whole wide world ever. Frank found her in the Red River Gorge when she was 6 months old, a stray, abandoned and in bad shape. Bee bee bullet in her chest, matted fur, starving. He rescued her and she decided to please and be loyal from that day on. Maple is a 65 pound beautiful Belgian Sheepdog mix. Groenendael to be specific. She doesn't take criticism well, and wants nothing more than to please. Beautiful and royal. "A queen" my mom says with "dignified and regal". Unfortunately, she is old. Real old. 15. She tore her ACL in Garmisch 3 years ago and we replaced it. A year later, she messed up her other knee really bad. Surgery would cost $10,000. We passed. She hurt it again 6 months ago. Our vet here in Germany said we could fix the leg, but it won't fix her hips or back that are also in really bad shape. She can barely get up at this point and we have to keep her in a room full of rubber mats when we leave for work. She is on some heavy duty pain killers. She keeps trekking though. Many would probably already have put her down. We can't. I don't think she is ready. She doesn't complain and she still wags and seems happy. And I just can't bare to think of bringing her to be put down. I know it will be soon though. We're spoiling her as much as possible. Ham. Cheese. Bones.

She is grunting heavily, shivering uncontrollably. We rub her with dry towels and cover her in warm heavy blankets straight from the dryer. She is calming down. She is not chattering so much. I google everything I can about dogs drowning. We talk to a vet friend back in the states. We're doing what we should. Get her dry and warm fast.

Frank said he took the dogs back to Gmund for a walk on the old trails we used to take the dogs a few years ago. Maple was getting a drink. Her legs failed, she flailed. It was shallow, but a current swept her away. Frank thought she'd be okay and could get out. It was too muddy and the current too strong. It swept her quickly away. She stopped moving, he jumped in. He went under. The water was deep and moving fast.

He carried her out, stiff as a board, not breathing. He pumped her chest and out poured the water. She came back. He ran her back to the truck moaning. 1/4 mile. They made it home. Safe. Wet. Cold. Freezing. Adrenaline rushing.

 At midnight, several beers later, we finally call it a night and make sure she is warm and comfortable and good for the night.

Hoping for the best in the morning. Then off to the vet for meds and a check up. One tough dog and one tough dad. One thankful mom.

UPDATE: 4 Jan. I took Maple to the vet and she is on an antiobotic. She is super tired, not eating well, but doing okay. Hoping she improves as she gets rest.


  1. Just simply tearfully thankful here. I was terrified when you called, Mandy. Your voice had such fear and helplessness. But love perserveres. You are a team. Maple is part of your amazing team. That Frankie has a HUGE heart and the strength to match. Thank God for electric driers!!!

  2. So sad to read this Mandy! I hope she does recover, she is such a good dog.

  3. Sending healing wishes for a speedy recovery. Though I have to say I am NOT surprised to hear that Frank jumped in after her.

  4. Wow, what a story!! Sorry to hear about Maple, hoping for a good recovery. Glad I refound your blog, catching up a little and makes me realize how much I miss you guys. You are the sweetest and I can hear your voice as I read your words. I am glad to hear that it seems life is good in Germany overall :) We look forward to catching up over a few beers when you ever come back! :) xox


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