The Stetson man felt responsible for Frankie being gone, and I was a mess of emotions. The three of us searched the neighborhood, and after several hours with no luck the very married Stetson man needed to get home. My friend and I continued the search well into the dark hours of the evening. We put up fliers; we called out his name; we asked people if they had seen him. But still no luck. The Stetson man felt horrible, and he phoned many times that evening to follow our progress. The next morning he called and said that we needed to replace all our Frankie posters with ones that offer a reward—my boyfriend was going to give $1,000 for Frankie’s safe return. And so we printed up new posters and went back out into the neighborhood to replace the old ones. I noticed what looked like the Stetson man’s little sports car slowly driving around a few blocks over, searching for Frankie, too. After replacing all the posters and several more hours of fruitless searching and calling out for Frankie, my friend and I returned to my house.
The Stetson man was in his car, stopping each time he saw someone to ask if they had seen Frankie. He passed by a homeowner in his driveway, and the Stetson man asked about Frankie. The gentleman said, “You mean Coach?” Frankie had been wearing a Coach leather collar the afternoon he had escaped. The gentleman went inside to retrieve Frankie. We learned later that the gentleman and his wife had found my dog running down the street, and they had picked him up and taken him home where his wife wanted to keep him. The Stetson man gave the gentleman the $1,000 reward when he had Frankie back in his arms.
Meanwhile, my friend and I were at my home thinking that someone had probably picked Frankie up to keep as his or her new pet. I was sitting in my office looking out the window when I saw the Stetson man’s little sports car pull into the driveway. I figured he was thinking the same thing, and that was why he had given up his search, but then he opened the garage door that led into my house, and I could not believe my eyes. The Stetson man, grinning hugely, was carrying Frankie. And I swear Frankie was smiling, too. In that moment, I fell further in love with the Stetson man. He told us about how he had found Frankie, and I thanked him for giving the neighbor the reward money, especially since the neighbor had not even seen the poster.
That year, Frankie received an Easter basket from those nice people. And soon after Frankie’s return, the Stetson man decided that Frankie should have another dog for company. Both Frankie and his sister, Sue, sleep in our bed at night, one near the Stetson man’s feet, and the other near mine.