Written By: Matthew Sprosty
There’s a sign in my mother’s downstairs restroom that reads: “My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.” There’s few things in life that love us unconditionally like our canine pals. Even children can get persnickety starting at two and going all the way until, well, adulthood, I guess. Treat a dog right, and you have the kind of devotion that lasts a lifetime.
15 years ago, Nancy and Dale Franck adopted an eight week old miniature schnauzer named Sissy. They fell in love with the dog when they went to check out a litter, and one white puppy came up, scratched Dale’s leg, and put her head on his shoulder. “I’d say we didn’t pick her, she picked us,” the man would remark.
Schnauzers have an unusual intelligence and reliability, with a high-spirited temperament. They worked primarily in German yards as ratters— dogs that hunted rats. When first introduced to the United States, they were considered terriers for their penchant for hunting rodents. Nowadays, Schnauzers are excellent personal guards and companions. They have both devotion and bravery, are watchful, courageous, easily trained, and first and foremost— loyal to family.
Perhaps Nancy and Dale didn’t know all of this as they raised Sissy, Dale driving the dog to work in his car. His place of work would just so happen to be next to the hospital where, 11 years after adopting their new family member, Nancy would have to go for surgery after a diagnosis of uterine cancer. Sissy’s mom would say goodbye to her pup and her husband, and go into the hospital for her treatment, not again emerging for over a week.
One night, Sissy had had enough waiting for her owner to return, and went off to find her. At one-thirty in the morning, Dale noticed Sissy missing, and began that desperate search we all have felt at one point or another. The panicky eyes, the sunken stomach, the brain that won’t quit with worst case scenarios, calling out our dog’s names in a desperate plea. Dale knew he just had to find his and his wife’s dog, especially with her in the hospital. After hours of scouring the neighborhood, he called off his search and went home, his voice hoarse from yelling “Sissy!?” from block to block.
As the sun came up on a new day, he received a phone call from security guard, Samantha Conrad. Sissy had been found. Mercy Medical Center security footage of the dog entering the automatic doors show the white-haired tracker entering the building, and looking about, getting so close but not knowing how to navigate the sterile building. Sissy the Schnauzer had found the hospital where Nancy was staying, whether by scent or memorizing the route in the car on the way to Dale’s work for years, nobody knows. Somehow, twenty city blocks was no match for a dog’s loyalty. The only thing that Sissy couldn’t figure out, once inside, were the elevators.
Hospital staff allowed Dale and Nancy’s daughter to sneak the dog into the room for Sissy to get the motherly loving she so desperately craved, for which she had worked so hard. Dale was finally able to breathe and laugh now that his family member had been found, and the
Franck family had a story for the papers.
(This story first reported by ABC News)