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Agnes Varis

Peanuckle and John's Adventure

Dear Frankie's Friends & Trustees of the Dr. Agnes Varis Charitable Trust, My chihuahua, Peaknuckle, a 6 pound bundle of love, was given to me as a gift 10 years ago by two dear friends who had raised him on a sheep farm near Albany, NY (yes, he knew how to herd from the other side of the electric fence). I was on a road trip on my way back home to where I was living in Juneau, Alaska, when I met their little dog. He was my friend Jimmy's favorite, but when Jimmy saw the connection that Peaknukle and I had, he offered him freely.  I had never had my own pet before, and Pea had never, ever been off of the farm.  A little reluctant and terrified as I drove off of the farm, Jimmy and his partner yelled out to me, “be careful of the eagles in Alaska!”

Well, ten years later, now that we live in New York City, I can't imagine a day without Peaknuckle. He survived Alaska, where he chased a bear up a tree, loved to run behind me in my cross-country ski tracks, and where he was a celebrity. He survived a national tour of our one man, one chihuahua, clown show – touring to SF, Minneapolis, Boulder, and New Orleans. He survived a Clowns Without Borders trip to Chiapas, Mexico, bringing his mischievous spirit and inspiring laughter for indigenous peoples who were rebuilding their villages after earthquakes. Peaknuckle even survived all the petting at my Aunt Nancy's independent living complex where he was a regular performer.

Peaknuckle has meant so much to so many people – most of all me.  People tell me that we worry about our pets, “because they are like our children.”  Peaknuckle, always snuggled up to me or tucked into my jacket, is like one of my limbsWhen he was diagnosed with a nasal carcinoma, I wasn't prepared. His mother Sweet Pea, father Peanut and sister Calliopea had all had long and happy lives.  I discovered what it must feel like for the many parents that I see doing “clown rounds” with the Big Apple Circus' Clown Care Unit as a “pediatric clown doctor” for children with life threatening illnesses.

Thank you for your help, both in raising money for cancer research and for the amazing gift from the Zeus Varis Fund.  The care he got at BluePearl was unparallelled and the radiation, not without its side effects, seems to have reduced his tumor considerably and he is breathing much better.  My heart swells with gratitude at the possibility of more adventures with Peaknuckle.

Graciously yours,

John & Peaknuckle