Our old dog

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It’s not fair to write about a dying dog. Just those last two words are enough. Automatic tears. So I understand if you stop here. But I need to say a few words about our old dog Fred. It’s not all sad. Not even mostly. I’ve been meaning to write this for months, with the idea that you should celebrate the things you love while they’re still around. It turns out I need to do it now. Not that it matters to Fred — I’m pretty sure he can’t read this, although he has fooled us on many things over the years. Just in case he can: Good boy. Such a good boy.

Let’s do the sad part first. Fred has a big tumor on his liver. It’s most likely one of two cancers, both malignant. He might have a few weeks, might not have tomorrow. They could do surgery but the specialist we saw couldn’t promise they could get the whole tumor, much less whatever else might be in there. He’s got a bunch of other problems. The arthritis in his hips is so bad that our neighbor calls him the Little Soldier because he sort of goosesteps down the street. Sometimes he pants through the night. He has random seizures no treatment has been able to fix. He’s pretty much deaf. Most of all, he’s 14 – ancient for a yellow Lab mix. The surgery would be hard on him. And even if it works, the specialist said, he’s not likely to make it to 15.

So we are going to let things be.

End of the sad part.

He just showed up in our lives one morning. It was early November 2001, just when it starts to get cold around here. It was a couple months after 9/11 and we were all walking around with holes in our lives. At the time we lived in a house with a long driveway. I went out to get the paper and there was a white ball wriggling at the end of the drive. The closer I got, the faster he wagged. I looked at him. No collar. I looked around. No people. He followed me back to the house.

I picked him up and took him in the bedroom, where my wife, Alix Felsing, was sleeping. Alix! I whispered. Look! At the time we had a tabby cat, and without her glasses, Alix thought I was holding the cat. She put her glasses on and noticed a couple of things I didn’t – the puppy was bloated from worms and crawling with fleas. That’s nice, honey, she said. Let’s take him outside.

Our yard didn’t have a fence. So we took him across the street to our neighbors Bill and Susie. We put him in their yard while we figured out what to do. I walked back to the house and about halfway up the drive I looked back. The puppy was right on our heels. He had squeezed through the gate to follow us.

We had a dog.

We went back and forth on names for a while. I wanted to call him Herschel, after my favorite football player, the great Herschel Walker. Alix, for some reason, was not especially fond of this. Eventually we settled on Fred. Fred’s a solid guy. Fred’s your buddy.

We took him to puppy training a couple of times, but the main thing he learned was that people have treats in their pockets. When we first started to walk him on a leash, he’d turn around every 20 feet and beg for a snack. When he wasn’t begging, he was sniffing. He’s got some hunting dog in him — besides the Lab part, we think he’s part German shorthaired pointer, because of his thin back end and the tan speckles on his cream coat. (He has one big spot in the middle of his forehead, like an Indian bindi dot.) He also used to go on point sometimes when he was a young dog, although we could never figure out what he was pointing at. Whatever’s in there, he’s a scent hound to the core, plowing his snout into bushes and down holes, checking out the crotches of every creature he meets. This was not so charming when we had company.

We kept him in the garage while we made arrangements to build a fence. You might have heard that young Labs chew. Fred basically ate our garage. He chewed the drywall. He chewed the attachments to our Shop-Vac. We kept a plumber’s snake in a 5-gallon bucket. One day we came home and found the top half of the bucket chewed off, the snake sprawled on the floor, Fred dancing in the garage with glee. He ate about as much plastic as he did dog food in those days. His favorite snack was poop from the Canada geese who hung out at our little pond. He snapped up the turds like Tootsie Rolls. We’d steer him away from the droppings but he’d always find one we missed. Never once got sick.

Years later, when we were renovating our bathroom, we took our shampoo and toothpaste and stuff and put it in a box. Fred got into the box and ate a bar of soap. We Googled “dog ate bar of soap,” and the Internet told us everything from “he’ll be fine” to “OH GOD HE’S GONNA DIE.” We were getting ready for church. Instead we ran him to the closest vet we could find that was open on a Sunday morning. We waited an hour and a half. It turned out he was fine. The vet said that sometimes, dogs that eat soap end up farting bubbles. We had our cameras ready for hours. Nothing. After all that trouble, we thought we deserved at least a fart bubble out of it.

Those geese at the old house used to torment us. They’d poop all over the walkway between our back door and the carport. One morning Alix saw them gathered right outside the garage and decided a dose of Fred might scare them off. She hit the garage door opener and Fred took off outside. It took a few seconds for the door to lift enough that Alix could get out. When she did, she saw two things: One, Fred had in fact scared the geese silly — they were taking off toward the pond. Two, the geese had brought their babies. Fred had a gosling in his mouth.

Alix chased him around the yard, hollering at him to drop it. Fred thought this was a fantastic game. After a minute or two of this Alix ran back in the garage and grabbed a dog treat. She showed it to Fred and he instantly dropped the gosling. It took off running to find its family. Fred had cradled it in his mouth the whole time, never biting down. We knew then we had a gentle dog. Sometimes I’d roughhouse with him and he’d grab my arm with his teeth, a million years of wild dog battling a thousand generations of breeding. He never clamped down once. Far as I know, he never hurt another living thing.

*****

He had fears we never understood. He cowered at the sight and sound of trucks, especially, for some reason, white vans. He ran away from children. He didn’t even like things associated with them — one time, when I was walking him, he took a wide arc to go around an empty Big Wheel. He was about two months old when he showed up at our house and we always wondered what happened to him in those two months. Nobody ever put up signs in our neighborhood looking for him. We think he got dumped in the street, or escaped a bad place. He sure seemed grateful to be with us.

We had a big backyard in that first house, with a garden and a couple of pecan trees. We spent some of our finest days back there, picking up pecans or weeding the flower beds as the dog and cat played in the grass. Our cat, Rocket, would let Fred chase him and then head up a tree when he got too close. Then, when Fred wandered off, he’d come back down and stroll back into Fred’s line of sight. Chase, up the tree, back down again. At night Fred would sleep in a crate in the garage, and Rocket slept in the seat of our John Deere riding mower. After Rocket died a year or so later, Fred would chase a cat now and then, but he never tried hard to catch one. I think he just wanted to play.

He had some Lewis and Clark in him. Every so often he’d get loose and take off, exploring the neighbors’ backyards. I’d chase after him, steam coming out of my ears. He’d look over his shoulder at me and trot just out of reach, like Rocket used to do to him. Finally Alix and I figured out a trick: We’d go back and get the car and drive over to where he’d wandered. As soon as he saw the car, he’d jump in. Back then there was nothing he liked better than a car ride. He’d stick his head out the back window, jowls blown back in the breeze, nostrils pumping with all the smells he was taking in. After a while he’d prop his front paws on the console between our seats and lay his chin on my shoulder. A dog can love you in a way that caves in your heart. It can also leave a lot of drool on your shirt.

When he was 3 we moved to where we live now, a neighborhood with houses closer together and a lot more people walking around. It took him some time to get used to this. If dogs can be introverted, he’s an introvert. Of course he’d sniff another dog’s butt. That’s dog law. But some dogs are alpha dogs, and Fred is an omega. A 55-pound weenie. Once we took him to a dog park and three or four other dogs jumped him right when we got inside. One of them bit him. He was OK, but the rest of the time he was there he went off by himself to the far corners of the park. I stood there in the middle of the park and cried, partly because I knew how he felt. Alix and I are introverts, too, and we’ve always wondered if we raised Fred to be a loner.

It probably didn’t help, at least in that regard, that we neutered him. For years he licked his crotch constantly. I always figured he was watering the spot, hoping they would grow back.

He’s got some other quirks. He won’t go near the A/C vents in the floor — I’m pretty sure he thinks the air coming out of there is monster breath. He used to lick the pad of his back left paw constantly, like a baby sucking its thumb. We had our vet check more than once for a splinter or an infection. It’s still a mystery. He still spins around six or eight or 10 times before he lies down. I read somewhere that it’s a hard-wired memory from the days when wild dogs tamped down the grass before they slept. Now that the arthritis has made it harder for him to get down, he backs into a corner and sort of slides down on the bed. But he makes sure to get his spins in first.

Sometimes I think he was born for the North. Every year he wilts a little more in the summer, and every year he perks up in the fall. His favorite days are when it snows. We had a big snowstorm at the old house one day and he dove in and out of the snow like a dolphin. We spent a year in Boston and it snowed 60 inches that winter. He’d bound through the park across from our apartment and come home with a snootful of frost. The last time he went on a walkabout was a couple years ago on a snowy night here in Charlotte. I let him out without a leash because he had gotten so slow. But the minute he got out in the snow he trotted down the sidewalk, faster than he’d moved in years. It took two blocks before I could catch up to him.

That Boston year, in the fall, we drove up to Maine one weekend and took him to the beach. He’s never been much of a water dog, but he loved chasing gulls and wading in the ocean and trotting in the sand. He was 7 years old by then — a middle-aged dog — but he high-stepped down the beach, his ears thrown back like he was a puppy. If you’re good to a dog, pretty much every day for the dog is a great day. But that one might have been the best. We rubbed off as much sand as we could and piled him in the back seat, and he slept like a brick all the way home.

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*****

 

Alix and I have been married 17 years, and Fred has been with us for 14 of them. We’re busy people. We wouldn’t have thought we had time to look after a dog. But when it’s something you care about, time bends and stretches. Somehow we’ve had the time to take him for walks and keep him fed and clean up his messes and just hang out together. He never was well-trained but he’s a skilled communicator. His go-to move is the heavy sigh. Sometimes Alix and I will be in bed, talking through something important, and all of a sudden from the corner of the room comes this long and deliberate exhale of profound boredom. No matter how serious our conversation is, it makes us laugh. Wrap it up, he’s saying. It’s sleepin’ time.

He also won over our families. Alix’s folks are not especially dog people, and my mama has been scared of dogs since she got bitten as a child. But they welcomed him into their homes.  My mama even started tossing him little bits of bacon in the kitchen. When she found out he was sick, her advice was to give him some bacon. To be honest, that’s her advice in a lot of situations. It’s pretty good advice.

It’s been weird to see Fred get older faster than us. For the first few years of his life, he pulled us down the street. Then for a while he walked by our side. Now we’re the ones up ahead of him. When he was young, he’d hear the car door shut in the driveway and run to the door to meet us. Then there was a while when he’d get up when we came in the door. Now he lies on his bed and waits for us to come over, his tail thumping with every step we take toward him.

He’s still a beautiful dog, with a thick coat he sheds like crazy. My wife will pull an old sweater out of the closet, something she hasn’t worn in years, and somehow it’ll have Fred’s fur on it. We joke that 20 years from now, we’ll still find his fur up under the couch, or drool spots on the hardwood floor. He has always left his mark.

*****

When he started getting really old, it didn’t register with me right away. I’d yell at him for not eating his supper, or not wanting to go on his morning walk, or eating some random thing off the ground. (These days he has a taste for dirt.) I’m not proud to say this, but even now I get mad at him sometimes. I’ll take him outside on a beautiful night and he’ll just stand in the yard and look around, not wanting to go down the street or back inside. It got me really frustrated until I realized the problem. I was mad at him for dying on us.

That’s the thing with pets. They’re probably going to die before you. They make you deal with death and loss before you’re ready. Alix and I are having a hard time imagining a life without Fred, but we’re going to have to live it. We hope to remember what he has taught us.

Always make room for treats.

Sometimes you should wander off and see the world.

Explore things with enthusiasm, even if you’re shy.

Any day might be the best day of your life.

We used to walk him for miles, but these days he’s not up to going far. He didn’t want to go at all for a while. But then the neighbors a few houses down, across the street, started setting out a bowl of water and a jar of dog treats every morning. Now when we let him out, he does his business and heads straight for that house.

He’s always had a good memory. He used to bark whenever the doorbell rang. A few years ago, after I had surgery, I recuperated in the living room. If I saw somebody coming up to the house, I’d yell “Hey, Alix!” so she could open the door, usually right as the doorbell rang. More than a year later, I was at one end of the house one day and Alix was at the other. “Hey, Alix!” I hollered. Fred barked and ran to the door.

I wonder what he remembers now.

Fred

Here’s a thing I remember. At the old house, I’d let him out every morning to roam the back yard. It was almost as deep as a football field, and he’d go way back there and sniff around the edges of the brush. I’d stand at the corner of the garden fence and watch. After a while I’d whistle and he’d look up. I’d dig a treat out of my pocket and hold it high where he could see.

In three strides he’d be going full speed. It was such an expression of natural joy, his ears blown back, his eyes wide, every muscle in perfect sync. He barely touched the ground, like a pebble skimmed across a river. He never stopped on time and so he would go flying past and slam on the brakes, scrabbling in the dirt like a cartoon. Finally he would make it back to me to get his treat. He always wagged when he saw one of us but now his tail would be spinning like a helicopter blade.

On his good days, even now, when we walk up to him his tail will spin like that. It lifts our hearts off the ground.

I don’t know your thoughts on the afterlife. One thing I hope is that we’ll be able to sit down and have a conversation with Fred. Have him tell us why goose poop tastes so good, where he really liked to be rubbed, whether we did right by him at the end. Make sure he knows how lucky we are that he showed up in our life one day.

My other hope is that up there, we’re all young and strong again. I’d love to watch him run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

305 thoughts on “Our old dog”

  1. That was great.

    My dog died about 5 months ago. Also cancer. My favorite memory of him is the last time he ran towards me. His excitement was greater than his pain, or at least for a moment he didn’t care about that he hurt and he came barreling down the street to greet me and lick my face.

    Dogs are the best.

  2. That was great.

    My dog died about 5 months ago. Also cancer. My favorite memory of him is the last time he ran towards me. His excitement was greater than his pain, or at least for a moment he didn’t care about that he hurt and he came barreling down the street to greet me and lick my face.

    Dogs are the best.

  3. Tommy,

    Our yellow lab Luke is 15 and a half. Unheard of age for a big dog–his mom lived to be 16 so we hope we’ve got another 6 months at least. This tribute you’ve written to your dog is so beautiful and describes the way every dog should be loved and a relationship any human being is lucky lucky lucky to have. I have always loved reading your columns and and so incredibly grateful that you shared this with all of us. Thank you.

  4. Tommy,

    Our yellow lab Luke is 15 and a half. Unheard of age for a big dog–his mom lived to be 16 so we hope we’ve got another 6 months at least. This tribute you’ve written to your dog is so beautiful and describes the way every dog should be loved and a relationship any human being is lucky lucky lucky to have. I have always loved reading your columns and and so incredibly grateful that you shared this with all of us. Thank you.

  5. Tommy, I love all your writing but this just tears me apart. I understand after losing so many over the yearsk a couple my heart dogs,

  6. Tommy, I love all your writing but this just tears me apart. I understand after losing so many over the yearsk a couple my heart dogs,

  7. Hard to lose a loved one. We have our 7th dog now. He is 8. When the other 6 got sick in older age, we held them each in their turn, while our vet ended the pain they suffered. We loved them and couldn’t let death come after months of pain. Dogs hide their suffering. Giving them back is painful but letting them suffer is worse.

  8. Oh Tommy and Alix, I feel for you. Had to let my almost-15-year-old Golden Retriever go across the rainbow bridge a couple of Valentine’s Days past. The night before it was snowing and I vividly remember him bounding through the front door with snow on his nose as if to say “Mommy, look what I got!!” with unbridled joy, just as you describe Fred in the snow. The next day he was gone. Hang on to sweet memories and know that my darling Bruckner is waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge to welcome him! Hugs, Jill

  9. My friend, I hear your voice in this. And Alix, too.
    I think there is probably still some Fred hair in my luggage somewhere as well.
    This is wonderful and beautiful and sad and happy all at once. Thanks for sharing Fred with us.

  10. They leave pawprint-shaped holes in our hearts when we have to say goodbye, but they leave us better people than we were before we met them. I also dream of seeing my beloved dogs running again someday.
    Godspeed to Fred when his time comes, and peace to you and Alix.

  11. We lost our black Lab, Jesse, more than four years ago and yes, we still come upon dog hairs in the backs of closets and other random spaces. He was fourteen and when he died and my husband and I declared, No.More. Dogs. We needed our freedom and we couldn’t bear the heartbreak of losing another beloved pet. Almost six months ago,we took the plunge and welcomed a shaggy, Goldendoodle into our lives. Since Jesse never chewed anything, we were not prepared for a puppy that chewed,and still chews, the house right from under us.She chewed hubby’s prescription sunglasses and we decided he should have put them up higher. Ditto my excuse when she snagged mine. She chewed a rug, we didn’t like anyway. She chewed on us so we bought a big tube of neosporin. She chewed shoes and socks, both easily replaced, sort of. In the end we love her madly and forgive any and all transgressions. And they are legion. She doesn’t shed so we figure, what the heck, there is no perfection in the world and she will stop chewing, either as she gets older or when we no longer have anything left to chew.

  12. Tommy, Often I will think I am reading the best thing you have ever written, then the next thing you write seems even better. But I don’t think you can surpass this. Anyone who has ever had a mutual love affair with a dog will agree. Especially if that dog was a Lab! There is just something about the breed. Thank you so much for sharing this. It made me spend a few minutes remembering special times with some of the several dogs who have shared my life. And if you have not read them, I think both you and Alix would enjoy and even be helped by reading two books by W. Bruce Cameron. The first is A DOG’S PURPOSE (subtitled “A Novel for Humans”), and the second is A DOG’S JOURNEY (“Another Novel for Humans”) both written from the dog’s perspective. Check them out. Cameron writes in an easy to read style that makes -much as you do- the reader laugh, cry and smile all at the same time. I would even be happy to loan you my copies. And, as a Libra, that’s not an offer I make lightly! Phyllis (Woody Mitchell’s sister-in-law)

  13. A most heart warming and comforting story. My Bride and I have lived through many such pet lives, most painful is a wonderful Jack Russell terrier. Swore we would never do that again; out looking for another boy same week. Lovely story, Tommy.

  14. We had a pug mix for over 17 years, and a pug for 14 1/2 years. They have both passed, and we still miss them terribly. Thank you for sharing your sweet Fred with us. What a beautiful tribute.

  15. Thanks Tommy! You made me laugh and cry all at the same time. We lost our dog, Augie, 3 years ago and hope one day we can all see them on the other side of the rainbow bridge. Miss working with you and Alix!

  16. Thanks Tommy! You mad me laugh and cry all at the same time. We lost our Augie 3 years ago and it was painful. I hope one day we will see them again on the other side of the rainbow bridge. Miss working with you and Alix.

  17. Thanks Tommy—With a few changes in details, this could be about our beloved Charlie. He died a year ago last Thanksgiving after all the health problems he had got to be too much. Thanks for the memories….

  18. such a great story and tribute to Fred. All of us who have had special four legged family members will appreciate it and remember you all when he goes to the big doggie park in the sky. Donald Bynum bynumdf@aol.com

  19. Beautifully written Tommy. I can barely see the keyboard through the tears. I love that dog and miss seeing him on his daily walks since moving back into the house. I need to come for a visit. I’ll bring treats. Love that sweet soldier boy. Andrea Lorusso

  20. I loved this. I remember when Fred showed up. The story resonated my feelings about losing Rhettman (Den’s longhaired dachshund). I have forwarded this to a friend. She said,”Very heartwarming and very similar to Deltas current situation. She has been a fabulous dog.” You have captured how we feel about our special furry friends. They are never here long enough.
    I miss you and Alex. Those times in the dinner club were great.
    Crystal

  21. One of your best, Tommy. Thank you for sharing. (Although I’m thinking this may be one of those pieces that regardless of whether anyone ever read it, YOU needed to write it!) Our Sandy is also a yellow lab mix and she just turned 11. Thanks for the reminder…EVERY day’s a gift!

  22. One more thing, if I may. We Whiskeypalians have prayers and services for just about every damn thing. I came across this just recently. Keep for when the time comes…
    >>>Liturgy for a Dead or Dying Pet

    Leader Let us sing to the Lord a new song;
    All a song for all the creatures of the earth.
    Leader Let us rejoice in the goodness of God
    All shown in the beauty of all things.

    A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (8:18-21)
    I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory
    about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of
    the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by
    the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from
    its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

    A Reading from the Revelation to John (Rev. 21:1, 4-5a, 6)
    I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed
    away. And he shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,
    neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things
    are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. I
    am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
    The Word of the Lord
    All Thanks be to God.

    Let us pray.
    This we know: every living thing is yours and returns to you. As we ponder this mystery
    we give you thanks for the life of N. and we now commit him/her into your loving
    hands. Gentle God: fragile is your world, delicate are your creatures, and costly is your
    love which bears and redeems us all.

    Holy Creator, give us eyes to see and ears to hear how every living thing speaks to us of
    your love. Let us be awestruck at your creation and daily sing your praises. Especially,
    create within us a spirit of gratitude for the life of this beloved pet who has lived among
    us and given us freely of his/her love. Even in our sorrow we have cause for joy for we
    know that all creatures who died on earth shall live again in your new creation. Amen.
    <<<

  23. Beautiful, Tommy. Dog people know and understand. Here’s my take on our dog Henry turning 10. Henry Turns Ten

    |   | |   | |   |   |   |   |   | | Henry Turns TenToday is Henry’s 10th birthday. I read a blog recently that said we can hope a dog    lives to ten, then every year afterward is a gift. Henry is a special dog. In … | | | | View on aprillwrites.wordpress… | Preview by Yahoo | | | |   |

     A great read when it’s time to grieve your Fred is The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O’Neill |   | |   | |   |   |   |   |   | | The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O’NeillI, SILVERDENE EMBLEM O’NEILL (familiarly known to my family, friends, and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years and infirmities i… | | | | View on http://www.eoneill.com | Preview by Yahoo | | | |   |

    Hang in there. “Old dogs are a treasure” is what we say in this house.

    Aprill JonesWrites Copy Chuck Jones Direct Response704-651-4894 Follow me on Twitter @aprillwrites

  24. I read every word of this and smiled …. and cried. We have a 141/2 year old chocolate Labrador and can identify with so much of what you describe. I have cursed him (searching the lanes in the pouring rain at 1 o’clock in the morning with my failing torch) but mostly adored him. When I think of the inevitable it’s unbearable but that’s the price we pay for the love of a good dog.

  25. Tommy and Alix, thank you for loving Fred and giving him the best possible life he could have ever asked to have. You have another home run with this one. I know all too well how you feel. I have been owned and loved by pugs for over 25 years and it never gets easier when one of them dies. Each animal you love takes a piece of your heart and soul with them when they die. You are all three in my thoughts and prayers as Fred enters the “final home stretch.” From one animal lover to two more, thank you for this one. And please know you are not alone.

  26. So sad and so sweet. We adopted our Pops (terrier mix) last year. She’s the first dog I’ve ever had. They told us she was about a year old…now I hope that’s the case because I want her to be with us for a longgggg time.

  27. Thank you so much for this. I’m hiding behind a giant computer at work so no one can see I can’t stop crying. My dog died two years ago and I know exactly what you are going through. Give my love to Fred xo

  28. I could not stop reading. Especially at the bacon. Our little white furl manages to temper its nervous breeding by being somewhat of a buddha, especially as she gets older. She’s headed for 10 years of age, has had major surgery, is a royal pain in the butt at times. We don’t need a doorbell. She relished walks at night, hates water, isn’t too crazy about kids, but loves women and laid-back people. Thanks for your prose. Jellied my soul.

  29. U know i love my dog and remembering… he was jus t a puppy….and the other street dogs killed him……i shouted at myself crying….when i was 10 yrs old…after that i just keep that little puppy in my memory…

  30. At the grand age of 44, I have just fallen in love with a dog for the very first time. Like your Mum, I was afraid of dogs and resisted my husband’s pleas for a puppy. when I finally gave in it turned out that our dog chose me. I don’t know why but I am his person. He likes everyone but he loves me. I just wasn’t prepared for the joy and the weight of his perfectly unconditional love. I can’t even begin to think about losing him.
    Thanks for reminding me to enjoy my crazy, daft, hairy mutt.

  31. That was such a beautiful post 🙂 made me sad and happy at the same time. I have 2 dogs both have found us from horrible beginnings and my other dog Molly died last year she was 18 and I had chosen her when I was 6 she was my baby but she got ill we discovered cancer and she was peacefully put to sleep 🙂 Fred is lucky to have such a loving home a new chance exactly what I was speaking about on my last blog.

  32. Beautiful piece of writing…my husband and I recently got a Labrador puppy, our first ever dog. At four months old he is like a whirlwind, just how I can imagine your dear old Fred. We can’t imagine life without him. Thank you so much for sharing your story – dogs really are the best!

  33. Oh my gosh. I started reading this earlier and started crying. I had to stop. I just finished reading and I’m crying again. Fred was lucky to have you as his humans. Thank you for sharing your story and your heartbreak.

  34. I can taste how much you love Fred in every word-every morsel is bursting with emotion at what you gave him and what he gave you. I hope my dog feels what you have summed up is in my heart. Dogs and man forever x

  35. I felt/feel this way about my dog Simon. He died two years ago and I’m dying to see him in heaven and ask him why he had to lick all the black fur off his tail. Prayers to you and Alix for peace and strength during this difficult time.

  36. Thanks for a great story. I love any kind of honest story, especially ones about dogs, so yours was doubly satisfying. Dogs go to Heaven, I’m sure you’ll see Fred again. Hugs to you and your wife.

  37. What a wonderful story. Fred sounds like a amazing dog. We lost one this year also. He was very old and it was his time. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but it was best for him. They always hold a place in our hearts.

  38. Great article, it brought me to tears. It reminded me of my mom’s poodle Rosie. We got her when I was 4 and she died when I was 12. When she died I felt like I had lost a sibling and my mom never recovered from her death. Mom is gone now and I hope they have been reunited. Once again, thanks for a great article. It is very well written.

  39. This is such a sweet blog. Fred is blessed to have you two as his family and you are blessed by him. May you find joy and peace in your memories of him when he is gone and of course the dog hair!!

  40. A beautiful tribute to a loved member of your family. Now I’m gonna go hug my two: a 5 year old gentle giant Ridgeback whose getting white on his muzzle more each day, and a 3 year old stray with issues but who can look so deep into your eyes that you know you are loved and her whole world. When it’s their time to go, I know there will be a huge hole in my heart.

  41. Thank you for writing this. I could almost feel your emotions through the lines. I am very worried because my dog has a serious illness, which cannot be cured apparently, and she’s only 5 and a half. But we hope she stays with us as much as she can. I don’t know how we will all live without her one day, but we’ll have to. Thank you for writing this, again. Stay strong.

  42. Oh… That’s so lovely,yet sad! I haven’t owned a pet, but I love dogs.. I’ve grown very close to other peoples dogs… They become like the youngest members of then family .. I understand you’re grief!

  43. This was the best read I have had in a long time. Such a beautiful story, its amazing how our pets can have such an impact on our lives and its truly sad when we see them getting older. So many people just view them as animals who do not know any better but they are apart of our family. Believe it or not they do understand and know when something is not right with you just like any close family member. I understand your grief, just remember all the great memories your family and friends have had with Fred are forever in your heart!

  44. I recently lost my Paddington to similar citcumstances, a waife & stray too, my heart still bleeds, but, I gave him my best, and he gave me his heart. God bless you both and Fred too. Xx

  45. What a beautiful story and how true is a dog’s friendship and how much love and companionship they offer. I love my dog and I can only imagine your pain. He will be missed but be glad for the life you shared together.

  46. wiping away tears here, you have a wonderful way with words, the way you describe your relationship with fred is from the heart, seems fred fell on his paws with you both, I am a firm believer in the after life so I know you will see him there again meanwhile he will let you know he is still about, you will hear things and know they are freddie whispers.
    bless you all

  47. My love to you guys. Losing your furkid is so heartbreaking. Our kitties are 11yrs and I do not look forward to this time, when we have to confront losing them. We’ve had them for most of the time we’ve been together and longer than we’ve been married (we just celebrated our 10th anniversary in June). They were included in our wedding vows. Though we have two human children, they are two additional children in the household. They have been pillars of stability through living in several places and two countries. They are there for us when we aren’t feeling well. (We call our Hobbes “Cat Nurse” because he won’t leave your side if you even seem sick or upset.) They’re so wonderful.

    Again, love to you guys. <3

  48. This is so on the money. I’ve been thinking about this with my Tetley lately. He’s 13 but a Cairn so could have a few more years in him yet and I just spent way more than I ever do on anything on his mouth because I hated to think of him suffering. I love this. Yes, the love of our dogs and the anticipation of their death. Beautiful writing. Glad to have found you.

  49. This absolutely touched my heart. We have three dogs. An 11 month old rottie/shepard and two 3 month old Texas Heelers. They are dumb and goofy and ridiculous and silly. They are also kind, gentle, protective, sweet, loving and empathetic. We already love them so much, I honestly don’t know what I will do when their time comes.

  50. That was such a wonderful post! I am very sorry to hear that your dear Fred is not long for this earth, but it sounds like all of you have had a great time together. I hear so much love in your story, and he knows you love him. We have a three year old german shepherd, and I had to giggle several times, because I knew exactly what you were talking about! And the fur, oh my gosh!!! Shepherds are said to be the worst shedders, and I believe it. If someone were to draw my house, it would look like Pigpen from the Peanuts, except it would be fur floating around, instead of dirt! LOL And one last note. I agree with your Mom. May Fred’s final days be filled with bacon! 🙂

  51. Dogs are always a friend that I want to have. My last dog died about 8 years ago. I remember being so sad and lonely for the whole year I didn’t have a dog. Once I got a new one, I knew no dog could replace my Frisco, but Bennett is definitely a dog I am glad to have. I still have pictures of Frisco from when he was a puppy.

    I look back on it now and remember what Frisco was like. I am always sad when I think about it, but then I know he is in a better place. Sorry for your loss.

  52. He looks just like our dog Candy. We adopted her at 10 and she stayed with us until her 15th birthday in April of this year. We miss her very much but we made the time count as much as possible. Thanks for sharing. Great post.

  53. full on crying here. My dog Rufis is a fifteen year old shizu blind and has some cancer that the vet had a specialist say would not be fully remove because of location. every day is a blessing. Enjoy your time with your family when you can. Thank you for your post it really touched me.

  54. Beautiful story… I was moved by it… I know how it is… I had a dog, Her name was Booboo she was 16 years old… Practicly she was my sister… She was the one who helped my brother walk when he was just a baby… Part of the family… Not pets… I couldn’t agree more with you…
    Charish them while they are still young… While they are still around…
    Thank you for the story… I’m so glad i got a glimpse of Fred… He seems like a amazing friend… 🙂

  55. I have always wanted to have a dog – but my parents did not let my sister and I get one. They had pets growing up and losing them was hard for them, so they did not want to put their kids through it. But reading this post makes me realise how amazing dogs are – they teach you so much even when they are leaving you.

    I am going to get myself a dog someday. I will!

  56. Thank you so much for this touching story. I enjoyed the quiet way he slipped into your hearts — and now, mine. There is no better companion than a good dog.

  57. This is so sad yet funny and shows your true love for Fred. We lost our seventeen-year-old dog a month ago. It really is like losing a family member, but I’m relieved he doesn’t have to suffer any more. Now I know why my friend’s labrador chews everything in site. He’s a terrible thief too and steals all sorts of things from her kitchen. He’ll eat anything in sight and regularly does. My Scoobie never did this, but she finds it amusing and says, ‘I’m just happy he’s still alive.’ That’s love!

  58. Wow! This made me smile and cry, and reminded me of my lab mix for 15 years, until he died on my birthday. Only a dog lover can understand the bond between a human and his pet dog. Thank you for this.

  59. Lovely and beautiful story. I had the same experience with my cat, Stitch, recently. You hope they live forever but are anguished to learn that they don’t. I hope you are right that they are up there and happy, strong, and waiting to play with us again.

  60. I myself have a dog and quite understand what you’re going through. Nice chap he is. Lots of things to remember him by when he takes the final bow. That’s what all good relationships are all about I guess.

  61. We lost our beautiful black lab, Sal, three years ago at the age of 14. I still miss her but treasure the precious years we had her. We have zillions of wonderful memories of her, so she is still here with us in a way. A truly lovely post, and what a handsome lad he is. You’ve been blessed.

  62. A most memorable tribute! I’ve been there and in a way, I’m still there. My tribute to my Rusty is titled WE THOUGHT WE’D LIVE FOREVER… and in a way we will, and so will you and your “OLD DOG”.

  63. The worst part about owning pets…one day they will break our hearts and cross the rainbow bridge. All we can ever do is love them and give them a good life. Fred is a lucky dog.

  64. I don’t what it is about labs but they seem to have the most personality… also they have the hardest goodbyes as well. We lost our Peter to Megaesophagus in September of 2014. He was barely four. But not one moment goes by where remember him happy, running like the wind, giving me and my husband the signature sad pup face, his groans very much like Fred and how he use to nest as well. God knows I wish to have him back but I know he’s safe awaiting us at Rainbow Bridge. But like you said, it is incredibly hard to let go of someone you love that has been a significant part of your life. Thank you so much for sharing Fred’s story.

  65. Your post brought tears to my eyes, and also made me laugh! It’s so hard losing a dog, they become like family. Seems that everything happens for a reason- Fred was lucky to find you and your wife. I had a lab too, Lady. I would walk her with our younger dog Briar, and my arms would be outstretched with a leash in each hand in opposite directions; Lady falling way behind and Briar pulling ahead….now Briar falls behind like Lady once did, and the new dog Chance pulls ahead. It’s horrible watching them struggle in their senior years, but it’s all worth it. I’m really glad to have read your post. Seems that Fred has had a long and amazing life because of you.

  66. I said goodbye to my sweet boy, Elmer, just a year ago. We actually told my younger cousins that Elms was headed to college to be roommates with their dog Jack. It’s become the phrase that brings a smile to our faces, knowing our sweet boy is in a better place.

  67. Beautiful and touching and heartbreaking. My heart aches for you and what you are going through. I lost my cat, my best friend, Ernie about a month ago to pancreatic cancer. Lives cut too short and holes too big left in hearts.

  68. That was a wonderful piece. I’ve got three babies myself. One of which is now all gray and has trouble getting onto the couch.

    It’s a terrible thing to lose a dog that has been in your family–hell, is a part of your family. You have to remember that you were the world to them and for 10-15 years they lived a perfect life with you. To him, every day with the people he loved was like catching a fart bubble on film. Just perfect and very amusing.

  69. We share a time frame and the joy of witnessing the life of a beloved pet. Our Jack entered our lives a year old in 2002 as a Briard Rescue from New Jersey.
    I was asked by a rescuer if I would foster him. He was supposed to be dangerous. But love conquers all and we tamed his demons and Jack crawled into our hearts.
    He too is arthritic and occasionally pants but his loyalty and love have made this journey a joy. I have carefully prepared myself to accept the end for three years but I know I will ball like a baby.
    I have declared to central control that if my doggies are not there to greet me I ain’t going!

  70. Well put, friend!. Your words were just as beautiful as your relationship with your dog. Your definitely did him justice here, and if only our furry friends could read, I do believe that Fred would agree. I will say a little prayer for you, your wife and Fred — in hopes that the act of writing this will help you to find the peace and closure you need right now to stay strong for Fred through the bitter end. You gave him a good life. Be proud. Stand strong. Feel blessed. Knowing that there’s a time and season for everything:

    A time to be born, a time to die.
    A time to plant, a time to reap.
    A time to kill, a time to heal.
    A time to laugh, a time to weep.
    (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

  71. My heart goes out to you guys. It’s amazing how attached we become to a dog. My parents had one, two or three at a time all during my growing up years and into adulthood. I have a cat, now. Her name is Tiki. She is indeed a God send and I pray we both die together. I don’t even want to think about her leaving me…

  72. My dog died last month and i was devastated.. We grew up together. We got him when I was 6 and he was 12 years old when he passed away. It is unfair and so very painful that they leave us so soon and I still have days when I miss my Scooby so much that it physically hurts…

  73. Dogs are incredible gifts – losing my lab two years ago was absolutely heart-wrenching, I’d never felt that kind of merciless pain before. I was so depressed I even swore off getting another dog, only because I knew I would have to go through it all again some day. Lo and behold, less than a year and a half later Milo walked into our lives, and I know how hard it will be when that horrible day comes, but for now I cherish every moment with him. Dogs are like family, wonderful and annoying all at the same time. Love to you!

  74. So sad, so beautiful. May you remember him always. He will remember you and will be waiting for you at the rainbow bridge.
    ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  75. Beautiful story of Fred and what a wonderful dog! I’m a little leaky around the eyes now. Our older dog is 11 now (a German Shepherd) and she’s suddenly very old. It will be a sad day when she goes.

  76. What a lovely tribute to your friend Fred. Two Saturday’s ago I had to have my old girl Sadie put down. I got her in November 2001; had her just shy of 14 years. My daughter was 6 when Sadie came into our lives; she is now a 20 year college student. I have other dogs to keep me from feeling too sad, but I sure do miss hearing the old girls nails on the wood floor.

  77. I have the same hope that my old dog Liza who passed at 15, will tell me things as well. Fred has had a wonderful life with you and Alix you have loved and cared for him he knows thi.

  78. I only read the start of this post, partly because it is late here in the UK, but also because we had to have our family pet, Pepper, a lovely Cocker Spaniel put down a couple of months ago. She too was quite an old dog and was suffering with liver / kidney disease. We found out one day after she had been unwell for about a week, and next day we were having her put down – she went downhill so quickly. The vet said she could operate but could only give her a 10% chance after surgery. It was a heartbreaking choice and we were all gutted, but couldn’t bear to see her suffering.
    Pepper was a great dog, loved by all who meet her. She loved nothing more than being fussed over – just didn’t know when to stop though !

  79. This is such a lovely tribute to Fred, well done for being the best owners he could have wished for, he found you and you are all he wanted! I hope your days are always happy with him xx

  80. What a beautiful story! We have 2 dogs, one is 11 and healthy, one is just 3 and has been fighting cancer. They’re such an important part of our lives. You did a wonderful thing for Fred.

  81. That was beautiful. I’ve never been in the right situation to have a dog (although I have been owned by several cats over the years), but your words were so well written, maybe it’s time to let that time “bend and stretch” to fit a canine companion into our lives.
    Thanks so much for writing this. ☺

  82. Trying to keep the tears back. I think what’s so hard (among the many other reasons) about losing a close pet is how amazing they love and care. There’s no hesitation in loyalty and love. You can’t find it in any other creature as well as with a dog. I wonder here and there what it’ll be like when we lose our Basset Hound, Arthur. We’ve had him since he was a puppy. He’s now closing in on 9, which is senior for the breed. He’s such a friend and has the most wonderful personality. For now, I’ve been contentiously trying to gather memories in prep for the inevitable. Great story.

  83. Thank you for sharing. Our cat died last week so I didn’t know if I could read your story without feeling sick to my stomach. Surprisingly this is exactly what I needed to read and feel. Thank you from California.

  84. I lost my pet Mark 8 months ago. He was 19 years old then. It is really getting as days go. His thoughts and memories really haunt me so much. It crushes my heart so much. He lived through half of my life time. It’s like loosing myself.

  85. My big baby (German shepherd) passed away two months ago and I really connected with this post. It’s very powerful and captured with words how I also felt towards my baby so thank you for giving my emotions words.

  86. I had a chocolate lab. She made it to 15 and two years ago she passed away. It was really hard because you just know when they start to fade away and it kills me. God bless you guys cus I know what that feels like

  87. Our Golden Retriever “Frodo” turns 13 this month. Every day I Hope he will at least live another 5-6 years, which would be very old for a dog his size. I don’t want to think of the day when I come home and he is not there, with all his stuffed toys in his mouth

  88. I read a story the other day about a couple having their toddler son be there when they put their pup to sleep for the last time. They anticipated that the child would be heartbroken, but he said “People have such long lives because they have to learn how to love and be kind. Dogs already know how to do that so they don’t stick around as long.”

    Love to Fred. ??

  89. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. It makes me think of my little 13-yr old pup and how she’s changed over the years. Thank you again. Truly special having a dog, isn’t it?

  90. Tom, I wrote this poem years ago & in reading your poignant tribute to Fred, you used similar sentiments that are in this poem. I’m sorry, & trying not to let that sad lump in my throat make me tear up & cry as I thought putting F in front of Red could be Old Fred?
    My Old Red–
    Once I went walking through the field & I chanced to see Old Red, out on the lane, no shade concealed- -I saw clearly that proud old head.
    I knew the dog long ago for he once belonged to me, & now, oft times, at eve’s last glow, tis his presence I think I see?
    I long to have that good old dog trotting by my side, I long to pet his tough old head, to hug his soft warm hide. I yearn to see him running, prancing free in game & I yearn to call out again his once familiar name.
    He’s exactly as I’d want him, not old, not frail, not worn–he’s perfectly the image in the photograph I’ve borne. I, too, compare in stature to that photo’s lasting gaze– Old Red & I, triumphant once, strong hearts in strength ablaze!
    Has he come to show me I’ve not much more to go? Has he come to tell me that my time ticks oh, so slow? Has he come to lead me past this earth’s closing doors? Has he come to guide me towards Heaven’s shining shores?
    Perhaps I merely daydream, perhaps I truly see, a wisp of fog adancing round another dogwood tree. But it seems to me it’s moving now, heading straight my way … And my oh my! it is Old Red! He’s come to run & play!
    My legs run after Reddy, the way they used to do, my lungs exchange age oldness for pure breath so strong & new! Old Red he trots beside me, his body trembling slight, Our hearts at rest, we’re at our best, as we race unto The Light!

  91. Thank you for this beautiful story. I’ve lost three beloved elderly pets over the last few years; it’s so incredibly painful, even as you remind yourself how lucky you were to have had that kind of love in your life. Just want to tell you that I was touched by the way you’ve captured the joys and heartaches of faithfully loving and saying goodbye to a great dog. I have to believe we will see them again.

  92. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon I stopped everything I was doing to get to know Fred. He is touching hearts all over the world and I am grateful you have shared the story of what a magnificent companion he has grown to be. Thank you!

  93. Wow this reminds me of me and my dogs so much, yet it’s me with a secondary malignant perethrial nerve sheath tumour, in my liver, originating in my pelvis. And then there’s my dogs who are so angelic, and understanding, I think they know I’m ill, and although I’m only 17 they’ll probably outlive me, providing of no doggy tragedies.
    When reading this I saw Fred,as a metaphor for my life, where he used to run for miles, just as I got diagnosed I was running 9miles, training for a half marathon, unfortunately I never got to and never will get too do my half marathon. Now I lye in bed as I’m too sore to get up, taking a shower is like a marathon these days!!
    Some of the things iv learnt with being ill are very similar to the things you’ve learned, like
    The simple things like family are much more import that materialistic things… Always.g
    And a dogs life is definitely the next like I’d like to take! 🙂

  94. Wow, I loved reading this. I’m a dog lover and have been a dog owner most of my life. It’s never easy when they leave us, but the joy and love they bring to our lives makes it all worth the pain of the loss. We have a black lab and she shares many of the traits you described. Enjoy the time you have left, cherish the memories, and I’m sorry for the loss you will endure. Great article.

  95. The fur-ever prints they leave on one’s soul. I have a black and a chocolate lab, both are 12 years old with health issues. As well married 12 years, have a 11 year old daughter and we have grown together! This is the key story to unlock the heart, the moments and the memories. Thanks for this blog it took me down our trodden past with labs of our love.

  96. Thanks for writing this. Not too long ago, I lost a 14 year old Dalmatian and just recently, a 30 year old horse. You are never ready for them to go, but your story is proof that your life was never the same after they came to you. That is their gift to you. I will be thinking about you for a long time.

  97. I actually did stop after the first sentence. But I couldn’t help but come back and read. You put in words what I’ve had such a hard time doing because even writing about the good things makes me sad to the point I just have to stop or sometimes not even start. I’ve lost a dog, a cat and almost my father to cancer. It’s hard to read about and always hard to write about. I wish your family peace. Thank you for your post.

  98. Yep, this brought tears to my eyes. We lost our part black Lab Casper 13 years ago and it still hurts, and we still miss him. He was 13 years old. We’re now able to talk about him and look at pictures again. For a long time I couldn’t look at his picture because I missed him so much, it made me cry to see him. Now I can look at him and remember how much we loved him, and just how much he loved us 🙂

  99. A few months back I had the terrible responsibility to make the call to put my great friend Charlie to sleep. We looked at each other at eye level and I watched his life go. I’m a man that’s 60 and to this day every time I hear the name Charlie I feel so alone, for when he died part of me also died. I know my lab is chasing golf balls, his favourite game, in a painless world.

  100. Enjoyed reading about Fred. I cried. Their love is so precious and so unconditional. When it’s time for them to leave us it hurts so bad. It brought back memories of “Pepper” a black lab we had. We were childless and he came into our life and became part of the family. Like Fred he never hurt us, never rebelled. He showed pure love. Thanks again for this wonderful blog on “Fred”.

  101. You as good as promised me there’d be no tears. I’m afraid I’ve been rather badly let down. I sniffed and sobbed all the way through that. Okay, it was a beautifully-written and affectionate tribute to a much-loved pet, but leave me some dignity. I was sitting on a commuter train. Poor old Fred…

  102. Great story!!! I recently lost my dog like three days ago and it was devastating for me. I was crying so hard and the next day i even had puffy eyes! Losing a dog is like losing a family and a loved one. It was more painful because the cause was unknown and the death was abrupt.

  103. Its so touching. Being a dog lover I could relate to this. Agree so much with your afterlife concept. Being a Hindu I truly believe in that.

    Blessings to him and all of you

  104. Reblogged on thelowdownwithlolo.wordpress.com I wrote a blog today about my lovely little cat Alfie who I had to say goodbye to too soon so I can relate to how it feels having a unwell companion. 🙁

  105. Isn’t it truly a blessing how he walked into your lives so many years ago? He had a purpose and he found comfort with you. So very hard to say good bye, cherish those memories. I enjoyed reading this tribute very much.

  106. This was beautiful! I have always had dogs growing up, and I’ve experienced the loss of them as well. It is one of the hardest things you could go through. However, this post made me smile and chuckle multiple times. I recently adopted a dog six months ago, and everything about your dogs personality reminds me of Duke. The car rides, the treats, the running away. It brings such joy to my heart to read stories of others’ dogs and compare them to the love and joy I feel for mine. Thank you for a fantastic read!

  107. I’ve cried while reading your story, and after I finished reading it… a bit. I have an old cat. Your post encouraged me to enjoy every second I have with my beloved cat/my flatmate/my baby.Thank you!

  108. I just came upon this by chance, the animal-lover that I am, and couldn’t help but read… Your words encapsulate so much of how so many of us feel for our own animals who are never here for long enough. It made me smile throughout, no matter how sad it is to know that Fred has to leave this Earth. There is just so much to be happy about here because of him being so loved. I love all the little details and nuggets of info you have in here; they are testaments to the life you have shared. Our companion animals are with us for a short time but they take so much of our lives with them when they go. Their souls are just so pure and the bond with us is so honest. May Fred always be with you in spirit!

  109. Thanks for sharing it! I never thought I would be so attached to a dog. But I’m now. It’s amazing how they can get the best of us. Reading Fred’s story I realized that I don’t have to worry about Alice leaving us in the future. I just need to care about today and how happy she makes us feel.

  110. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about your beloved Fred… I feel as if I know him too now and and fortunate to be able to say that! I have a similar story on my page that describes one dog that we had in our lives…. https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/marzi-the-dog-with-9-lives/. I invite you to read it. Losing a dog is not easy but oh how blessed we are that they showed up in the driveways of our lives! My prayers go with you in the days to follow!

  111. Beautiful and touching tribute. We just lost our Sheltie of 13 years. He was a best friend. We celebrated the last two months of his life, knowing we were going to have to live the rest of ours without him. He ate chicken, got treats and more love each day than we thought possible. In the end it was even love that allowed us to let him go. But I’m crying now, because you miss them and your heart will always want one last lick or one last rub of the fur.

  112. this was beautiful. I have a 9 year old lab who ( knock on wood) is in great health. He’s my first pet, so everything I experience with him is something new. I’m terrified when I think of him leaving me. And as many times as he’s run off looking for adventure, I’m lucky he never got hit by a car. Thanks for sharing, my heart goes out to you guys.

  113. This was a very heartwarming story. I wish I could write like that, and also that I had a friend like Fred. I’m not sure of my thoughts on the afterlife either but I do hope Fred will have one full of doggy treats and goose poop. 🙂

  114. Thank you for this beautiful tale of Fred. We rescue older dogs, knowing that we will be saying Good Bye to them sooner rather than later, but still in our hearts these dogs have a special spot. No matter how Fred came into your family it was wonderful for him and you…we call upon ourselves to help the sick/old dogs over the Rainbow Bridge. God bless you and Alix for providing a safe, loving, and secure home to Fred.

  115. My cat died this summer, just a month short of her 18th birthday. I was dreading the moment, but somehow, it was all joy and gratefulness, joy and gratefulness for having had her so long.

  116. Couldn’t imagine not having Rocco (our pug) in our lives but such is life. They are here to teach us humans real unconditional love. Thanks for sharing. Stay strong!

  117. I had tears in my eyes as I read the story of your beautiful dog Fred. And I can totally relate. We had a Blue Heeler (I’m from Australia) and he was a huge integral part of our lives. When he was diagnosed with a tumor and we had to make the decision to put him to sleep it was the hardest time of our lives. He was such a special dog, such a special part of our family. But our memories of him will never die. And that’s what you hold on to. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing your story. xx

  118. Nos esperan en el cielo nuestros perros?

    Se murió y no lo sabía
    mas cuando cesó el dolor
    buscó la huella de su amo
    en el áureo suelo de Dios

    Altas orejas y ojos ansiosos
    resignada e inquieta a la par.
    Pues ignoraba que en el cielo
    los perros no pueden entrar.

    Seres con alas, arpas y halos
    rodeaban el Trono de Dios
    hablando de cosas celestes
    pero la perra no los miró

    Unos pasos en la escalera
    que sube a la puerta del cielo
    aguardaba y, hasta oírlos,
    en inmovil espera permaneció.

    Allá, en el Puente de las Almas
    que ansiosos espíritus cruzaban
    distinguió entre todos sus pasos
    y supo que su amo llegaba.

    Esquivando al Guardian de las Puertas
    olvidados temor y delirio
    -ni una sola duda tuvo-
    voló por el mar de vidrio

    Orejas gachas, sordo gruñido
    fruncido hocico y níveo diente
    contra la ardiente espada de Uriel
    lanzose, leal y vehemente.

    Enojáronse los Querubes
    viendo su correr con pasmo.
    Mas, bajo la Silla de San Pedro
    escondiose y esperó a su amo

    Y habló un espíritu entre muchos
    ¿Teneis aqui -les preguntó-
    quien salvó a un ebrio del vino
    y a un cobarde de su pavor?

    Un alma trajo de la noche al día
    -los sabios decían que todo era en vano-
    borró oscuros sueños, ahuyentó la locura
    devolvió la alegría, de salud fue colmado.

    Y San Pedro dijo: -Entreabre la puerta
    entra y busca a la que tu alma anhela.
    Si algo se de hombres y mujeres
    creo que ella no muy lejos te espera.

    -No lo hizo por conocimiento o arte
    ni por esperanza de brillante fama
    tan solo me entregó su alma inocente
    que del pecado no supo nada-

    San Pedro dijo: -Entra y mira
    y si la encuentras, házmelo saber
    pese a que se de hombres y mujeres
    tu enigma es ardúo de entender-

    Entonces de bajo la Silla
    la perra a sus brazos saltó
    lamióle de pelos a barbilla
    y San Pedro entrar los dejó.

    Ruyard Kipling

  119. This is wonderful and yes it brought tears to my eyes. Just one look at his sweet face and I knew he was a special dog. He looks a lot like our 10 year old yellow lab. She tried to eat a remote control when she was a puppy. Thankfully she outgrew the chewing eventually. I knew there had to be a Georgia connection when you wanted to name him Herschel!

  120. I can see why it was one of your favorites – beautiful post to honor Fred. Dogs are placed in our lives to give us the gift of love and patience and unabashed excitement. My wife is not a dog person – but she loves Ivy, our Brittany Spaniel. Good read – may you always remember Fred for the kick he gave your step and the joy he brought into your heart. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

  121. I appreciate what you wrote as we are dealing with our dog suddenly not acting like he feels well. Marshall is a beagle/basset mix-he’d often go on point too, on walks when he was younger. Must be that hunting instinct. Vet examined him and ordered blood tests as she suspected a kidney problem but tests came back negative. Today was a good day, as he did eat some food and drink his water, and let us know to let him outside. I began giving him a baby aspirin today, on our vet’s advice, to help with his arthritic hips. All of our kids are home from college and are giving Marshall more attention. I hope it can boost him to stay with us a few more years. He’s a young 12 currently.

  122. Pingback: Impulse || Home
  123. I just read this in “Charlotte” Magazine and had to find it on-line to thank you for writing such a beautiful article. I had a good cry and then went to find our dogs to hug them. We have two dogs, 14 and 12 years old, and we have been married for 15 years. The pups have shared our lives and given us so many beautiful moments. I could relate to the rescue story (our 14 year old is a rescue with similar mysterious quirks), the cats, the late night walks before bed, the chasing ducks and the love…oh, the unconditional love. As they age, and good-bye nears, we try not to think about it and just keep loving them and hope they know just how much they gave to our lives and continue to give. Thank you again for so beautifully sharing your story.

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