We have our daughter Corey to thank for bringing Fred into our lives. He was a stray, picked up by a rural animal shelter. He dodged his first bullet by landing in the Tompkins County SPCA’s no-kill shelter, where she was volunteering. He was a bit unruly, peeing on the rabbit cage on the way out when we took him for a test walk. But when Corey drew a picture of ‘Zorro’ (as he was known at the SPCA because of his mask) with the word ‘Please’ underneath and hung it outside our bedroom door, we couldn’t turn them down. He terrorized our other dog, Jade, for three weeks before they became fast friends. And he’s been family ever since.
As I look back through old photos, I remember that Fred was a constant companion in the garden. In spring (he complements double bloodroots well) …
Summer (I have a bowl full of these ‘outhouse plants’ on the counter ready to be shipped to internet friends) …
Fall (at sunrise, our morning ritual) …
He dodged a second bullet when he had to undergo surgery for these bladder stones (the largest one is bigger than a marble) and developed complications. But he made a miraculous recovery.
Fred loved belly rubs.
Fred loved his buddy Jade.
Fred loved surveying the garden.
Fred loved going out in his red coat even when the weather was foul.
And we all loved Fred.
More than two years ago, Fred was diagnosed with a massive lung tumor. He had maybe two weeks or two months. But we had an amazing two-plus years instead. The last day of his life, he could not breath while lying down. The big guy stood tall until the end.
May I be half the man that my dog thought I was. May I be half the dog that he was.
Thanks to all who helped us care for Fred over the years, especially Grandma Eunice and the folks at Fountain House Veterinary Clinic.