Remembering Fred

Fred in the grass

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.

Fred dancing with Corey

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) …

Fred with bloodroots

Summer (I have a bowl full of these ‘outhouse plants’ on the counter ready to be shipped to internet friends) …

Fred with outhouse plant

Fall (at sunrise, our morning ritual) …

Fred at sunrise

And winter.

Fred in winter

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's stones

Fred loved belly rubs.

Fred belly rub

Fred loved helping Elly in the Airstream.

Fred helping Elly

Fred loved his buddy Jade.


Fred loved surveying the garden.

Fred watching over things

Fred loved going out in his red coat even when the weather was foul.

Fred in his red coat

Fred loved running through the snow.

Fred running through the snow

And we all loved Fred.

Fred in the grass

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.

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