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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16 thoughts on “Remembering Fred”

  1. What a beautiful and moving tribute to a dog that was blessed with a family that could not have loved him more and with more lives than any cat I’ve run across.

  2. I’m with Wayne, and so sorry for your loss. Their time here is all too short, and our gardens lose some of their life without our constant companions there to share them.

  3. Thinking of you… Fred sure was a lucky dog to have such a wonderful family. Sending our love.

  4. I remember telling Fred I was allergic to him and I could swear he smiled back at me! He then sat at my feet knowing I wouldn’t be able to help petting him. He was lovable. And was dearly loved. My sincere condolences…

  5. Virginia is/was not much of a “dog person” … but she REALLY liked Fred. Fred was the only Dalmation I ever knew – personally. I feel privileged to have met him and scratched his ears. Fred was lucky to have hitched his wagon (with a big assist from Corey) to a couple of stars like of you and Ellie … a green-thumbed poet and an indestructable innovator. Our deepest condolences, to the bipedal Cramer family and a special “So very sorry” to Jade. Bummer.

  6. There is always danger, and dignity, in loving something death can touch. Fred, no doubt, appreciated you taking a chance on him.
    I am sorry for your loss.

  7. How lucky Fred was, to have had such loving owners, and such a gorgeous environment to spend his days in.

  8. I remember first meeting Fred through this comment in the side bar…Fred demands equal treatment, what with Jade making the banner image and all. And I thought, yes! Seems only fair.

    I’m sure we’ve seen him through the years, in your photos and stories. I seem to recall a report on his surgery. I’m sorry now to hear he has left you and your family. These wonderful creatures have lives that are so brief compared to ours and we have lots of lessons to learn from them. It is achey breaky sad when they go. Kind thoughts from Australia. Melissa.

  9. Ah… I’m so sorry for your loss. This post choked me up a little bit as I read it, and it made me smile along the way, too. (A very fitting tribute for a special dog like Fred.) Hugs to you, Ellie, Miss Jade, Corey, and the rest of the family…

  10. Dear Craig,
    I hadn’t visited Ellis Hollow for a long while and was very sad to learn of your loss. A great dog (or cat, or horse or___) is the best gift ever. Thank you for sharing this post with all these wonderful photographs of Fred.

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