What can possibly be written that could do justice to all that Freddie meant to everyone who had the honor and pleasure to know and love him (they went hand-in-hand....everyone who met Fred immediately fell in love with him). Was it his warm, loving eyes, his soft velvety fur, his incredible, sweet disposition, his always wagging tail?.....it was all of those things and so much more. Freddie had a way of melting even the coldest of hearts and somehow, everyone knew they met someone very special when they met Fred. We adopted Freddie 12 and a half years ago along with his best friend, Steven. Freddie was 1.5 years old, Steve just 1, although you would never know Freddie was the older brother by the way he always let Stevie have his way. But don't be fooled, Freddie was a firecracker when he wanted to be! I learned that each pup was adopted separately from the shelter, but both were returned very shortly after. Were they troublemakers? (sometimes) Were they unable to adapt to life in a true home? (No) The simple truth is that both were great dogs, each with their own personality and quirks, but together they were an unstoppable team. They needed each other and we are so happy that we were able to give them both the loving and caring forever home they deserved....We learned very quickly how inseparable they were when I tried to rush Steven to the ER at midnight after eating something he shouldn't (the first of may shenanigans). Freddie barked and cried at the thought of being left behind and from that moment on, they went EVERYWHERE together. |
Freddie was unique in that he didn't instinctively chase tennis balls and toys like Steven and most dogs. If you tried to throw a ball to him, he would wince and run away from it. We don't know what happened in his early years to make him so afraid, but as we gained his trust he came out of his shell more and more. The day we brought him home, Freddie refused to come into the house-it took some coaxing to get him to come inside where his brother had immediately staked his claim on everything. The next morning when I tried to take them for a walk, Steve was gung-ho, but Freddie looked at me with the most petrified look in his eyes and refused to leave the house. Again, after some coaxing, he began to realize that I wasn't taking them back to the shelter-they were HOME. Freddie was funny-he walked when he pooped which always made clean-up detail that much more challenging. It wasn't unusual to have him circle the yard 3 times over before he finished. He loved to run, but due to some neurological issues that made his legs tremor even at rest, he sort of ran and hopped at the same time. Difficult to explain, but unforgettable once you saw it! Freddie had a game he liked to play with Steve-he would stand by and watch me throw a ball to Steven every morning, and after a few dozen throws, Freddie would spring into action, growl and bite at Steven's head as he ran for the ball, snatch the prize possession and play keep away from Steve. He wouldn't bring me the ball so I could throw it again, he wouldn't drop it so Steve could retrieve it. He would stand there, ball in mouth, tail wagging, and just wait for one of us to approach him-then he would take off and run away! He would finally walk up the back steps and drop the ball at the back door. Then we would start the ritual all over again. This went on every morning, for years. One of our fondest memories is when Freddie finally caught a ball when tossed to him. We showed him the ball, cheered him on-come on Fred, you can do it!!-tossed it ever-so gently at him-and he caught it!!! He was so excited and we praised him, and clapped-yay Fred!!! He was so proud, but not as proud as we were.
Once Freddie started to trust, he turned into the friendliest, most social dog I have ever known. He loved people, he loved dogs, to put it simply, Freddie loved life! He would steer us towards bus stops during our morning walks so he could get his fair share of hellos and hugs from the kids. If he saw someone walking down the street, he would stop and sniff, delaying our movement until the person was close enough to succumb to his charms and give him a proper hello. Another great accomplishment of Fred's was when he finally lifted his leg to pee. He used to stand, lock all four legs, and the pee would just fall. But one day, he sniffed at a pole, and sniffed....got into just the right position and SHAZAAM! He lifted his leg so high to pee that I thought he would fall over. It was so unexpected and such a wonderful surprise. My little sweetie, never a dull moment.
Freddie laughed and enjoyed treats while Steve received acupuncture and underwater treadmill therapy, not fully understanding why Steve didn't seem as thrilled as he was to be there. We joked that Freddie was the official greeter dog of the vet, just like the greeters at Wal-Mart. Freddie always came for moral support for Steve and to receive a boat-load of love from the Drs and techs. It was April 2013 when Freddie lost his best friend and although we had immeasurable grief, we both feared how Freddie would handle being without his best friend. We were so proud of our brave, strong little boy-he said a proper good-bye to his buddy, taking a few long sniffs at Steve's nose, then bumping Steve's nose with his, I guess the doggy version of a fist bump. Our fears soon subsided when we realized that Freddie didn't let the loss of his brother slow him down or change his view on life. He continued to be the suave charmer we all knew and loved.
Freddie has been known by many names and he gladly answered to them all, especially if you were holding a treat: Fred, Fredrick, Freddie James, Fredward, Fredjuardo (his alter-ego, the debonair ladies' man), Juardo, Buddy, Pookie Bear, Pook-Pook, Mr. Sniffie, Schnazz, and of course, Colonel McStankbutt (you can imagine how that name came to be). Freddie was a very fuzzy puppy-the German Shepard/Collie mix of fur made him quite difficult to keep tangle-free, not to mention that the sight of a brush would send him running for the hills! We would shave him for the summer, and I swear, he would lose about 30 pounds and look and act like a little puppy. People would stop me on the street and ask if I got a new dog! Our friend shaved him for us just a week ago, and it seemed to give him an extra burst of spirit and spunk. And he looked so handsome! Being so furry, Freddie loved the fall, cold weather, and of course, snow. We would sit outside for hours as he enjoyed the cold air, often getting buried in the falling flakes. I will never forget how much Freddie loved to sniff the air. His fur would rustle in the breeze and he would stick his beautiful, pointy nose in the air and just sniff-hence the names Mr. Sniffie and Schnazz. Every time I feel a cool breeze, I will miss seeing him do his ritual.
The last 2 years of Freddie's life came with some challenges. Early 2014 he started getting nose bleeds--every time I would blot his nose, he would blow as if to shake the weird feeling of the towel off his nose...which would in turn cause his nose to start bleeding again. After a few months, his neck started giving him issues, hurting so much that he could not turn his head, sit or even lay. The vet knew to have his shot of methadone ready if we ran through the door. I got very skilled at reading my Fredward and when something was bothering him. He came through surgery to remove a mass on his abdomen (thankfully benign) like a trooper, despite being 13 years old. He was such an amazing little boy! Mid-2014 his back legs started to weaken and he needed extra assistance going up and down steps---so Freddie found himself receiving acupuncture and underwater treadmill therapy as his brother had done just a few short years earlier--he now understood why Steven was not as happy to be there as Freddie had been---it wasn't just treat and socializing time---it was work! We even bought him a pool to ensure he worked his muscles between therapy sessions. But our champ was strong and did everything with a great attitude and a smile. He truly was one of the happiest pups I have ever seen.
He enjoyed our snuggle time, our quiet moments in the middle of the night where I would pat his head, kiss his nose and let him know mommy was here if he needed me. He loved daddy's special breakfasts, made just for Freddie! He would even toss his food dish (white rice and boiled chicken made special for him, sometimes with broccoli) if he thought he could get something better from daddy which of course, he usually did. Pill time was always a challenge since Freddie would take his pills in 1 thing one day, then turn his nose at it the next. The lady at the deli counter knew I would be there faithfully each week for his premium roast beef sliced thin and gourmet lite turkey breast. If those didn't work, we tried cheese filled coffee cake, cream cheese, peanut butter-all of which worked for a bit. But then, no. The one thing that always worked was pumpkin pie. I loved fall if for nothing else but the pumpkin pie and sharing it with Freddie. On our last morning together I fed him pill-filled pumpkin pie. He was happy to eat the pie, I was happy to see him take his meds. I even made him his own meatloaf, reserved for giving Freddie his pills. Nothing was cooked for our dinner that night, but all was well when Freddie took his meds. He loved his treats and in the last few years of his life he certainly let us know when he wanted one or two or ten. Daddy would stand at the treat closet and Freddie's eyes would sparkle. Tell me! Tell me! And then the loudest woo-woo you ever heard came from our tiny little Pook-Pook. It was quite comical and was always rewarded with a treat (ok, maybe 3).
We continued with underwater therapy until June 2015, when his little legs just couldn't do it anymore. He continued with laser therapy twice a week and acupuncture every other weekend which we believe kept any pain at bay. As he slowed over the past few months, our walks had shortened to the point where he could no longer walk further than the end of the driveway. The winter had been brutal with the ice and snow and his unsteady legs were too weak to go very far. Having Freddie be bedridden was just heart-breaking to watch---we kept him as comfortable and dry as possible, but a social butterfly needs to fly! So we got Freddie a cart in July and started zooming him around the neighborhood-our walks were back! The first spin in his cart was amazing. I walked him by the fields we used to walk by every day and I saw the recognition in his face--his head got a little higher, his eyes grew brighter. He was once again being showered with pets and hugs from neighbors---Freddie was a happy pup! He saw bunny rabbits and birds, other dogs looked at him with envy. I know we both missed the days when he could walk those streets and trails, but this was the next best thing we could do for him. And I would have pulled him to the ends of the earth if I could.
Sadly, on Tuesday, 8/25/15, I came home from work to find that Freddie had gone to be reunited with his brother. My dearest Freddie-I wish I would have been here for you, to give you one last hug, one last kiss. I didn't know that morning that all of my hugs and kisses would be the last ones I gave to you. I didn't know our walk was the final walk we would take together. Daddy's last words to you were what they were every day-have a good Fred day, we love you. I told you how much we loved you and said I would be back soon-God Bless you, pup. I hope we made you happy, I hope you know how very much your daddy and I love you and miss you. You gave us so much happiness and unconditional love. You will be in our hearts forever. Have fun, puppy, running and playing with Steven once again. In our hearts, we know you are together again, and with your older brother Maxwell, looking for treats and playing keep-away with the toys. Give your brothers hugs and kisses from us. Max and Steve-look out for your brother, show him the ropes, and wait for us at the bridge. We love you our precious pups.
8/25/2016: oh my sweet precious little boy----a year has passed since you left us. It's hard to believe. I've been dreading this day-reliving every moment with each tick of the clock. I wish we could do that day again----I would have stayed by your side petting your head, giving you belly rubs and showering you with kisses. I think of you everyday-I see you in every sunrise, I feel your spirit with each breeze that blows. Your daddy and I miss you so much. There is a commercial that airs that reminds me of you--it's about a man and his dog and them scratching off all the items on the dog's bucket list....the song that plays rings so true--"you're my buddy, my pal, my friend. It will be that way until the end. And wherever I go, I want you to know, you're my buddy, my pal, my friend". I pray that you are running and playing with your brothers and cousins--playing keep-away with all of the toys as only you know how to do! I know you are all looking down on us--laughing that we brought 3 rescue pups into our home. As your daddy says, we have too much love to not share it, but know they will never take your place--there is more than enough love for all of you. We love and miss you, sweetie. We hope you are at peace and that you are happy.