how do i try to put my memories of Freddy into words? he was, like all our baby's a hard luck case. he'd been abandoned 4 times before we took him. he was never fostered and had the worst case of separation anxiety i'd ever seen. i couldn't even go to the bathroom at 1st without him freaking out. the 1st couple of months were the ultimate test of our commitment and patience. a refrigerator destroyed, furniture destroyed and messes on top of messes. not to mention very little sleep. he would cram in between us and lick the sheets and pillows till they were soaked with drool.
he met our cats and he was nice to them, they sniffed noses and the cats walked away (they were used to chuck who didn't bother them) but Freddy followed until the cats had enough and hid from him in the basement. it took him about a month to turn the cat door into a dog door (the cat food being on the top landing of the steps may have motivated him too) it took 2 years until Lulu would come downstairs in daylight and 5 years until Bones would (Garfield and Stevie avoided him for a few days and said "to hell with this it's MY house" and established themselves. turns out once Fred got used to a cat they became boring and he left them be. but when they ran from him it was his favorite game.
there was no gate or barrier he couldn't defeat. we started referring to him as " the evil genius" some of his escapes from the kitchen or bedroom were so mind numbing they were actually funny... and are among our fondest memories of him
we sat down one night and made it official, we would not give up on him or ever give him up. we knew we were his last chance and in between all the destruction and howling and the cleaning up there was pure unadulterated love. he loved us so fiercely that just going upstairs without him put him in a panic. one night i stopped off at the store and saw dogbeds, i thought he might like one. nothing could prepare me for his reaction. the second i came through the door he saw the bed and started jumping up and down trying to pull it to the floor. i'd never seen such happiness in a dog over something he couldn't eat.
as time passed and he calmed a bit (he never got over the anxiety all the way) we were able to settle into a more "normal" routine. we bought him squeaky toys (which he ate) and then a pull rope (which he shredded in a week) until we hit pay dirt. a squeaky bone made out of tennis balls. he loved them and it took months for him to destroy them. he would run up to us on the couch and flop that thing in our lap, he loved to play fetch in the living room! or his new pull rope (we got one intended for rottweilers lol)so he could play tug of war. he was happy, but he was never healthy.
when i 1st walked him at the shelter i noticed a "giddy up" in his gait. i asked them about it and told me he had some "bumps and bruises" and that he was 2 years old. on his 1st vet visit we learned his "bumps and bruises" were in fact torn ligaments in his hind leg. she said he wouldn't live to see 10 years old... and that he was at least 7 already. we were advised not to take him for walks it would be hard on his leg. still he got around just fine, he looked like an old man trying to climb the steps but he managed ok. after a couple years he developed a large fatty tumor on his side, but we were told it was harmless as long as the hair didn't fall out and it didn't change color. the fee for removing it was out of our budget by a lot.
a couple years ago Fred started having real difficulty walking. we talked to a few people and got the idea of giving him glucosamine treats. the difference was incredible, not only did he walk better he was able to climb the steps again as well as on the bed and couch (he loved laying on the couch) so on we went, watching him but satisfied he was out of the woods. this past year the treats became less effective, i had to help him up the stairs (carrying him was never an option he HATED being picked up) and he started to have great difficulty getting around. my wife found special canned food for older dogs with "hip problems" (more glucosamine)and it helped a lot (didn't hurt his appetite which had become sketchy either)and on we went.
we never expected him to live through last winter, but he kept bouncing back. the past couple of months it had become apparent that he was on borrowed time. he struggled to sit down or get back up, and other problems became apparent. he was going blind and couldn't hear well. if he dropped a dog biscuit i sometimes had to pick it up and give it back to him. he started going to the wrong side of the door when we took him out. we had decided that so long as he could walk and was happy and not suffering we would deal with his other age problems. constant pooping and peeing in the house (when he'd pee outside he'd wag his tail because he knew he was good), taking half an hour to go up to bed because he didn't want to do the stairs (even with daddy's help) it didn't matter. perhaps we (in that i mean me) were a bit selfish but he always seemed happy.
4 days ago i was about to go to bed and he got up to follow me out. he stopped in the living room and squatted and jetted liquid diarrhea on the carpet. the hershey squirts weren't a new thing with freddy his treats caused it every now and then but this was different. it was pure liquid, but we went about our normal remedy, my wife boiled chicken and rice for him and the next day his poop was more like pudding. that night i took him out and he pooped on the walk right outside the door (he usually just about made it out the door to pee or poop)and it was lighter in color, and i saw the blood. it was dripping from his butt. i cleaned him up and called my wife at work. this was late Christmas eve, going to the vet at that hour wasn't going to happen. later he pooped in the living room (i didn't see it happen) and i found a piece of plastic in the puddle. we'll never know if he ate a pen or if it even came from him. we decided to get him to the vet on Monday only because it was Christmas and who's open on Christmas?
Christmas morning our bathroom looked like a murder scene, there was blood everywhere, as well as on his pee pads in the bedroom. when he laid down poop and blood just leaked out of him. i considered staying home with him but decided to spend the day with my family who i see so seldom. i'll never forgive myself, we came home to find fred's leg had given out. he was lying in a puddle of his own poop (the bleeding was much less at this point but still there)he tried to stand but couldn't. we cleaned him up as best we could and i tried to help him up. after a few shambling crooked steps across the room i realized his bad leg was tucked up and he didn't have the strength to walk on 3. i had to work at 5AM so my wife spent the night downstairs with him. we took him to the vet immediately after work but we already knew he wasn't coming home. he died in my arms at 12:30 in the afternoon.
freddy had a bigger than life personality, anyone who came to the door was greeted by it. most of our mailcarriers were terrified of him! except the most recent one she adores him. i'll have to tell her when the mail comes today. if he was being bad and did not feel he was (i.e. eating the cat food), and you scolded him he'd follow you around yelling at you as only a beagle can. all these years we never had a cat who liked him (much) until recently we took in a pregnant cat our former neighbors abandoned. we couldn't keep her (fear not we found her a nice home out of the city) but we did keep 2 of the 5 kittens. Tigger didn't just like Fred he LOVED him. he would curl up and sleep with him and Freddy even shared his food with him (not at 1st mind you). it's irony that once freddy finally found a furry friend his life would end. Tigger is only 5 months old i hope he doesn't understand. Garfield does though, even though he acted otherwise he liked freddy too he just rarely showed it. he's been at the door for the past hour, which wouldn't be unusual except the door is closed.
Fred beat the vets prediction and lived to be a happy, sweet 15 year old pup.
i could never really tell Fred's story in a few paragraphs or even communicate what kind of dog he was. we poured all our love into him and he's taken a large piece of our hearts with him.
i miss you damnit.... so much