It is with deep sorrow that I say Goodbye to my best friend, Fred. Fred was my first dog when I stepped out into the “real world.” He was a basset hound/terrier mix that I commonly referred to as my Basset Hound with Rod Stewart hair…this is truly what he looked like. He was magnificant, and everyone who knew Fred was enamoured by him and his jolly ride through life.
I graduated from college with the longing for a furry friend, so immediately I hit the pound. As I walked through the lanes of kennels, I came upon Fred, back turned to the kennel door, head drooped low, hair sticking out everywhere. I stopped in my tracks, and he slowly turned his head around to look at me. His eyes were forelorn, incredibly saddened, and he looked at me as if to say “I’m going to die.” I immediately knew he was the one, so he came home with me, no doubt in my mind that he’d be with me forever.
Through the years Fred was my constant companion through moves, trials and tribulations, happy times, men, jobs, and even the many rescues that came through my doors. I dressed him up and caused him utter humilation, as I excitedly told him how adorable he was and snapped a zillion photos of him. He hated me at those moments, I’m most positive. He traveled to and fro with me, slept by my side, and in a nutshell, took great care of his mama.
Fred developed cancer, Lymphoma, and lasted about four weeks. He handled the move with grace and never complained. I medicated as long as it worked, but on his last day he could handle no more. I was heartbroken that I couldn’t let my veterinarian do it, either here nor in TN, and was almost angry that I had to allow a stranger to do the necessary deed. However, I have to say that they were most kind, and the vet who helped me in my goodbye was very gentle in her demeanor and heartfelt compassion. He laid there, looking at me, as if to say “It’s not much longer, is it? I’m tired.” I ressured him that in just a few short moments he’d feel 100% better, and he’d see his brothers and sisters waiting for him, big grins on their faces. He seemed to accept my comforts and trust my words and actions. He always had the most expressive eyes, and I swear we carried on conversations via those expressions. When he left, tears streaming down my face, I could almost feel him hug me and say “thank you, mom.” I think I even saw him the next morning, checking up on me to see if I was alright…the way he always did.
Fred came into my life in 1993, 2-3yrs old. He left me at 16-17yrs of age, stronger than any animal, possibly even human, that’s come into my life. I wasn’t sure how to walk away from him, for he’d always walked with me, and for a moment I couldn’t do it. It was almost as if I felt this tug back toward him for one last moment of love. Then, shortly after, I, too, felt the release, and I was able to walk away and shut the door behind me.
People say that individuals make up the bond in their head…they say that animals cannot develop the relationship with you that holds the strength of such a bond. I disagree. Call me the crazy animal lady, but those who have loved their animals so deeply, I do believe, will agree with me. They speak to us, they teach us, they comfort us, and they hold us dear to their hearts. They love us with a power that is very, very real. The good Lord put them on this earth for that reason…to love us…and he expects us to do the same in return.
Fred began the long line of pound animals that have become a part of my life. A pioneer of sorts. Fred led the way…he held the crown…he taught me the joy of a bringing a scraggily and scruffy dog into my life. This can never be replaced or taken away from me, nor the lessons I’ve learned, the love I’ve received, and the joy that encompassed my life. As I’ve said many times…we all need a Fred in our lives.
Goodbye sweet boy…I do truly love and miss you. Your forever mommy.