My Neighbour, and very good friend, Mavis, had to put her dog down today. Freddo was almost twelve, and had suffered a succession of strokes over the past three months. He had lost most of his sight, his mind was all but gone, and his legs barely held him upright. It was his time, and I’m glad he’s not in pain. But I’m also sad.
Freddo and I have been best friends since he was brought home as a pup. Whenever I would totter over the road for a cup of tea and a chat, he would great me at the door, desperate for a pat and a cuddle. When Mavis, her husband, and two boys went to Europe a couple years ago, I was charged with house-sharing with Freddo. He would wake me at 5am every morning for breakfast, bounce around like a new pup whenever I came home, and sit on my lap every night for a ‘bedtime cuddle’. He’s a greyhound cross kelpie—not exactly lapdog-sized.
As much as I adored him, him family loved him so much more. Both of Mavis’ boys have been very ill all their lives, facing operation after operation for all sorts of digestive and other stomach concerns. Mavis’s husband has suffered severe clinical depression, and she’s dealt with severed toe nerves, chronic asthma, and chronic fatigue. Through all of this, Freddo has been there for a hug, a chat, or a laugh.
Fred’s been best friend’s with the youngest boy—a kid with a genius IQ, ADHD, and an adventurous spirit—spending the days chasing him around the yard to wear off some of his energy before bed. He’s been a companion for the oldest boy after his biannual operations, patiently watching over him while he recovered. And he’s been a couch therapist for Mavis and her husband while they faced every parents’ worst nightmare—their childrens’ mortality.
As dogs go, there isn’t too many who could claim to be better than Freddo. He was an angel. Most of what I say won’t do him justice, but I think Mark Twain had some idea:
“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”
Goodbye Freddo, you will be very much missed, and very fondly remembered.