Our dog Fred passed peacefully Thursday at about 7 p.m. Alix and I were there by his side, along with the amazing Dr. Mary Fluke, who had cared for him since he was a puppy. We told stories and laughed and cried like children.
He had a good last few days. We discovered right near the end that he liked tuna fish, and he must’ve eaten half a tuna’s worth. At my mama’s wise suggestion, we also fed him bacon. (When in doubt, have some bacon.) The food perked him up. Most days lately he hadn’t had enough strength to take his normal walk to the end of the block and back. But on Wednesday, he pulled us down there and then another whole block. On Thursday we took him on one last car ride. He watched out the back window as we drove him through the streets he knew so well.
After I wrote about Fred’s dying days a few weeks ago, I heard from hundreds of people all over the world. Some had stories of their own old dogs. Some had young animals they vowed to love as much as possible. Some people just wanted to say they were sorry for our loss. Alix and I are sorry, too. But also grateful.
I’m writing this Thursday night. Nearly every night for the last 14 years, one of us has let him out before we all went to bed. We’ve spent so many nights standing in the cool air on the street we love, staring at the stars, listening to one of the neighborhood owls, or just watching Fred prance around the yard and catalog all the new smells. He brought us those moments and a million more.
I didn’t know what to do tonight so I walked out in the yard and stared at the stars and thanked him again for coming into our lives.