Freddy Kay. He was always the first thing I missed about home. He fit perfectly inside my arms in the way that made him do that low, rumbly growl as I’d bury my face in his old-man beard. He was so tolerant of my hugs.
Freddy was smart and stubborn, loving and loud. He knew who his people were and was fiercely loyal to them. He spent half of his life positioning himself strategically around the house so that he could keep a watchful eye on everyone’s activities. If that spot coincided with a sunny place on the floor, well that was just pure puppy gold. Freddy always greeted people loudly, and was only ever at peace when all of us were in the same room (preferably the living room so he could snuggle onto the couch).
Our first Thanksgiving with Freddy, my mom picked him up Lion King-style to bring him to the empty dinner table as we talked over half-empty glasses of tea after the meal. As she entered the dining room, Johnny yelled out “he’s peeing, he’s peeing!” and the horrified look on my mother’s face was enough to make me laugh even now. He wasn’t actually peeing, but in her defense, it was entirely likely that puppy Fred would’ve done that. He took quite some time to house train – mostly because we spoiled him shamelessly.
Freddy went on to prove his cleverness when, at the ripe age of six, he learned how to shake hands in a single day, taught by a stranger, no less. The things that dog wouldn’t do for a peanut butter treat are limited. He saw me off to junior and senior prom. He waited by the back door every school day for John to come home. His face was the first thing I kissed on the morning of my wedding, and he sat with me while I got ready, as if he could feel my nerves and wanted to help. He tortured my puppy girl for the entire time she was in his house, showing his disgruntled hiney to her whenever she tried to play. He loved my mother with complete devotion, and was secretly Johnny’s best friend. He was faithful and lovable and a little on the hefty side.
And now he’s in puppy heaven, hopefully with his own place so he can be the alpha dog, and somewhere with an unlimited supply of kashi bars and bacon. He was a good boy, and will be sorely missed.