This is in memory of my dog Fritz. He lived to be 17 years old. He was half Beagle and half Basset Hound. I got him from a friend in January 1988. He loved to hunt rabbits and chase squirrels in his prime, but he never caught any.
When my husband and I got Fritz at the age of 6 weeks old, I could not stand the thought of leaving him in the pen or on a leash that was bigger than he was. So it began, having a house dog that was supposed to be a hunting dog turn into a spoiled part time house dog that thought he ran the house. I was unable to have children and my siblings did not have any children yet, so Fritz became the Grand-dog. It was seven years before there were any grandchildren so as you can imagine, Fritz was very loved and spoiled. He was even featured in the 1999 At A Glance Calender (Tuesday February 23).
As he grew, we decided we would put him in a pen while we were at work. Bad idea! He climbed out, dug out, and chewed through the wire. Next we made him a dog run. I lost count of how many times he broke his collar, broke the run, pulled the collar over his head, or just got loose and we didn't have a clue as to how he did it. We started calling him Houdini. As much as I was against the idea, we finally put a choke collar on him and he did OK for the most part after that.
His only weakness was storms. If I couldn't get in touch with my parents to take care of him, I would have to take a little extra time on my lunch and run home and put him in the house. I dreaded coming home after a storm, because I knew he would do something terrible like chew up the mini blinds or knock over my plants while looking out the window. One time he chewed up a box into tiny pieces. I had folded up some clothes and put then in the box to take them to the Goodwill Store and the clothes were all over the floor unharmed, but I couldn't understand how he had chewed that box into tiny pieces without harming the clothes.
As he aged, his hearing and sight started going. We didn't have to use a choke collar any more because he stayed close to home. You could tell he was not doing well. He had his good days and his bad days. He could still tell time though, because every night at 9:00, I gave him his last walk till morning. As soon as my feet hit the floor, he knew it was time for his walk and he was ready to go. He loved sitting on the front porch so I leashed him out there anytime I was home.
As the days went by, I could tell he was going downhill fast. I tried not to think about it, but I knew that there might come a day when a decision would have to be made and I prayed that I wouldn't have to make a decision like that. The last day that I leashed him to the porch, I laid down on the couch to take a nap. I don't remember the weather man saying anything about rain and it didn't look cloudy at all. I must have been really tired, because I didn't hear the storm come up. It was a short storm, but it had thunder and lightening. I awoke to the phone and it was my Mom calling to remark about the storm. I told her that I had slept through it and then I remembered Fritz was leashed on the front porch. I raced to the porch and saw the he had wrapped himself around one of the pole's and jumped from the porch and then slipped his collar off. The collar wasn't very tight, so it would have come off easy. I looked everywhere and used a dog whistle and called his name. He could still hear a little, but he was not where to be found. I had two wonderful neighbors help me look for him and I walked down the pasture and into the woods for 2 hours. It was still raining, but I didn't want to give up.
Finally my next door neighbor told me that he had noticed that Fritz was really having a hard time and he looked as if he had not felt well in a while. He said that some dogs go off to be alone and die. He told me it was a blessing that I didn't have to make that decision because he knew that I didn't want Fritz to suffer on and it took a lot for a person to let go of an animal that was suffering and make that decision. It was a very hard time for me.
Seventeen years is a long time to love an animal. They feel like part of your family. I felt so bad that I had left him on the porch during the storm. I wanted him to know that he meant the world to me. He might have just been a dog but he had been with me through all the good and the bad. That unconditional love that he had for me had helped me many a day and I felt like I let him down. I wanted that last day over but I knew that things didn't work that way.
When my mom and dad found out, they came down and helped look for their Grand-dog. They loved him too, but also knew his time was drawing near. He was such a special dog and I know that there will never be another one like him.
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Your story made me cry. I am so sorry for you & your family over the way you lost your beloved Fritz, I can only imagine your heartbreak! You know that he knew how much you loved him, and you gave him 17 happy years. I hope you find solace in your happy memories, thank you for sharing your story!
My mom posted this story about Fritz. He was an awesome dog. I will never forget when I started dating and the guy came to pick me up and Fritz tried his best to bite him. He never liked the guy and my mom always said that she worried because Fritz was a pretty good judge of character. It turns out that he was spot on about this guy. The guy was a two timer and a loser. I do think that Fritz would have protected me with his life. He was really, really awesome and I loved him very much too. People always laugh when we tell them about how we learned to trust his judgment when if came to people. I am now married and have two children of my own and we did get a dog, but didn't keep him. I don't think that I will ever have the connection with another dog that I had with Fritz. He was special!
Tuff stuff for-me collie 14 yrs/corgie 14 yrs/calico 18 yrs-currently at sanctuary in oregon. Gotta remember all the good times and pictures, and eventually make a new animal friend. They are waiting to be loved. Take care
Did you ever find him? I lost a dog a few years ago and found her body a week later, she had caught her head in a metal tube and broke her neck. I looked for her every day and her sister dog found her for me. She began to circle around a brushy area and I found Lacey by a tree with her head stuck in the metal tube. She had died right away, but it was so sad. It did help me to know what had happened to her.
Thanks for sharing your special & touching story.
I came in to Fritz life near the end and he and I got along great. Even though he was an older dog he still liked to play tug of war. He was a pretty awesome dog who made am impact on a lot of people's lives. I think he knew that he was sick and his time was short, so he wandered off to the nearest hiding spot and passed away. It was for the best considering how bad his health had gotten. Nobody wants to have to make the decision to have a dog put down because of age or health but you don't want to see them suffer either. Making the choice is never easy.
This is heart breaking. My dog is going on 9 and I can imagine myself in your shoes. Only another dog owner would understand it when I say I think I love my dog as much as I do my kids. They are now adults whom I don't see or talk to every day but my dog is always there to ask for hugs. I have 2 teen Grandsons whom I seldom ever see and they never call. If I didn't have my dog and that responsibility I would be bored out of my mind, depressed, lonely and not to mention probably fat as a pig. The laughter and joy he brings in beyond anything else.
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