On a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon, it seems like a good time to write a tribute.
This tribute is for Fred, a sweet Golden Retriever who was a wonderful service dog and companion to his owner, David, for over twelve years. Fred passed away this morning at the age of 14 1/2 (that's 101 in dog years). He was the oldest working service dog in Minnesota from Helping Paws.
Pets enrich all owners' lives, but for people with disabilities there is an even stronger connection with their service dogs. Fred helped David to live independently in countless ways. Fred did everything from picking things up for David to pulling off his socks at night. And, as with all service dogs, Fred's intelligence and loyalty to his owner had made him so in tune to David, that they really were a team.
To say Fred will be missed is an understatement. My thoughts and prayers go out to David, who has lost an incredible animal and friend. Fred, with his big, fluffy coat and hoarse bark (that sounded a bit like Al Pacino), made a strong presence in any room he was in. His golden face had long turned white, but his always friendly, happy demeanor lifted any gloomy day.
On this truly gloomy day, we know that Fred's presence, his unconditional love, and his companionship will be missed. What a wonderful dog...even as an elderly dog with arthritis, he was still keeping a close watch on his pal - sleeping stretched out across David's bedroom doorway every night. For years of dedication, Fred, we honor you - for not only being a wonderful friend to David, but for a service well done.