RIP Freddie.

I can’t explain how utterly upsetting it is to write this. Today, while I rubbed Freddie’s ear, we put him to sleep. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. I wanted to write sooner rather than later because it’s very important to me that I say thank you. Thank you to everyone who commented on this post. Thank you to Freddie’s puppy walker. Thanks to Irish guide dogs for giving me a guide dog that is simply one of a kind. Thank you most of all to the family who took him during his retirement. I know it only lasted two years but wow he had an amazing two years. I seriously can’t express enough how grateful I am for the way they treated Freddie. It was actually my father who really confirmed it last week when he got to see Freddie for the first time in his new home. He said that the best decision I could have made was sending him to that particular family. It is simply amazing how much they cared for him. I could never have asked for anything more. The more I visited Freddie the more I noticed their attachment grow.

For me, and I know for everyone with a guide dog, one of the hardest things is that day when you hand over the dog. It’s not like turning off a light switch. You have taken care of the dog and equally, the dog has taken care of you. That bond isn’t one that’s easily broken. That was actually very evident tonight. Even though Freddie could hardly move, he still found the energy to look up at me for assurance when the vet was shaving his paw. When Mark told me, in a funny way I knew that I was meant to be there. Not being there for the end would have been simply wrong.

That’s really the only reason I wanted to write. I just wanted to thank everyone. I am finding it a great comfort to recognise that Freddie has been incredibly lucky. Just think about it. He had a brilliant puppy walker, Ok, he had to put up with me but still, he travelled a lot and experienced a lot more than any other dog I have encountered. Then to top it all off, he lived with a fantastic family in a lovely area. I couldn’t ask for any more. When it was his turn to move on, he did it just like he did everything else in life. With speed. Within a very short space of time he rapidly declined. I think that’s much better than a prolonged illness. It meant that up to two weeks ago, he still had his normal character.

The post I wrote on the day of Freddie’s retirement to say thanks is here.

7 Responses to RIP Freddie.

  1. Darragh, the two posts are a great tribute to a true friend. I only met Freddie the once but in that short time I could see that he was a great dog that loved his job and took great pride in it. One of the hardest things in the world is to be with your canine friend as he sets out on his final journey. You and Freddie are in my thoughts.

  2. Freddie had a great life, and it was nice that he didn’t suffer long in the end. Putting a dog to sleep is horrible, but there’s something that makes you want to be there too. Thinking about you today.

  3. I must admit to a small degree I encouraged you to be there with him. I have not gone through that experience myself yet but something in my head told me that as upsetting as it may be for you it would be nice for you to be with him. I never saw you as a particularly dog loving person before you got Freddie and you know I was surprised when you told me you were heading to Cork but from the time that dog started working with you things changed. The two of you formed a fantastically wonderful bond with each other. He always did what you asked of him and he would have done more. You respected each other and all he needed was your assurance and everything else didn’t matter to him. As I told you in the past few days, Freddie obviously decided that he had done enough and that he was ready now to go. This is a tough time for you and indeed Emma but always know that you gave him the best care and attention that you could. I know I will have to face this all myself with Ralph at some stage and at the moment the retiring process is upsetting enough for me but take care and rest in peace Freddie.

  4. Avatar Dominique
    Dominique says:

    Darragh I would just like to echo others heartfelt sentiments and to irriterate that I’m thinking of you. What an amazing dog, and a beautiful fitting tribute to him with this post as well as the retirement one. Nobody really knows the unique and strong bond that is established between their dog, it’s an unbelievable feeling of immense pride, admiration and trust and forms such a friendship of sheer love and a sence of immense freedom and independence as well as the most wonderful companionship that is second to none and only their owner will really ever know. You can rest in piece now Freddie knowing that your work is truly done and recognised by all who had the pleasure of knowing you.

  5. You made me cry – again! The last time that happened was your goodbye post to Freddie. He was a lovely dog, and I’m glad that I had several opportunities to meet him over the years.

  6. We were so sad when Nicola told us that Freddie had to go to his kennel in heaven. All I can say is we were so lucky to have minded him ( or should I say he minded us ) for a few weeks while the family were on holidays. The memory of his stay with us will be remembered for as long as we live as being a beautiful experience. Freddie was a unique dog he was so understanding it was almost as if he knew how you were feeling and always offered his head on your lap to soothe away your problems .We will miss him.
    Greg & Norah

  7. Darragh, I’m so sorry to hear of Freddie’s passing. Losing a pet is heartbreaking, but I would imagine that losing a guide dog is far worse. You, Emma and Freddie are all in my prayers. <3