Much of Fred’s Legacy lies in his pawtobiographical journals written under the pseudonym Ted Terrier with human sister pen-name Emma Knight, and called simply ‘The Journal of Ted Terrier’ and ‘The Second Journal of Ted Terrier’.
However those are from his POV and also part fiction so I wanted to write this from my, his real human sister’s, POV. This ‘memoir’ is a collection of my unedited, non-fictionalised, memories of the Dearest Dog ever to have walked by my side; my furry brother and bestest FRiEnD Fred.
When I think of Fred the first memory that strikes me is of him sitting on my lap and throwing his head back to look at my face. He always wanted to know how his humans were feeling and the best way for a dog to do that – I have since learned – is to read your face. I believe Fred could pick feelings up anyway… and then he always knew how to be with you… he was the best therapist.
The next as I sit here in the living-room of his home – the room in which we first met, is Fred and what became his armchair. Over the 15 years of his life the seat has sunk maybe reflecting how he couldn’t jump up so high as he got older and so it seemed to adapt so he could still get on and curl up in it. For many years though he watched the world go by with back paws on the arm of the chair and front on the windowsill – tail ready to wag and mouth ready to bark a greeting, eyes and ears alert. He’d be there for hours and several neighbours have told me they loved to see him there and gave him a wave. He always wanted to be able to watch his visitors leave too so would go up when someone had left…
And when they arrived Fred’s welcome was effusive! It involved a great deal of dashing around the house, running off and back, lots of tail wagging and kissing and hugs – he loved to hug!
FRED made FRiEnDs very easily be it in his e-life, his neighbourhood or with anyone visiting his home.
Fred was the perfect host providing fully attentive company and entertainment. He’d love to join in the consumption of food! And if you just so happened to have a spare bone (not poultry of course) he’d happily oblige taking it away and chewing it on the nearest carpet. Mince always went down very well too. And as a puppy slippers and shoes, especially the laces.
Fred always wanted to be with his humans. He’d follow us round wherever we went and then, as soon as he’d worked out where you were going to sit, he’d have jumped up and sat on the seat before you. Care needed to be taken not to sit on him! He’d laugh with you if you did though. If two of his humans were sitting on the sofa with him, he had to be the one in between getting all the attention.
Fred the escapee used to squeeze through holes in fences and visit the neighbours. They loved him and would never want to send him back home. But the time would come for the visit to end and unless Fred came back himself, many times the doorbell went and we opened to reveal Fred in a friendly neighbour’s arms. When one of us left the home he used to bolt out past the offender heading down to where our cars were parked wanting to come too. Sometimes he would. He loved car-rides especially long ones down going on holiday to the countryside.
When his care could not quite be enough – paws do make certain care tasks very challenging - Fred attracted other humans to his home. His human family needed support and one day Fred was walking out with a home-help. A lady saw him and came to the house asking if anyone in the home needed help. She then helped for several years.
Fred made everyone love him – even those who previously hated dogs!
And Fred adored humans but didn’t like his own species!
Fred loved chasing and pestering cats and had a love/hate relationship with his feline sister Brody.
Fred created games to play with his humans and was such a tease. One involved going out for a wander in the garden at the back of the house, disappearing and then barking outside the front door to be let in. Another trying to get through his humans legs to run upstairs when the stair-gate was open – he’d wait though and time it just right when you thought he wouldn’t actually do it.
Fred had very specific and special relationships with each of his humans. With his human dad he really enjoyed helping with the gardening. And whether sitting or lying down, the pose he struck was so often identical to Dad’s.
Fred ended a period of my writer’s block and so inspired what all my friends say is my best creativity! Together we have written the factional Journals of Ted Terrier. He also loved to take me for walks – and yes it really was that way around - his ears bouncing along way ahead as I tried to keep up laughing all the way. Fred the healer knew how to sit on my lap so that his bum applied warmth and pressure to my bad thigh easing the pain a great deal. We enjoyed the best ever hugs!
Fred was very gentle with his human mum. He provided the most caring and supportive presence for her. The love he showed to members of his human family had no limits.
Fred loved to take himself for walks when there were no humans available – the handle of his lead is covered in toothmarks as testament.
Fred was able to bring out emotion in those usually unemotional. He sensed everybody and what they needed.
And Fred trained us to meet his needs too. When his back legs were paralysed he barked requests to us – ‘Lift me on the sofa’, ‘Lift me off the sofa’, ‘Take me upstairs’, ‘Take me downstairs’, ‘Food and water’!
Fred was a ginormous presence out of all proportion with his size! His absence is keenly felt in so many ways. This home really was his home and he was master of the house.
Fred enjoyed bed-hopping. During the night he would go to each of our bedrooms in turn and spend the night sleeping next to, under or even on the bed. I left my bedroom door open every night. In he’d come tail wagging and a great big smile on his face. Up he’d come for cuddles and to somehow leave me no space to sleep, which is odd given how small he was!
Younger Fred had great passion for… the legs of male humans… and failing that my arm. He could only be stopped by calling him Jack! In relation to his own species he was a virgin.
Fred adored Babybel cheese. It would send him into a frenzy of excitement. It did come in handy for helping to give him his pills til he got wise to the trick. In fact he was so clever he got wise to most tricks!
Fred has a foot fetish! He absolutely loved licking them, especially his human dad’s.
And I had a fetish for his velvety ears. I loved to stroke and kiss them.
As much as Fred was a typical ball dog, he would play with any toy presented to him. Unfortunately that usually meant catching and destroying rather than returning. However most people said they’d rather have Fred than the toy.
For the vast majority of his life Fred was manic and bouncy. Later his body was calmer but he always had the energy to greet his humans and give them love. I will never forget coming home from hospital on crutches - just a few weeks before he passed away - Fred’s back legs hardly worked. Yet then, and also on his penultimate day on this earth, he got himself to the door surprisingly quickly and gave me the most enthusiastic greeting he could muster. He then turned and hopped up the step into the house pulling himself up with front legs. I followed pulling myself up on crutches. Like a little double-act. Better with two :)