My memories from childhood all seem to include one of the many pets who were a part of our family over the years. One of my earliest is of sitting in my grandpa’s lap watching my uncle’s cat give birth. She had seven little squirmy blobs I immediately fell in love with. There was always a cat or dog ready to cuddle up at night and chase away the monsters under the bed.
The day I realized not everyone considered animals to be just like people I was heartbroken. I remember seeing a man kick a dog making it cry out in pain. I became so upset and started crying. One of my older cousins was confused by my reaction because to him it was “just a dumb dog”, but not to me. I thought that anything that can feel pain should never be subjected to it, and to be honest, that’s how I feel to this day. It’s what I hope I passed on to my children.
When my husband and I started spending time together it didn’t take him long to discover my first love. It also didn’t take me long to find out he didn’t have the same depth of emotion for our four legged fury friends. He learned to tolerate having pets in the house and to even like our first cat, Cleopatra. Over time I began to see him change a little bit with each new animal that came into our lives. And then came Fred.
He was six months old when he and his sister were taken to the animal shelter because their owners couldn’t handle them and their small children. Sad, but I’m glad they made the decision to let them find more suitable homes. The little girl was adopted quickly leaving her brother all alone. Fate stepped in that day and guided my husband to visit a friend who worked at the same shelter, where he found his new best friend. Those big brown eyes and soft floppy ears won over the whole family at first sight but the change in my husband really touched my heart. He started out as a sweet innocent puppy but quickly became “The Buddy Fred” who could do no wrong. Fred could get on the furniture, sleep in our room, run in and out of the house and all the other stuff previous pets had been forbidden. He was even allowed to ride in the truck. I was amazed at how much he loved this dog from the minute he saw his sad face looking up at him from the shelter cage and trust me, the feeling is mutual. Fred does not like to share his daddy and is not afraid to use his big paws to push away anyone who gets too close.
I am happy to report that six years later the Buddy Fred is still going strong and now has a little sister who has my hubby wrapped around her furry paw. Having Fred in our lives made it possible for him to open his heart to other animals who need our help and deserve to be loved. I’m so thankful for the sweet, goofy, loving, adorable little hound that came into our lives and led my husband into the pet parent universe without a backward glance. He even wants to get another basset hound one day – a tiny little puppy to love, cherish and spoil rotten like the rest of our furry clan.