“The Feddy Factor – Moving Forward”

     I   had been a practicing veterinarian for 16 years at the time Fred came into my life. A client who bred Australian Shepherds brought the most recent litter of pups into my office for a general exam. From the first moment I set eyes on Fred I knew something mystical had occurred. I had fallen utterly, completely and hopelessly in love. I knew in my spirit that I belonged with this puppy. It was both a marvelous as well as a scary revelation! 

      I had never before been in a position to actually choose an animal companion, as all my prior family dogs and cats had been rescued from various tragic situations. I did not immediately act on the lovestruck experience but I could not get Fred out of my mind. In fact my love only grew more intense (obsessive, actually) over the next two weeks, and I knew I had to adopt this particular puppy.

      The first night together he claimed me as his. He stood in front of me, hackles raised, looking like some peculiar variety of furry  porcupine bristling and barking at the breeze shifting through a lilac bush looming ten feet in front of us. He never took a moment’s break from his protector role in the next eleven and a half years.

During these years my pastor counseled me from time to time. As a synopsis of what we discussed in our counseling sessions he coined the phrase “The Freddy Factor” to remind me of two important spiritual principles: (1)  As unconditional and all encompassing as my love for Fred is, and vice versa…God loves me far more than I am able to love Fred. I could not love Fred more if he were my biological son, yet God loves me so much more than the limitless love I have for my boy Fred. And second,

(2) As deeply and whole heartedly as I love Fred…God loves Fred and all His animal creation far more than I am able to love Fred.

        I have always struggled with believing that God loves me, but “The Freddy Factor” taught me about God’s love through seeing the tangible unconditional and total love Fred and I shared.

       As Fred neared his eleventh birthday the unthinkable happened. He began to have mysterious symptoms of illness that neither I nor any of my colleagues could identify or alleviate. His condition worsened over the next months to the point that he was suffering so severely I had no option but to euthanize my beloved boy to ease the agony he was enduring. A very large part of me died along with Fred as I injected the solution into my darling boy’s vein.  I truly thought I would not survive losing him in this manner. He left my side on March 28 2006 but the love I have for him has only grown with each passing day. It is only in recent months that I can speak his name without tears freely flowing, and only in recent days that I am able to write about even a small fraction of our love story. This degree of healing has only occurred due to a remarkable intervention by God on my behalf through a stranger at church who has since become a precious friend.

       Approximately six months after losing Fred this stranger from my church heard about how distressed I was over Fred’s passing. Unknown to me this lovely woman began praying for me. And God began showing her glimpses of Fred in Heaven, and things about animals in eternity. She had not known either Fred or me up to that point. She knew nothing about Fred’s personality and had not even seen a picture of him. Yet God showed her many specific and individualized things about Fred that she relayed to me. God in His compassion knew I needed tangible evidence that Fred still exists even though we are temporarily separated. One of the key things God showed this dear woman about Fred was that he had done his job on earth well. Fred was given a royal reception when he entered Heaven and was told “Well done”. Recently I was told by this same person that Fred wants me to know that when I get to Heaven he can’t be with me non stop, as he has other jobs to do there!!!!  I think I can manage to share him in this manner!! This dear lady was amazed when she was shown this, as she never knew that animals had jobs, either here or in Heaven. I had not known that animals had specific jobs given to them by God either!!!!! 

        I am so very thankful for the years I had with Fred, and all the lessons his love taught me. Fred truly had a profound purpose for his life in that he took care of me throughout a long illness, and his constant and unwavering love showed me much about the purpose for my life as well. He was my protector, my comic relief, my best friend, my dogchild, my beloved son, a precious gift from God and indeed he was my other half as well. 

       I have learned to somehow go on without Fred by my side due to the lessons his love taught me that were summarized by The Freddy Factor. It is not at all easy. I am lonely for him every moment, whether awake or in fitful dreams during long restless nights. But I know that God has my boy safe in His Hands. Fred has gone on ahead of me, but we will be reunited again one fine day in God’s Kingdom where we will truly be Home for good and never again parted from one another.