Today, I woke up with heaviness in my heart and a piercing headache from crying myself to sleep. This was the day I’ve been dreading the last couple of months, the day I would lose a part of me forever. I was prepared. I knew the reality of the situation, but I guess you could say I wasn’t ready to accept it. The selfish side of me would probably say I would never be ready to accept it. He was my best friend, the one being that gave me unconditional love at every hour of the day, expecting nothing in return, but, he was suffering too much to keep him going any longer. Today, I lost my beloved service dog, Fred.

Fred was one of the greatest gifts a girl could ever ask for, and I feel forever indebted to Canine Assistants and all of Fred’s trainers in Georgia. They have given me the best years of my life by giving me my Freddy. I can remember going to the Canine Assistants training camp thinking I was going to get this really cool IMG_5397dog that can turn on lights, and open doors, and even make the bed. What I came home with was so much more. Anyone who was lucky enough to have met Fred knows just how extraordinary he was. Sure, he’d have his moments where he’d bury the TV remote in the snow, or eat your roast beef sandwich as soon as you turned your back, or even chew on a twenty dollar bill. But, there was something special about Fred. We shared this love, this unexplainable love for each other that probably doesn’t even exist in many human-to-human interactions. Fred was my everything, and I was his everything, and, together, we formed an inseparable bond.

But, just like how all great and wonderful things end, the day had to come where Fred had to cross the rainbow bridge. It was heart-wrenching to see my boy deteriorate the way he did because, like most dog owners can probably attest to, he didn’t deserve to suffer. He didn’t deserve to go deaf, he didn’t deserve to get cloudy eyes, and he most definitely didn’t deserve to nearly lose his ability to walk. Despite his struggle in his last few weeks of life, he continued to show his loyalty to me which broke my heart even more. No matter the pain Fred was feeling, he always put my life first until the very end. As I cried my way into my room after giving Fred one more kiss this morning, he still managed to stumble across the house to give me one last goodbye.

The house seems quieter, and there’s a feeling of emptiness inside of me as I lay on the couch knowing he’s no longer with us. I already miss that sandpaper-like tongue of his, the way he’d lick my face as if he couldn’t love me more. That was the last moment we shared together. I miss the sound of his paws clicking on the floor and how he would follow me around the house, always making sure I was being taken care of. I miss his selflessness and unconditional love. I miss him so much. Tonight, I’ll go to bed wishing he was still sleeping next to me on the floor, but I’ll find comfort in knowing he’s no longer in pain. It seems impossible to imagine a world without Fred, but the memory of him will never fade. He has had my heart for 12 years, and he’ll have it for an infinity more. I love you always and forever, my Freddy boy.


To read my original post about Fred, click here.

 fred the service dog


Author: Alyssa

Chronicling my journey while teaching the world that I have SMA, but it will NEVER have me. Life's what you make it, dare to make it a remarkable one✨


  1. Thank you for sharking. This is such a warming story. I really appreciate you sharing your honest words and writing from your heart. I admire your strength and am sending you all my best wishes. I know you will remain strong through this all.

  2. I know you feel awful, because you loved Fred so much and you felt lucky to have his love, but he was also lucky to have you and your love! I can’t tell how much my heart feels heavy but not for Fred cause he is in a better place and not suffering anymore, but for you because I love you and don’t want you to hurt! I’m here if you need me! XO

  3. Fred was the best! I would agree with Auntie Sue that Fred’s guardian angel was you! Now, he will join the many who look out for you and your efforts in making this world a more loving and charitable place! Peace be with you!

  4. Alyssa – I am heartbroken for you. One of my favorite pictures – of anyone, anywhere- is the picture taken behind you as you and Fred walk down a path in the woods. Every bit of that photo captures the wonderful relationship you shared. I admire you so much for being able to capture your thoughts and write such a beautiful eulogy for Fred through your tears. Fred had to be a very special dog to have such a very special human friend. Take care.

    Mary Lyons

  5. So sorry for your loss sweetie!!! You have such wonderful memories together that you will cherish. Love you!!! Karen

  6. My dear friend and fellow alum: I know he didn’t want to leave you. I am sorry to hear about Fred. Your friend, your support, your service dog – he had so many roles. He will send another angel your way – I’m sure of it. Many hugs, kisses, and paw-holdings, with love, your mascot, Tupper.

  7. Hi Alyssa – When I told my sister of your loss, she sent me this “Dog’s Prayer.” You obviously answered Fred’s prayers throughout his life. The last lines will help you deal with your missing him so terribly.

    A Dog’s Prayer

    Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest – and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

 ~Beth Norman Harris

  8. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Alyssa. Fred was a lucky dog to have had you and I am sure you miss him terribly. I will keep you in my prayers. Sincerely, Judy Farrell

  9. Alyssa,

    I just want to extend my sincere condolences. I am guessing that Fred had a GREAT life. I know that he couldn’t have had a better, more loving family.

    God Bless,
    Stacey James

  10. What an incredible loving tribute to you beloved Fred, may you always feel him with you, they truley are our Gifts from God thank you for loving him sooooo much

  11. What an incredible loving tribute to your beloved Fred, may you always feel him with you.They truley are our Gifts from God !thank you for loving him sooooo much God bless

  12. Alyssa, I just read this. What a beautiful tribute to Fred. I am so grateful that he got to spend his life with you. He couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful life or momma.

  13. A lovely Tribute to Fred. I feel your pain though. I have lost two beautiful Weimeraners (Khan and Roman in the past year. Khan was 12 and Roman was only two. I have a beautiful Rottweiler and have just rescued a lovely 5 year old Beagle and I love them to bits but it doesn,t make my pain any easier especially at Christmas. Pets are so special. Sophie , my Rottweiler is now eleven so I know the pain of losing her is to come. They leave such a gap in your life. xx

  14. Wonderful tribute! Would you allow IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partners) to put this on the IAADP Assistance Dog Loss page on Facebook? This page is a closed group for those who have lost a dog to death or retirement or are facing those challenges soon. They have gone through our support calls and the page allows them to connect with others that understand what they are feeling. You are more than welcome to use the service as well…You do not have to be a member of IAADP to do so. If you would like more info go to IAADP.org. Thanks for your consideration…and I am so sorry for your loss. I have lost two…it is never easy!

    1. Hi Vicki, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I give you permission to post this blog on the Facebook page. I hope it helps! This was my first loss, and you’re right, it is never easy. He’ll always have a place in my heart forever.

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