R.I.P. Freeda, the best dog in the world


The best dog in the entire world passed away this morning. Her name was Freeda, and, for the past 13 years, she’s lived here in Ypsilanti with me and my family. She’s been a constant in our lives ever since our friend Monica brought her to us, after finding her wondering around Southwest Detroit just after Christmas 2002, looking for food. She was here waiting for us when we brought Clementine home from the hospital 11 years ago, and she was actually right there with us seven years later when Alro was born in our living room. Our kids have never known life without her. Every single time they walked into out house, she’d be waiting by the door for them, wagging her tail. And, this morning, with all of us around her, she took her last breath.

Freeda grew up with us. While she was probably already about a year old when she first came to live with us, she still had a lot of puppy energy. She drove us nuts those first few years, eating dozens of shoes and terrorizing the cats. But, with age, she became a calm and steady companion that we could count on to take over parenting duties when we needed a break. As Linette wrote this afternoon in a note to friends, “Freeda was a feisty puppy who aged into a sweet and gentle old lady.” And it was a pleasure watching her as she calmed down and her snout turned grey. As much as I loved her as a puppy, I think that’s when I really started to appreciate her, when we could just sit by the river and talk.

Freeda had been living with cancer for the past year, and it finally just became too much. The tumors in her lungs were making it difficult for her to breathe, and she wasn’t enjoying life like she once did. While we were still taking our day walks, they were getting shorter, and she was falling more often. She was sweet and beautiful right up to the end though, putting up with the kids climbing over her, and the new puppy, who was always trying to insinuate herself.

freedacouchI thought that I was done crying, but then, just now, I started going back trough this site’s archives, reading about how she used to lick my ankles as I wrote, back in the early days of this blog. And now I’m crying again.

[note: The photo at the very top of the page was taken yesterday, as Freeda and I sat on the sidewalk and talked. The second photo was taken shortly after she came to live with Linette and me.]

Speaking of this site’s archives, here, from December 31, 2002, is a clip from the post about the days Freeda came to live with us.


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  1. Demetrius
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    My best wishes to you and your family.

  2. grandma
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Goodbye sweet, Freeda. She was a lucky dog to have found your home and you were a lucky family to have found her. She will be truly missed. Hugs and kisses to you all – enjoy the memories!! xooxooxoxo

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I still miss all my dogs who have gone away. They are such a daily presence; the absence is more notable. I’m sorry Mark. She had a good run.

  4. blueeyedpupil
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good bye so hard. Winnie the Pooh

  5. Taco Farts
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Sorry for your loss Mark (and family). I’m sure it was a great and full time with you.

  6. Lynne
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Aw, so sorry. I too, have a great appreciation for older dogs. They are always gone too soon though.

  7. (the original) Robert
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I am very sorry about Freeda’s passing. She lived a good life surrounded by people who loved her. For that, she was also one of the luckiest dogs in the world.

  8. kjc
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    So sorry to hear this. RIP Freeda.

    (great news about the new venture. just saw it.)

  9. Posted March 16, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh I’m so sorry! It is a unique and piercing pain. I wish I better understood why they live shorter lives than we do, but the best I can do is quote something I read elsewhere that said dogs live shorter lives to give humans the chance to love more of them. I’m not sure I’m okay with that, but it’ll do.

  10. Posted March 16, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your comments. It’s nice to know that people are out there who can sympathize.

  11. Posted March 17, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Monica, the friend who first brought Freeda into our lives, just sent me the following photo, which must have been taken very near the beginning.


  12. Amy Sacksteder
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Mark, I didn’t know Freeda, but I drove by you walking her the other day with Arlo following on his scooter or strider. I thought “what a sweet dog”. You all gave each other a beautiful life.

  13. Jay Steichmann
    Posted March 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Our condolences, Mark. She does seem like she was a sweet old lady. I’m happy for your kids that they’ve known her their entire lives, although that can’t be easy for them right now.

    We’re confirmed dog people, too, with an octogenarian (almost 14) and a teenager (3 years old) who tries her patience daily.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] it’s probably a good thing for a kid to see. The same thing crossed my mind a few days ago when we put down Freeda, and they watched me crying uncontrollably. I thought, “It’s probably good that […]

  2. By Burying Freeda’s ashes on April 24, 2016 at 7:53 am

    […] been a few weeks now since our old dog Freeda died, and the kids and I decided yesterday morning that the time had come to dig a hole in the back […]

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