Carol and border collie Fritz

Remembering Fritz

Remembering Fritz

By Carole Blough

I adopted Fritz from LMAS in August 2009.  It was after the major rainfall that flooded much of Louisville, including the Animal Shelter that was on Manslick Rd at the time.  Fritz was one of several dogs that had to literally swim for their lives.  His entire rear end was one big mat, he was mostly brown from the sewer water he had to swim in and smelled terrible.  But I had seen his picture on the LMAS web site and had started adoption before the flood. I completed adoption on August 12, 2009. I shaved his rear end to remove the matting and gave him a bath. A vet visit was next.  He was healthy but skinny and the vet thought he was about 2 to 3 years old.

Fritz was a border collie and he had the energy that goes with the breed!  He had no manners at all.  I started some gentle work with him on leash, teaching him the basic commands.  He needed no help to play with toys.  He loved anything that had dangles and any toy that squeaked.  I had another dog, Toby, who was already a Therapy Dog but was 13 and a half years old when I adopted Fritz.  I had hopes of having Fritz become a Therapy Dog.  However, at the time I adopted him he was rather wild and it was very hard to get him to focus on commands.  He just wanted to run, chase birds and squirrels, or go to the Dog Park and try to herd the other dogs.

After two training classes and a lot of work at home, Fritz passes the WAGS evaluation on January 8, 2011.  From a wild, untrained dog, Fritz was now a therapy dog.  He took his job very seriously.  When I would get my WAGS bag out, he would stay close to it so I wouldn’t forget to take him, as if I would!

He loved to visit and was always ready for the petting, hugs, kisses and attention people gave him on visits.  He never met a person with whom he would not interact.  We visited at Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center and Central State Hospital for years.  We also visited at one of the outpatient sites for Seven County Services and through the County Attorney’s Office with children who had been abused and whose case was going to court.  He offered so much love to the children. Many times, he and the child would be under the conference table while the attorney would question the child.  We also did a lot of one-time visits to libraries, Girl Scout events, special events at nursing homes, Senior Centers, the Cancer Center, and assorted other places.

One of my best memories happened at Central State Hospital.  A woman there was terrified of dogs because she had been attacked once as a child.  She kept peeking about to corner looking at the dogs.  I finally was able to have her come and touch Fritz on his back end while I held his head.  By the end of the visit, she was sitting on the floor with Fritz in her lap.  He was so calm and loving that, for that time, she was not afraid

Fritz learned to do a lot of tricks.  He loved the applause after he would do tricks.  I could almost see the smile in his eyes after people praised him for his tricks.  As he aged, he was not able to do some of the more energetic tricks.  He developed arthritis in his hips and that limited his movements but never reduced his love for visiting and doing the tricks he was still able to do.

Covid put an end to his visiting but he gave all his love to our family.  We would have him do a few tricks and praise him and give him a treat.  That happy look in his eye was still there.  However, time took its toll and his health continued to decline.  Finally on April 30th I had to say good-bye to my best buddy and allow him to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

It left a hole in my heart to let him go but he was suffering and it was best for him.  I cannot express how much the cards and emails from WAGS members helped to fill that hole.  The messages from those who knew Fritz and from those who just know how hard it is to let a beloved friend go, have meant a lot to me over the months since Fritz left.

Thank you to everyone that sent me comfort and for reading this tribute to my buddy.

Carole Blough.  August 15, 2022