Freddie was a Golden Retriever who served three tours of duty under the British army before serving his final tour for the U.S. in Afghanistan in 2009. On Wednesday he lost his battle with crippling arthritis. Freddie was an older military working dog, and was nine years old at the time of his last tour. Much older than most of the other dogs, but able to run circles around them with his boundless energy.
His handler, Ryan Anderson, spent a year in Afghanistan with Freddie. As a bomb-sniffing dog, Anderson and Freddie spent a lot of time together. Many times Freddie slept in the same sleeping bag with Ryan, keeping him warm on cold nights. Freddie was always there to protect him. Freddie also protected hundreds of other soldiers, but the bond between him and Ryan was very special.
That’s why Ryan adopted Freddie after he retired from service. Freddie got out of the military a year before Ryan. The dog suffered from arthritis, which became worse over time. Ryan adopted him in 2010. In an article by Life With Dogs, Ryan said “I knew I was gonna take him home, no matter what I had to do.”
Freddie’s arthritis got progressively worse, which almost always happens. Ryan had watched his best friend in pain, and knew the time had come to say goodbye.Last week when Ryan took Freddie to his vet he couldn’t bring himself to euthanize his best friend. So he took Freddie home, returning to the vet on May 29 for his final visit. Here they said their final goodbyes, a man and his dog, as Freddie took his last breath with his master by his side.
Ryan plans to have Freddie cremated and then place his ashes in a veteran’s urn. Our thoughts are with you Ryan. Saying goodbye to a beloved dog is one of life’s toughest experiences. You served each other well.