Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Bichon Frise Turned 20 Years Old - Meet my Fred - The Oldest Living 'Confirmed' Bichon Frise in the USA Today!

<> Fred died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday morning, March 25, 2012. He was buried Sunday evening with all the love and grace and honor that such a wonderful life companion deserves.

"We do have another current report of a 20 year old Bichon," and "we have heard of a few that may have reached 20 but their owners never sent confirmation of date of birth.  I suspect those that are supposed to have gone beyond 20 are VERY few and far between." (Feb 1, 2012, Anne at

Forever Fred the Wonder and Pumpkin, Jan. 2012

We managed to escape the ranch for a week on a last minute trip down to Port Mansfield, Texas.  The weather was so mild it was flat hot some days.  Of course we took Fred, my elderly Bichon Frise, along for the trip, and that warm weather seemed to do wonders for his old arthritic bones.  He woke up Christmas morning unable to walk because of some new problem with his right rear leg.  His lower vertebrae are all fused together, a solid mass of bone per the vet.  By the time we got back from Port he was walking good stretches on his own and managing turns as well.  I figured out a way to walk him after Christmas.  I put a leash under him and in front of his rear legs, and support him lightly with both ends of the leash.  It works remarkably well. 

Some of you know Fred from the early days when he was agile and manageable to travel to association meetings and sales.  The past few years that's not been the case, and so I've missed a lot of events out of consideration for my little Fred.  Seems silly to most people, of that I am certain.  But, we do what we do.  Fred turned 20 years old on October 28th, 1991.  I finally contacted the AKC to double check the year of birth, as I'd been thinking he turned 20 last year, but my old memory was off by one Christmas.

Freddie Boy, my 20 year old Bichon Frise, Christmas 2011
Click this link for a video of Fred on Christmas
Fred was a Christmas present for me, and he arrived on Christmas Eve 1991, a bundle of rolly polly joy from the day he arrived, and he loves me madly like I'll never be loved again.  Unfortunately, for quite some time now I rarely get a full nights sleep, or even a stretch of sleep for more than 3 hours, because only his Mom can seem to make him happy and figure out just what it is he needs - food, water, or just me to hold him until he goes back to sleep.  It's not something you think about when you get a pup, that he'll live to be a crotchety old fart that needs constant attention - and believe me it is tiresome and really wearing me down.

Freddie Boy on New Years Day 2012
Click this link for a video from New Years
There are good days for him still, for us all, like New Years Day.  He really enjoyed being outside and just hanging out in the mild weather.  This past summer was so brutal that it was the very rare event that he ever ventured outside, he can't tolerate the heat anymore, or for that matter real cold weather either.  Last September when the weather finally turned mild I brought him outside with me for a while.  I was very happy to see him interested in exploring and sniffing and just enjoying himself out of the house. 

Pumpkin the cat has a thing for Fred, she always likes to say hello to him, tries to get him to interact with her.  It's kind of strange.  Pumpkin gets along with absolutely none of the other cats on the place - once she raised her kittens she was quite done with tolerating them and considers herself very important around here.  This is a video of Fred and Pumpkin in September 2011:

One of these days I'm going to get a scanner so I can scan in some of his old photos - he was quite the cute Bichon pup and the handsome all grown up Bichon as well.  I can't imagine there are very many Bichon Frise's that have made it to 20 years and beyond, so I figure he deserves a little recognition out there for his stubborn survival of 2 decades.

And it really has been a miraculous survival.  He has had so many brushes with death it is mind boggling.  Let's see how many I can recall in order . . .

. . . . . He was deliberately run over by a young punk when he was real young and we were down in Port Mansfield.  He had gotten out of the yard and was standing in the middle of the road and the kid drove straight over him, while I'm running from the yard and screaming my head off at him to stop.  Fred was still standing there after the car passed over him, just fine except for a greasy streak across his back.

. . . . . He was attacked by a vicious and big Cocker Spaniel while he was on a long lead staked out in the front yard at Port.  The dog probably would have killed him were it not for a Labrador retriever named 'Bear' that was Fred's bud from down the street.  Bear heard the ruckus and showed up and attacked the cocker spaniel who ran off with his tail between his legs.  The cocker managed to completely shatter the brand new juvenile cataract in one of Fred's eyes - so it was a pretty rough attack.

. . . . . He jumped off the deck of our fishing cabin and landed in the water instead of the boat he was aiming for.  I was cooking inside and that sixth sense kicked in and I ran outside and there he was paddling for all he was worth in the Laguna Madre - staying like a miracle right there by the boat despite the current that should have carried him away. 

 . . . . . He survived a high speed, high impact rollover accident, along with me, that should have killed us both.  He was literally standing on all four feet after having been tossed through the window on the last roll.  We did lose our Ginger, and Fred howled in grief for her for many years.

. . . . . He fell about 20 feet from a porch to the concrete below and a little bitty BBQ pit broke his fall, and a tooth.  He went in to shock and almost died from that but for a very good vet in Beaumont.  Miraculously he only had a chipped tooth from the fall.

. . . . . He managed to walk the cattle guard and all the way across the front pasture and through the barbed wire fence and into the middle of the highway.  This was early one morning and poor Fred had been forgotten about after being put outside to do his business.  He was saved from sure death by a young family who left their camp on the lake early that Sunday morning to head home in time to go to church.  They stopped and picked him up.  It was a few hours before we found him -- he was at the police station in Woodville having a fried egg with the local cops for breakfast.

. . . . . He was snatched from my doorway by a visiting Rottweiler, literally snatched from where he stood at my feet.  His head was completely in the Rott's mouth and he was being swung back and forth, back and forth.  My Mom saved him from the Rott.  She threw herself on the dog and he dropped Fred.  All Fred had were two slits on either side of his neck that somehow managed to not hit major veins, and the shaking didn't break his neck or hardly even hurt him at all - the vet said he was indeed one lucky dog.

. . . . . He fell that same about 20 feet from the living room floor and straight down, glanced off the bottom stair we think, and hit the floor. We keep the upper stair railings roped off as they are widely spaced, something came undone and we hadn't noticed.  Anyway, Fred the Wonder Dog screamed on that fall, but didn't go into shock, and didn't break any bones or chip any teeth.

Just having problems with his lower back after all these accidents isn't so bad . . .

Forever Fred the Wonder, Born 10-28-91, AKC Registered Bichon Frise
Pictured here at 19 years old in June 2011 -
Lots of Napping may be the key to Longevity!