Freddo showed up on our porch a few days after the Snowpacolypse of 2010. He was terribly thin, who knows how long he'd been fending for himself. In bitterly cold weather, he slept on our front porch, curled into an impossibly tiny ball on a nest of blankets. (He refused my offer of the garage.) He'd go out hunting most nights, and because he's a hound, this involved a lot of baying, which could be distracting late at night. Two weeks into this routine, it got to be too much and Paul went out and dragged Freddo in the house, just so that we could get some sleep. Fred cowered on his tiptoes right next to the front door all night. I'm not sure he'd ever been in a house before. He was still in the same spot the next morning.
I did everything I could to find Fred a good home, i.e., one that was not ours. I was adamant that we could not handle another dog. I would tell people that we were looking for a home for Fred and they would laugh, and say it looked like he'd found one, which really ticked me off. I did not need another dog, especially not a neurotic hound afraid of everything, including motorcycles, great blue herons and horses whinnying on TV. Who never howls at less than 120 decibels, and howls often. But after six months of trying, I gave up in dispair. Not one rescue organization could help me, and I knew what would happen if I took him to the shelter.
It wasn't until Fred went missing over New Year's (an incident involving firecrackers) that we realized how much we have come to love him, and that he really is part of the family. (We finally found him eleven hours later.) Even Lexie likes him, although it took a few months and some sorting out who was alpha. Fred's the neighborhood sweetheart; people stop us on our walks to say hello to him, and tell us how handsome he is. Many extremely kindhearted neighbors claim that his howl, heard from a certain distance, sounds quite romantic, the way a train whistle does.
So what can we say about our Fred? Before he arrived, it had never occured to us that one might have a dog purely for entertainment value. Fred is the biggest clown I've ever known, everything he does is funny and over the top. He's terrible at hunting and scenting, but he loves it and puts his whole heart and soul into it. He snuffles for no reason and snores when he sleeps. He loves food, loves to nap, loves to ride in trucks, and loves lying in front of the hearth or in a patch of sunlight. He wakes up happy every day. He is our Freddo.