BONZ: Fredo’s birthday bash benefits homeless dogs

You’ve heard your humans yapping about how busy The Season is, right? Well, it’s busy for us dogs, too! I just attended a great party hosted by Fredo Henry at his home in Orchid Island. Fredo, a Cavapoo, has lived with humans, Michele and Cliff, since he was a fluffball. He’s an outgoing Southpaw; well- traveled; knows 350 people words, all in all, a great poocheroo!

Fredo celebrated his last three birthdays with his dog buddies, and this year, for his 4th, he had this great idea.

“Honestly, Bonz, I don’t know why I didn’t think about this earlier. We all know there’s so many pooches who aren’t lucky like us. They’re homeless, hungry, scared, and worse. It’s a real problem we just don’t like to think about.”

“So true, Fredo. It’s a life we can’t even imagine. We have homes, food, humans who love us, and we take it all for granted, while so many others are suffering.”

“Thousands,” Fredo replied. “I saw on TV about dogs starving in tiny cages. It really made me think. I actually felt ashamed. Like, yesterday, I was grumpy cuz my mom wouldn’t give me an extra treat. I felt like a real Poop Bag.”

“I hear ya,” I said.

“So I thought why don’t I DO something instead of sitting around with my ears drooping. So I told Mom and Dad that, for my 4th birthday, instead of a regular party, with stuff for me, let’s do a benefit for less fortunate pooches. I mean, how many squeaky toys can one dog chew, anyway? They agreed, so we sent out the invites. They said ‘No presents!’ – just bring stuff to donate to the Humane Society.”

Seemed like every pooch in the neighborhood was there. There were tables of people food set up in front. Of course, mealtime for dogs is NOT a time for socializing, since most of us get a little, shall I say, protective of our food, so we’d all eaten before the party. Bowls of water were set out, and a nice lady with a basket passed around special dog treats, individually wrapped, for us to take home. “My mom made those her very own self,” Fredo said proudly. “There’s peanut butter in ‘em!” (My treats didn’t make it home. They were delish!)

The humans were yapping in little bunches, which kept shifting as the pooches moved around sharing wag-and-sniffs, I figure about 30 or so pooches altogether. We mostly used our non-verbal communication skills, with hardly any barking, so our conversations were wa-ay quieter than the humans’.

Fredo introduced me to his BFF, Roonie Morrison, and his humans, Bruce and Shelley. “I’m a Coton de Tulear,” Roonie said. “We’re the Royal Dogs of Madagascar. But you don’t have to bow.”

“That’s Lola Lamport and her humans, Alan and Tracy,” Fredo pointed out a little Havanese. “She’s one of my girlfriends,” he whispered, behind his paw.

Zoe Drucker bounced over with her humans, Alan and Jayne. “Hi! You’re Bonzo, right? LOVE your column! I’m a Shih Tzu/Maltese. I was 7 on Valentine’s Day! Me and Fredo are Besties!”

Berkie Lewis, an 11-year-old Havanese, was wobbly and his eyes were cloudy, but he had a big blue bow and a soft smile. “I’m just enjoying life, Bonzo. I have cancer and had chemo, but it was so hard on me that my mom, Sistie, decided to stop it. Now I’m comfortable, just appreciating each day, yapping with my friends and hanging with mom. Life’s good.”

Madam Emmy Dunlop, 7, an outgoing French Bulldog, was with her humans, Kathy and Richard. “Isn’t this too fun?” she asked. “I love life! Don’t you just love life? And I love to chase balls. Ohh, there’s one.” And off she raced.

I’d been noticing a vivacious Golden Doodle named Sunshine Viner, with her human mom, Teryl, prancing like a showhorse, yapping with everyone, her coat just glowing. (I got her number.)

A shiny brown and white Springer Spaniel, (like me) trotted over. “I’m Tiffany McLeod. I’m almost 3. This is my Mom, Lois. That Golden Doodle makes me nervous. She’s so tall. But she’s really pretty.”

“Well, you’re mighty pretty yourself,” I told her. She was, too. (Another time, another place. Sigh.)

Suki Milsten is a pint-sized Social Butterfly and a rescue Pug, adopted by her Mom, Nancy, from Pug Rescue. Suki was wearing this cute pink dress with lace and ribbons. “Mom got this at Pug Rescue. They sew ‘em to help rescue more pugs. Aren’t I pretty?”

Other guests: 2-year-old Kasey Legg, with his human, Kyle, is a rescue Border Collie/Australian Shepherd. He was a newbie, just quietly watching. Maggie O’Neill, 4, a Golden Retriever, with her dad, John, and grandparents, John and Bonnie; Ginger Watkins, 4, a Shetland Sheepdog, with her mom, Margaret; Bandit, a 10-year-old Shih Tzu, with his mom Gloria; Luca Meredith, 5, a Lagotto, with his humans, Ted and Nancy. (Nancy’s an artist who painted a pawsome portrait of Fredo.) Checkers Morton, 1, a Havanese, came with his brothers, Spanky, 9, a Cocker Spaniel mix, and Brandy, 12, a LabraDoodle, and their humans, Ken and Nan. And tons more terrific pooches.

By the end of the party, there was this 5’x5’ heap of food and other dog stuff, ready for the Humane Society to fetch, plus $1,100 in actual money. Congrats, Fredo!! See you on your 5th!

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