Sunday, September 30, 2007


Nine years ago I brought home a six week old German Shepherd. We named him “Chopper”. My wife did not want a dog and for a while domestic tranquility was suspended, but it took only one day and she fell in love with Chopper. Now if you are not a dog (or animal) lover you will never understand how an animal can become a part of your family.

We tend to assign them anthropomorphic thoughts and emotions, and they become an outlet for our need for unconditional love. A dog greets you without question, his affection is constant when you are broke or just inherited millions. He is the object of your children’s love and with that relationship they learn to care. The children learn compassion and concern when the dog is sick, and they learn to share with the dog.

I realize dogs are animals, but there are many attributes about a family pet that can be used to teach about God’s love and our response. Needless to say we are heartbroken about Chopper, especially my wife and youngest son. Providentially in July, I had purchased another German Shepherd puppy named Rudy (Notre Dame). Again my wife was totally against it but I knew that when Chopper died I would not desire another dog so my thought process was that in 3-4 years Rudy would be grown and be there when Chopper died. I had no idea that Chopper would be healthy one day and put to sleep the next.

On Saturday morning as I prepared to take Chopper and Rudy to a scheduled check up I noticed Chopper was listless and with no appetite. After a days worth of tests in two animal hospitals he had deteriorated with inoperable cancer and was bleeding internally. He was put to sleep at 6:00 PM this past Saturday while in my oldest son’s arms, the rest of the family could not bear to be there. I usually do not share things like this but please pray for us and especially my wife. And is this how God feels when someone dies without Christ?

I do believe Rudy will begin to help us heal.


David (Ricks youngest son) said...

Chopper was not only just an animal but a best friend. We never saw him as a animal but as member of the family. Whenever my dad was out of town on business and I slept in my mothers room. Chopper and I spent many nights fighting over who got the bed and alot of times he wouldnt even let me near the bed. Whenever i expected my mother to help me should would say " leave chopper alone". That should give you a sense of where he ranked in our family tree haha. Soon after my 80 year old grandmother had a stroke back in 1997, chopper some how made a great escape through tom ( if you have ever soon the great escape you will get that). Subsequently no one was home at the time except my grandmother. Now try to imagine if you will a 80 year old lady recovering from a stroke chasing a dog around the neighborhood yelling "some one help get my dog". Now if that isnt love im not sure what is. We loved chopper with all our heart. Most of my memborable life was with chopper we got him when i had just turned 9. Remembering the pre-chopper days is almost impossible. I feel as if i have lost a brother. Chopper holds a special place in all our hearts and we will never ever forget him. We will always remeber the good times with chopper because honestly thats all there was..... good times.

Jonathan Frueh said...

Chopper was a great pet and the whole family will never regret having him or the way we treated him(he was treated better than most humans are). I am the one who picked Chopper out of the litter and I was the one who held him as he was put to sleep. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. As I got in the car to go home my mind started to turn. It was a quiet ride home and between the hospital and home I felt guilty. Not about Chopper you see, but about how my mind is set. I cried like a baby when chopper was in my arms, but what about eternity. Eternity you ask...I had a vision as I was driving home of an African mother with her dying son in her arms. Oh how disgustingly selfish I am. Yes I loved Chopper, but my heart doesn't bleed about people dying as it should. There is a husband and wife standing over a bed in a childrens hospital as they watch their child become a victim of cancer. Why don't I cry for them? Does that child have the blood over him/her? Do those parents have the peace that passes understanding? Because my heart is not set on eternity like it should be, my eyes stay dry until something hits close. I loved Chopper and he will be talked about until the last of our family is gone, but, for me, let us not put away the thought of people dying without Christ. Let us weep with eternity full on our minds and allow the Lord to manifest himself in us that some of us might go to the ends of the earth for Jesus' sake.

iggy said...


Sorry to hear about this... we had to put down Amee a while back... it also happened very suddenly.

my prayers are with you guys.

Kim T said...

And is this how God feels when someone dies without Christ?


Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

So Kim, how does He feel if at all? Or are you saying He feels much worse? I did not understand you.

Baptist Girl said...

Dear Rick and Family,
My prayers are with you. Pets are like family. When I was a child we had three cats Sandy and Mitzi and Fritzi. They all lived a long life and when we lost them it was so heartbreaking. When our son got his first pet, a Guinea Pigs, Matt had him for about 2 years then one night he just kind of laid in his cage not moving, we knew he was going to die, Matt held him as we all sat around Matt and we were all crying, he meant a lot to Matt and he menat a lot to us, even a little creature like that can touch your heart.

So I understand and can sympathize
with what you are all going through.

I will be thinking of you all and praying for strength with your dear loss.


Joe Martino said...

I am really sorry to hear about your loss. Truly.

Rabbit said...

Pastor Rick and family, my heartfelt prayers will be rising for you all.

Everyday Mommy said...

Our sympathies, Brother Rick & Family.