My Semper Fido
Fur baby parenting

There is a saying amongst pet owners: You were my favorite hello and hardest goodbye. Seeing a pet greet their owner, it becomes obvious why.  A soul that is consistently overjoyed to see you is incomparable. Even my own mother, who thought the world of me, didn’t provide this—the epitome of unconditional love. It’s no wonder, “Fido,” the “John Doe” of dog names comes from the Latin word for “faithful”!  

Trying to describe the deep love I shared with my puggle, Alex, is hard to explain to a non-dog owner, yet easily understood by pet lovers. We first met at a Petco adoption event when my romantic relationship was on the rocks. Afraid of committing, I offered to foster him. It was a very short-term arrangement, as I was head over heels in less than a week. I wrote a check and signed a contract making it official. He was a street rescue and had some trust issues of his own, but his feelings became mutual just as quickly.  

Lifeline to the world

Alex with a tennis ball.

Within 10 months after I adopted Alex, my boyfriend proved he wasn’t “the one,” and my mom passed away unexpectedly. To say Alex was my lifeline to the world is an understatement. My responsibility to care for his survival superseded my own, thus I got up each day to walk and feed him. A strange thing happened: Every morning he did this joy-filled, backward-looking dance filled with adoration. His funny antics and joie de vivre were irresistible. Soon I was smiling or laughing despite myself.   

His example of resilience, courage, love and faith led me to consider adventures beyond my usual mindset. I rented out my house, quit my job and threw caution to the wind as I took real time to sort through Mom’s house and belongings. She had been a collector of things. I’m forever grateful I had hours to sift through and discover treasures like my parents’ correspondence while my dad sailed with the Navy, family photos and cards I had sent throughout the years. I felt less lonely with Alex by my side every moment. I cannot imagine how I could have done it without him.


Portrait of Alex

This is a portrait of Alex commissioned, painted, and sent to me from my Facebook Puggle Community. They also donated to the Library Foundation in his name!

Memories of my mom and my sweet fur baby are intertwined celestially now. I had to let my Alex go in the fall of 2022 as it became certain his joy was fading with the loss of his strength. The thought that they are together still provides a measure of comfort, even after my hardest goodbye. I am so lucky to have friends who understood the hole losing Alex created in my life. Their compassionate care helped me immeasurably. Your heart scars over but never heals completely after losses like these.  






Wishing all readers, the amazing experience of unconditional canine love in their lives!  If someone you know has lost a pet, please check out these tips to provide comfort. ♥️🐾

About Author

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Brenda Kardock is a lifelong writer, reader, and longtime marketing professional. She has over 10,000 dog photos saved on her computer - not all of them are her dogs! Brenda is passionate about supporting underdogs, literacy and our community. She grew up in Lake City, graduated from Gustavus, and worked at several major motion picture studios in Los Angeles, before returning to Southeastern Minnesota to work at FOX 47/KTTC. She loves her current job at the Rochester Public Library Foundation, which serves to educate, advocate, and fundraise for our local library.

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