Nov 18, 2012
He was not only Shelley Stewart's pet, he was her partner. Retired guide dog Fozzie passed away on Fri. Nov. 16th at the age of 12 1/2. Shelley and Fozzie were known as "Wigs and Wags" across Niagara, back in the days when Shelley gave motivational speeches, with a smiling Fozzie by her side.
My most memorable times with Fozzie were when I would gather with Shelley and other friends on Christmas Eve. As became tradition, I would take Fozzie out to attend to business and he loved our brisk walks (although he seemed stumped that unlike his "mom" I could see when he was heading towards something on the ground that he wanted to chomp down on. He'd always give me a puzzled look when I would pull him away from his find, as if to say to me "How did you know?")
No tribute to Fozzie would be complete without reference to the disappearing cheese ball. One year on Christmas Eve, unbenownst to Shelley, Fozzie put an entire spiced cheese ball in his mouth. It was supposed to be for guests to spread on crackers but instead ended up in Fozzie's mouth. I grabbed it out and none of us let on to Shelley (after all it was Christmas time). Shelley would have been none the wiser until a bit later she asked for some of the cheese ball. It was then we told her what had happened. We laughed about that for years to follow.
Although Fozzie had been retired the past few years and Shelley has a new guide companion named Reese, she still remained close to Foz.
On her facebook page Shelley posted this heartfelt message:
"A final wigs and wags for my beloved retired guide, Fozzie who passed away yesterday after spreading his magic for 12.5 yrs. For those who knew him you know what I mean about magic. He will be so missed. MJ, Joel and Cory, I can never thank you enough for giving him love and the best retirement possible...In his honour today should be belly rub day so find a friend, loved one or stranger and give them a belly rub."
Below is a video clip produced about 4 years ago featuring Shelley and Fozzie.
Shelley, I am indeed sorry for your loss. I really loved Fozzie and will never forget him, our walks and that slimy ball of cheese I retrieved from his mouth. What a great being he was.