“It looks like you’ve got a friend!” yelled U.S. Marine Craig Grossi’s teammate. But at this distance, what he heard was: “It looks like a Fred.” And so began the friendship between Grossi and Fred, the skinny Afghan dog who decided he’d stick around.
Grossi and the rest of his team of Marines arrived in Sangin, Afghanistan, in 2009. The first few days were extremely dangerous as Taliban forces tried to fight them off.
When the dust settled, they looked around their war-torn surroundings and found something they did not expect to see. In such harsh conditions, the hungry, bug-covered dog was unflappable and friendly.
Unlike most stray dogs, Fred didn’t travel with a pack. He wasn’t concerned about the war or about the armed men surrounding him.
By the time they had to leave, Fred had decided to befriend Grossi. Having made up his mind, the dog committed to following Grossi wherever he went.
The rest of Grossi’s team soon warmed up to his furry friend, and Fred’s carefree attitude and quiet perseverance won him many admirers in the camp. Unwilling to part ways, Grossi found a way to sneak Fred into his base; however, this was a huge risk for both of them.
“If I got caught with him, I could go to jail. And he would be put down, no questions asked,” explained Grossi. He had to find a way to get Fred home without being discovered.
After sustaining an injury, Grossi was sent to a hospital and he and Fred were separated. Grossi was anxious that Fred would be discovered while he was gone, but when he returned, he found that he had nothing to worry about.
Thanks to his winning personality, Fred had made allies unknown to Grossi. When the opportunity came to have Fred shipped home, a mysterious marine from the K9 unit offered up a crate and Fred was soon on his way to America. Grossi was not far behind.
Grossi is not the only marine to have benefitted from a canine companion. The positivity and affection Fred brought to their base brought a little light into everyone’s lives, and there are many similar stories that show the powerful influence a wagging tail can have.
In 2015, Grossi decided on a career change, and he and Fred celebrated their friendship by going on a road trip together. Grossi loves sharing the story of his furry friend and is even working on a book about what they have been through.
To see more of their adventures, check out Fred the Afghan’s Instagram page, where you will see heartwarming pictures with inspirational “quotes” by Fred himself.