The basset hound, Woodinville’s floppy-eared mascot, has been celebrated by residents for over three decades. Three years ago, Freddy the Bassett moved to town and quickly became a local celebrity.
To Freddy, who is 14-years-old, the end of September marks the anniversary of his previous owner’s death and his cross-country move to the Woodinville area.
“He was my mom's dog,” said Freddy’s owner David Hablewitz. “She lived in Florida, and she passed away about three years ago.”
The duo bonded along the seven-day road trip back to Washington, he said. While camping on the second night of the journey, Hablewitz took a photo of Freddy with the landscape and posted it on Facebook from the dog’s perspective.
“People loved it,” he said. “So, for the rest of the journey across the country, I did it all from his perspective. He saw snow for the first time and everything.”
When they arrived home, Hablewitz said, he started a Facebook page for Freddy the Bassett and “organically collected several thousand followers.” He's on Instagram as well @freddythebassett.
At the time, he said, Freddy was old and overweight with really bad arthritis. However, after several months together, he lost more than 20 pounds and resolved the majority of his arthritis.
“He’s still mostly blind, but his nose more than makes up for it,” Hablewitz said. “He's just got a real do-it attitude.”
Prior to living in Washington, Freddy had never seen stairs before either. At first, Hablewitz said, he would carry the dog up and down stairs just to go to the bathroom because “his body is so long and his legs are so short.”
At the end of May 2021, Freddy developed two herniated discs and was suddenly unable to move his hind legs. To restore mobility, he had spinal surgery at Animal Medical Center in Shoreline.
Hablewitz said the hound is currently undergoing various forms of physical therapy, from electro acupuncture to laser therapy. Freddy, who had never been swimming before now, is also doing hydrotherapy in the pool and local lakes.
“He looks like he loves it,” he said. “When he gets into the pool, it seems to relieve all of his anxiety and he's suddenly chilling out. It's helping him therapeutically.”
Despite his ailments, Freddy is still an active participant in the community. Last month, he attended the Celebrate Woodinville concert series in a wagon because he was unable to walk. Several weeks ago, he visited a senior living facility with the help of a Help ‘Em Up harness.
Prior to COVID-19, Freddy was invited to walk alongside former Mayor Elaine Cook in the Basset Bash, which is an annual event dedicated to the town’s mascot.
Even throughout the pandemic, Hablewitz said, the dog was his way of meeting and greeting every person in the neighborhood. Freddy was like his “social connection,” he said.
“There's some magic in his expressions. People find him charismatic,” Hablewitz said. “His goal in life is to bring joy, and that's what he has done.”
He said Freddy served as a safe haven during much of the political divisiveness of the last few years. As a result, he said, the Facebook page was designed to be an outlet from the “toxic environment” and focus on “pure basset hound.”
Above all, Hablewitz said, the hound is a symbol not to forget “those people that we've lost.” He said Freddy’s social media pages are dedicated to the memory of his mother.
“He's kind of my way of remembering and honoring my mom,” he said. That is his role in my world and what he does now.”
To learn more about Freddy the Bassett, visit: https://freddythebassett.com or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6m1EEdhGFIKDL5RfeJzBUA.