“Keep wagging your tail,” was the message shared with Iroquois Middle School students by author Craig Grossi.
Craig Grossi, an eight-year U.S. Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and a recipient of the Purple Heart, was adopted by a dog named Fred. Fred is a happy fellow who, although living under the harshest conditions in Afghanistan, went through life with his head held high and his tail wagging. He seemed to make the best of each situation.
After rescuing each other, they have written two books. “Craig and Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other,” tells the story of their meeting and Grossi’s attempt at bringing Fred to the U.S.
“Second Chances: A Marine, His Dog, and Finding Redemption” tells the deeply emotional and inspiring story of the next phase of their lives together, working closely with prison inmates in Maine who raise and train puppies to become service dogs. (https://www.fredtheafghan.com/about.html)
The students in James Jesser’s class have been listening to the first book and had the opportunity to talk to Grossi via zoom.
Fred slept through most of the zoom, but Grossi quickly made friends of the students. He told the children of some of his experiences in Afghanistan. A village baker once took him by the hand and led him through a mine field. He met teachers who daily gathered their students under the cover of darkness and taught at night in fear of the Taliban.
Grossi encouraged the students to keep wagging their tail, to make the best of their situations and to find joy where they can.