Fred is a Yorkshire terrier who was born in October 2010. When he was 8 weeks old, Fred was adopted by Robert Garofalo, MD, the director of the Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention Center at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
The center strives to improve the health of at-risk teens through clinical care and education as well as public health advocacy.
Inspired by his new dad’s work with HIV-positive youth, the toy-sized terrier decided to put his good looks to great use by creating the eponymous charity Fred Says.
Using the seductive power of his puppy eyes, Fred’s photos are sold online as greeting card box sets and e-cards. Proceeds from sales benefit uninsured, HIV-positive youth. Fred took time out from his modeling and advocacy work to answer a few questions.
What three adjectives best describe you?
Cute, sassy, big-hearted and photogenic—oh wait…that’s four. I have paws; it’s hard to count!
What keeps you up at night?
The stress of trying to meet my life goals:
- To raise as much money as possible to support uninsured, HIV-positive teenagers through my Fred Says charity. Proceeds from card sales help pay for care that the teens would not otherwise receive.
- To be as popular as Boo, the (second) cutest dog in the world, on Facebook. He is my idol.
- To have my charity noticed by Ellen DeGeneres, who is the Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness, and to be a guest on her daytime talk show.
What is the best advice you ever received?
One of the other Yorkies in the neighborhood taught me how to use my sad eyes to get whatever I want from my dad. Some say I’m spoiled, but I call it crafty.
If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
My dad and my favorite stuffed pig. I couldn’t possibly choose!
If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
Why would I want to be anything other than a Yorkie? I lead a charmed life and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!
For more information, visit fredsays.org.
This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of POZ.
Click here to share your story.