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Craig and Fred Visit Robinson

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Over the 2018 summer, all Robinson Secondary students were asked to read a book titled Craig and Fred. Craig and Fred is a book about a war veteran named Craig Grossi who was deployed in Afghanistan in the early 2000s and is also a Robinson graduate. While in Afghanistan, he met a stray puppy during a mission to fight against the Taliban. The dog was covered in fleas and filth. He handed the puppy a piece of beef jerky from his MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) and took the dog back to camp to clean him up. Little did either of them know at the time, that this was the start of a friendship that would last for years to come.

Fred is a street dog from the Sangin District in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan. This region is known for its harsh terrain and environment. At times the weather can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, and can go as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. Despite the fact that Fred experienced some harsh conditions,  he always remained stubbornly positive.

Craig Grossi agreed to an interview over email, here it is:

Q: If you could describe your military experience in one word, what would it be?

A: Challenging. I say that because it was full of challenges and they weren’t always the kind I expected. But in the end they were all worth overcoming.

Q: Where was your favorite place you went to on your trip with Josh?

A: My favorite place was Big Sur in California. It was where Fred got to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time! It was also where we spent a few nights hiking and backpacking in the forest. Fred had a great time swimming in the mountain streams!

Q: What was the first thought that popped into your head when you arrived in Afghanistan?

A: It’s really hot here! But after a few days I got used to it. I was really excited to begin my deployment.

Q: Did you ever picture yourself in the Marines when you were younger?

A: Absolutely. I knew at an early age that I loved my country and that I wanted to serve it in some way. I understood that I was lucky to be born here and wanted to give back to the country that had given so much. There are lots of ways to serve but the Marines was what worked for me.

Q: What is your current job besides being a speaker and author?

A: Writing and speaking is what I focus on now, but I have some ideas for the future that I’m excited about.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I like to explore with Fred, he is always ready to get outside. I’ll also go for a run, mountain bike ride or kayak. Playing ice hockey has always been a big part of who I am also. But sometimes I just like to relax at home and watch a good movie.

Q: What is your favorite food and/or snack?

A: Pizza and chicken wings! I never get tired of them! Also Donuts. You know, the healthy stuff.

Q: In the future, do you plan on adopting more pets?

A: Once we have the time I’d love to take on more rescues. However, it’s important not to overextend yourself, especially with pets like dogs. They need a lot of attention and love and I want to make sure we’re in the right place to give them the life the need. For now we advocate for different animal rescues and try to inspire others to bring an animal into their lives.

Q: What’s your favorite music genre?

A: If I had to pick one. I’d say Rock because it encompasses a lot of different bands. But I listen to all types of music. To me, if it’s good, it’s good.

Q: Were other people supportive of you adopting a stray dog from Afghanistan?

A: Everyone was supportive but I could tell some people were very nervous. They knew that no matter what they said I was going to do it anyway. I had made my mind up and I knew it was the right thing to do. When you know that in your heart, you don’t always need everyone’s support.

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Craig and Fred Visit Robinson