Today, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recognizes Fred the Preparedness Dog’s retirement and honors him with the title of emeritus effective June 30, 2023.
In 2013, “Fred, a German shepherd, had just joined our family. It all started when he jumped into the bathtub,” Michael McNulty, emergency management director and handler, said. “My wife eagerly captured all his adorable dog moments with her camera. So, when Fred hopped into the tub to shelter during a weather warning, she quickly snapped a photo and sent it to me. I posted Fred’s photo on social media at work and added a caption: ‘Fred knows where to go in case of severe weather. You should too.’”
Fred became the first dog to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on preparedness in the country. During his decade of state service, Fred participated in close to 300 events, traveling more than 47 thousand miles and having tens of thousands of interactions with children and families.
“Fred has been an asset to public health across Kansas, going above and beyond to spread the word about the importance of being prepared for all types of emergencies,” said KDHE Secretary Janet Stanek. “Fred has also lended comfort and support to the team at KDHE with regular visits to our offices.”
Fred’s actions also garnered national attention for many of his activities. He presented at three national conferences, was featured in CDC and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publications and was later named the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association Professional Pet of the Year.
At the age of 11, Fred is excited to enjoy his golden years with his best friend, Michael and the rest of his family. Although he will not be taking event requests, Fred will still enjoy the occasional community event, and his paws will continue to be active on social media. Follow Fred on his social media Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Photo of Fred the Preparedness Dog (PDF).