End of a perfect day

End of a perfect day

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lesson learned from Lou

I lost a faithful friend yesterday. Louie. Affectionally known as Moody Lou.

His last few days were tough on him and on me, yet he remained a good old buddy. Apparently he had a giant mass on his kidney and sometime last week it burst and caused him to bleed internally. It's these kind of days that you wish you could talk to the animals and find out what's bothering them. I knew something was wrong when he hesitated to join me and the boys
on our daily walk. He came along but slowed his pace a few minutes into the walk.

So I've been thinking about him, and yes, crying for our loss, and realized that in his "Louie- way," he taught me a few things.

Louie was the runt of the liter. His mama, Tilly was a stray dog that made our home her home, just long enough to deliver her 7 puppies. The firstborn was Fern, ( Named after the Fern bushes where they were all born.) We were all excited about the puppies and allowed this experience to change our life. At the time we had 3 other dogs, so adding 8 more was total chaos. I still remember wearing clothes stained with puppy paw prints and not thinking anything of it. It was an unusual day for me to get out of the house without a print or two.
Tilly wasn't too interested in her puppies so we had to encourage her to feed and care for them. Our dog Cody served as a nanny for the puppies and was often found sleeping with the pups laying in the bends of his legs and neck. Louie, being the runt, was usually by Cody's foot, farthest from the warmth and companionship of his siblings. This was Louie's bend of independence. Stay close to the pack, yet define your space.

Over the years Louie taught himself many tricks. Not the usual dog tricks that every dog-owner likes to show off at the park, but tricks that got him what he wanted. He had a natural ability to hear the sound of ice cream. I never knew there was a particular sound to dishing up ice cream, yet Louie could be out in the field or sound asleep upstair and he heard "ice cream." His timing was perfect too. He waited until the ice cream was scooped and about half eaten before he made his appearance. Louie would place his paw on my leg to let me know he was there waiting for his dessert. Patience pays off.

Moody Lou was also know as Garbage Lou. He could open almost any garbage
and trash can in the time it took him to walk past it. This was probably his most famous trick and brought much delight to the other dogs. Sharing is always a good idea, especially if the blame gets shared too.

Our dogs learned how to come and go on their own by re-constructing the back door. Jim hand-made our screen door to match the 8 paned glass door. When the puppies were little they learned to jump through one of the screen panes. After several attempts to repair the door, we eventually gave in and let the screen flap for the dogs. As the dog grew the one pane wasn't big enough for them, so they enlarged it to two panes. All of the dogs learned to sail through the screen, coming and going as they pleased, except for Louie. He opened the door. If he wanted to go out, he nudged the door enough to open it and pushed his way out. When he wanted to come in, he used his left paw to reach inside the screen and pull the door open. Of course this drew much attention from visitors. Always make an entrance.

One of my favorite times with Louie was singing with him. He definitely had to be in the mood, but we could usually convince him to give a deep throated howl. When Louie sang base, Beuford sang tenor. And everyone else howled. Make a joyful noise.

Louie's last days were not so different than most days. He ate ice cream, he sang, he barked at the neighbors, he slept under my desk and at the feet of my bed. Be consistent.

Louie was good friend. His departure came too soon and fast. Leave them wishing for more.

I miss you old Louie, but thanks for the memories!

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