I wrote this in the middle of the night some months ago and, now that he is gone, it gives me a strange sort of comfort. I can't explain why, I can no longer find words for Lou, I just miss my boy terribly.
Why wasn't I warned? How could this have crept up on me? Why does that chill in my spine refuse to spread to my heart, where numbness would be a welcome visitor?
I cannot make this decision. Every time he trips for no apparent reason, every time he stumbles from the car, I dare not meet his eyes. Beautiful brown eyes, still youthful and spirited, undaunted by the clouds of wisdom… but now tainted with apology. No, Lou, it's not your fault - it was in your genes to burn the candle at both ends.
So many images running through my mind. The little afterthought that burst upon our garden on a chilly spring day, bringing the count up to ten puppies. The scales were not impressed at the time but, even as I rubbed him down with a towel, I knew he would be a heavyweight in our hearts. The feisty youngster who wowed the World Show with his presence. The carefree athlete who really thought he could leap over the ping-pong table when his mother passed under it, and was left suspended by a damaged elbow. The hunter ploughing through impassable sludge because he only knew straight lines. The memorable sparks of genius, so unexpected in one with the attention span of a sailor in a brothel. The Casanova who had a way with the girls. The patient teacher who would nudge unruly puppies onto their backs and lay his big gentle paw on their tummies until the storm was over. The PR specialist who went to work every morning with Dan and was loved by dentists and patients alike. That silly little grass seed which made him look like Elephant Man, and for which half of his skull was peeled like a mandarin. The vets at the hospital in Bern who didn't want to give him back - they had fallen in love with the “happy dog” who wagged all his pain away. The old rattan couch which is now sagging from its days as a trampoline, just begging to bear his frail body forever. I could blacken pages….
The name “Mascot” never stuck, so it was Little Louis - a ridiculous name for 90 pounds of rippling muscle. Finally, dignity was restored when we settled for “Lou”. To be honest, dignity was never his trip. He is too enthusiastic, too generous, too big-hearted to be preoccupied with dignity. His unbelievable appetite for life, food and birds (winged and otherwise) is still there, although dampened by frustration. Still very much the boss, he now watches pensively as his younger brother does the job. Never a cross word, they are a team and the relay had to be passed…
Surely, a body this fine-tuned was built to last? We are told sound angulation and true balance prevent wear and tear. But, Lou, even the most beautiful sports car ends up a shambles if the brain behind the wheel keeps driving full tilt into ditches. And why would anyone in his right mind design a Ferrari with such a powerful engine and no brakes?
You say his heart has a murmur. Beg your pardon, Dr. Nidegger, Lou's heart doesn't murmur, it bubbles over with joy… and it has been doing so for twelve years. Next time, lend an ear and let your stethoscope interpret. If you learn to listen, it's something you'll never forget!
How did he get old without growing up? His hearing and sight are those of a young dog and his twitching nose picks up the faintest of scents. Here he is snoring gently on my foot, no sign of grey on his beautiful face, drifting closer and closer to death. And I am not ready.
That is one of the most beautiful tributes I've ever read. Run free Lou.
Won't someone please feed me!
Run free Lou,,,,you beautiful boy.
♣ Laura ♣
JP - What a lovely, too lovely, piece about your handsome boy. Your love and devotion come through loud and clear -- Thanks so much for sharing your tribute to Lou. ... You were obviously blessed to have had each other .... Dawn
Oh my. Oh MY! That is beautiful!
Seamus and Flynn
Oh gosh, you have me in tears. That was just beautiful. What a wonderful boy he was. Your description could have been written about my old girl. She's been gone for some years now, but she was a sweet and gentle soul who wagged her tail through everything in life right until the end. I'll always miss her.
JP.....I read this last night but could not type a reply as I could not see the keyboard through my tears.
That is a wonderful tribute to a truley beautiful dog. You have such a way with words.
Beautiful tribute, JP. My favorite line "How did he get old without growing up?" Just beautiful.
A beautiful tribute to you boy. So well written.