Friday, May 18, 2012
My eyes won't stop crying. My daughter and husband have been here with me all day and we're a red eye, pile of soggy tissue mess.
Louis Calab Winder AKA Lou Lou, Bear, Sweetie, Lou dog, Good Guy, My Personal Trainer - a 10 year old German Shepard, Golden Retriever, Lab/Mutt mix died at 1:40 am today.
He is the picture that is my very identity on Sparks because he was the guy that would take me for daily walks and encourage me to go farther faster. He is the one that taught me to take breaks in the trail to sniff, look and notice rather than hating each step. He lived in the moment and taught me to leave behind the worries and checklists and be with the sensation of your body loving to "GO". I don't have a tail to walk, but when he saw a familiar friend along the trail and I would see his tail do "swirly tail", I would feel like letting go of all my adult inhibitions and just jump up and down. Some times I did!
He was a good will ambassador in the neighborhood. Everyone seemed to know him. Part of this was that early on his extreme love of tennis balls drove use to do a web search on "dogs tennis balls obsession" and we found out about the dog sport flyball. He won several rewards in the sport and it gave him the gift of being a pack team and working with other dogs. He was never the teams fastest dog, but he was known as being very reliable. One time when he did make the mistake of starting over the light before the green light, he did something the judges never had seen before: He restarted himself be going back behind the line and restarting the path - no one told him, he just knew it and instantly got it right. Another thing is that he would take new dogs to the team and teach them what to do by barks of encouragement and then rounding them back on the right path when they got off. He loved going to the horse barn to practice. So he ended up not only having the skills to get along with every dog (even Evil Winnie!), but loves the horses as well. He saw other dogs on our neighborhood trail as potential extension of his Puget Hound pack.
His caring nature started early with the love of his stuffed "little dog". The dog would appear all over the house, until we humans got the little dog was carried by Lou to the feeding area, the top of the stairs guard post and outside. He showed nurturing that we previously had only seen in female dogs.
He also loved kids. We live four houses away from an elementary school and one of his daily highlights was to sit at the window watching them come and go. I have no doubt that his first family must have had a boy about third grade because the first couple of years that we had him he would run to the door every time he saw such a kid.
Because of his caring nature and his great ability to do tricks and understand language (he could sneeze and yawn on command and even read the words "car" - ran to the car and "walk" went to the path) we started him in Delta Society training. Because of the start of my own health issues we never finished, but that didn't matter to Lou Lou he just jumped right is to assisting me the daily living needs - helping me get up, opening doors, getting my husband for help. He really became my personal aid. He normally slept at the foot of my bed, but on the week before my cerebral aneurysm was discovered he would lay with his head right against mine and nudge me awake in the middle of the night - I believe he could sense I wasn't breathing right. Dogs do know. Louis certainly was ultra special.
I will love forever that one day when my husband was dealing with his dad dying of pancreas cancer, I came home to hearing his pouring out his sorrows to a friend. DH was a strong hold to me and in didn't know anyone that he would share like than with, so to came downstairs softly and from Louis being the best tilty head counselor. During my daughters teen years he also was a great listener and out always be a willing partner to hit the road to let off some steam. Both of them always had perfect figures guaranteed by the commitment to daily FUN exercise.
I will miss watching the funniness of him pushing paper napkins over his food to save it for later. He would take his time carefully pushing each corner just so - how many of us when we hit enough stop mid plate and cover it up? He continues to be a lesson.
So many times during the hard last years, rubbing the softness of his ears, smelling them (he was the only dog I've had that had a delightful smell) and having him close gave a sense of hope and peace in an otherwise horrible world. I've blogged about him before - he was a member of our family.
He was a gift to our lives sent from heaven. I had been volunteering at a local animal shelter walking the dogs (great idea if you want the pleasure of a dog without the expense) when I learned Lou was going to be put down due to an upcoming three day weekend. I only meant to bring him home to have his from the needle and find a great home for him. Well, Louis did find a great home and we were blessed by every moment with him. Several weeks ago Lou had emergency surgery to remove his spleen and part of his liver. It was an advance stage hemangosarcoma. Last night he got weak, was breathing hard and his belly got full. At the vet we learned he was again bleeding into the abdomen. Long story, many hours, but we allowed the needle to go into his arm. Not willing, but attempting to hold his needs and comfort first.
He was so much to me, it will be a task for the hold family to learn to have joy in our hearts again.
Have fun playing with the heavenly orb dear boy.