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My personal trainer is gone

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.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    thank you for sharing Louis with us...I can certainly relate...if you've not read A Dog's Purpose, I'd highly recommend it...I'll post my 'friend/counselor's picture on my page-Abby was a mutt who managed to do with me what I wouldn't allow most people-to get close and listen...I'm sorry for your loss... emoticon
    1929 days ago
    Sorry about your loss and sorry i did not see it sooner. I do see that several sparkers were able to encourage you through the process. hang in there!!! emoticon
    1929 days ago
    What a wonderful tribute. I'm sorry for your loss.
    1941 days ago
  • PAG2809
    He really was special and I'm so glad that he was there to help you and your family, and that you happened along to make sure that he had a rich life. emoticon
    1941 days ago
  • TWINKS55
    emoticon So very sorry to hear of the passing of your dear companion, motivator, and friend. Loss is hard. I know you loved him so very much. You wrote him a very beautiful tribute here in your blog. Sending much love to you. emoticon

    emoticon Dianne
    1945 days ago
    Tears from me too.
    1949 days ago
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your family member, because that is what he was I am sure, I know my cat- whom I've had since he was aweek old (now almost 10) is my family.
    1952 days ago
    OH SWEETIE. I am so sorry about Lou. I know you are missing him.

    Love you.

    1952 days ago
    I lost my service dog, Dawson, last June. He was getting beyond the work at age 15, but still loving life... he had a couple tumors show up one day, and the next week there were four, and he had a heart attack and died right in front of me and my ex... I know just how you feel. I haven't had the heart to train another dog yet... luckily my cats, believe it or not, have kind of taken over a lot of his chores. The feral cat who lives outside my back porch comes to me now and curls up next to me and loves the sound of my voice. He's my listener. My little female, Isis, fetches things for me, and Licorice always hangs around and talks to me when my blood sugar does funny stuff, and reminds me when I need to get back on schedule for things... they can't do the big things, but it's like they miss him and know how important he was...

    ...they are all special, and though you may find and train and love another, they are each irreplaceable...
    I grieve with you, and for you, m'dear....
    1952 days ago
  • SAL1512
    So sorry for your loss. I knew this day was coming and it saddened me to know that you would be left behind. Lou will always be there for you. He just went ahead of you so someone familiar would be there at the pearly gates . . .
    Sally emoticon
    1952 days ago
    I'm SO very sorry for your loss. I understand completely. I lost a very special dog whom I also regarded as a gift 2 years ago and think about him every day.
    As DISP715 says, allow yourself to grieve. Sending hugs and thinking of you during this sad time.
    1952 days ago
  • B-PUFF
    That's heartbreaking. I'm so sorry for you and your family. Also sending HUGS.
    1952 days ago
  • DISP715
    I am SO sorry. They are a part of the family. Allow yourself to grieve. Sending HUGS.
    1952 days ago
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