Thursday, June 25, 2009

Missing Louise

This is the only picture I could find on the computer of my sweet old girl. This is right after we moved here to the campground. Louise never minded change in her life, she just went with the flow. She was sweet and affectionate, if a bit slobbery.

I remember the first time I saw her. She already weighed 55 lbs and was no longer what you would think of as a puppy. I never intended to get a dog that day. I was on a mission to get a St. Bernard puppy for my grandson. My kids grew up with a St. Bernard named Saint Nicholas. They are wonderful dogs for children. We drove to a house out in the country in Wisconsin to claim our puppy for Gage. My daughter, Jill, had already decided that the dog should be male and there were three puppies.... two boys and a girl. All Gage had to do was choose his puppy.

"Look, Mommy, a horsey!" cried Gage as he spied the father of the pups. We were led to a makeshift pen in the back yard where the pups were contained. Gage chose his puppy right away and he was named Crash. I was enchanted with the female pup. I kept petting her and asking Gage if he was sure about his choice........ "Go on, Mom, you know you want her." My daughter urged me to indulge myself and I did.

We piled into my sedan with a two year old in carseat, a seven year old , me, my daughter, and two 55 lb puppies. It was a long wet ride home with lots of slobber landing everywhere. These dogs had never been inside and I knew that the first order of business would be a bath for my dog. Jill named her dog Crash because she had a cat that Gage had named Burn. I was given a choice to name my dog Thelma or Louise.

Louise settled nicely into our family. It was hard not to love her. She was so affectionate that one would tend to overlook the chaos she created. She love to chew wood. She ate my coffee table, she ate the firewood. Once she ate what remained of a BBQ dinner, plastic butter tubs and all. She hated storms and would crawl into my lap for comfort. She was sneaky and loved to gain her freedom to socialize with the neighborhood.

I had only had her for a couple of months when she developed a pronounced limp. I checked her toe pads, thinking to find a thorn. We ended up at the vet and discovered that she had osteochondrosis, a genetic disorder. She had a piece of cartiledge free floating in her shoulder joint and had her first surgery when she was less than 8 months old. I was told to put her down....that her life would be filled with pain and misery. I cried all the way home with her in a goofy sedated state. She recovered and thrived. She lived to be a happy 11 years old and never complained even when I knew her joints hurt. She was a sweet, loving old girl to the end.

Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of her death. She mourned the loss of our Collie, Sarge, who had died in April. She went downhill fast after he died. She would simple lay on the sofa all day. She began to have trouble getting up and down. She still loved to cuddle with Emmy and Emmy groomed Louise's face daily. She thought Emmy was her baby and Emmy enjoyed that role. She would often hide in Louise's neck if she thought she was in trouble.

I am missing my old girl. She was a wonderful pet and made my life all the richer for having had her in it. Losing two dogs in such a short period of time was almost more than I could bear and Louise's euthanization was a horrible experience. I had expected a similar experience to the one I had when we chose to have Sarge euthanized. It could not have been more different. I mourned for Sarge, but I felt that I had somehow failed Louise. It made her death even more difficult to accept. But I know that she forgave me with her sweet generous spirit.


lovelyprism said...

Aww *hugs... Louise sounds a lot like our puppy Lucy. She's a love, I'll have to do another post about her soon.

Lover of Life/ Nancy said...

I had two golden retrievers for their lifespans. I know exactly what you mean. I could still throttle the vet that intubated my old girl without asking me! But you're right, they would forgive us anything, wouldn't they?

We have a black lab, Lucy, and she is only four, but the grey hairs are already showing up on her chin. Here we go again.

Hang in there.

Andrea said...

Louise is beautiful (still). What would we do without our pets? They're always there for you no matter what.