(C.A.R.E. Name: Louie)
Date of birth unknown- 22 April 2011 (Earth Day)
Louie transformed me in so many beautiful ways. I adopted Louie in August 2000 (his age was estimated to be between 2 and 4) – I was not that keen on getting a dog, it was my ex-husband’s idea for my birthday. I still recall that many puppies were brought in for me to meet during the adoption hours, and they were adorable, but the chemistry just wasn’t there. Then Louie came bounding in and rolled onto his back in front of me – love at first sight. He was so strong and so filled with energy, yet there was a gentle spirit in his beautiful, intelligent eyes. The staff was worried that it would be difficult to place him – his breed (American Staffordshire Terrier mix) made some nervous, his abusive past made others nervous, but strangely (given that I had spent most of my childhood afraid of dogs, because of an early bite from a beagle), Louie did not make me nervous at all. Louie never, ever made me afraid: quite the contrary, for over a decade he offered me protection and made me feel safe in the world. We roamed in the forest, and walked in the park, he even overcame his fear of the water and loved to plop (he could not really swim) into the dirty Chicago River – much to the delight of the children who gathered there to fish. Children loved Louie and he loved them – when I lived in Skokie, I had to be careful when I took him for walks – I could not take him out if I was in a hurry, because, like a swarm of paparazzi, the children would come running , shouting his name, “Louie, Louie” – I don’t think there is a dog that was brushed as much as Louie was (his biggest fans were two girls, Meg and J, who loved to brush him). Louie introduced me to most of the people in the neighborhood – and everyone who knew Louie, loved him. Louie connected me to so much beauty in the world – to the virtues of patience, trust, loyalty, compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
When I first brought Louie home, he still had some traces of the traumas he had suffered. When I went to plug in anything, he would run to the corner and quiver. Within weeks, the traces of trauma were gone, sometimes I even found him asleep on my computer cords. He was able to trust again, even after his awful treatment at the hands of some nasty thugs, who wanted him to fight. Louie would not fight, so he had been used as a bait dog, and he had the scars to prove that much harm had come his way. His peaceful nature explains his shelter name – everyone at C.A.R.E. soon discovered that Louie was a lover, not a fighter. Louie was so smart, with an impressive vocabulary (he understood many words, and I, in turn, understood his different barks – the stranger at the door bark, the water bark, the let’s go for a walk bark, etc.). He kept me company while I wrote, and when we walked I often tried out ideas with him. He always agreed with me on philosophical matters. We disagreed sometimes on how long the walk should be esp. in the cold winter. Whenever I tried to shorten a walk, I was given a stern, stubborn look, a look that always made me give in to Louie’s will. The only thing Louie liked more than long walks (unless it was raining: he would not walk in the rain, yet another sign of his intelligence) was riding in the car. And inevitably, I found people smiling at him, blowing him kisses, just filled with joy upon seeing his sweet face hanging out the window. Up until the end, whenever I walked with Louie, I received compliments on his beauty. Louie was a beautiful, noble being – the best friend I could have hoped for. In his youth he sprinted like Carl Lewis, and in the autumn of his life, his slow gait remained graceful and dignified. As I watched his slow decline, I reminded him that he could go whenever he needed to go: he had already given me more than anyone had a right to expect. Louie was a blessing, a gift – one of those wonderful surprises that life offers every now and again. I treasured the time I had with him, and for his presence in my life I shall be ever grateful.
The depth of my sorrow upon his passing is testimony to the great love he brought to my life. I married again in October, and Louie, one walk at a time, helped me decide that Jamie was the man for me. Louie trusted Jamie, an important point in Jamie’s favor. As he had with me, Louie converted Jamie into a canine lover. Jamie’s caring ways with Louie revealed a side of him that was another wonderful surprise. Some of my sweetest memories are of the scenes between Jamie and Louie: I often found Jamie curled on Louie’s bed, whispering into his ear. Louie had Jamie wrapped around his finger/paw (I could tell from Louie’s special barks to Jamie). If any dog in the universe deserved to be spoiled, it was Louie, sweet, noble Louie.
We miss you our sweet pea, and we thank you for being the wonderful being you were. The house feels empty without you. We also thank everyone at C.A.R.E. (esp. Noe) for rescuing you and for helping us find you, our faithful, generous companion. You were deeply loved and you will be in our hearts forever.