Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lou 2/15/97 - 4/17/09

It was an extremely rough week for Kristine and I. Last Friday we said goodbye to Louise, our adorable little white Westie dog. She had developed complications earlier in the week from a combination of Diabetes, Cushing’s Disease, and Pancreatitis. “Lou”, as we always called her, was a feisty little dog, very funny, very cute and snug-able. Lou was very special.
Lou came into my life about 6 1/2 years ago through a strange set of circumstances, when I still lived in California. I hadn’t had a dog since I was a kid, and at the time, I did not want a dog since I already had cats to deal with. That all changed the very first day Lou came into my life. Not long after I got Lou, I left California behind and moved to Kansas. Lou made the long 24 hour drive with me. She loved to travel and sat on my lap for much of the trip.
Lou embodied all the characteristics you’d expect from a Westie. She was definitely a large personality in a little cute white dog. Everybody that ever met Lou said she was special. For the first 4 years I had Lou, she wasn’t exposed to other dogs, just the 2 cats I had. She was extremely active and chased squirrels around the back yard all day. Lou was my therapy dog, always there for me and she would always put a smile on my face during difficult times. One of those difficult times came about 2 ½ years ago. One chapter of my life had come to an end and it was Lou that got me through it. Little did I know how big a role Lou would be in starting the next chapter in my life. I met Kristine in January 2007. She loved Westies, loved me, and she loved how I loved Lou. Kristine had 2 big dogs and Lou was a bit of a handful around them at first. After all, she’d only been around cats since I had her, so she didn’t really know how to be a dog. She quickly figured it out and before long, she ran the show. Buster and Athena, are about 100 lbs and 40 lbs, while Lou was only 24 lbs. Size doesn’t matter with dogs.
It was extremely funny to watch her interact with Buster and Athena. If Buster got too crazy, Lou was right there. If Buster had a chewy, Lou was right there stalking him trying to steal it. Buster was afraid of Lou since Lou would often nip at him. Lou and Athena would cuddle up together when Athena was cold.
Lou was very protective of us. See would always sit on our laps or on the floor next to us. At night, she would spend part of the night on the floor facing the door. Lou had lots of funny nicknames that all have great stories behind them: Snap Dragon, Shmoodle, Squirrel Hunter, Cute Little White Dog. Lou was extremely happy. The sole purpose in a dogs life is to make its owner happy and she did that tirelessly.
Lou turned 12 earlier this year. She was born 2/15/97 according to her AKC paperwork. She was still active and very sharp but obviously slowing down. She didn’t show this much but we could tell. Dogs will often not show any signs that they are having problems. They do this so that they do not lose there place with the other dogs and to keep making their owner happy. They sometimes do this until it is too late. As dogs do with each other, they could smell something was wrong. She starting having a tough time getting up the stairs and became very lethargic. We took her into our Vet and they ran some blood tests. She probably always had Diabetes but she never let it show. We knew she had Cushing’s disease, but it hadn’t really effected her yet. The Pancreatitis had apparently developed recently and her blood values became extremely bad. She spent all day Wednesday at Aid Animal Hospital, were Dr. Rowe worked to get her numbers back in line. We brought her home that night and she really seemed to improve. She perked right up and her appetite was as good as ever. We were very happy and hopeful, and of course Lou was happy that we were happy. She was hiding how she really felt in order to make us happy and to show the other dogs that she was still in charge. Thursday morning we took her back in for more fluids, medications, and more blood tests to see if things were getting better. He hadn’t improved from Wednesday. We again brought her home Thursday night to be with us. She was very tired and could no longer get up. The harsh reality was beginning to set in that we would have to make that ultimate decision. Lou was a fighter and hadn’t given up. She didn’t really move around much Thursday night, but still pulled enough energy together to go over and take a chewy that Athena had. She couldn’t do much with it expect lay on it to show the other dogs that she still could. She still wasn’t ready to let go. A dog will tell you when it’s time. That time came early Friday morning. I cuddled her in bed for a while before I eventually had to leave for work. Kristine took her to Aid Animal Hosptial for the 3rd day. We both knew what was eventually going to happen but that hardly prepares you for when it actually does. I was not doing very well at work thinking about this and stepped outside for a moment to collect myself. That’s when the call came from Kristine. The hospital had called and Lou’s condition was deteriorating quickly. She was not in pain, but too weak to move any more and her breathing was very labored. We were both there, and Lou was happy, almost smiling at us. She even tried to perk up her little ears when I said “Squirrel?” We took her outside for a while and just held her. It was important that we let Lou know that it was OK to stop fighting and that she could let go. We both petted her and told her we loved her till it was over. This was the first time I have ever went though this and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Lou was a huge part of our lives and it felt like a piece of us left with her. Our Sun rose and set with her. Driving home afterwards, there was the most beautiful sunset. Lou wasn’t just a pet. She was a great friend. Time heals all wounds and time will heal this one. We still have 2 terrific dogs that love us both and we both love them. Buster and Athena are both going though the same emotions that Kristine and I are going though. A time will come when I will be able to think about Lou or see her picture, and it will only bring a smile to my face, and not the tears it does now. How long that will take is unknown, but not a day will go by that she’s not remembered.

I miss my little white dog
I miss my friend….