The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky, and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman, and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE TWO HUNDRED TWELVE – LOUIS: THE DOG THAT WAS ALL HEART
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – Winnie The Pooh
Originally written on November 23rd, 2021
As of this writing, my buddy, my four-legged son, has been gone less than a day.
We’re still in that mindset that when we walk into the living room, we’ll see him on the edge of the couch looking at us.
But he’s not there.
After being with us for twelve years, nine months, he has left a huge hole in our hearts.
Let me tell you how he came to be with us.
I wanted a dog.
My wife and I had a home, and we were a family. I think every family should have a dog.
Yes, it’s true. I consider myself a cat person. I have a lot more cats in my life than dogs. I grew up with dogs (Skippy and Doxey), and late on, I shared a dog with my ex-wife (Rocky… that’s the dog’s name, not my ex-wife), but other than that, that was the only dogs I had ever had in my life.
So, I decided I’d look to see what kind of dog I wanted to share my life with. I didn’t want a small dog or a yappy dog. I wanted a buddy. A big, goofy pal that I could play with and throw a ball to and looked big and strong.
That led me to want a boxer.
I found a website that had some available not too far away. Then came the moment to spring this idea on my wife. We had discussed it loosely for a few weeks, but when she saw the link and a picture of this little tiny puppy that my heart went out to, I’m sure she was taken aback.
But she didn’t hesitate too long.
Long story short, we went and met the owners, Bryan and Tim, saw our future little family pet, paid our down payment, and waited until the time we could bring him home.
While this was going on, my mother saw her last days on this Earth. We had just gone to see her in hospice before seeing our little dog, which we had finally come to the conclusion of naming him Louis. Unfortunately, we had to wait one more week before bringing her home.
The day came. But before, a few hours before, I got the call from my sister that our mother had passed. I had to go take care of the things you have to do when a parent passes. But I begged my wife to not worry and go with my daughter, Alison, and her son, Joseph, to go get Louis and bring him home.
After a long morning, I came home down and upset. And I wasn’t sure that I wanted to meet our new dog. Being who I am, I was afraid that if I smiled or felt any kind of happiness at all, it would belittle my mom’s death.
Of course, I know that’s silly. We should look for joy in moments of sadness. It helps us cope. But, like I said, I was being who I was (and, sometimes, still are). When I walked in the door and saw this running, sweet, playful puppy with that face I would fall in love with, I wanted to stay away from him. I needed time to punish myself for not being at my mother’s deathbed to see her off. I needed to harvest the guilt that I felt.
Days went on, and I kept him a bay. The funeral came and went, the paperwork, the lawyers, etc., came and went, and I continued to keep this puppy and an arms distance.
But he wore me down. I would see him looking at me with that face and those eyes, and I’m sure he wondered why I was the way I was. Then, finally, he cracked my heart open when he napped with me on the couch. He would nuzzle me with his big face and try and get closer.
My heart finally thawed, and my brain let the guilt and pain fade away.
My Louis, my pal, helped me. He pulled me from a bottomless abyss.
The years went by and he became a best friend. He allowed the cats to run over him, and he never got upset.
He got in trouble. One day, our cat, Watson, pushed a whole loaf of bread off the top of the refrigerator, and Louis nearly devoured the entire thing.
THE WHOLE THING!!!
Not long after that, he pooped all over the living room. I didn’t think a dog could hold that much. Actually, it was very impressive. Yes, he got in trouble, but I couldn’t help but laugh. From that moment on, we kept the bread in the pantry.
And if you believe in past lives, he might have been another dog once upon a time. His white fur looked just like a Scottish Terrier on the back of his head and down between his shoulder. Don’t believe me?
Look at the photo (with his momma):
And, again, the years went by. We finally moved from our condo into a house with a fenced-in backyard where he could run and play. And he did.
But, as we all do, he was getting older. His hips started to bother him and his puppy-like ways (which stays with boxers for a long time) started to become less and less.
Louis started to get sick, and I knew time was short. Nevertheless, I hoped that he might make it to February 13th, 2022 so he could celebrate his thirteenth.
But, the time had come. I think he wanted to go. His heart had weakened too far.
We sat on the floor at the vets, and he gave us last kisses. I let him lick my whole face. The last thing I wanted to do was push him away.
The shots came, and he was gone, crossing over that well-known rainbow bridge to see his littermates and the cats and family members that passed before him. Speaking of his littermates, they had all passed before him. Louis was the last of the group.
And we cried.
And we’re still crying.
But, we know, it was time, and we did that right thing. Though, there is still some guilt that lingers. That’s natural. And I’m sure it will fade in time to leave all the love.
I texted Bryan to let him know he was gone.
I said, ‘Of course, it was his heart that weakened. He gave it away so willingly.’
There will never be another like Louis. He became more than just a ‘pet.’ He was my family, my blood. I would have given my life for him. I wish I could have done it now.
Louis, this last part is for you:
We’ll be along shortly, so say hello to Trinity, Sam, Max, Sphinx, and the late, great CJ. Give them kisses from us. Say hello to my dad and my mom. You never got to meet them but they’ll know who you are. Say hello to Rhonda and tell her thank you for the sleepovers.
And save us a spot. I’m going to need one of your kisses and you step all over my feet as much as you want.
To Louis…with love…fly on.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
January 21st, 2022
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else, but it might help me.