Archive for February, 2019

Losing Louie

February 3, 2019


I had my dog Louie for six years. I got him when he was about eight. He’d been abandoned twice before I adopted him. His name when I got him was “Huegy” pronounced “Hu-gee.” I changed his name to Louie so it would sound similar. I joked that he was “Louie the Lump” because he was so laid back. He was happy to sit on my lap for hours.

I shared Louie with my friend Joan Roff. She took care of him when I went out of town. While I was away in Tanzania in October, Louie didn’t eat much. I took him to the vet when I got back. He had lost three of his twelve pounds. Blood tests showed his kidneys were good but he had a low-level infection and had lost some liver function. The vet put him on antibiotics, a liver supplement and some gooey, smelly food for anorexic dogs to try to get him to eat. Who knew there are anorexic dogs?

The next week, while I was babysitting Lilah, a friend’s dog, Louie ate her food. Was he really that p8icky and stubborn that he hadn’t eaten because he wanted a different brand of food? Of course, I switched brands immediately. He ate for a while but tended to throw up what he ate.

In December, he got worse. He hardly ate anything and threw up what he did. However, it seemed as if he’d gained weight. One night, near the end of December, Louie slept on my neck while I held his shaking legs. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I had Joan watch him the next day. By the time I got back, he could barely walk to his water bowl.

Since it was Saturday night, I rushed him to an emergency vet clinic. They did some tests ($500 worth) and took a lot of fluid from his stomach. They told me there were three possibilities, none of which had a good outcome. They could put him in intensive care to hydrate him, but it would only buy him a month and he wouldn’t be comfortable. So, I decided to put him to sleep. I cried and held him before, during and after the procedure.

When I adopt a pet, I know that the animal will probably die before me, unless I get a parrot or tortoise. Intellectually that makes sense, but inner turmoil and hurt is guaranteed.

I’ve had animals, mostly dogs, for the past thirty years. I hadn’t lived alone with out a dog.

It was too quiet around the house. My small condo has a pall over it and a chill I can’t get rid of.