Friday, March 23, 2012

A Tribute to Man's Best Friend

When someone special touches your life, it is incredibly difficult when they go. Such was the case with our beloved Lou. Please travel with me on a brief look at our journey together as a family.

We got Lou when our children were young. He was our third child so to speak.
Giving Lou an old sock to play with was one of the biggest mistakes we ever made. He made a career out of stealing shoes and socks that lasted a lifetime.

We quickly realized he was more active (and mischevious) than your average Labrador Retriever, so obedience classes were soon in order. We practiced on regular walks around the neighborhood in the hope teaching Lou the importance of minding his manners (and wearing him out). Then it was decided the sport of dog agility might be a good activity for him. After all, he loved to run and jump.

We took agility classes and practiced and practiced. Finally, I thought it would be fun to compete in an agility trial. Does our four legged friend look like he is having fun or what?
Thank you to Kathleen Schaffer of Pup Art for permission to post the above 3  pictures of Lou taken at an event in Tempe, Arizona.
She is also on Facebook with examples of her beautiful collages.

Agility helped Lou to keep his mind engaged in activities other than stealing the kids toys, food off the counter, and generally teasing and terrorizing our family. At least we would like to think it did!


In the summers he travelled with us to Whidbey Island in Washington State where he loved to run, play fetch on the beach, and make friends with whoever came along.


Oldest Daughter regularly played Hide and Seek with Lou. It's hard to believe but she really was able to hide from him! She and her dad also loved to play Catch (or Keep Away) in the family room.

Youngest Daughter had a unique bond with Lou as well. He took particular pleasure in sneaking into her room to steal things or get into her trash. If Youngest Daughter left a bagel unattended on the kitchen counter in the morning while getting ready for school, even for just a few seconds, it was gone in a flash. It was common to hear screams of "Get Out!" and "Moooommmmm, call the dog, he took my _____[fill in the blank with anything you can think of]!"
As the years went on, Lou did settle down (somewhat) and all of us enjoyed his company, his positive outlook on life, walks together, games, and belly rubs. When the girls had their teenage friends over, there was Lou right in the middle of them watching TV, hanging out and getting more than his fair share of belly rubs.

Lou's outlook on life was so good that when, unbeknownst to any of us, cancer began to invade his lungs, he plowed on with his happy, exhuberant energy going on our daily walks and even attending Youngest Daughter's college softball game. A couple of short days later, we realized something was wrong.
Lou on his last walk.
After he was diagnosed with lung cancer, we brought Oldest Daughter home to say her goodbyes as the two of them had a particularly special bond. He perked up immensely on her arrival and they had a wonderful weekend together.

Then as soon as she left, it was as if Lou knew his time had come and he closed his eyes for the last time that same evening. It was just over two weeks from the time we realized things were not quite right with Lou. Blindingly fast.

We miss Lou terribly and are thankful for our time together and the wonderful memories we are left with. A piece of advice, if I may. If you haven't hugged your loved ones today, please do so. Our time together is way too short. And if your loved one includes a canine friend, give him an extra belly rub from me. The therapeutic value of a good belly rub can never be underestimated - either for the receiver or the giver.

Thank you to my Wonderful Readers for your kind comments and words of support.

URL for this post: http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2012/03/tribute-to-mans-best-friend.html

Thank you again to Kathleen Schaffer of Pup Art for permission to post the agility pictures she took of Lou.

© 2012, copyright Michelle Goodrum

20 comments:

  1. Michelle, I was hoping this wasn't a sad ending, but I see that it is. Please accept my condolences on Lou's death, to you and your family. Over the past several years, I've seen quite a few photos of him and knew you all shared his love. I am very sorry.

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    1. Thank you so much Barbara. I do appreciate your kind words.

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  2. A lovely tribute Michelle, for your special fur kid. I would bet that you have read "The Rainbow Bridge", if not a quick google will bring it forth. Reading it from time to time helps me with the loss of our girls, Abby and her nemesis, Tilly. I hope it will help you as well. Thanks for sharing Lou.

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    1. Carol, I have not read "The Rainbow Bridge" but I have heard you refer to it. I will check it out. Thank you.

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  3. Our canine and feline friends give such unconditional love, it is very hard to see them pass on. I always tried to remember the silliest thing our pets did, it helped tremendously.

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    1. Yes! We have been remembering and laughing. Fortunately, there's plenty to laugh about. Thank you.

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  4. Oh Michelle, I am so sorry for you and your family but what treasured. you are so right that our pets are part of our family and give us so much love. our old girl (cat) died when we were overseas...lots of tears and a mini-wake in the middle of the night. I'm sure Lou had a wonderful life with you.

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  5. Oh, Michelle, I'm sorry for your loss. Some people say pets are just animals but most of us know they're members of the family and angels, too. I can see that Lou had a really happy life. Blessings to you and your family.

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  6. Michelle, I am so sorry to read of the passing of Lou. As I know I have shared before, we lost our beloved dog Monty and beautiful cat Lily within 6 weeks of each other in 2007. The house seemed so dreadfully quiet without them. Now we have the cute Alfie, and as adorable as he is, Lily and Monty are always in our thoughts. They were part of our family too!

    From the looks of it, Lou had a really special life and I think was quite a scamp. I am sorry that you and your family are really feeling his loss, but I am sure that he was glad he got to spend time with you all and be part of your lives.

    I promise, just as soon as I navigate down all the stairs to locate Alfie he will be rewarded with a extra cuddle and belly rub.

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    1. The house has been very quiet. That has been especially difficult. I hope Alfie enjoyed his belly rub!!

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  7. Dear Michelle and family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Our Sparky passed a few years ago. He was part Lab. Such affectionate pups they are. You can tell how happy Lou was by looking at the pictures. He was obviously well loved. Lou will always be with you, another Angel by your side.

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    1. Thank you. Labs are affectionate aren't they?

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  8. Michelle, I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of this special friend. Your family will be in my prayers as I know mourning for a loved pet is very difficult, especially for the kids.

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    1. Lisa, It has been hard for the kids, especially since they are so far away. Thank you.

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  9. Michelle, what a beautiful tribute to a member of your family who, although he had a little more hair than usual, was right there with you and your kids for so many years. We have a 12-year-old golden retriever who is struggling with multiple health issues now. I am trying to brace myself for the time that will inevitably come. Thanks for sharing your story. It's easy to see that Lou was very much loved and enjoyed a wonderful life with your family.

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    1. Thank you Shelley. A little more hair than usual is right. It was EVERYWHERE! Give your retriever a hug from me. Our pals are not with us along enough.

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  10. Michelle, I am so sorry about the passing of your beloved pup. How wonderful that your daughter was able to spend the last weekend with him. Keeping our puppies close in his honor. Jennifer

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