i was in high school when my childhood dog passed away. her name was peggy sue, she was a full blood boxer, with the pointed ears and a chopped tail, who, as a child, i would paint her nails barbie pink and, when sad, wrap my arms around her and cry into her neck. i remember the day my parents took us to the breeders home, michelle and i sat there on the ground in the midst of puppies, laughing with unsurpasable joy as the they bombarded us with licks and tiny chews; peggy was so calm compared to the others, she was content to sit in my lap, and i was sure she was the one.
when lou came into my life he was already a Dog, passed his puppies days but his puppy behavior. jon and i were dating, and i had gone over to the "ponde rosa" to pick him up before we went out. his other roommates/band mates were there with the usual entourage, drinking bad beer, smoking good pot on the couch while watching Oprah. being a new person to their scene everyone felt it mandatory to show me just how wild and crazy the house dog was; then jon pointed out the five broken windows...broken that week from lou trying to get to the mailman, and, after being jumped on and knocked to the ground where the word "kisses" was chimed by everyone, i was left with a sloppy face and a love for such a wild dog.
little did it occur to me that a few years later that same wild dog i witnessed terrorize a living room would be a roommate of mine. our differences ( and by differences i mean, me thinking trash was trash and therefore meant to stay in the trash can while lou believing trash was food and therefore needed to be saved from the trash can, or, me insisting my panties weren't a chew toy and lou insisting otherwise) were vast in terms of agreeable living conditions, and after conrad was born, they were really,really vast; but lou was my dog, my great big, 115 lb, full of personality, singing rottweiler Dawg. seeing him the past week with all his verve gone, his back legs so swollen he could hardly pull himself up, his appetite non-existent (not even a steak could persuade him!), and his big brown eyes heavy with discomfort, practically broke my heart right in half.
last night i thought for sure his time had come. i sat in the kitchen with him, gently running my fingers down his shiny black coat, letting the tile floor catch the river of tears that poured down my face, telling him all about heaven and how lovely it would be, how there was a mansion there for jon and i and how he needed to guard it for us till we could be there with him, and how, Peggy would be there too, and, believe or not, but a select few cats get into heaven too, so as to not maul to death precious or clover, whenever he arrives.
then around 5:30am this morning i woke up to a yelp and realized lou was trying to stand up-he was still with us and still in great pain. jon and i had discussed helping him along his way if lou still showed no signs of improvement by this morning, and there it was: no signs of improvement- the cancer had taken hold of his body and lou was slowly and painfully dying.
so this morning, jon did what no loving master ever thinks or wants of having to do; him and his brother helped lift him onto his legs and into his kennel, then off to the vet to aid him in meeting his other master.
a few months back i read about how conrad was learning the concept of permanence, and that was why games like peek-a-boo are just so much for him. then a few hours later, i was doing the dishes, the back door was open, and i looked over without thinking, expecting to see lou at the screen door staring in at me like he always did.