Louie was about the most special dog I ever had. He was unique in every way. He and I had a special bond that will last forever in my memory. I was only blessed to share his last year of his approximately nine years on this earth but I cherish every minute.
I first met Louie (formerly Elmer) around April 13 of 2018. I had just finished fostering Henry (formerly Henri, with the dislocated elbow) and getting him adopted. I wasn’t ready for another foster but when I read his story and saw his picture in NorCal GSP Rescue with his frightened eyes, I just knew I needed to foster him.
We gave him his own dog bed in our bedroom and he slept well with the other dogs but was still very reticent about getting too close to us, especially my husband. We soon determined that he would never be fond of men as he barked at every man that came near him. He could be intimidating with that bark and the look in his eyes was wary. I had to be extremely careful when people came to our home. My son was so disappointed as he really wanted Louie to like him but it just never happened. He eventually learned to tolerate my husband and even let him pet him, but only if Louie decided it was ok.
After about three days of this, I swear Louie just looked at me for a moment, something clicked in his brain, and he decided I was his safe person and he acted like a Velcro patch with me from that moment on. He just didn’t want me out of his sight and I even had to change the side of the bed I sleep on so he could be near me at night.
Everything went well for a few months until the beginning of August when his lymph nodes enlarged. I took Louie to the vet and after blood work and a biopsy, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. The prognosis with this cancer is very poor and it’s treated with steroids and chemotherapy. If not treated, Louie would probably be gone within 30 days of diagnosis.
My husband and I decided on chemotherapy knowing that it would give us 6 months to a year more with Louie. He tolerated the treatment well but never did get into complete remission. His last chemo was in November of 2018 and he was kept on prednisone daily afterward. He was ravenously hungry and thirsty on the pred but I knew it was giving him a little more time.
We wondered how the end would come for Louie and I hoped it wouldn’t be uncomfortable or painful. In fact, I don’t think it was painful for him at all but when he was at the end it happened very quickly. I had taken him with me to visit my mother and I think the trip was hard on him. It was a three-hour car ride each way. She has a grassy lawn and we were there three days total. We came home and he developed a rash on his legs and his tummy after I got home on Sunday night, April 28. The rash looked a little better on Monday morning but by Tuesday morning I decided to take him to the vet to have it looked at. Dr. Goh thought it could be a reaction to the grass. She gave me some antibiotics and gabapentin for the discomfort. I took him home and on Tuesday night he ate a little bit and went to sleep. Wednesday morning he wouldn’t eat and by Wednesday afternoon, he passed peacefully lying on our cool floor with me by his side.
I had him cremated and will bury him next to our other dogs in our memorial maple and dogwood tree garden next spring. His tree will undoubtedly grow the largest!