Monday, September 15, 2014

Forever Goodbye.

I have finally found the courage to look at the photos I took on Louis' last day on earth. The day my dog died was the saddest day of my life, to this day. I allow myself just a little bit of time each day to cry for him. I read this sappy poem that the vet gave me in a card called, "Over the Rainbow Bridge" often and sob, while clenching Louis' paw print mold in my hands. I cry thinking about how I used to tug on his ears, and how they were so soft. I think about cuddling with this warm, smushy dog. I think about how his puppy breath went from just that, to smelling like the penguin house at the Detroit Zoo. I didn't mind though. Not once did I want Louis away from me. From the day I saw him, to the day I said goodbye forever - I never wanted him to go away. I have never owned a dog prior to owning Louis. He was my first puppy and I got him when I was 18 years old. My misinformed, naive, 18 year old self purchased him from Oakland Mall. Yes. The crummy pet store, inside of the crummy mall. I couldn't help it though. I worked there and saw him every day. I held him in my arms and let him chew on my sweatshirt strings. He had so much extra skin. Just a wrinkly, skinny baby. I never wanted to let him go.
            The day I had to put him to sleep forever, was a day I never wanted to come. I had been putting it off for so long, because I knew it meant the end. The end of a long, happy relationship. The stress of his cancer, money, and him crying in his crate would soon be a thing of the past. His body was here. It was with me, and that is all that mattered. I knew it was time, I just needed someone to tell me that there was nothing else I could do. Seven short years I had with Louis. Seven. Short. Years. The things Louis did for my life will never be forgotten. He showed me a great friendship between girl and dog. We experienced the beaches of North Carolina. He loved to swim, but hated that ocean. I remember the salt making his fur so soft. He was happy. He thrived on life. He loved other animals of all kinds. He loved to run, fetch, play. The perfect dog.
            I wanted to make sure we didn't hold anything back on Louis' last day. I woke up, sad. I put him in the car, sad. I took pictures of him, and his last smiles, his last car ride, and finally, his last trip to the park. We took him to a beautiful park. We bought him a crave case from White Castle (which is everything he probably ever wanted). We gave 10 of his burgers to a homeless man on Woodward, and took the rest with us. We thought it would be funny to have pictures with Louis and this giant box of burgers. I never thought the day would come where Louis would be full. He made it through 6 burgers until he decided that he was finished. I tried not to think about the fact that in an hour, he would be gone. These moments would be a thing of the past, and Louis, would just be a piece of my life that had come and gone. We sat at a picnic table where Louis watched the squirrels that he once chased at full speed. I hugged him a million times, though I could have hugged him a million more. I tried to smell him and just remember all of the things that made Louis, Louis. I smushed his face up like I always did and kissed his forehead. It was my favorite spot to smooch. He was always such a good boy and would tolerate me mushing him up all of the time. He loved me so much, but I think I loved him more. He always wanted to be beside me and I was never mad about it. He brought a lot of light into my life that can never be brought back.
            At the vet, I instantly started crying uncontrollably. It was all too real now. We had been to the vet so many times trying to figure out Louis' tumor, that to him, this was probably just another trip. They put us right into a room. Louis chose to lay on the seat instead of the medical table. I sat on the floor and put my arm under his head as I kissed him and pet him, trying to keep him comfortable. The doctor explained what would happen, which didn't make it any easier. It was all cloudy. They gave him a shot, which I thought would put him all the way under, into a sleep, but it just made him "relaxed" and "groggy". His eyes were still opened. I only had about ten minutes with him until the doctor and nurse finally came in and said it was time. They gave him the final shot and Louis gave a quick gasp. It scared me and made me feel sad. Just like that, the doctor checked his pulse and said the words I never wanted to have to hear. "He's gone". He was. He was gone forever. They put his paw print into a piece of clay and gave me instructions on how to bake my now dead dog's footprint, so I can have some kind of positive remembrance, aside from memories. I slowly pulled my arm out from under his lifeless face. His eyes wouldn't close all of the way. I had to close them for him with my hand. I gave him one last kiss and squeezed his empty collar and leash in my hands. I felt like I was walking the walk of shame in front of the people in the lobby. I knew they felt sad for me. I heard a couple of them express remorse. I just felt empty.

            Now in my room, next to my bed sits a floral tin. Inside this tin are the ashes of Louis. The plastic bag of ashes is heartbreaking. It is a lot smaller that I ever expected, and it doesn't resemble anything that my dog once did. Bone fragments and grey ash are all that I have. His teal collar is also inside there, and I will never put it on another dog. We also have a small clipping of Lou's hair, the card from the vet, and a canine cancer bracelet that one of the organizations had given to us when trying to help with Louis' funding. The last piece of Louis in this tin is his ceramic paw print that I hold so tight and cry with. I used to hold Louis' paws. They smelled like Fritos. I will never forget my sweet boy and his Frito paws.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chins up!

Today we reached over $1,300.00 for Lou. Everyone has helped us to get here but I have to especially thank an EXTREMELY generous donor. You know who you are! It is so amazing to me that so many people are coming together to help Louis out. I know that he is not only special to me, but a lot of you also! I want Lou to keep on living and touching the hearts of many people! At one point I was looking into him being a therapy dog, not only because I want to take him every single place that I ever go, but we wanted to visit hospitals and other places so that Lou can give his affection and love to other people in need. There is nothing like having a dog. I was so excited when I turned 18 because I could FINALLY get one.

I want my two babies to be able to have a few years with Lou. I want them to know him and know why he is such an important part of our family. I want them to know that when they are sad, Lou will jump on their beds with them and lay right next to them, staring with those deep brown eyes. I want them to grab his floppy ears and snuggle him until they fall asleep. It means a lot to me for this to happen, therefore it is very important to me to get Louis all better. Walking should be fun for him and right now they are just bothersome. Playing with our other dog should be enjoyable, but he seems to tire out and just lay in the grass even though playing fetch is his most favorite game ever!

Not to sound corny or anything, but it really is beautiful how everyone is giving us money out of their concern and care for an animal and family. It makes me want to cry thinking about it. Money does not come easy these days for most people and even just sharing a little bit is hard, but a lot of you find our dog's health and well being more important than some other things that you may want or need to spend your money on. It's also hard to trust people these days and I have never had to post anything like this before, obviously because we have never been in such a critical situation. I am doing my best to keep people updated on what is happening and how I am feeling about it and where we are at with the money. I have no intentions of scamming anyone or giving anyone false information regarding our situation. I just want to say thank you for keeping faith that Louis will be okay and thank you for all of your kind words, donations and thoughts. We truly appreciate anyone who has even taken a peak at Lou's story. I'm sure there are many families who cannot afford an expensive surgery for their pets. Thank you for reading our story. Thank you for thinking about us and thank you for all being amazing, generous people.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I have been trying not to think about the bad things that can happen to Lou and trying to focus on the good things. After so many tears, worrying, and sadness, things are slowly looking up. After only three days of having the PayPal donations going, we have been able to raise $114.98! I decided to start posting on other Puggle, dog and Pug community pages on Facebook just to get the word out about Lou and six amazing people from about every different corner of the country all made generous donations for Lou.

I cannot express enough how excited and greatful we are for the support, especially from complete strangers with big hearts. It helps me to believe that there are still amazing, good hearted, helpful human beings out there who consider what other people are going through and want to make a difference for them. I didn't even know people like that still existed. Even if people cannot donate, it is helping us so much just by people sharing Lou's Facebook page and getting the word out about him. I would love to raise enough money for the surgery by my birthday, which is February 11th. That would be the most amazing gift ever.

I cannot help but picture him laying on the operating table, all opened up, sound asleep. I just have to keep the faith that the people working on him do this for a living and will put forth their best efforts to keep Lou breathing for me. I think that day will be the hardest day of my life so far. I will be waiting anxiously by the phone, just to hear that he came out of the surgery okay. He will have an epidural so that he will not feel anything around his bottom half for 24 hours after. I never want him to feel any pain and always want him by my side.

Lou has been here with me through everything. Matt, my fiance made a good point one day that no other dog will probably ever mean as much as Lou does to me. I used to work at the mall when I was 18 and would walk into the pet store every day to hold the dogs. This was before I had the knowledge that I have today about pet stores, puppy mills, etc. All I saw was this adorable three month old Puggle who looked depressed stuck in a cage with his sister. I had eyes for him right away. I would take him out every single day and play with him. He would bite on my jacket hood and nibble on my hair with his puppy teeth. His sister was adopted on day and he was alone. I came up with a game plan to get him. I knew a girl that worked at the pet store and she was able to get me half off of him. I was still a broke 18 year old. I expressed my love for this dog to my district manager and she was kind enough to lend me money for Louis. Another example of a generous act. The day I brought Lou home, I was so happy. I had never had a dog before. I loved taking him out and walking him, snuggling him, and just having him around.

I was pretty poor, so I moved a lot. From apartments with friends, to my car, to friends homes. Lou stayed with me the whole time. When I cried, when I still cry, Louis jumps on the bed next to me, lays right next to me and stares are me until I cuddle him. It is so nice just to have him to hold on to. I play with his floppy ears until I calm down. I can't imagine not having the comfort of him around. I find it unfair that he is so young and he has to go through these symptoms and issues that come along with this growing cancer. I never want him to be in pain, so I have a plan set to fix him. If the mass grows too large, he will not be able to go to the bathroom and will have to be put to sleep. I refuse to let that happen without doing everything in my power to help stop this growth.

I'm sure that I will be repetative with my future blogs, but it just helps me when a million things are going through my head about losing my dog. Thankfully, all of the thoughts today were good ones! I am still so touched that all of you are keeping us in your thoughts. Thank you for the support and kind words.

Lindsay, Matt & Lou

Friday, June 15, 2012

Introduction to saving Louis

     Recently we learned that my best friend, my just turned 5 year old Puggle has a cancerous mass growing from his rectum and is wrapped about 3/4 of the way around his intestinal tract leading up toward his abdomen. What caught our attention to have this looked at was that Louis has been leaking blood from his rectum after he goes to the bathroom. The blood seems to be more and more every day.
     After a year of tests being done at our regular vet, we were recommended to go to a specialist to try and locate the problem. The specialist was expensive, but we were determined to get Lou healthy again. We were approved for a Care Credit card as a last resort to pay for the bill. I left the specialist with very bad and very unexpected news. Lou has a mass growing at a cancerous rate. After question up question the idea of surgery seemed more and more risky. I was left with an extremely hard decision.
     After speaking with Lou's vet, friend's vets and the surgeon who would be performing the procedure, we came to conclusion that surgery is the only chance Lou has at a longer, healthy life. At first surgery was out of the question, as it is extremely complicated. We thought the chance of him dying was not worth it. The surgeon himself made us aware that there are risks, but they are more along the lines of not knowing how large this mass actually is and whether they can get it all out.
Louis will opened up all the way up and down his stomach. Imagine a person on an autopsy table. It scares me to death thinking of my little Lou opened up like that and I have to trust that these people will keep him alive for me. There is always an option that the surgery can fail, but it outweighs possibly losing my dog in a year, or months to come.
     We have a high estimate of the surgery being about 3,800.00. This does not include the chemotherapy that will need to be done to followup to kill off any extra cancerous cells trying to plant themselves back into Lou's body. With our second baby on the way, our new house repairs and going to school, we are not able to swing this extra 4,000.00 that we need to save Lou. This is a very last resort option for us, as we do not like to ask for people's help, especially when it comes to money. I have set up a Paypal account strictly for Louis and an email account. I want to keep everyone posted on Lou's condition, the vet updates and where we are at with raising this money for him.
     I know a lot of you are animal lovers as Matt and I are ourselves. Matt gets angry sometimes because he thinks I "treat Lou like a person", ha. Louis is my child as far as I am concerned. I've had family members tell me the cost is not worth it and to just let "the dog" go. I simply cannot do that. I will do everything in my power to save Lou's life. When I bought Louis, I fell in love with him and I knew I had to have him. I had never had a dog before. He has been with me through every move, every tear, every new step in my life and I refuse to let him slip away from me so quick. I had always planned on having at least 9 years with him. He used to be my running partner, but due to the discomfort of his mass, he is unable to exercise with me anymore. Updates will be made frequently.     
     We appreciate even the smallest donation. Every dollar will bring us closer to the surgery we need. I can't tell you enough how much this will mean to me.
     Please help save my dog. Thank you.