Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gone Louie Gone

It's a pretty eye-opening revelation when you get to my age and you realize your best friend was a half-blind, deaf pug named Louie who died in your arms on a cold and rainy spring morning, breaking your heart into more pieces than you've been able to pick up.
He was in my lap when he died, the same spot where he first lay when we drove him to his new home as a rescue six years earlier. Only this time when I passed him to the vet, his warm, soft body was a dead weight. It was real. He was gone. I still cry thinking about it. I'm crying now.
I could tell you how special he was but it's not the same as knowing him and that's okay. Take my word for it. The Tibetans believe pugs are descendent from monks. If you knew Louie, you would not find that idea farfetched. He would often sit at my feet as I worked. Sometimes when I would get stuck for a word or a thought or I would just feel lost, I would look down at him and it would help. I don't know how or why and I don't expect everyone to believe, but just looking into his face made the whole world seem okay, no matter what.
He came into my life during a difficult period. Looking back now I know that it was the beginning of the end of my marriage, even though it took me years to figure that out. Give Louie credit. He kept us together, or tried to. I had some really bad days back then, but it was easy to hang out with my pug and think they would pass. It wasn't until I let him go finally that I started to see the light. The changes I've made in my life since began that rainy May day. If I look back, it's only to remember the warmth of his fur and those big bug eyes because I don't ever want to forget anything about him.
Louie built up my heart and when he left me, it broke and even though I didn't think I could ever live without him, I'm still here. And I'm stronger than ever. 
And, I think, that giving love is the most important thing you can do, even if forever turns out to have an expiration date. Our hearts are not always in the right place -- we're human after all -- but never lose faith in it.
Once a day like clockwork, Louie would lose me in the house. He would run around, his nails click-clicking on the floor at a frantic pace until he found me, and then his curly tail would wag something fierce, his chin would tilt up and he would slump next to me, leaning on my leg like my only purpose in life was to hold him up.
The truth is he was holding me up. And he's still doing it now. Louie showed me the way. It just took me awhile to follow.

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