Cloister Commentary, Day 185: So Long, Mister Lou

We said so long to our red border collie Louis yesterday in the late afternoon of the last day of this frustrating summer. He had not taken food for 36 hours (a couple of days prior to his diagnosis as well) and was visibly winding down. His skilled and loving vet Dr. Christy Fischer from All Creatures made an afternoon house call to send him very gently on his way.

Sunday evening, we pulled the mattress out in the living room–where because of his mobility issues and the better traction in there, we’d had to keep him confined–and we were able to sleep (to some extent) in each other’s company one last night. He was able to enjoy free roam in the back yard several times during the day, where after walking around a little he’d lay down to rest and we’d sit together in silence and peace; we were even able to lightly groom him for his send-off. Thank the stars we were blessed with gorgeous weather for his farewell!

As I have previously written, Louis’ condition worsened very quickly; it was another sudden shock in this sudden season. BUT. In the past week, he did many of his favorite things before we knew anything was badly wrong: we’d gone for a couple nice neighborhood walks, he’d done some tricks (shaking, “giving Mom a kiss,” delaying gratification and holding a stare with me) for his daily “cold bone” (a hollow shin bone I would artisanally fill up and freeze once a day for him to gnaw on), he’d chilled out with me in the basement when we “flipped the house” and brought the cats upstairs, he’d gobbled some bacon strips while being brushed out (he was very touchy), and he’d wedged himself impossibly under the kitchen table several times while Nicole and I ate and chatted. Even after he’d started a serious decline, we’d done a family howl (which he would frequently initiate), he’d enjoyed some ice cream (his last taste, on Saturday), and he’d even made some obligatory, half-hearted lunges at our outdoor felines. He was stubbornly himself, right to the end. No surprise to us: he was the definition of strong-willed, but will we miss that energy inside these four walls.

As I have written this, I’ve had to take a couple breaks, because The Kid’s not at my feet as usual, for me to stare and smile at while I’m thinking. He’s already been let out, and he doesn’t have to come in anymore.

Streaming for Survivors:

Sorry, no full album this morning. This song has rung out in my head and heart on a couple of occasions, neither of which were easy. But it’s a comfort.

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