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Louie the Neapolitan Mastiff

Jul 13

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The journey has ended. I don’t know where to start.  Lou made 2 years from diagnosis and a month shy of his 2 year ampuversary. I still don’t really know what happened. He just could not carry himself anymore. It became harder for him to rise from laying down and he could only walk 2-3 steps before his front leg would collapse and he would have to struggle to get up and remain standing. He still had a great appetite. He still wagged his tail and rolled in the grass and wanted to be wherever I was. It was the most difficult call to make. I knew that everything was functioning fine except he couldn’t walk any more. The day he saw a jogger run by the house and tried to run the fence line barking and collapsed 3 times looking like he was going to severely hurt himself was the moment I knew our fight was coming to an end. I tried to make the final call 3 times through tears and all 3 times I hung up before they answered. On Friday July 7th I somehow managed to make arrangements .

I called Lap of Love who were absolutely amazing. From the initial phone call until the final moments ,and even after, I have never experienced such emotional support, empathy, and most of all love and dignity for Louie.

I tried to make Louies day as special as he was. I cooked him a rib eye for lunch which he devoured. I layed down on the floor with him and held him for the longest time trying to breath in his smell and trying to capture the unique softness of his ears and his fur, I tried to absorb the sound of his breathing, his snorts and snores and all of the sounds that made him Lou. Meanwhile my heart ached with the knowledge that I was spending the last hours and minutes with my boy.

When the time drew near, my husband and I helped him down the stairs into the back yard where I sat on the grass with him while we waited for the vet. I brought out one of Lou’s favorite toys, a pink pig that oinked when you squeezed it, and while the tears flowed, we waited while I secretly prayed that time would just stand still.

When the vet arrived she sat on the grass with us and asked us all kinds of questions about Louie and his life. And we talked with her while he tried to roll in her lap for about an hour. Then she explained what would happen. She gave Louie a very strong sedative that was going to make him sleep. It would take about 10-15 minutes to reach full effect. During that time we talked to him and held him and everyone in the family got a chance to sit with him and talk for awhile. When he finally fell into a deep sleep (snoring loudly) I leaned over and told him how brave he was and thanked him for 2 glorious years, and his tail wagged! He heard my voice even in his deep sleep! When the vet asked if we were ready, I told her I wanted to be by his face. I moved in front of him and laid down with my face pressed against his nose. Each breath that he exhaled I could feel against my lips. I was trying to breathe each of his breaths into my lungs and I told him how much I loved him, that when he woke up again he was going to have 4 legs and wings, what a great guardian he was, what a wonderful friend, what a good dog, what a great fight he put up, I thanked him over and over until I felt him take his last breath. My heart shattered into a million pieces and the tears wouldn’t stop. The vet took a clay imprint of his paw, and shaved a bit of hair which she placed in a little plastic container for us. She gave us a certificate with his name and a booklet of comforting verses and poems. And she kissed his head before she left.

We buried him in the backyard. I have picked and placed flowers on his grave every day. The house is so silent. I listen for his snoring. I listen for his distinct tripawd thump as he walked through the house. I listen for his bark and for his howl that he always did when I walked out the door without him. It’s so quiet. The silence is deafening.

I look for the signs. I have already received a couple. Some quite amazing. But the tears flow too easy and the pain is too sharp right now. I know in time it will get better but right now the ache in my heart is tremendous. I miss my boy, my friend, my shadow. I feel so empty 🙁

Louie napping I just love this sweet picture

Louie enjoying his rib eye steak

This was Louie waiting with me for the vet to arrive. He was so full of life still 🙁






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Feb 06

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Wow is all that I can say! It has been 18 months since Louies amputation and 19 months since his initial osteosarcoma diagnosis. He continues to be his happy, goofy, pain in the butt self. The only problem I have been noticing is that everyone has spoiled him so much that he has put on a lot of weight due to the extra food and treats and the fact that he just is not as active as he was before he became a tripawd. I worry that he will hurt himself or one of his remaining legs. It doesn’t seem to worry Louie though. He just goes about his daily routine as if nothing has changed. I can’t express how surprised and thankful I am that I have gotten 18 months with my Lou. We just continue to enjoy every single moment and try to make each day fun and memorable. Louie sends big sloppy mastiff kisses to everyone. This was Louie on the 4th of February exactly 18 months after his amputation doing what he always loves to do.     🙂

Nov 04

15 months today!!!

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Well here we are 15 months to the day since Louie had his left front leg amputated due to osteosarcoma. I never thought for a second I would be writing this today but it just goes to prove that you can never know what will happen and sometimes you just have to try and then hope for the best.  Louie is doing well. His seroma has gone away and he just has a couple of red spots from him still licking at the area. But for the most part it is just about fully healed. More of a concern is that I noticed one of the toes on his right rear leg is swollen. He does not want it to be touched as it appears quite tender so I really can’t examine it too closely. I am hoping its not a reoccurrence of the cancer. I spoke with the vet who said I can always send her a picture via email to see what she thinks, but its hard to get an idea over the computer. I am keeping my eyes on it but it is not hot or weepy or anything. Could just be that he is so big and heavy and putting a lot of strain on his remaining feet and legs and he might have just strained it. In the meantime we are chugging along and enjoying the Fall weather.  On a sadder note, my 9 year old Rottie, Nemo, has been having a rough go of it the last few weeks. He has always had severe hip dysplasia but has managed quite well until now. He is having a very hard time walking and seems to not want to put any weight on his left rear. Vet says its not his cruciate and she believes it is his hips finally giving out due to age. We have him on pain meds  but he is now losing his appetite and finding it hard to come back to the house when I let him out to do his business. I have to go looking for him and then help him back and up the stairs. The vet said that if the meds don’t help she can try steroids next as a last resort but that we are just trying to buy him some time.  🙁   It has been a rough couple of weeks as I try to wrap my heart around the fact that I have a difficult decision to make probably very soon.

That’s it for now. I have included 2 pictures of Nemo who has always had a funny way of sleeping  🙂  and a video of Louie “yelling” at the landscapers next door last week.img_1571img_1263

Oct 08

14 months!!

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I haven’t written in a couple of months. Life has been busy and blessed. We did suffer one setback last month when Louie developed a large seroma at his amputation site that would shrink and then swell up again. It got really large and painful and the vet wrapped it. A day after it was wrapped it opened up and drained like crazy. It must have been such a relief because he seemed so much happier afterwards. It has been about 3 weeks since it opened and it is still draining small amounts but it is closing nicely. I have to keep a t-shirt on him to prevent him from licking at it but he manages to get it through the neck of the t-shirt and licks it anyway. I clean it everyday with peroxide and apply neosporin ointment and a clean shirt. He thinks its a big game and does everything he can to make it harder for me like refusing to stand up so I can get the old shirt off, and then refusing to roll on the right side so I can clean it and apply the ointment, and finally grabbing the new shirt in his mouth so I can’t get it over his head.   🙂 He is such a funny dog! So thats it for now. I am cherishing every single second with the Big Lou. I have included 2 videos taken today of Louie enjoying the fresh air and life. Till next time!

Sue and Big Lou

Aug 05

1 year!!!

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I didn’t write last month because I lost my brother unexpectedly on the 4th of July which would have been Louies 11 month ampuversary. Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to celebrate when I was feeling so devastated. But today we ARE celebrating!! Louie has kicked cancers butt for a year! I never expected to have my boy with me for all this time and it has gone by so fast! I have cherished every day, every second that I have been given. Today I bought Lou his first ever cheeseburger. He couldn’t figure out what to do with it at first and almost swallowed it whole!! LOL! But after I broke it into pieces for him he managed to devour it and I think he thought it was awesome. I also bought him a new squeaky toy which he loved! (after listening to it for a large part of the day I am not so sure it was the best choice of toy on my part) But it does my heart good to know he is happy. I was going to share the video of Lou eating his burger and playing with his new toy but for some reason I can’t seem to download them to my computer tonight. So instead I will share a short clip of Louie cooling off under the sprinkler last week on a very hot day. I don’t know how many more days or weeks or months I have left with Lou, but I am so grateful and blessed for the year we have been given so far. I continue to be humbled every day by his joy, his spirit, his determination, his loyalty, and most of all his love.