My friend Pablo owns a pedigree Boxer named Roxy and one morning, while I was groggily chewing my breakfast cereal, I saw Pablo swing open the back door wall and shout, "Get outta here! Go away!" I got up and sipped some orange juice and walked to the door to see what the hell was happening. Directly behind Pablo's house, there lived a dog--ostensibly a Pit Bull--and this dog had a penchant for leaping the fence when the mood struck. The mood had struck, apparently, because, as I reached the door and looked out, I saw said dog and Roxy engaged in a sort of reverse cowgirl-reverse cowboy lovemaking position. Roxy was facing towards the north and the other dog--the amorous interloper--was facing south. At the junction of their, well, junk, I imagine that fireworks were bursting.
And so little Roxy, plumb and pure, had had her innocence ripped away.
I'm not sure of the gestation period of dogs. I think it must be around five or six months. Anyway, Lou and his brothers and sisters showed up as Christmas babies, blind and furless, eight pups in all.
It truly was an amazing thing to see. The birth of the pups. The first one was the biggest. He was the one I had wanted originally. He'd had a white "mask" and, though Roxy--and the other dog for that matter--was of a brindle coloration, this first pup had had a lot of fawn characteristics. I'd named him Buddha, in respect to his deeply meditative, almost bovine, personality. Over time, in the whelping box, my attention had drifted from Buddha (he seemed almost too slow, as if he might have been a little oxygen-deprived) to Louie and another big boy, a dog that my sister would later adopt (along with Pete) and name Willy.
Whenever I would walk down the basement, Lou and Willy would run to the side of the makeshift whelping box and stand up against the side, their little puppy tails wagging furiously. There became really no other choice: Louie would be my boy. Seeing as how I lived there (and actually did more in the care of the puppies than the owner of the house) I would have the first pick of the litter.
And so Lou was a first round draft pick, first overall. And I have not looked back.
Sure, Willy grew to be the bigger dog. The dude is a friggin' monster, man. He's about 80 pounds and it is all muscle. Lou looks like a whippet in comparison. And, sure, Will is a sweet boy...so too his brother Petey. But I made a choice that I have lived with for all these 1460 days, and I could not be happier.
As all you dog-owners out there know, there is a special bond between a dog and its "master." The dog is always there. The dog is replete with unconditional love and acceptance. The dog is there on good days and the dog is there, curled up on the edge of the bed, on those bad days in which one just wants to slide into bed and pull up the covers and let the world churn by.
I remember Louie as a puppy, all long ears and black gimlet eyes, looking up at me from the floor, stamping me as his daddy. Louie has been an incredible dog throughout. Rarely have I had to raise my voice to him and rarely has he felt the need to, say, tear up a shit-talking pillow, or poop his name out onto the kitchen floor. And, with the addition of Oliver, Lou has done nothing but cement his legacy even more as the Greatest Dog Evah. He's not had a discouraging snip, an impatient snarl, since Oliver has set up shop as the Food-Eater. Lou has been, if dogs can be, a perfect gentleman, making Oliver's transition that much easier. As you can see by the picture, they kinda like each other.
He was pretty much a Christmas baby: December 23rd, 2003. And he is--and I know it--a gift every day that he is here with me.
Happy birthday, Lou. And you two, too, Pete and Willy. You have all brought us more joy and laughs than we could have ever hoped for. Here is to eight more years, kids. Peace.