To Louisa From Mom

15

July 23, 2013 by Katia

Memories made with your pet can last a lifetime. Dog Fence DIY encourages exploration beyond the fence!

In memoriam: Louisa – July 2003 – July 2012

When I’d moved to Toronto with my husband, 6 years ago, I travelled across the ocean with my dog in a crate.

The apartment we moved into was empty and for a while the only ‘thing’ bestowing a sense of home on our surroundings was her, the silliest American Cocker Spaniel you’ve ever met, Louisa. 4 years old at the time.

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Louisa at Niagara Falls

My husband was working from home during the first few months after our arrival in the new country, while I was taking some time off to get settled in. Pretty soon Louisa and I started discovering the city together in a way we had never done before while I was studying and working part time back home. Getting on the subway in a new country, knowing that you’re not going to run into anyone you know can be a lonely experience. I loved how doggy-friendly Toronto was proving to be. Being able to ride the subway with Louisa a few times was an immediate loneliness relief remedy. I was even able to take her with me into a fitting room more than once, incredulously combining two favourite activities together, feeling exhilarated like a child who gets to stay up late while eating ice cream .

How thrilled was I, when my concerns about her adjusting to the huge climate difference between Mediterranean Israel and Toronto in January dissipated at the image of Louisa in a dark winter coat with white polka dots, struggling ever so slightly to climb to the top of a huge snow pile just so she could leave her mark in the form of a little yellow rimmed hole at the very top. You dog owners know what I’m talking about.

That shouldn’t have surprised me. Louisa was the embodiment of happy go lucky. I’m sorry to say it, she wasn’t smart, but there was SO much that worry wart me could learn from her. There’s a Kabalistic term called Tikkun. Tikkun in the most basic terms is the repair work you do on your soul, usually with some outside aid. Maybe she was my Tikkun. At first sight of her leash she would get so excited she would run from me, sent to the other side of the room by a happiness explosion in her soul. And then she’d do it again. And again. And again, failing to realize she was defeating her own purpose. Oh, we’re going out? Amazeballs!!’ *dashes to opposite end of room* ‘Returning home? Awesomesauce!!!’ And there she is Last one at the door’s a rotten egg!’

We took Louisa to new parks, where palm trees were replaced by oaks and maples. We would almost never let her off the leash because she was unpredictable and could run, but I remember that one time we did. We took her to Sherwood Park, that we always refer to as Sherwood Forest, and right away she ran into a little thicket with a look of ecstasy and utter determination, as if she had to cross this off her bucket list and when she came out it almost looked like she was grinning. Leaves, flower petals and possibly some berries were stuck in the long and curly fur of her ears and a huge thorny branch was stuck in her rear right paw. True to form, Louisa had no intention of letting this affect her happiness or even slow her down, as she came out of the bushes running with one leg lifted up in the air. ‘Oh cool, look at me, I’ve got three legs!’ She must have said to herself ‘Now where do we go next?’

At the wading pools

At the wading pool

Louisa continued exploring the city with me and we’ve made so many discoveries together, like the doggy wading pool at a condominium complex not far from where we lived, more parks and ravines, Niagara Falls. Every day of exploration would always end the same way. Her waiting until we’ve climbed into bed, then jumping in and adjusting herself around my head on my pillow. For nine years this was how we slept.

At the ravine

At the ravine

Louisa was my first kid. The first creature to totally depend on me. The first one that I’ve watched make discoveries and felt like my own discoveries were painted in brighter colours thanks to and the first creature who filtered the world through me. I will never forget puppy Louisa’s first outing after she completed her first set of vaccinations and left my mom’s apartment to go on her first walk ever. I took Louisa outside to my mom’s building’s front yard with some newspapers to facilitate this Disney creature’s with cartoonishly long eye lashes understanding of what was expected of her. As soon as she finished her business a bird soared into the sky, just like that, right in front of puppy Louisa’s eyes. That inquisitive gaze first accompanied the bird in her soaring then instantly moved towards me “Mommy, did you see that miracle? Mommy so things can move upwards TOO? Mommy, please explain!”.

In May 2012 Louisa who was suffering from many chronic diseases got noticeably worse. We’ve been putting off the inevitable for 2 months, finding glimmers of hope in some recognizable happy behaviours, toy chasing, good appetite and the likes until July 25th came.

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I miss exploring and experiencing reality through her eyes. I miss her panty, warm, goofy, excited presence. I miss experiencing her through my son’s eyes and laughing together at the silly things she did. Louisa was part of his world exploration and he enriched hers. While she was a gift to me and a daughter for a while, until I had my own kids, I know that to her I was always mom. I know she felt loved. I hope she sees how much she is missed. Every day.

*Sponsored Post*

15 thoughts on “To Louisa From Mom

  1. Roshni says:

    what a wonderful, sweet post this is, Katia! I had a cocker spaniel too. He was nearly 14 when he died. He was also my first baby!

    • Katia says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Roshni! I really appreciate the comment and I remember you mentioning your Cocker Spaniel once. They’re wonderful, aren’t they?🙂

  2. Dana says:

    Louisa was adorable, and your post is a wonderful tribute to a very special companion. We didn’t get our dog until my youngest was 4, so she is our third child. I imagine the bond is different when your pet is your first child. Thanks for sharing Louisa with us!

  3. […] Memories made with your pet can last a lifetime. Dog Fence DIY encourages exploration beyond the fence!  […]

  4. Ok I’m pretty much bawling now. I just lost my dog to (probably) cancer in April. He was with me when I moved to DC from Colorado. I know it’s not the same kind of move, but still, I was so isolated here, alone and walking him and exploring new places felt so much less alone than when he was with me. It was like, all of a sudden, he made me brave enough to visit places that I’d have felt like a total loser visiting by myself. I get this. (and he was a total runner as well and very seldom was let off the leash)
    Great post, Katia! I wrote a tribute to Chief on the day I put him down (so much more than a dog, if you’re uber bored). Yours was SO MUCH BETTER. Plus, sponsored? How awesome are you. Awesome. Super duper amazing awesome.
    Also? that photo of you at the end = supermodel gorgeous. Seriously dude.

    • Katia says:

      Aw, my friend, I didn’t mean to make you bawl. It’s funny (in a non HAHA or anything you presume under the word ‘funny’ kind of way) I was OK writing this, but then I was reading and translating this to my mom on the phone doing OK pretty much until the end and then as I was reading about our very first outing together when she noticed the bird I started crying. I feel like I let her down by putting her down, but she too was suffering from cancer and the last two months were pretty terrible but I kept thinking she would pull through. Thank you so much for liking it, I wasn’t so sure it was that well written because writing it was emotional. It’s reassuring to get everyone’s comments. And BTW, without even reading yours I guarantee it is better🙂

  5. I enjoyed reading your Post.
    The word ‘enjoyed’ may seem a bit inappropriate, but your sharing of your time with Lousia resonates with my own experiences with Ola, our first dog.
    I identify with the feeling of belonging, which is a term that more often refers to the relationship of one to a group, a collection of people, values, beliefs.
    But I *belonged* to Ola, it is the very special thing that dogs do with one person, their alpha human.
    You are theirs, they are yours.

    Simply put, what accounts for the ‘enjoying’ of your Post is to hear of (a) tale of another person’s life with a dog. The day to day adventures and memories are yours, the relationship is something that others can share the plain and simple goodness of.

    • Katia says:

      Clark, I’m so touched that this resonated with you and made you think of Ola and your relationship with her and that you brought up the term ‘belonging’, so appropriate and missing from my post. Thank you so much for such a kind comment!

  6. Katia, blogger Bff, it’s been awhile. I’ve been absent, but I nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award! Because clearly you are so sweet!!! Take care, Georgia from Mckinley Milestones http://mckinleymilestones.com/2013/07/24/another-blogger-nomination/

  7. Yvonne says:

    This was beautiful. I loved the thought that Louisa was there to do repair work on your soul. So lovely.
    Sorry for your loss, and I can understand your feelings about having to have her put down. But it very much sounds like you did what was right for her.

  8. pam9090 says:

    Louisa was a lucky dog. I love how you put into words the experience of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes… One thing I couldn’t help but think of when you mentioned she was your Tikkun was the book “Sight Hound” by Pam Houston. I don’t know if you are familiar with her, but she is one of my favorite authors and the book is basically the story of what the protagonist’s dogs were supposed to teach her. It’s funny and heartbreaking, and a page turner. Highly recommend. This is not a sponsored comment:)

    • Katia says:

      😀 I love the clarification on the nature of your comment, not being a sponsored one! I think you may be on to something, though, sponsored comments.

      I haven’t heard of the book, it sounds like such a wonderful idea! I’ll look it up.

      I loved your comment, thanks so much, Pam!

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