The Very Wonderful Life of Lou Carolina The Dog

(b. ~2010, d. 6/27/2020)

When dogs die, there is an inevitable tendency to describe them in superlatives: the most lovable, the sweetest ever, a best friend. And Lou? Lou Dog? She was a Good Girl.

Lou died on Saturday from cancer. We think she was about ten years old, and more than nine of them she spent with us after she was rescued from the streets in Stockton, CA and we adopted her. Rail thin and skittish at first, and scared of strangers—that is, everyone—she warmed up fast on a steady diet of constant love and illicitly obtained baked goods. She once ate, down to the last tiny trace, an entire fresh round of sourdough bread. She puked warm, yeasty piles of breadcrumbs for the next two days.

Lou brought a lot of joy to a lot of folks. Partly it's because she was especially cuddly. Partly, it was her personality: equal parts Eeyore, The Dude, and Milton from Office Space, with a dash of Buster Bluth. Her specialty, in a calm, perpetually nonplussed way, was to pass a total stranger on the street and make them smile. As a pet-therapy dog, she worked crowds, trying and succeeding to bring as many people together around her as possible.

She brought a lot of joy to our family as well. She matured from The First Dog Ever (Cautiously) Allowed Into My Parents' House to sleeping in their bed with them when she visited. She was always present—a quiet and reliable observer of every life or family event of the last ten years. Her observations, which she frequently voiced, tended to be obvious, but we appreciated her all the more for it... For example: "Excuse me guys, I'm not sure you're aware of this, but dogs don't usually get obituaries?" And while she never really "ran away," she did "wander off" the morning we brought our second son home from the hospital. Yet she was a remarkably patient and tolerant Big Sister to both Huck and Gray.

Her career as a golden retriever was action-packed. Highlights include:

  • Fearlessly charging the shorebreak after her frisbee and getting thoroughly, repeatedly tumbled.
  • Bounding towards us with joy on her face and our neighbor's pet chicken in her jaws. The chicken survived.
  • Converting many a fearful child or reluctant adult into a dog-lover with her soft ears and insistent nuzzle.

Other achievements include:

  • Being acknowledged in multiple Stanford dissertations.
  • Having clean fur that smelled wonderful in warm sunshine.
  • Supporting her family through one engagement, one marriage, three moves, one bar exam, one PhD, seven new jobs, two kids, one natural disaster, and lately one pandemic... plus all the ups and downs of daily life.

She enjoyed her dotage in our yard in Ventura, carefully monitoring the ground squirrel situation while keeping one eye on her little brothers.

She spent her final days as she spent most all of her other days: sleeping in whichever room her family was in. We fed her filet mignon, of which she was heard to observe: "Seriously guys, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but there was no reason to wait until now to give me this!" She died as she lived: mellow yet determinably sweet, cautious but imperturbable, so loving and so loved.

She is survived by family, friends, admirers, fur everywhere, and ALL her stuffed buddies, including Warthog, Hedgehog, Sea Otter, Goose, Duck 1, Duck 2, Duck 3, Vulture, Owl, Puppy, Shark, Turtle, Sheep, Fox, and many others. Who ever heard of a dog that never destroyed a single dog toy?

She was a Good Girl indeed... The Best Dog Ever in the Whole History of the Universe.

A few highlights:

Thank you to everyone in our lives for so generously sharing your love with Lou for all of her life.