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It’s A Dog’s Love.



I woke up this morning to Wolfie licking my face. I slept on the kitchen sofa where I’ve been sleeping the past five days so I could look after Lu. Lu! It hit me again. My first morning without Lu. I took my phone to see what time it was. 4:35.



And then I saw the literally hundreds of messages and comments of kindness flooding in for Lu… for me… for our loss… stories of other beloved dogs who’ve passed away leaving a gap in a life somewhere on this amazing earth.



I guess I’m writing this because people have asked to see more pictures of Lu, asked about his story and life, but also because I think it helps to remember the beautiful time I had with him which already somehow seems like another world.



You see, Lu was my first ever dog. If anyone asked, I’d always say I wasn’t a dog person and much preferred cats. In reality I’d never actually experienced a dog’s love.



When I moved here to No 19 of a tiny village in the Czech Republic, from Milan Italy, I was entering a new country, a new life, full of uncertainty and I was looking for something to give me a reason. Looking back, that something was Lu. My neighbour, Jiřina, said I needed to get a dog, living alone in such a large house… so one day in early March, her farmer boyfriend arrived with a fluffy black creature and some food. I actually thought they were playing a joke on me and had given me a bear cub. It looked nothing like a dog to me.



I’d love to say it was love at first sight. But Lu didn’t really take to me for the first few months, and I don’t think I did to him. He’d constantly run off from me during walks and end up home waiting to get in. I found him difficult. One day he smashed the front windows of the house. He climbed every fence I built between my neighbour and I - she encouraged him until he started chewing everything in her garden.



I woke up one morning to find my freshly dug vegetable plot planted with strange sticks, which on closer inspection turned out to be chicken legs! Lu had been breaking into another neighbour’s garden, killing his chickens and burying them in our veg garden!! I confessed to the neighbour but he either didn’t understand me or chose to ignore it which I think was a narrow escape!



And then one day something changed and Lu suddenly became mine. We bonded and a beautiful stillness fell over our relationship. I started to fall in love and he did too.



I think it was around this time when my brave huge black outdoor-only security system started sleeping on my bed with me. He’d changed and I felt myself changing too. Every challenge somehow was also a personal challenge, a possibility for personal growth and reflection. This dog was at times driving me crazy, but he was also making me a better human.



Lu had so much energy and we’d go for long walks almost every day. I was getting fitter because of him. I was out in nature, breathing fresh air, because of him. And I was learning to love in a different way, because of him.



He somehow brought people together. Whether my family and friends, people online, or total strangers who stopped us in the street wanting to know about my, now huge black dog, and where I got him. All this was completely new to me, a cat owner.



And then he was also so sweet. He’d lie in bed and roll onto his back when I sang to him. I’d sometimes catch him looking at me… a stare that lingered like he knew so much more about what really mattered than I did.



Loving an animal is uniquely different from a relationship with a person. It’s somehow more emotion based, behavioural, more honest.



When I found he was so sick I was devastated. He was 9 and he’d been slightly dragging his back leg on walks and the vet told me that this was a collapse of his vertebrae and he probably only had a year maximum.  It was a message for me to give him my all in the same way he had done for me.



In reality it wasn’t a year, but actually four and they were filled with so much because I felt he had so little time. I bought him his favorite pork chops (Lu always loved his food!) ‘Pork Chop’ was the one phrase that could bring Lu out of a deep sleep even when he got old and deaf.



He loved walks and I always took him if he was feeling up to it, even if to just outside the house, because it was something he loved. He loved sitting by the hot kitchen stove and so I bought extra wood so I’d not have to worry about running out and we could keep warm.



On the recommendation of my vet I also brought Wolfie into the family. I do actually think Wolfie gave Lu another injection of life. He also got on his nerves but they ended up being very close in the one and a half years they were together.



When Lu collapsed I already knew this was it. And it was all about making him comfortable, happy and thinking carefully about what I should do. Lu’s always been extremely frightened of the vet, so much so that he won’t even walk within 100feet of her surgery without flinching.



This all stems from an unfortunate episode when he needed his ears cleaning. There are still scratch marks on the surgery walls! So taking him there was the last option. He’s always been a quite vocal dog when it comes to pain and cried when he hurt himself and he didn’t seem to be overly suffering. As he lay sleeping on his blankets in the kitchen I hoped he’d be able to pass away at home.



I bathed and cleaned him, watered and fed him, gave him his pills, wiped his eyes, freshened his gums when he wasn’t thirsty, changed his bedding, and barley left his side for three days. He was quite jolly, but it was clearly going one way and on Tuesday evening I decided to call the vet the next day.



That morning he’d changed. I woke up and he just looked at me whatever I did, wherever I went in the kitchen, he just watched me. If I left the room, he’d lift his head up and seemed to want me to come back.



So I stayed with him. I read him the messages people had written to him, the comments on Facebook, I recited parts of the poem The Lady Of Shalott, and I told him the story of our most wonderful life together… running through the forests in the hottest of summers and the iciest of winters, swimming in cool streams and sleeping in the garden we built together.



At 8:40 he stretched and looked up to the corner of the room. It reminded me of when my cat Mario died… He paused, then started to make the movements of running. I told him to let go and run, that everything was going to be ok, we were all going to be ok and loved him so, so much. His head went down and he reminded me of a graceful horse. My hand was resting on his back and I felt his heart beat strongly, and then slowly stop. His eyes were glazed, and he was gone.



I don’t think we truly have the ability to understand other’s grief. If we do it’s probably a memory of our own, or a reminder that we once felt so much pain that we know what to say and do when others are suffering.



My neighbour Jiřina lost her dog last year, and although I helped dig the grave, comforted her, and listened to her tales of how much she loved him, I didn’t truly feel it.I’d lost many dear things, but never my dog. And now something has changed. The pain will ease, and life will become normal, but now I know and I’ll remember Lu until the day I die.



I’m feeling a little numb this week. The house looks the same, but feels incredibly empty, like something huge is missing… and he is. Lu’s left a space that can’t be filled. I said everything that needed to be said. I did everything that needed to be done.



Taking him for his last walk on Friday when I was so close to just saying “let’s go tomorrow Lu” We went for that walk and he came home looking very trotty and pleased with himself. It was his last walk. No procrastination with love. No second chances. No regrets ♥️



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I'm crying ... Tears for you ... Tears for the love shared between you two .... Tears for his gentle passing ... Tears for remembering my own few goodbyes and memories that are always in my heart.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of unconditional love. May God hold you in His hand.

Give Wolfie a loving hug from all of us - he may feel lost for a bit, too. 💙💙💙

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story of your life together. It was was a wonderful dedication. I have an 11 year old that is struggling to live. Your story tore at my heart. Please know you are in my heart and my prayers for comfort. Much love and many hugs for you my friend.

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Dear sweet Nick how very sorry I am for your loss. I'm at a loss as to what to say. What a beautiful

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