Saturday, July 30, 2011

Full Tilt, right to the end

She had an episode on our walk and I had to carry her home - she didn't really recover from that point on. After spending the night in a 24hr Emergency Clinic for animals we finally got the prognosis from the doctor: Louise was suffering from congestive heart failure, the symptoms of which intensified greatly earlier that night. X-rays showed the telltale signs. Other tests showed that she was no longer able to get sufficient oxygen from breathing - possibly from fluid in her lungs. Holly and I opted to say our goodbyes to Louise rather than to prolong her suffering - Louise died this morning, at 6:15 am. This was not a financial decision but rather one made out of compassion. We let Louise leave with dignity.

While in hindsight we can see some of the telltale symptoms of her progressing condition, Holly and I were blissfully unaware of how weak Louise was becoming. Sure, she was slowing down, but Louise was pretty good at indicating to us when she wasn't interested in going out, etc. In some ways this proved to be a good thing for Louise as she continued to live her life unencumbered with thoughts of tomorrow and for the most part, at her pace.

Louise's final week was spent pretty much like any other week - she was in the office with me on Thursday, she was rolling around on the sofa in one of her playful 'wrestling matches' with me just yesterday, our walks were relaxed and quite enjoyable in the summer weather. Louise generally wanted nothing more than to be with Holly or I. (and whatever was on our plates.) Just yesterday she was barking on the sidewalk, just letting the neighborhood know she was there. Every day was a happy one, so long we we were together.

Louise was one of those fantastic, 'enrich your life in ways you never thought possible' kind of dogs. By that I mean to say she was a completely normal dog given a chance to be a part of a group who adopted her as one of their own. Our family group consisted of my wife and I, two cats and of course, Louise. Having two cats in the group ensured that our days would never be boring, as there was always just a little friction between them and Louise. But they had their moments of reconciliation as well.

I don't have a fantastic memory, which is why I'm thankful right now to have kept a record of her time with us here on this blog. Sure, the frequency of updates slowed down over the last while, but so did Louise, so I figure it evens out. Just knowing that I have several years' worth of stories and photos to remind me of the many adventures she had is comforting to me.

This is going to be the last blog post here but the content will stay up for those who wish to continue remembering this little dog. Comments will stay enabled for now and as always, we read every one. I hope you enjoyed these random stories about our little 'Heavy Breather'.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting a bit warm in these parts

It's been so long since I have posted to this blog, but hey, at least I have been doing twitter updates. Anyway, this time I hope to recap a few of those twitter pictures as well as a couple new ones, just to keep things fresh.

The warmer weather has finally arrived, but it is in true Vancouver style, which is to say that it's decidedly 'warm' and not 'hot' like the rest of the continent. That's ok though, it's just about perfect weather for walking a heat-sensitive pug like ours. We haven't had to take any special measures yet, but both Holly and I have noticed that Louise is losing stamina when out for her afternoon walks. She still wants to go out, but well, she doesn't really last all that long.

The first two pictures are ones I took while walking with her along the sea wall. In the second one she is just 'investigating' the bottom rung and not actually trying to drink salt water. But it took a lot of sniffing for her to determine that it wasn't actually worth drinking. I guess the salt content isn't all that high in the waters around Vancouver so maybe it's normal that it would take a dog a bit of sniffing to figure it out.

The next picture is one where I have captured Louise licking her paws. If you asked me I'd say that it was a very cat-like behaviour but well that's not a popular theory with either the dog OR the cats.

All of this brings me to the last picture in this post, which is also one that I tweeted a few days ago. It was one of those lucky shots where I had set a wine bottle by the door with intentions of recycling it (we still have it here) and Louise decided to lay down next to it because the door was open enough to allow some cooler air to come in. Holly noticed first and suggested I take a picture. I did and what we have is a decently staged 'hangover' picture.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Wii find it exhausting

I think we might have been the last family in Canada to purchase a Nintendo Wii. Of course, by being last we also happened to score a great deal (ie. basically free by using Shopper's Optimum points for a discount greater than the price of the console). Even with that though, we have noticed that prices for the remotes have held firm. I guess it's pretty easy to see where Nintendo makes it's money from.

Anyway, the Wii is a bit bothersome for Louise, as when we are playing with it, she is never quite sure where she should be sitting. Should she sit on my couch? Probably a good idea if it's Holly's turn. But once Holly's turn is over, Louise is wanting to switch couches again, as now I am up, practicing my golf swing. This back and forth action will continue for quite a while until Louise finally gives up and goes to nap in her bed.

Today was also the day when Louise came into work with me. I tweeted her picture a couple times as we had an employee information session, which gave me a few minutes of downtime while they prepared the room. Louise wanted to sit in my lap, so she was only too happy to smile for the camera. Of course, ten minutes later she was also bored enough to insist we go for a walk immediately. Luckily, my boss doesn't take offense to me walking out of his presentation, and I was able to get caught up later.

Still, overall it was a pretty good day for Wheezie.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Return to the river

We rented a car for the weekend so that we could do a day-trip to the USA. Nothing like a little cross-border shopping to help out the economy, 'eh? Anyhow, as a peace offering for not being able to entertain Louise for an entire day, we decided to take her with us on Sunday, as we had some running around to do.

Based on where we needed to go, Holly also figured that we could probably fit in a visit to the park by the Fraser river - we used to live near this spot before we got Louise, and so for us it's fun just to return to get reacquainted with the place. That's probably a bit wordy for what I needed to say, but I have more pictures than words for this post, so bear with me while I fill things up a bit.

Our first stop was at IKEA to return a few things we got earlier (and then later suffered buyer's remorse over). This is actually a semi-common thing that happens to us with IKEA, so we have learned to keep our receipts close to the stuff we get there. A lot of their stuff is good, but well, not all of it tends to go well together and this was one of those times where what seemed like a good idea at the time of purchase turned out to be less compelling once we got home. Hence the return.

Since this was our first stop of the day, it also meant that we had to have a bite to eat - Holly had a cinnamon bun while Louise shared a hot dog with me - of course I was the greedy one who ate most of it, but Louise was ok with that because she actually got some hot dog - and the day was far from over.

Louise enjoyed the river but what was troubling to me was that for some reason she also really enjoyed the TASTE of the beach. That's right, Louise was licking up the sand like it was ice cream cone and I was getting more and more disgusted by the minute. Still, she thought it was grand, and had a good old time, as evidenced by this last photo, where I tried to get a good shot of the sand lining her lips.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Starting to feel like Summer

Well we finally got some warm weather. Spring has been so late in arriving that it is almost summer. While Holly and I appreciate the way things are warming up, it's already evident that things are starting to take a toll on Louise. We had her out for a walk along Robson Street, which was convenient because we could slip into a store if Louise started to get too hot.

I'm still kind of surprised that I haven't seen very many water bowls set out for dogs yet. Spring may have been cold, but dogs still get thirsty.

Oh yeah, earlier today when Louise and I were out for her morning stretch, we met some people that recognized her. I was a little surprised when a lady asked me 'is that Louise? I read her blog.' I mean, Louise is famous, but I didn't think she was that famous! At first she was going to totally ignore the people, which is what she has been doing lately, but since the lady knew her name, well that kind of changed Louise's perspective a bit. She was willing to be neighborly.

What is she doing now? She is konked out in her doggie bed, snoring a little. One thing about the heat is that it really tires her out. Good thing our apartment stays nice and cool most of the time.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We found some tall grass

Louise was back in the office yesterday which was probably a good thing since the weather forecast for the next little while is all rain. While I can still bring Louise in when it's wet, it does make for a lot of extra work.

But Friday was a fantastic sunny day and Louise discovered a new park area that has recently been put together. It is next to the Olympic Village, but is not nearly as elaborate as the park that is part of the Village. I think this was a vacant lot and they decided it would look nicer if they just threw down grass seed and some gravel for a path or two. It really was that low budget and simple and you know what? It turned out fantastic.

The grass is uneven as some places grew faster and taller than others, leaving a patchy texture across the lot that must have seemed a lot more interesting to someone at Louise's height than at mine. She already has a thing about long grass, as she likes to run in it, so I let her off leash and she would weave in and out of the tall spots.

I tried to get the camera low enough to give some idea on where the grass was in terms of height - obviously we aren't talking about a hayfield here. Just very fresh, new grass that has grown quickly. Louise just loved it.

The other nice thing about this little park is that it's even closer to the office than any of the other spots. This is great news for me, as there are times when Louise just doesn't have the energy to walk all the way over to the far side of the Olympic Village just to play in a park. Either she toughs it out and just sleeps the entire day away afterward, or she just pulls up short and indicates to me that she doesn't want to walk that far.

Yes, Louise has no problem telling us when she is done walking. Sometimes (especially on rainy days) it happens immediately on exiting the condo. Once she sees the rain, she will often just turn around and walk back inside. At other times, we will approach an intersection and she will just stop walking if we are about to go in a direction she doesn't want.

That wasn't a concern yesterday, as this park was close enough that she was able to romp about without getting too tired. She still wanted a nap later on though, but that was perfectly fine by me.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Ok, the first part of this post won't really be about Louise at all, but I'll bring it around to her, promise.

As some of you know, I'm a big fan of podcasts. I listen to a lot of them, especially on my daily commute into work. CBC is a fantastic source for some of my favorite ones and one in particular, Ideas had a three part series on dogs recently. You might not be into the far ranging topics on that podcast, so here are parts one, two and three respectively. Go ahead, they are free to listen to. They might take a bit to actually load up in your browser, depending on your internet connection, but I tested them to make sure they were legit.

Now coincidentally, Apple released a software update for their iphones (my podcast delivery method of choice) and when I synched up to get the update, I was half way through listening to the third part. Something messed up with that software update such that for a podcast that was part way through (an ipod/iphone keeps track of where you are) the pointers would be messed up, reporting the podcast as complete. If I pressed play, it would pick up from this point always, and play through, but if I paused or stopped it, starting again would resume from that same point. It was kind of like Groundhog Day, but on a very small scale. I ended up listening to that same portion about five or six times in order to hear it through to the end.

I'm not one to believe in fate or such but I do believe that one is shaped by the experiences in one's life. Maybe there were parts of what I listened to multiple times from which I will draw upon in the future - who knows. What I do know is that at the time I was listening to it I had Louise with me and we were making our way into the office after visiting with a friend. I did note that I was a little more attentive to Louise and what she might want to do as we walked on some less familiar streets in downtown Vancouver.

One of the things I found interesting about the above podcasts is the notion of how a dog's experience of the world must be radically different from our own. These creatures are smell driven, not sight driven like us. As such, they most likely interpret their surroundings with a different sensibility (no pun intended). It was an interesting topic that made me look at Louise in a different light. She's quite a little individual.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Playoff Madness

Louise lives in a hockey town. No, not Detroit, although that is also a hockey town. We are proud to live in Vancouver, BC and all of us in our household are Vancouver Canucks fans.

Last night was the first game between our Canucks and the despised Chicago Blackhawks. I had to take Louise out just before the game and tried to see if Louise could predict the score, based on... well that part gets kinda gross, so I'll just call it 'reading the tea leaves' and let you imagine the worst. It's probably not far off.

Anyway, I think I mis-read what she was telling me because I was certain that she was predicting a 3-0 win for Vancouver. As it turns out, we scored 2 goals in the first period and that was it. We were out for another walk during the first intermission and this time the 'tea leaves' told me one more goal. Again, I was off in my reading by one goal as the remainder of the game was scoreless. I think I have seen the flaw in my reading pattern though, so I look forward to testing this further tomorrow night (hopefully another win against the no-good Hawks).

Maybe Louise can become as good a predictor as Paul the octopus was during the last FIFA cup.

Oh yeah, welcome to our newest followers! I am pretty sure you discovered us through twitter. I don't tend to blog frequently, but feel free to browse the more than three years of posts from the past. Louise has had many adventures.