My Blog

A Death in the Family

   Thu, August 18, 2005 - 8:10 PM
LuLu, the world's sweetest dog and my almost-daily companion and friend for the past 16 1/2 years, passed away while we vacationed together in Vermont on 5 August 2005. LuLu died peacefully in my arms, surrounded by my children who were aware that she was dying and, thankfully, were able to express their love for her as she left us.

We buried her on top of a knoll on Stone Mountain, Vermont, overlooking my family's cabin and the valley beyond. She rests beneath an ancient lilac bush, and next to a patch of wild day lilies. LuLu loved flowers, and I've already dreamt of her sitting atop the knoll in the Springtime, beneath the lilacs, alternating her view between the orange day lilies and the valley.

I drove LuLu home from her mother's owner's house in Roanoke, VA in April 1988, my future (ex-)wife rubbing her round little belly to calm her during the raging thunderstorm. LuLu lived with us in our ground floor apartment as she grew, enduring her first dog training-instructor's taunts of "the bug-eyed dog" with a good nature and an eager tongue.

During the next few years in Blacksburg, VA, LuLu's favorite hangout was the Virginia Tech ornamental garden, which always seemed to have lots of LuLu-height flowers she could stick her nose into and inhale. I can still picture her, looking like a pansy is grabbing her nose.

LuLu knew she was cute, and knew how to use it to her advantage. At first she wasn't allowed past the crack in the carpet in the bedroom doorway. She learned that cuteness would let her put just her toenails over the line. Then her toes. Within a few weeks, she was sleeping on the futon with us.

My first year of law school was the period when I saw LuLu the least - only a few times a week while she lived with my still-future-ex on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It seems less odd now (that I'm divorced) that she always seemed happier to see me than did my ex. She could always tell when it was the last walk of the weekend.

Happier days when we moved to Annandale, VA, and we could see each other every day. There, LuLu met Winston when he was born, and couldn't have been sweeter. After we moved to Philadelphia, she enjoyed our walk from our apartment, and finally had a house of her own. Emerson soon came, and Vivian followed. Always sweet and gentle with the kids, LuLu became dear to their hearts, even though they probably didn't fully realize this until she was dying that afternoon.

During my divorce, LuLu came to live with me, my ex having cast her and her sister out into the street. For three years now, LuLu and CoCo have awoken and fallen asleep with me nearly every day.

LuLu was sweeter than most people I've met. If ever there were a dog who had a soul, it was LuLu. Sometimes it seemed almost as though she could talk. LuLu liked to be with me, wherever I was, although she knew not to follow me into the bathroom. Dozens of times when I wasn't feeling well, LuLu would sit next to me and either lean against me or put her paw on my hand or foot. At times, I thought she was a little person in a dog suit.

A piece of me lies buried in Vermont. The world is worse for her loss. I will miss her. Heck. I already do.

1 Comment

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Thu, August 18, 2005 - 8:30 PM
I'm so sorry for your loss
She's chasing butterflies around that lilac bush, I'm sure. You were obviously good family to her, and I'm sure that love was all the way mutual.

Take care