This is the love story as told to me by Laura Hollenbeck, mama of Louie the Great Dane from Rochester, New York.
Tell me about the first time you met Louie, when and where was it?
I had just lost two rescue Danes in a year's time and I began to look for a puppy. I love rescue but it had been a long time since I had a puppy. I knew I wanted a harlequin boy, so I started just casually looking on the web at breeders. I soon found myself obsessed with finding a puppy but couldn’t until I saw this face named “Romeo”. I called the breeder and was informed that someone was coming to look at him that night. I begged her to sell him to me sight unseen. She agreed. I live in NY and she in MI. I met her halfway in Ohio in Sept 2011. When I first saw “Romeo” aka Louie I knew it would be a friendship like no other. I was still grieving very much from my other losses, but he instantly brought a huge smile to my face. He and I drove through the night and he slept on a little pillow all the way home.
Thinking back, how would you describe Louie’s personality as a puppy? And as an adult?
Louie was the silliest puppy ever. He was so happy and just bounced around. He was a very smart boy, a quick learner, and well behaved. Unlike my other Danes, he never chewed anything or went through a bratty stage. He slept by my side from the start and never required a crate. As an adult, Louie’s personality really began to shine. He loved to play ball more than anything. He had a giant jolly ball, and he would spend hours in the front yard kicking it around like a soccer ball. His other favorite was his chuck-it ball he would carry it everywhere we went. I live on a lake and swimming with his ball was his favorite thing in the world. Louie and I spent hours a day at the park playing, hiking, and just sitting by the creek in the cattails enjoying the day. I was lucky enough not to work so he was with me 24/7. Louie was very protective of me and not always fond of people he didn’t know.
And now how would Louie describe your personality?
Louie would say I am a pushover. He pretty much got whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. He knew my world revolved around him and I would do anything for him. When I was with him I was always happy no matter what was going on in my life. He would tell you, I was a good Mom.
What did you learn from Louie?
I learned to smile and laugh. He taught me how to be silly and not care and live in the moment.
What are the top three things you always want to remember about your love?
1. The sheer joy he bought to my life.
2. The feeling I can overcome anything, he made me know everything would be ok.
3. How much he enjoyed just living every day, he was truly the happiest pup I ever knew.
When did Louie earn his wings?
May 7th, 2019
When did you join Paws?
I don't recall, it was a couple of months ago.
Do you remember how you found Paws?
I was searching for a group to help with the grieving process.
What has or is helping you get to the other side of grief? What advice would you share with someone who recently started grieving?
This group has helped a ton, knowing I am not alone with the way I feel and it's ok 18 months later to still have very hard days. I still have an ache in my heart that will never heal but I know that will never go away. I adopted a rescue Dane who had a very hard life, and he has helped me to get through this. I also have a female Dane who’s 6 and she’s a love so they both help me. My advice to others would be, it’s ok to cry, scream, and get angry, but don't stay there too long in that state. There are days, in the beginning, your not sure how to go on, but you do, and people need to learn to be gentle with themselves and not blame themselves for something that is out of our control. Instead, be thankful for the time you had with your best friend no matter how painful it is to lose them.
Where are you now in your grief?
It’s been 18 months for me, and I still cry often when I think of him and have some dark days, but I am starting to accept that he’s gone, and I did everything in my power to try and save him. This has truly been the hardest thing I have ever dealt with
Using your spiritual and intuitive mind, if I could get a message to Louie from you, what would you want to say? What would you want to let Louie know?
I would want Louie to know he was the best thing that ever happened to me. That my love for him is still greater than anything I have ever known. That I miss him and will think of him every day. He was truly the greatest gift of my life.
And if I could get a message from you to Louie what would you like to know?
I would want to know he’s happy and not alone but with my other Danes that have left before him.
Is there anything else you would like to share with you Paws Pack about Louie?
I wish everyone could live life like Louie. Carefree, silly, loving, and happy. Louie was such a force in my life. He taught me everything can and will be ok no matter what is going on. Life is short so play ball and always find the time to enjoy even the smallest things in life.