So my daughter Lisa posted a cute bulldog picture on my timeline. I looked at it and thought, “Oh, that’s just what Louie does.” Then I looked again, and it IS Louie, clear down to his white collar with the blue logos of Heavensent Bulldog Rescue, who are the people who brought us Louie last November.
Cris, our dogwalker says that a photographer took some pictures when he was walking Louie outside the Seminary gate last week. It turns out that the photographer was the guy from Humans of New York . The caption says “He wants to go home,” which is probably what Cris told him, because that is the way Louie acts when he decides it’s time to go home. On Facebook, the picture has almost 700,000 likes and 40,000 shares. I think the most likes I’ve ever gotten on a Facebook post was 52. So Mr. Louie is much better liked than me.
There were, of course, also thousands of comments, few of which I looked at. Apparently a lot of them reflected the commenters’ prejudices and sanctimonious assumptions about bulldogs and their owners. I don’t worry about that, it troubles me more that so many people spend so much energy being prejudiced and sanctimonious than that they have opinions about breeds of dogs, or even about me.
But let me give a little description of Louie. After Thekla died in the Fall of 2012, we were pretty broken up and didn’t want to think about another dog, Hilda was enough. But in the Fall of 2013, Paula saw a picture of Louie who was being fostered by Heavensent Bulldog Rescue and her heart went out to him. He came to live with us at the beginning of November. Louie turned 8 years old in March. We know this because we have the pedigree that the original owners got when they purchased him from a pet store. We could tell that it was a pet store sale, because googling the breeder shows a commercial breeder in Oklahoma that wholesales bulldogs to pet stores. I wouldn’t buy from such a breeder, or a pet store, but Louie’s background is his background, much as many of our own backgrounds are not as perfect as we would like them to be.
Louie has massive shoulders, even in the bulldog world he has massive shoulders. My guess is, he never had puppy obedience training either. He’s the most gentle guy in the world (I often compare his personality and build to offensive lineman in American football, but you have to know a few of them for that to make sense), but when he decides he wants to go someplace, he goes. And he pulls hard, probably at about 5 horsepower. Usually the place he wants to go is home to bed, his favorite place. I think he would do well in teaching courses at a Peace Academy, in passive resistance. The picture above is just one of his moves, and it takes all of my ingenuity, strength, and charm to get him to move, especially when he is in his bed.
Louie was 58 pounds when he came to us. He has lost about 5 pounds since then, and actually looks in pretty good shape (for an offensive guard). He has some health problems, like dry eye, which requires daily drops. However he is not unhealthy and does not have breathing problems. He snores less now that he has lost some weight, but he breathes normally and does not suffer particularly from the heat, although bulldogs are sensitive to the heat and we keep our apartment cool and outdoor walks short, especially in the summer.
Hilda keeps Louie active by pouncing on him and wrestling with him, though she’s barely half his size. They get along very well, though Louie is a sleep specialist, and likes to keep in practice. Even though Louie is famous, he doesn’t let it go to his head, he prefers to continue to sleep.