Louie is overweight, blind, deaf, severely arthritic, and prone to seizures, but he never seems to let that get him down. He’s a sweet dog who belongs to our next door neighbor, Bill, who hasn’t been able to bring himself to put Louie to sleep, although he knows it is time. On Christmas Day, Louie wandered off into the woods behind our house and, despite a search by many of the neighbors, he was not found. After a few days, everyone assumed that Louie had gone off into the woods to die. Bill feared that my kids, who spend a lot of time there, would come across his body at some point. And today, 17 days later, the kids did find Louie — alive!
The Phillips Preserve is about 70 acres of woods that abuts our property. There are hiking trails in it, but this time of year the snow clears away all of the underbrush and you can go just about anywhere you want. Ivey, Stephen, and Sam went out late this morning to take Ouzo for a long walk in the woods and after about 15 minutes of hiking … there was Louie curled up next to a tree! He was thinner and very weak, but otherwise seemed okay. Ivey ran back home and told the Samurai who, of course, could do nothing about it being only 24 hours post-surgery. (I was in town running errands.) So she got a big sled and dragged it back to where the boys waited with Louie. They got Louie onto the sled and took turns dragging him home over hilly terrain. Once here, they covered him with a blanket and gave him food and water.
Bill and his wife were away for the day, so when I got home we loaded Louie in our van and drove him to the vet. They were amazed! They couldn’t believe he had survived so long without food or medication and was in such relatively good shape. Finally, Bill returned home and heard the news. He rushed over to see Louie, then I saw him afterwards. He said Louie was strong enough to walk. Bill’s not an emotional guy, but he told me to tell the kids that he was forever in debt to them, and that they had made an old man happy.
There’s so much that’s amazing about this story. First of all, that Louie survived for so long. Also, that he happened to be in the area that the kids were hiking in so that they would find him.
Many of the neighbors are calling this a miracle and saying the kids are heroes. The kids feel kind of funny about that – they just did what had to be done. Louie is the one who did the hard part.