Goodbye, My Beloved Boy

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Ten and a half years ago, on February 4th, you showed up at our doorstep, exhausted, confused, matted of hair and smelling like a skunk. You were strikingly beautiful then, and you remained strikingly beautiful until the moment we said goodbye, July 18th, 2016, at 12:20pm.

Everyone always stopped us and asked about you. Forever thought you were a puppy. Turns out that scoring a Chow Chow/Golden Retriever parentage is like winning the Handsome Lottery. Once, when your dad was walking you and your brother (‘Lexxercising’), a woman said, “Your dog is so cute, what kind is he?” and when your dad asked which of his dogs she was referring to, she responded, “The cute one.” That made me so mad back then, but it makes me smile now. Because, of course. You were the Most Beautiful Ever. No one could compete.

Once, when I was walking you, and man yelled out, “Oh my God…how do you get ANYTHING done with a face like that around?” I swelled with pride and told him that I did spent most of my time staring at your gorgeous mug and accomplishing shit.

Kids would whisper, “Awww….look at that dog…” and stop and stare at you as you passed by.

You were ours. We were so blessed.

And we knew it. Almost every time I passed you, I whispered that I loved you. I have no doubt that you knew how much you were loved, and that gives me so much warmth and comfort. You were our Lexx 3000, our Lexxie Lou, our Chewy Louie Pumpkin Pie, our Sweet Lou, our Lou Bear, our Sexy Lexxie.

I know for certain that you will always be my favorite dog, ever.

Almost every time I left the house, you would walk me to the door, stare at me, and look confused. ‘Why was I leaving my pack again? Why would anyone ever leave their pack?’ I wish I could have stayed home with you every minute of your life. Because having you gone, knowing that I will never see your face or hug your soft neck or give you your beloved booty scratch, is truly the saddest thing I have ever felt to date. Because I loved you with every millimeter of my heart.

You had not a mean bone in your body. You were such a pure, golden, sweet, shy spirit.

You loved every other dog you met, except one. Ever. You were cautious with strangers, but the joy on our friends’ faces when they finally, mercifully, got to pat your beautiful head (sometimes after months of trying) was really moving. No small feat.

You were so pure of heart. You had so much joy. You used to run around the pool after dinner, wanting to be chased. If your brother wouldn’t do it, we would. Just like a puppy, right up to the end.

Your decline was so fast, it shocked all of us. On Saturday, we received a phone call with confirmation that the masses in your kidney and lungs were indeed cancerous. On Monday, you took your last breath out by our pool, surrounded by your dad, your brother, your mom, and a wonderful vet and her assistant. They cried, too; they had only met you thirty minutes earlier, but they wept for you and for us. They were an enormous blessing, and provided exactly what we needed at our most difficult time. Afterwards, they placed your perfect body in their car and drove away with you. But that was no longer you, your dad said. You were here with us, and that is where you now remain; just in spirit now, not in body. But we will take what we can get.

I hope with all my heart that you didn’t suffer for a second, my sweet boy. You deserved everything that is best in this life because you were everything that was best in our lives.

I go outside and sit at the spot where you took your last breath. I like to look at the beautiful view you had as you left this world for the next. You chose that spot to die. I held your paw (your adorable little hoof) with one hand, and your brother’s with my other. I have never seen your dad so utterly shattered. Your passing has brought us closer together. Thank you for that. We talk about you all the time. You were just a dog, but it turns out that a dog is Everything that is beautiful and bright and good in this world. In our world.

Your brother had a freak out this week where he hurt his paw and ran around screaming bloody murder for what seemed like an eternity.  I thought we were going to lose him, too. Maybe he had an accident that no one saw. Maybe he was expressing his grief in his own way. The thing is, we all miss you. Your eternal puppy face, your soft floppy ears with a chunk missing from a run in with a doberman, your deep and warm brown eyes, your adorable ‘hooves’, your lion’s mane, your purple Chow tongue, your dog smile, your eyeliner, your long brown lashes, your terrible breath, even.

Before you, I had never known the love, joy and loyalty that came from dog companionship. I often joked that I wanted to sue my parents because I didn’t grow up with dogs. But now that I know the pain of losing such a pure spirit, I understand how much pain they spared me. I don’t know if I could have handled such a loss when I was a child.

Your pack misses you terribly. Your pack cannot believe how much we loved you. Your pack has never lived in this house without you and doesn’t want to start now. Your pack can barely enter a room, 5 days later, without looking for you. We see you everywhere, in every inch of this big house, by the pool, at the dog park, at our beloved Griffith Park, in our cars, in many doors and drawers we open. We see you in the sad eyes of our friends and neighbors who loved you, too.

Your pack had to flee the house this week for the comforts of the beach to get away from the void you left. But, we discovered that we couldn’t run from our grief.

So we will try to embrace it and live through it and celebrate you as much as we mourn you.

Your pack wants to thank you for 10 and a half years of love and loyalty and best friendship, of hunger strikes and nervous shaking fits, of happy sneezes and Lexxercise.  The good and the less than good. Thank you for showing up at our doorstep late one February night and choosing us as your family. It was truly an honor and a privilege. We really hope we did right by you, Lexxie Lou. Because you sure did right by us.

Julie Townsend Maigret is a Los Angeles-based interior designer focused on creating distinct, modern, livable spaces for her clients. She started her business in 2007 after attending UCLA’s interior design program. She has since developed a portfolio of thoughtful, comfortable, and often quirky residential and commercial interiors.

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