The world we all live in is cruel and judgmental, I've learned this in the time that I've shared Louie's story on different social media platforms. I forget that not everyone is going to read something from the beginning or watch the first video. I guess I have more faith in people than there really is. I don't hold my head high when it comes to what I've accomplished with Lou, I don't sit and brag that he's come as far as he has over the past year and a half we've been together. Strangers are quick to put you into place by putting you down and telling you ALL the things you're doing wrong instead of looking at all the things you've done right or well or the strides you've made.
The most current thing I'm doing "wrong" is not taking care of his fabulous hair and not forcing him to be indoors all because I am only "sharing his story for clout and views". Well kiddos, let me tell you something, I have not a single idea what clout even is. I actually had to google it. I have to laugh that those who come across Louie's story are that concerned with my reasonings for sharing him. He's a feral stray, he's been on the streets for at least 3 years that we can trace back. Sharing him on social media has allowed me to find other families he's visited, helped find a "lost dog" (Louie may have just dognapped her and brought her home), found his love pups, educated strangers on the difference between Louie and a lost dog. So as the haters come after me for not brushing him or trapping him, I smile. His story is still getting views, still catching interest, and people are still learning. They always say bad press is still press.
So let's talk about Louie's grooming routine. Louie has a luscious coat of fur that is for the most part well-groomed. He keeps his coat brushed by rubbing on my bushes, yes they are all now missing the lower half of them and it's a small price to pay for his smile. He uses water from the creek or rain water to give him a starter layer to begin his tongue bathing routine completely changing his coat from a dirty red color from the clay to a bright white that most dog owners would pay a lot of money for. He keeps his nails trimmed by walking up our street and using the sidewalks to naturally trim excess off his tootsies, except that "thumb nail" dew claw that is actually my main concern over anything else of his. He even trims up the fur around his toes to make sure they are clean and short. You can see his awesome personal grooming job below.
Look at that mane though, man that must be really bothersome for him, painful with infection and full of fleas.
This is where I get to say with all my heart and Louie knowledge that those comments are not accurate. This is the thought process we've created as humans when we domesticated dogs over thirty thousand years ago. We made them dependent on us, made them require a human to groom them and keep their natural instincts at bay.
Louie used to run with a couple other dogs, those who have "allowed themselves" to be captured. His pack mates used to all help each other stay groomed, they would help him with those hard to reach places. They would keep that glorious mane of his untangled. Then humans happened, took his street family, and his only grooming resource. I actual always wondered if he tries to make friends with the neighborhood dogs to help him groom and they just turn him down because they don't know that's normal for him.
I want to to think about a lion in the wild mane, their fur is long a beautiful much like Louie's. You hardly ever see matts on their manes, unless you inadvisably get a super close up look. These animals are not sedated and then shaved and then released again to the wild. They travel in packs, and their packs groom one another. A pack of wolves, Louie's ancestors, also take the same approach. Although their fur isn't the same texture nor is it typically as long, they still use each other for grooming purposes.
Twice a year, almost all animals that have fur, shed their coats. This sets them up with their winter and summer pelage. This is also why wild animals are capable of surviving the winter and summer months without heat or air conditioning. Louie has a lovely collection of fur currently on the front porch, on his blankets, on the bushes and in the grass. He does an astonishing job of keeping himself groomed for the season.
Although he may have some unappealing mats on his mane, they are loose at his skin to not cause him any discomfort or have any health risks to him at this time. He doesn't have fleas, just the expected dryer air itch. He currently is on an OTC flea medication that he doesn't need to be tricked to take. Yes, it is put in his food, on the top, not hidden and easily detectable by his ever knowing nose. He eats it anyways because he knows it helps him and makes his life easier.
Louie has lived all or at least the majority of his life outdoors. He's searched for food, shelter and fellow "wild" dogs that will be a part of his pack without the direct help from humans. He has used his looks, because we all can see he's adorable, to tug at the hearts of people like me and you to get food when he couldn't find any. I'm sure he's probably even eaten his share of other wild animals out there because those are what his instincts and hunger tell him to do.
We all don't want to think about our precious loved pet on the streets, most of them won't survive very long. When I close the door at night, knowing Louie is sleeping another night outdoors, it breaks my animal loving heart. I am sad to "let him" sleep alone. I know he's done it for so long and is quite content on the porch, in his door-less crate, snuggled up on his blankie but that doesn't mean my conscious thinks he should have to be out there. That is what we as humans have created for our beloved pets. A life of need.
Louie isn't ready to give up his freedom. I won't force him to do anything he isn't ready for, we do this on his terms. For those who think I'm doing it wrong, for those who "just want what's right for him", for those who can't take the extra time to really look at his story and how far he's come, I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry for the fact that you can not see the love that he has chosen to have for me, the trust that we have built and most of all the natural survival instincts of a wild animal. He is a dog, he's just not ready to be one yet.