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The Sad Truth

It's been 17 months, 500 days, 12,000 hours since I first met Louie. It was supposed to be a quick "rescue". I would get kisses for the peanut butter cookie and reunite him with his owner(s). I knew he had to be someones loved pet, he was too adorable not to be. I surely didn't think it was going to be like this.

I didn't think that I would learn how different our journey would look compared to others. I didn't think I was going to worry about him when he didn't show up for days. I didn't think I would be dealing with a feral dog that wanted no human contact. And I surely didn't think I would have so many people interested in our journey together.

I've heard stories about his love from neighbors and some other neighbors have told me about their annoyances with him. I have been told how he loves meatballs and that he enjoys hanging out by the creek, probably where he gets his bath at. I have heard about communities trying to "trap" him, been reached out to by an out of state rescue, and glared at by others who just don't understand.

I've recently discovered that I'm the "bad pet owner" and had to try to explain our situation with strangers. I have been judged without knowing the full story or even having done their own research as I did when Louie first started coming around. These strangers don't know the truth, they don't understand his demeanor, they don't know Louie. I've worked with him for over a year, I'm a constant in his daily routine, the usual house he sleeps at. I know him.

Louie and I have an understanding, or so I like to think we do. I make sure he has two meals everyday and he makes sure that he shows up for at least one of them. Usually dinner, I like to think it's to let me know he survived another day on the street. He gets at least three treats a day, six if he shows up for both meals. I don't force him to be touched, I don't move fast, I don't invade his space, and I don't dare sneeze or cough when I'm close to him. If I drop something I reassure him it's going to be okay, and if I fall over because he pushed me, I tell him I'm sorry for not being able to keep my balance. I mean of course it's my fault...

We've had our routine and understanding for so long that there's times I forget that he's not my dog, he's still his own wild creature. I've only been scared of him twice in the time that we've been together and both times he's looked at me with the same apologetic eyes that I look at him with when I forget our understanding. I always tell him I understand when he's timid, I mean after all this is completely new to him. To have someone forcing you to trust them when you aren't willing to is very uncomfortable.

The tail wags make me happy, they bring so much joy to my day. They sometimes come just because he hears my voice, those make me smile the most. I get kisses on my hand but only when he wants to, not when I ask for them. I sometimes get surprise cheek kisses and those always throw me off. You know that feeling of butterflies in your stomach? Yeah, that's what they feel like, mainly because I never know if they're going to follow up with a push or a run away or eventually a pet on his head.

I've gotten Louie to trust that I'm a safe person, he's still unsure of my husband. Chris calls him Lou Lou and tries really hard, sometimes getting frustrated because of the setbacks. He can give him treats one day out of his hand and Louie happily takes them, then the next day he runs from him. He doesn't put in the extra effort but he gives him space and always lets him know what he's going to do before he does it so that Lou is comfortable. It's a process and it will be a long one.

Since I have shared our journey, I have been questioned why I decided to start a Tik Tok or Instagram about it. Some understand and others don't. What do I have to gain from it? I want to spread the story, Louie's story. He has had such an unknown past and even if I'm not his final stop I want to make sure his journey is actually documented. I wanted him to have a name and others know it. I wanted him to continue to live his life on his terms, because let's be honest, they're the only ones that matter.

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