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Archive for December 8th, 2012

Dog Blog: Moors Gem Lou 1/11/2002 – 8/12/2012

Posted by indigodream on 8 December, 2012

Lou in her prime....

Lou in her prime….

Saturday 8th December

One of our first photos of Lou - cowering on a pile of dirty washing - it all changes when she discovered duvets :-)

One of our first photos of Lou – cowering on a pile of dirty washing – it all changed when she discovered duvets πŸ™‚

I am truly heartbroken to report that Lou lost her long fight with cancer today – after a scant 19 weeks in remission, the cancer returned a fortnight ago and spread through her body like wildfire…

We always write a eulogy for our lost hounds – it’s our way of making their lives matter, but I’m finding this one the hardest of all – partly because Lou was such a fighter I can’t actually believe that she’s gone, and partly because the last 6 months have been dominated by her illness and that’s not how I want to remember Lou at all – she was so much more… and it has to be said that the illness did not affect her spirit, she just got on with life in a way that we never ever could. She had lived with failing kidneys for several years and a knee joint so bad that junior vets could never understand how she could walk, let alone run – all the photos here are of her running with a bad knee.

Lou was born on 1st November 2002, her mother was an Irish dog and her father an Australian dog. She raced at Mildenhall in Suffolk as Moors Gem Lou. She had two litter mates, Moors Yap Yap and Moors Rip 1, we have tried to trace them, but with no luck. Unlike many racing stud dogs, who sire thousands of puppies, Lou’s dad (Applause) only sired 129 – it was clear that Lou was of a unique bloodline – later it became clear that she was one of a kind πŸ™‚Β  She ran around 70 races, so she had a good career, though her speciality was coming 2nd! We didn’t understand this until she had a few chases round the garden with Blue and subsequent hounds – she loved to chase other hounds and snap at their bums!

She ran her last race on 19th June 2006, spookily at the same race meeting as our old girl Poppy ran her last race. We’re not too sure what happened to her after that, but we first met Lou on 20th December 2006. I don’t think she’d come direct to Greyhoundhomer – the only information that Pat had was she “had not been looked after”.

We visited Greyhoundhomer in December 2006 to get a companion for Blue – we had hoped that he would choose a nice lady friend, but he showed as much interest in girls as your average 7 year old boy! That meant that we had to choose – we had one visit and met several potential hounds but couldn’t make a decision so we went back the following weekend and met Lou. We wanted a girl with a bit of character – Lou was very engaging and showed a little spark of personality which would later develop into a full bonfire, with attitude!

Snow madness...

Snow madness…

The first week at home was a trauma for Lou – it was obviously her first time in a home and everything was new and scary – she was transfixed by the TV and spent the first few days huddled in various corners, nursing an upset tummy. But she soon got the hang of home life – especially the luxuries! The stairs were a torture to her – we taught her to go upstairs a leg at a time but then she discovered that upstairs was really warm, full of comfy dog beds and she could sleep in the bedroom with the rest of the pack. As with most things, it’s all about incentive πŸ™‚

Lou soon became an Indigo Dreamer and we discovered that she was exceptionally photogenic. She soon became a glamour model – featuring in the Greyhoundhomer calendar five years on the trot. She travelled the length and breadth of the country with us. Lou loved locks – mainly for the softly mown grass alongside each one. In lock flights, we’d often see her lying down at the first lock then she’d just stay there – supervising other boats, but certainly not following us! It was not unusual for us to have to go back to fetch her when we’d finished locking through a flight!

Together with Blue, and later Lynx,Β  she visited assorted towns, coffee bars and pubs – prompting whispers everywhere “look at that – she’s just like a tiger” – her beautiful brindle attracted attention everywhere, though she was somewhat tiger-ish by nature too! Well, only with other dogs, she was a total tart with people!

Once we got over the initial “what is over that horizon” stage, Lou was generally very trustworthy off the lead, but every so often there were exceptions. Richard was walking to the boat through Paddington Basin with her, when he suddenly noticed that she had disappeared. He looked round just in time to see a tail vanishing in through the doorway of a busy pub on the basin, much to the amusement of the drinkers there. In much the same place, sitting outside with the dogs on their sheepskins, people were giving them so many double-takes that one man nearly walked into a lamp post!

Lou on the BCN....

Lou on the BCN….

She went to a meeting on the Olympic Park on a day that Richard was summoned, at short notice, to what could have been a nasty meeting; but it is amazing how nerves are calmed by a tarty Lou saying hello to everyone before settling on a sheep skin in the corner for a relaxing snooze.Β  Despite her success as a facilitator at a meeting she was also ejected from the Olympic Park on one occasion – they started enforcing a no-dogs rule which Richard completely forgot about. He managed to drive through security and then looked in his rear view mirror to see a small battalion of Gurkhas chasing him as they should not have let Lou into the park. We did try and get her a formal pass, pointing out that she had fulfilled a valuable role in chasing out rats on the Primary Sub-station site, but they did not think she would manage to get the palm print biometrics machine to work πŸ™‚

In Birmingham we quite often used to go the Burger Restaurant in Brindley Place and sit outside whilst the dogs consumed a children’s portion (remarkably good value for money, though Lou would have rather swapped portions with us). The staff were very attentive of her every need; people walking past struggled not to fall into the canal (it is a bit narrow there).

The Fat Boys Cafe by Richard’s office also knew her – until problems with her kidneys meant that Richard was banned from buying her a sausage sandwich for breakfast, the guy would automatically cut her sandwich into small easy-to-scoff pieces. He also offered every time to add some hot mustard, which Lou probably would have liked (but was never allowed!).

Lou joined us 6 months after we launched Indigo Dream - we think of her as one of the original Indigo Dreamers...

Lou joined us 6 months after we launched Indigo Dream – we think of her as one of the original Indigo Dreamers – here on the Grand Union…

Because Lou was so feisty, we didn’t think that she’d take to living with other hounds, yet she allowed Lynx, then Ty, then Poppy and Ollie to share her home; she let any number of hounds share her boat, even her boat sofa. She was full of contradictions – for example, she was fearless with fireworks, but afraid of going under railway bridges (frequent occurrence when cruising!) – it must have made sense to her πŸ™‚

We have wonderful memories of cruising with Lou, she features in just about every boating post. But she was never a blogging hound herself – she certainly had a voice – we were never in any doubt of what she wanted or what she was feeling. Somehow I always felt that she didn’t need me to write for her – she could speak for herself!

She has left wee-mails on:Β  two River Avons,Β  most of the BCN, some of the Bridgwater,Β  Caldon, Chesterfield, Coventry Canals, the Fossyke, all of the Grand Union, Kennet & Avon, Lee & Stort, Manchester Ship Canal, River Nene, Nottingham Canal, Oxford Canal, River Roding, River Severn, Shropshire Union Canal, Staffs and Worcester Canal, Stourbridge Canal, Stratford on Avon Canal, River Thames, River Trent, Trent & Mersey, River Weaver, the Wey and the Worcester & Birmingham – not bad for a retired racer whose original life would have rotated between a cage kennel and a racing track….

Ah Lou you gave us six fantastic years, we would so loved to have had more, but thank you, thank you, thank you…..

Photoblog:

The greatest thing about digital photography is that we take thousands of photos and will have a lasting reminder of the hounds that have shared our lives. Lou was exceptionally photogenic so here is a selection of our favourites – you’ll notice that many feature Lou lying near lock bollards – that was her idea of boating!

Lou on the Leicester Arm..

Lou on the Leicester Arm..

Lou on the Grand Union..

Lou on the Grand Union..

And on the Shroppie - very few locks here so she had to make do with the towpath!

And on the Shroppie – very few locks here so she had to make do with the towpath!

Lou rolling for joy at the River Weaver after surviving a rough passage on the Manchester Ship Canal - she had an unintended swim in the Weaver later - oops!

Lou rolling for joy at the River Weaver after surviving a rough passage on the Manchester Ship Canal – she had an unintended swim in the Weaver later – oops!

Lou at her flamboyant best with the canine crews of nb Matilda Rose and nb Caxton - on the River Nene this time,,,

Lou at her flamboyant best with the canine crews of nb Matilda Rose and nb Caxton – on the River Nene this time,,,

This is the one that will make me sad next July - Lou's 2013 Greyhoundhomer calendar photo

This is the one that will make me sad next July – Lou’s 2013 Greyhoundhomer calendar photo – back on the Grand Union

Lou loved her food - especially ice-cream!

Lou loved her food – especially ice-cream!

Looking - before Lynx made it into an olympic sport! This is the Oxford Canal...

Looking – before Lynx made it into an olympic sport! This is either the Oxford or Grand Union canal…

More lock supervision - the the Trent and Mersey this time...

More lock supervision – the the Trent and Mersey this time…

The original Indigo Dreamers - now together at the rainbow bridge - what a commotion that will be!

The original Indigo Dreamers – now together at the rainbow bridge – what a commotion that will be!

One of my favourite images....

One of my favourite images….

Queen of the sofa....

Queen of the sofa….

Fun in the snow....

Fun in the snow….

More fun in the snow...

More fun in the snow…

Lou on the Manchester Ship Canal...

Lou on the Manchester Ship Canal…

Supervising our locking on the Staffs and Worcs...

Supervising our locking on the Staffs and Worcs…

A bit of silliness...on the Staffs and Worcs...

A bit of silliness…on the Staffs and Worcs…

Lou chasing Blue at Swansea beach - they always went ballistic at the beach..

Lou chasing Blue at Camber Sands – they always went ballistic at the beach..

One of my favourite images - Camber Sands near Rye - that's Lou chasing Blue, as usual...

One of my favourite images – Camber Sands near Rye – that’s Lou chasing Blue, as usual…

On Swansea beach - that's me in the red coat about to be mobbed by two hounds :-)

On Swansea beach – that’s me in the red coat about to be mobbed by two hounds πŸ™‚

Flying on Swansea beach...

Flying on Swansea beach… Run Free Dear Lou

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