Louie The Lover

His name is Louie, but it could be Louie the Lover, because that’s what he is. Louie is a 7-year-old mixed breed who lives with Stephanie and Michael Baker. No one is positive of the mix. It could be Labrador Retriever with Rat Terrier. It could be Australian Kelpie plus something. Stephanie and Michael think Australian Kelpie, and there’s a lot to support that. He looks a lot like a Kelpie. Kelpies are known to walk over the backs of sheep they are herding, and Louie frequently walks gracefully along the back of the couch. He’ll “fluff” the huge pile of pillows, as if digging into the fleece of a sheep. As with most herding breeds, he thinks fetching is huge fun.

During my visit, he kept a bright yellow ball handy, offering it in turns to Michael, Stephanie, and me. Louie is a polite dog, and included the guest in the fun.

Stephanie chose him, the only solid black one, from a litter of nine puppies that was at the Chautauqua County Humane Society. The puppy and was a house warming present from Stephanie’s grandmother, who had always had dogs.

Louie loves Stephanie, but he had no trouble sharing the love when Stephanie and Michael married four years ago. He loves all the nieces and nephews, too, and when the neighborhood kids come around, Louie is always ready to play with them. (If he’s not already outside, the kids ask for him by name.)

The love doesn’t stop with humans. Louie is also good with other dogs, always happy to play, or, with relatives dogs, to just watch the younger, more rambunctious dogs play while he relaxes. The feeling must be mutual, because if a neighborhood dog gets loose, the odds are it will end up on the Baker’s front porch, asking for Louie.

All this love doesn’t mean Louie’s not a great watchdog. During my visit, he was constantly aware of any action on the street, and very willing to bark about it. There’s no sneaking up on the Baker’s with Louie on the job.

Louie’s smart as well as loving. He knows that Stephanie is the official dog walker during the week, so he gives her a wake up call. On weekends, it’s Michael’s turn; Louie wakes him up instead of Stephanie. He can communicate quite effectively, too. The yellow ball we were playing with had been at the bottom of Louie’s toy box for several months, but he decided it was time to play with it again, and he barked at his toy box until Michael and Stephanie got the message and unearthed the correct ball.

Except for a seasonal allergy, when he needs antihistamines, Louie is a healthy dog who inhales his food, especially if peanut butter or cheese is involved. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his quirks. For several months he would only eat if someone were in the room with him. Then, he went through a phase where he would stand and bark at his food dish before he ate. The Bakers said he was “saying a blessing.”

As a puppy, he was trained with small carrot sticks, and he loved them, but then one day he was introduced to ranch dressing and now, he will only eat carrots if they’ve been dipped in ranch dressing. I’m not much for vegetables without dressing, either, Louie.

Louie has an assortment of bandanas to wear on special occasions, and he seems to enjoy being dressed up for Halloween. In spite of once having a run in with a real skunk, he had a skunk costume one year; a stripe of cotton attached the length of his back. (For some good solutions to the skunk problem, see the pawprint below).

Louie doesn’t like skunks and he isn’t fond of thunder, but other than that, there’s not much Louie doesn’t like. Michael and Stephanie may call him Louie, but I will always think of him as Louie the Lover.

Pawprint: To remove skunk odor from your dog, mix one quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and one teaspoon liquid dish soap. Mix well and wash your dog with it, being careful around eyes and mouth. Work in well and let it sit a few minutes. Rinse well.

Organic Hogwash is a commercial product that is safe for pets and children and can also be used on carpets and upholstery.

Anti Icky Poo is for use on furniture and carpeting, but not on a dog.