Brokenhearted: Lulu is Gone

I’m brokenhearted. We put our dog, Lulu, to sleep today.

Lulu was a “Catahoula Leopard Dog” that my wife and boys selected from the San Francisco SPCA over 14 years ago.

Susie just sold her business and had promised our two younger boys, Ben and Josh, that once she sold the company our family could get a dog.

At the time I was hosting the KSFO Morning Show in San Francisco where each Friday we had a segment with the SPCA called “Puppy Love.” The folks from the SPCA would bring an adoptable  dog into the studio and introduce it to our audience. On this particular Friday it was a really cool looking pup with a leopard-like coat. I immediately called my wife and said, “Get to the SPCA right away, you will love this dog!”

Susie and the boys took off for the SPCA, but they were beat by another listener. However, there was different puppy from the same litter who became ours! The dog’s name was declared on the ride back home by Ben: “Lulu,” short for “Honolulu.”

Lulu quickly became the great guardian of our family and property.  She loved to tree racoons and even mix it up with skunks (successfully I might add). Eventually she actually broke her pelvis chasing three raccoons up a tree, and later blew out her left ACL running down the stairs in a chase for more.

Sadly she never fully recovered from those injuries. Nonetheless, Lulu remained a faithful friend to anyone who gave her loving attention.

During the past year she struggled a lot with the physical ailments and a variety of digestive issues.  She often groaned, and had occasional difficulty laying down and getting back up. That said, she continued to enjoy slow walks on the beach and getting hugs and pets from Susie and me. She also loved sunbathing on our deck while keeping a watchful eye on the beach below.

We decided to put her life to an end three separate times. I chickened out and called off the first two, and then finally we knew it was time. True confession: I actually prayed that the Lord would give me a sign that this was the right move.

I took Lulu to the beach for one final walk yesterday. I told her, “it will be the best day ever!”

I planned on letting her walk off-leash in an area near a lagoon where she always desired to sniff around. I was ready to be there with her as long as she wanted. Sadly, less than a half-hour into the walk Lulu’s left leg failed and she immediately collapsed to the ground. She was in such discomfort that she refused to even budge. I called Ben to come help carry her home. While waiting for Ben I laid on the sand and talked to Lulu, stroking her graying coat. More than anything I was inundated with a flood of wonderful memories involving my wife and kids. Lulu was with Sue and I for some  super monumental years.  About twenty minutes later, as Ben was arriving, Lulu determinedly, yet gingerly, stood up and pointed her nose towards home.

That was my sign.

I keep thinking of that ride to the vet. Poor Lulu had no idea what was going to happen; however, placed in a similar role would any of us really want to know? Lulu followed our commands all the way into the patient room where she obediently rested on a mat on the floor. Susie and I took a knee and looked her in the eyes telling her what a great friend she was and how she had been the perfect dog for our family. We told her we knew she was in a lot of pain lately and we thanked her for always trying do her primary duty: take care of us.

We told Lulu she was going to sleep and it wouldn’t be painful at all.

Faithful Lulu.  She accepted everything we told her.

Through our tears we thanked God for giving us such a great dog. She was just what our family needed.

Soon the doctor entered, administered a sedative, and left. Lulu immediately became drowsy as we continued to pour out our love.

A few minutes later the doctor returned and asked if we were ready.

Manning up, I replied, “I guess so.”

It wasn’t really true.

Susie looked into Lulu’s drowsy eyes and softly said. “We love you, Lulu. You’re a good doggie. You’re going to have a nice sleep.”

Indeed, seemingly seconds later the vet gently informed us, “She’s asleep.”

Gosh, I miss that dog and wish I could relive those last minutes with her.

We took her body back home and buried her in a nice spot overlooking the beach.

Curiously, The Bible does not give any explicit teaching on whether our beloved four-legged friends have “souls” or whether they will be in Heaven. And yes, I know the Bible is fairly clear on the fact that only humans are made “in the image of God.”

However, The Bible does state that both humans (Genesis 2:7) and animals (7:15,) possess the glorious “breath of life.” The Bible’s ancient book of Book of Psalms also states,  “A good person is concerned for the welfare of their animals…” (Proverbs 12:10).  So on this matter, I don’t know.  But I do know this: there will be a ton of wonderful surprises in Heaven.

That said, I can’t help but dream that Lulu’s having the best day ever.

 

 

 

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Brian Sussman

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Comments

  1. Sandra Beaver says

    Good evening, Brian. I had listened and so enjoyed your radio program on KSFO. It was always a bright spot in my day. I was delighted to find your podcasts and again, Inlisten and learn so much. After listening to your podcast about the loss of your family pet, wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss.

    • Brian Sussman says

      Thanks, Sandra.
      Lulu was a GREAT friend.
      Hope you enjoy the Hidden Headline Podcasts.
      Appreciate your support,
      Brian

  2. Susan Wilkinson says

    Hi Brian,

    My husband and I were long time listeners to your show on KSFO with Katie and Sherry!

    We remember the stories of your Huskie dog escaping all the time. We laughed when you would talk about that dog!
    We are sorry to hear about Lulu whom you would mention from time to time. How lucky you were to have such a wonderful dog for so long! She was blessed to have you and your lovely wife.

    Our condolences go out to you and your family .

    xx,
    Susie and Robert

    PS, If you see Katie, say hi …we wish the best!

    • Brian Sussman says

      Thank you for the kind words and great memories, Susan.
      Had lunch with Sheri Friday, and talk to Katie all the time.
      Very best regards,
      Brian

  3. Janette says

    I was so happy to learn you have podcasts. Like so many I really miss your morning show and do not tune in to KSFO until 9:00 a.m. now. My condolences on the loss of your precious Lulu, we grow so close to our pets, they do become members of the family. For the record, I do strongly believe God brings all his creatures home. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t.

    • Brian Sussman says

      Thanks for the kind words, Janette.
      KSFO has sort of gone down the drain ever since we left the airwaves from 5 to 9AM.
      Thank goodness for my podcasts–at least it provides me with a professional outlet (without having to start my workday at 3AM!).
      Very best regards,
      Brian

      • Janette Golding says

        Yes I would say “down the drain” is an apt description. Ridiculous decisions made there. Anyway, happy podcasting and happy not arising at 3:00 a.m. !

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