Lou Bear loves any chance to go for a ride in the car with the windows down and to feel the breeze in his fur. He has learned to wag his tail, and he does it enthusiastically and often.
Lou Bear’s story begins in a home where his visually impaired owner kept this handsome fellow sequestered in a bedroom for two years, isolated from an aggressive dog in the home, but also isolated from the beauty of outdoors, isolated from exercise, fresh air, and the world. When Lou Bear was relinquished to BSR, he had a mangled ear from attacks by the other dog, multiple skin, ear and eye infections, and he had lost over 60% of the fur on his body. His eyes were almost completely matted shut, impairing his vision. His muscles had atrophied, making walking very slow, and his tail could barely wag. A long history of ear infections caused scar tissue and ongoing inflammation. Although he was in poor shape when he came to BSR, his owner had done the best he could and loved him enough to do the most difficult and selfless thing…he agreed to surrender Lou Bear to BSR to give him a chance to live the life he deserves.
The day he was picked up, Lou Bear was a very good boy, traveling 8 hours in the car. His foster mom said, “He was sweet and a bit reserved, as he did not feel well. He walked into walls because his eyes were so matted, yet you could see what a special soulful dog he was when you looked into his eyes. Our vet said Lou Bear is proof that dogs are divine creatures because he was so sweet and well-tempered after all that he had been through.”
From the beginning, Lou Bear was very tolerant of the other two Boykins in the foster family, and, true to his southern nature, he was well mannered, only having a few accidents in the house. He quickly “attached” to foster mom, Jo Ann, who has been his primary caregiver, and he rarely lets her out of his sight. Jo Ann said, “It has been fun to watch Lou Bear’s confidence grow as his health has improved. He now wags his tail a lot, and very fast. He did not for the first several months, we think because he didn’t have the muscle strength. Now he is able to express his joy all the time. Also, he SNORES. LOUD.”
Although Lou Bear doesn’t play or retrieve or swim, he LOVES to ride in the car with the windows down. “We took him with us on our beach vacation, and he really enjoyed morning walks by the water and being with his people. On that trip, we stopped at a park full of pine trees. Lou Bear was very interested in the pine needles on the ground and became excited. He did the same thing when Jo Ann diffused cypress essential oil at home. We think the pine and cypress smells may remind him of his previous home in South Carolina. He and our other two dogs really bonded on that trip and traveled very well together in the back seat on the long drive. Our dogs have completely accepted him as part of their pack.”
Lou Bear’s once confined life is now full and active. A typical day for Lou Bear starts early. “He wakes up every morning about 4:30 to go outside, after a good night’s rest in either his bed, or the human bed. He likes to have breakfast by 6:00 am, otherwise, he will tell you about it with soft whimpers. Typically, we have some type of exercise or outing in the morning. He gets so excited to go out that he starts spinning and makes it hard to put the leash on. Whenever he gets excited, he spins in circles. His record is 10 spins in a row – after which he staggered into the wall because he was dizzy! Lou Bear blows it out early in the day, and is ready for his first morning nap, after the early activities.”
Jo Ann works from home, so when she is doing office work, Lou Bear spends the day resting at her feet. Other days, when she is active around the house or in the yard, he literally stands at attention, keeping his eye on her the entire time. Lou Bear doesn’t want to miss out on a walk or car ride! “By 5:00 pm, Lou Bear starts to sing for his supper with a serenade of soft whimpers – just to remind us it’s dinner time. He LOVES to eat.” He then settles in for an evening with his pack and people – happy to do whatever they are doing. He’s just happy to be part of the family. “Lou Bear is an excellent watchdog, and he is very vocal when he needs to go outside to potty.”
Lou Bear still gets two to three medicated baths per week. The shampoo has to stay on for 10 minutes, which is a long time for a busy fellow. However, he’s okay with it as long as Jo Ann gives him bites of string cheese, sometimes sharing it Lady & The Tramp style.
His fosters say that if Lou Bear could talk, he would tell you that he’s a true southern gentleman and that he is one happy fellow who loves his new life.