In Praise of Lulu-Belle
This was going to be a very different blog but this morning, just after 7am, our Lulu-Belle passed away. It was her time. Her passing was peaceful and filled with grace. Her heart just gave out. This was the death I wished for her, not one of drawn out suffering and illness.
She came into the world as part of a litter delivered by her dam Mia-Moo in my bedroom on a late summer Saturday on 20 February 2010. Sired by the delightful Ziggy, his playful energy and our own sweet nature combined to make for a divine doggy personality. She’s been a blessing from her first to her last breath.
It is a privilege to be part of a pup’s life from conception to delivery to every puppy milestone to adulthood and eventually to the passing days. Lulu-Belle had her final walk with us yesterday. Us being Mom, Miles and I. If I didn’t stop her she would have chased after the security vehicle – which has been a favourite past-time. This running after things came from her non Great Dane lineage as Ziggy was mixed with a breed that loves to run and chase.
She got to run after some birds and geese for a bit. She was full of beans yesterday, enjoying every minute of the walk. She had her favourite foods yesterday – Woollies beef mince for breakfast on stale sourdough bread. Dinner was Farmer Angus’s beef mince on fresh sourdough. Of course, I couldn’t afford to feed her this everyday but ever since she turned 11, every day extra is a blessing so there’s been a lot of treating in this house.
Having accompanied other’s in her pack – brother Boetie-Boy, sister Lilly and mom Mia in their last days I knew that the passing days were upon us. When she turned up her nose at the chicken which is the regular meal fare (along with Farmer Angus’s pet mince when we could still get it) I would substitute for some of my beef or get the chicken livers which she never said no to. Just the smell of chicken livers frying would get her into the kitchen. Needless to say I would also have some of the chicken livers – it’s so good fried with herbs from the garden, a bit of olive oil and you get that sticky tacky residue in the pan that’s best with some sourdough bread and a runny egg.
Lulu-Belle’s last years were particularly good as her diet changed drastically from around the age of 4,5 as a result of Boetie’s cancer diagnosis. After all my research into osteosarcoma (the cancer Boetie and Lilly had) the pack was taken off commercially produced dog food and started eating a species appropriate diet. I believe that the change in diet is what allowed their dam Mia to live to almost 12 years. This is ancient for a Great Dane as their life expectancy is pegged between 8 and 10 years old.
We will miss our girl with the many names – Lulu-Belle, Bella Wella, Poppie-lop or just Poppie. We will look for her on our walks but she won’t be there. When we wake I will look for her at the foot of my bed where her mattress is but she won’t be there. I won’t see her at her favourite spots in the lounge or in the studio. Doggy spirits don’t linger. I learnt this with my other dogs. They are eager for the adventure beyond the rainbow bridge.
She will be in our hearts though. Our hearts are overflowing with grief and love for our divine Lulu-Belle.