Let me tell you about Louie…
Louie is this cute little basset hound in Lozovo. It’s funny that he’s a basset hound, because typically you can tell that all of the dogs here are related…except for Louie. His owners and origin were completely unknown to all of us until recently, which is why we named him Louie. It just felt right.
Louie and I’s relationship began way back. I’d see him running around in the field (the one with the goats) in the early mornings, and his long floppy ears always made me miss Turtle. Occasionally, on a walk home from school, I would pass Louie and talk to him in my “pet voice.” Of course, all of the locals who witnessed this gave me the craziest looks, because dogs here are simply tools. People don’t own dogs for love and affection…they are used as tools, and that’s just how it is.
One very early morning, I was on my way to catch the 7am train. I began my walk, as usual, down our one main road. All of a sudden, I hear little pitter-patters behind me. I immediately thought it was one of the stray dogs following me, so I told myself to not turn around by any means!! Peace Corps have given us tips to avoid a dog attack. The walking kept getting closer and closer, and I felt my chest tighten up as it does right before something bad happens. I couldn’t handle the anxiety any longer, so I turned around with the intentions to scare whichever dog it was, only to find good ‘ol Louie to be by my side!! “LOUIE!!” I yelled in excitement!! He was honestly so excited that I was so happy to see him, so he decided to continue following me.
About 5 minutes into the walk, I’d had quite a time with Louie. I went from thinking he was going to bite me at one point, to attempting to feed him one of my bananas, which he just spit out in order to not lose me. I will have you know that Louie followed me all the way to the train that day.
Since then, Louie and I have grown to become even closer. I now physically pet Louie!! It is the best feeling in the world. I also discovered that his owners live right around the corner from me, and they bought him from Croatia for $300 Euros!! Regardless, Louie appears to be a well-fed and well-groomed pup, so I have no problem petting the hell out of him!!
As it stands today, I am really going to miss Louie. Every day, I find myself looking for him. If we find each other in the morning, he will usually walk me all the way to school, until one of the stray dogs tries to attack him…and then he runs back home (poor Louie!! It’s the saddest thing ever!!) On my walks home from school, I always anticipate seeing him as I round the last corner to my house. When I do round the corner to find him standing there, I always yell “Louie!!” and he literally comes running at me with his long dopey ears and mopey eyes. He lifts his head up high as an invitation to scratch his neck, and we exchange attention for at least 5-10 minutes. Again, all of this is done with the neighbors watching and whispering about me. Hahaha
Sometimes, Louie is sad to have me go inside. He will walk me to my gate, and then try to paw his way up my legs as a way to beg me to stay and play. I always feel so sad when this happens, because all I want is for Louie to come on inside and just be an American dog!! But instead, I must leave Louie…and he’ll end up just sitting in front of my gate….poor little Louie.
I’m really going to miss Louie. Seeing him is something I look forward to every day. I just love animals, and having him around has made me a little less homesick…not having Turtle here is something I will continue to struggle with. I want all of you who have dogs (or cats) to go home today and show them how good they have it…and sneak a kiss in from me. : )