Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lou Dog, the Heart Stealer

By Lauren Gallagher, Controller

When I heard HSSV had brought in 5 beagles that were rescued from a research lab, I immediately asked our Special Needs Department if I could foster one. I felt so compelled to reach out and help them. I was assigned the most withdrawn beagle of the group, a strikingly cute, almost 3 year old male. On the drive home, I felt like I needed to adopt him. He looked at me with sad brown eyes, and I thought about his past, and I was in love, connected to him.

We named him Louie, or affectionately Lou Dog. For the first couple of days, he did not want to eat. I assume that is because he had been on a consistent schedule at the lab. But now, about 3 weeks later, I can see he has come out of his shell and has become one of the coolest dogs around.

In the lab, he was only known as a number, which is tattooed inside his ear. These days he comes running with his tail wagging when I call out Lou Dog. My heart just jumps when I first hear his ID tag jingling, and then see him, excited to come to me, since for almost three years, he never had a name.

In the lab, he was conditioned to freeze up when handled, so measurements and tests could be administered. These days, he seeks out human touch and leans in for extra cuddling. He timidly jumps up on people's legs, asking for attention. My heart aches and I wonder how he can still trust humans after almost three years of testing.

Louie is extremely mellow for a beagle, and we assume that research beagles are bred to be lower energy. He loves to lounge quietly and nap most of the day, which makes him so incredibly easy to care for.

There is a potential adopter in the picture now, and I know my husband and I will miss Lou Dog tremendously when he leaves us for his forever home. We think that he will miss us, at least at first, but we know he can handle change. He has taught us about the incredible capacity that dogs have to trust and to live in the moment. We have watched him heal and grow into the coolest dog around, and know that he will be happy in his forever home.


  1. I like this posting.

  2. Lou Dog was adopted by a sweet young lady and her loving family in Palo Alto. When I dropped him off, his new owner had a new collar, lots of toys, a crate and new bed for him. Also, the entire family came over to welcome him. He has his own pool in the back yard and a cat to win over, and lots of nearby parks to walk to. There are also skunks that like to visit the back yard, so probably just a matter of time before he meets one (since he is a beagle and loves to sniff around for creatures). His new owner reports that he is doing so well and that they are so happy he is part of their family!

  3. Wow, Lauren, I had no idea about this...I went to UCLA and unfortunately, one day, my sister told me about a truck load of dead dogs being hauled away from the Psych dept. This was in the 1980s. I was a Psych major, so all of this disturbed me then, and actually, still does. This is a touching story, and I am glad that Lou has found peace in his life now....