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Get To Know: Lulu

Name: Lulu

Aliases: Louie, Louise, Louisiana, Lumpy,  Tittlemouse

Age: unsure but maybe about 4

Likes: food, sleeps, food, foot rubs, sleeps, Beck

Dislikes: leaving the house, Daisy, when Beck goes to work, exercise

Special Skills: catching food in her mouth and that is all. She is needy in every way.

Appearance: body like a ball, head like a ball, big beetle-like eyeballs, face and tail like a cinnamon scroll

Bio: Louie is a shining example of how love can fix almost anything and how breeding dogs for looks is a shameful behaviour and should be illegal.

Louie’s beginnings are unknown but not hard to piece together. Before coming to the RSPCA she lived in Melbourne. Being the city, she most likely liked in an apartment and was most likely purchased from one of a few notoriously unscrupulous pet shops for hundreds of dollars or more.

Louie’s curious behaviours, anxiety, suckling and complete uncertainty with other dogs made us suspect she was taken from her mum too early as a pup and had never been socialised. Beck and I fostered her for about 5 minutes before we decided she belonged with our family. We knew we would be able to take care of her the way she had not been for the first couple of years of her life.

It took a long time for Louie to shine. Initially she was frightened, anxious, introverted, agoraphobic and didn’t even know what pats were. She designated a space between our bed and a wall as her safe zone and sat there for hours on end. She was never backwards in coming forwards at meal times but all the rest of the day and night she was timid and anti-social.

There was no single turning point and no magic cure but with persistent affection, routine and positive reinforcement, today she is a different dog.

Louie is simple minded but emotionally complex. She is Beck’s shadow and gets visibly depressed when Beck puts her uniform on to go to work. When Beck is home and pottering around the house or in the garden, Louie is hot on her heels – literally. I often hear Beck screaming out as she almost goes head first over Louie multiple times a day. Louie is afraid of her own shadow but has a mean bark and an even meaner snore. She has always hated leaving the house but is slowly getting braver.

There’s a lot she can’t do for herself. I laugh at her most of the time but other times I feel sad because she should be able to do more.

Because of her breeding she can’t clean herself anywhere past her front feet; she can’t scratch herself; she can’t swim without a life jacket because she has no neck to keep her head above water; she can’t run for longer than about 5 minutes without having to stop and get her breath thanks to an ineffective respiratory system; she has bad peripheral vision and can’t turn her head without turning her whole body, which is stressful when you’re anxious already; she is prone to skin conditions, ear infections, is allergic to grain and she regurgitates a lot of food because the bulldog’s oesophagus is shorter than it should be.

Despite all this Louie is funny and loving and usually in a good mood, especially when her family is home with her. In a lot of ways I am glad that she is so simple and so lazy so that she doesn’t realise how hopeless she is. Her reliance on Beck and I is immense. Much greater than any of the other animals.

When I get home from work she runs up and hugs me. I am not even kidding, she jumps up and waits for a hug before she gets down. She is super affectionate and not at always gentle about it. She is not the kind of dog that is big but thinks she is small – she doesn’t care! She isn’t smart, all she knows is how much we love her.

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