Louis, 10, Leader of the Pack


Louis, our beloved shepherd mix, died peacefully at home March 31 following a cancer diagnosis.

Louis Maguire-Dinan

He was 10.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by brothers Marvin and Dexter. He was predeceased by Wilbur and Russell.

Born around August 2009 and rescued in Lynchburg, Va., he came to us within weeks of buying our house in Stamford. Marie said that she wanted a third dog, a large-breed, long-haired male rescue and that he would be named ‘Louis.’

On Saturday Nov. 7, I set out before dawn to a PawSafe adoption event in New Milford. There, a litter of 10-week-old shepherd-Chow Chow mix puppies roughhoused noisily in a makeshift corral. Except for one they’d named ‘Kason’ who sat apart, staring up at me. 

It was Louis.

He came home that morning, Marie’s 36th birthday. She stepped out onto the deck and they met in the yard. Expressive, watchful, sensitive and sweet, he would become her steady companion—crying when he sensed her return from work, no matter how late, nestling in with her in the evening on the living room sofa, seeking her out during storms and sleeping each night curled into her legs.

Louis spent much of his rambunctious puppyhood charging through the woods of Mianus River Park in Stamford, the Babcock Property in Greenwich, Lake Mohegan in Fairfield and, during the winter, the beach at Tod’s Point. He waded into water but rarely swam. He once scratched his cornea romping at Mianus, the lone medical event of his life.

He was a dainty eater who loved cheese. He counter-surfed through his prime. Once, we heard a man yell near the buffet table during a large outdoor gathering at our friends Marisa and Jay’s farm in Newtown. Louis stood nearby. The man pointed down and said, “He ate the potato salad.”

He was fastidiously clean. He loved butt pets. He had a widow’s peak, thick mane, purple tongue and floppy ears that windmilled when he ran. Once, a boy at Greenwich Point pointed at Lou as he galloped past and said, “Look at the airplane ears.”

One time Louis wandered off as a puppy during a hike at Woodland Park in Darien. Soon we heard a high-pitched whine that we followed to find Lou standing against a wall of piled stone, his forearm stuck. He would issue the same Chewbacca call at home, faintly, when he wanted attention or to be let back inside the house. He howled with Marv when a siren sounded.

He disliked crowds and left the room at the sound of raised voices or the f-word. His ears pulled back flat when he was nervous. When Wilbur died, Louis disappeared for several days into the basement laundry room, wedged beside the dryer. He also went there when it thundered.

He refused to occupy “his” living room armchair or sofa if there was even a stray hair on his accustomed spot. Instead he stared at us, whining until the obstacle was removed. He learned how to give “kisses” in his middle years, running forward so that his nose and mouth collided with the face of his intended in a kind of wet head-butt. In his senior years, he learned how to play from Dex. He worshipped Russ and a Rhodesian Ridgeback named ‘Ari’ that we sometimes ran into at Mianus and the Point. His best friend for years was Alfie. He was beloved by Aunt Roisin, Nana Mary, Grandpa George, Grammy Shel, Aunt Jacky and Uncle Eric, Kit, Brian, Jason, Liliana and Marty.

He stalked neighborhood cats and killed wild rabbits. He was wary of strangers. He bit two plumbers. Our friend Federico once let himself through the backyard gate to drop off a power washer and Louis bit his leg. Another time, a neighbor told us that Louis got her after she’d let herself in the gate to borrow a rake. “He bit my bottom,” she told us.

He was the alpha of our pack. When we let the dogs out, no matter where Louis was in the house, the others waited for him to pass and descend first into the yard.

He traveled as far as north as Maine and in 2016 vacationed in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

37 thoughts on “Louis, 10, Leader of the Pack

  1. Every dog should be as loved and adored as Louis. I’m so sorry for your loss, Mike. I know Louis carved out a big piece of your heart.

  2. Dear Mike,

    What a great tribute for Louis. Thank you for sharing. Sounds like he lived a great life and was loved so much by Marie, you, and his brothers.

    Sorry again for your loss – Michael

  3. Louis sounds just wonderful. What a great mix he was of Chow and shepherd – two of the best. It’s just so hard to lose these guys. They know how to steal your heart.
    Our rescue boy Humphrey and I send our condolences,
    Patricia Oxman

  4. I am so sorry. It’s so difficult to lose a dog. Louis sounds like a wonderful sensitive and loving dog. You gave him a great life; he had friends and adventures, and he was treasured.

  5. A beautiful tribute to a great friend and companion. Louis had a wonderful life. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

  6. Mike
    This is the most beautiful tribute to a loving friend. Louis was a gift…and you and your family were a gift to him.
    The wisdom of the heart knows there is always an emptiness that remains over the loss of a beloved dog.
    -With profound sympathy from Deb, Sky, Star, and Obadiah

  7. Sorry for your loss Mike and Marie. Sounds like Louis had a wonderful life and you were all blessed to find each other.

  8. Dear Michael,
    I still follow you although I have moved 3 times since leaving New Canaan and now reside in Maryland. I am so sorry for the loss of your good boy. I still remember your last dog’s obituary; it was profoundly moving. You do yourself proud, Michael. You take good care of yourself, and keep “his” couch cushion spotless. He deserves that much.

  9. A heartfelt and beautiful piece of writing. We are all touched by Louis’s life. May your loving memories give you comfort.

  10. Mike – a fitting tribute to Louis. He takes with him a piece of your heart, but in return, he gave you a piece of his own. You are a special breed of Cynophilist!

  11. Sorry for your loss Mike. I never knew Louis in person, though after reading this wonderful tribute, now I do. What a lovely pup.

  12. Your lively and poignant picture of Louis gives us a touching memory of your marvelous, beloved dog…..just as if we had the privilege of knowing him. This sweet, daring, respected Best Friend was intended to be yours. You chose each other. You will forever be together.

  13. Mike — so sorry— look forward to be united with them all
    In heaven— what would heaven be without them

  14. Hi Mike,

    So sorry for your loss.
    How lucky Louis was to have so much love throughout his lifetime and how lucky you guys were to have such a wonderful friend
    You honored him with this loving tribute and he will always live on in your heart and memories.
    Hope to see you around Mianus some time

  15. A beautiful story about a beautiful dog and family. Thank you for sharing it with us. We are truly sorry for your loss.

  16. Mike

    Louis sounds like a wonderful friend and companion.

    He was a good boy. My condolences, I can only imagine
    how much you’ll miss him.

  17. Another member of the boy’s band… the photos embedded my head. So, so sad… I am so very sorry for your loss. heartfelt condolences…. xo

  18. This brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful it is to adopt a shelter pet and give him all of the love he so deserved. Louis was such a lucky dog. I am so sorry for your loss. The love of the pet is such a wonderful thing to have in a person’s life. Your family was blessed to have your very special Louis. RIP

  19. Hi Mike and Marie Both My wife Barb and Daughter an boyfriend Stephen are dog people. We have two 9 year old pups a morkie and a yorkie who are most valuable love and cherish wise more than anyone can ever go to.Calie and Stephen have a dog Clemmy . They are part of our familys lives and are always included in all we do. We send you our heartfelt for the loss of your baby Louis. Do not cry because it is over. Smile because it happened. Rick And Barb.

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