BUXTON — Louie the Shih Tzu Hugo-Vidal passed away on the morning of June 23, 2018, at the age of 13 and a half.

He was adopted by the Hugo-Vidal household from the Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick in early August 2014 at the age of 9. Little is known about his early years. According to the shelter, his previous family had lost their home and surrendered him. So if you or someone you know surrendered a senior shih tzu to the humane society in the summer of 2014, please know that he went to a family who loved him very, very much.

When Victoria and Virginia Hugo-Vidal first spotted him in a kennel, they thought someone had left a mop in there by mistake. A dirty mop. Then the mop started barking – a surprisingly deep, rough bark – and it turned out to be a small dog. The nametag on the cage was in scrawled handwriting that looked like it said “Lovey.” Their mother told them that over her dead body were they adopting a dog named Lovey. Fortunately, “Lovey” turned out to be “Louie,” and the rest, as they say, is history.

When Louie first arrived in the Hugo-Vidal house, he surprised Ross Hugo-Vidal, who woke up from a nap to find a freshly adopted, ungroomed shih tzu on his lap. His first words were “What is that?” followed by “What do you want me to do with it?” Victoria will never forget that first afternoon, when Ross watched Julia walk Louie across the backyard, introducing him to the wild. Without looking away from his wife of nearly three decades, he grumbled, “Victoria … your mother. And that (expletive) little dog.” He sighed. “That (expletive) little dog …. and your mother. Your mom and that (expletive) little dog.”

Despite that unusual first impression, Louie and Ross eventually became best friends. Louie survived being hit by a truck in 2016, and his recovery coincided with the first symptoms of Ross’ illness. For convenience in doling out their medication on a matching schedule, and so they could keep an eye on each other, the two were usually placed on the same bed or couch for most of the day. Ross insisted on calling Louie his “Chinese hunting dog.” Louie loyally followed Ross everywhere. When Ross took his last breath, Louie was right at his feet.

Loyalty aside, Louie could certainly be a stubborn son-of-a-you-know-what (literally). The first week in his new home, he managed to get his jaws wrapped around a neighbor’s chicken, and if he had only had a few more teeth in his mouth, that bird would have been toast. As it was, the bird survived to cluck another day, although it never set foot in the Hugo-Vidals’ yard again.

Some people said that Louie thought he was a big dog, but that wasn’t quite true. Louie knew he was small. He was just very self-confident and knew exactly what to do with the tactical advantages given to him. The plumber, electrician, furnace guy, stove guy and chimney guy all quivered in fear at the thought of his tiny paws sprinting toward them. During the winter, when the snow reached above his head – which doesn’t take a lot of snow if your legs are only 4 inches long – he would refuse to do his business outside and would look you straight in the eye as he did it on the carpet. He was afraid of nothing except large cats.

His hobbies included napping, car rides and napping on long car rides. He wasn’t interested in playing with toys, although he did have a few balls of yarn he was very fond of, and he liked to play a game that was a weird variation of tag-and-chase. It involved sprinting around the house until he came back to his bed, which was a “safe” spot. When Louie reached the safe spot, the chaser was to pat him on the head and tell him that he was a very smart boy (Julia felt it was important to not compliment him on his looks alone). Nobody really understood the rules, which Louie made up, but it was all in good fun. He also enjoyed sprinting wildly across open fields, picking up ticks along the way and refusing to return when called.

He is survived by his human servants Julia, Victoria, Spencer and Virginia; by his feline friend, Juno; and by his feline nemesis, Neko. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Coastal Humane Society, or to your nearest no-kill animal shelter. Or, in accordance with Louie’s deepest, truest wish, you can just drop a piece of chicken directly into your own dog’s mouth.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemillennial