Lou Dean’s Gift
A favorite Thanksgiving Day tradition for some families is taking time to share their reasons for being thankful. “Friends, family, and health” often top the list of choices, but some might include “animals,” too. (In fact, animals often play critical roles in people’s lives.) This week’s column is about my friend Lou Dean and Dell, her remarkable dog. Lou Dean considers the dog to be a gift.
Lou Dean (Jacobs) is a Moffat County resident, living up on Blue Mountain, near Dinosaur, with her donkey Zorrow, cat Two Sox, and dogs Tuck and Dell. She is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles and has received a number of awards for her writing.
Over the years, dogs have played important roles in Lou Dean’s life, beginning with Shorty, her beloved childhood dog. Years later a dog named Jake saved her following an ATV accident. There have been others, too. A few years ago, Lou Dean lost Keeper, her old dog. That left Tuck, now eleven years old, who missed his old friend.
When a friend offered Lou Dean a pup from her border collie-miniature Australian shepherd, Lou Dean thought “No way.” She thought she was too old to raise another puppy, but she couldn’t help but be drawn to the runt of the litter. Her beloved Shorty had been a runt. However, she stuck her ground—no puppy.
Then one night Lou Dean had a dream. The puppy was snuggled up against her. When she woke up she knew—he would be her last puppy, and his name would be Dell.
One of Lou Dean’s favorite activities is hunting shed deer and elk antlers (sheds) during shed-hunting season on the public land surrounding her home. Of course, Dell and Tuck went along. At six months Dell learned to play fetch and follow commands so it followed that he could be taught to find the elk and deer sheds.
When Lou Dean told me that Dell had learned not only to find sheds but also bark when he found them, I couldn’t believe it. I wondered how she trained Dell. It turns out that she began by leaving Dell in the house, hiding deer antlers in the yard, and then letting him out to find them. I enjoyed Lou Dean’s story about how she caught Dell up on the couch with his nose on the window, watching her as she hid the horns. After that, Lou Dean closed the curtains. Dell is a natural at finding sheds in the wild, and he barks to let her know when he does.
Lou Dean wrote about Dell in “The Gift of Dell” in the March/April 2021 “All Creatures Guidepost.” One of her many awards was the 2018 Colorado Authors’ League Award for another featured article, “Story of a Real Keeper,” also published in “All Creatures Guidepost.”
Lou Dean’s most recent book, “The Amazing Grace of Dogs,” has just been released. It is the true story of Lou Dean’s journey and the canine companions that have been there along the way. The cover of the book is a photo of Lou Dean and Dell. The book is available on Amazon.com. You can find out more about Lou Dean and her writings at loudean.com and Facebook. You can also contact Lou Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org
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