In Praise of Louie

In Community

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland

On Cobourg’s Covert Street, a short roadway bracketed between Division and George streets, three thrift shops stand.

Visit the Horizons of Friendship Thrift Shop and support development projects in Central America by the agency of the same name.

Visit Beyond the Blue Box and support not only the reduce-reuse-recycle ideal but also work and training opportunities for developmentally challenged individuals.

Visit the Humane Society Thrift Store and support the work of the Northumberland Humane Society. And for more than a decade, a very special resident of that store has been a living reminder of why that work matters – Louie, the adorable tuxedo cat who came with the premises when the Covert Street house was bequeathed to the organization by an altruistic physician.

The volunteers who run the store were delighted to have a permanent location for their efforts. And the little cat who came with the premises (and saw no reason to leave) was a wonderful bonus – though at first, the dedicated volunteers did endeavour to keep him outside during business hours.

He waited at the door, happily accepted any offerings set before him, and clearly expected admittance. He won his case one dark and stormy winter day when, as volunteer Roma Colbert put it, the Chatelaine of the day relented and Louis entered his kingdom for good.

There was no way of estimating his age, Colbert reported, though 17 seems a reasonable consensus. He was so obviously at home, the volunteers ceased all efforts to resist his charm.

In fact, she wonders if that old saying, “Dogs have owners, cat have staff” wasn’t coined just for him, as they saw volunteers come on board especially for the care and comfort of Louie – personal walkers to accompany him on his constitutionals, health-care professionals and dietitians to offer their advice and, of course, one special volunteer who built an extension out of a window on the western exterior wall just for Louie’s own use as a private viewing deck.

Louie repaid all this love in his own way, insisting on testing all pet beds and toys personally, and lending his name to the primo Louie Endorsed line of merchandise.

“His supportive Ladies in Waiting grew in number year by year,” Colbert said.

“One such dear always wore bright red lipstick – a strong kiss on Louie’s white forehead was meant to make it clear that this fella was well loved.

“Of course, Louie’s home also functioned as an establishment offering people a variety of goods for the betterment of their homes and adornment of themselves, in exchange for money used in support of his many animal friends in the county. The great success of this undertaking was undoubtedly due to Louie’s presence and affability.”

They were happy years for Louie, but – for us all – years also take a toll. When it became clear Louie was nearing the end of his sojourn, a volunteer began taking him home at night so he need never be alone. Consultation was undertaken and it was decided he would take his leave last Friday at 2 p.m. – following a last visit to the store that had been his own kingdom that morning.

He was received with love and reverence, Colbert said.

“This little creature has become a member of so many families, has found a place in so many hearts.”

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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