I’m here to tell you a story about a dog. Not just any dog. This is a story about the legendary golden retriever, Ludo.

Ludo was born on June 28th, one day before my own birthday, in the year 2015. His natural parents, also dogs, were a beautiful, furry couple. He had great genes. My wife and I discovered Ludo online while, appropriately enough, looking for a dog. In a sense, Ludo is a 3rd-generation Cummings retriever. After the smashing success the missus and I had with Maverick and Moxie, we knew we’d get another gold. We did. We got Ludo.

Ludo was named after a character in the movie Labyrinth, whose name was also Ludo. Ludo, the movie character, was a woolly behemoth with a gentle and playful disposition. The behemoth was named after a board game on the main character’s bedroom shelf. The word which named the game which named the character which named my dog is Latin, and means “to play.”

We knew kind of early that Ludo was different. As a baby, Moxie’s favorite habit was sleep. Ludo loved to chew. On everything. Including Moxie.

As he grew, Ludo displayed signs of rebellion. He would talk back, literally, when scolded. He still does that. When Mrs C tells him, in her gruff voice, to stop chewing on his brother’s face, Ludo barks back at her in the most hilarious way. It’s wrong, yes, but we laugh. The consternation on his face when he thinks he’s right is adorable.

When it came time to trust Ludo, we did. We freed him from his baby cage and let him wander around the house when we were gone. That quickly became a problem. Maverick and Moxie had learned fairly early that chewing things up around the house to show dissatisfaction for our absence was wrong. Ludo wasn’t getting that hint.

Despite my wife’s protestations, I released Ludo several times from his trappings to roam free. Several times I lost something I wish I could get back. Like, a couch. Mrs C was right; he wasn’t learning.

Still, I continued to trust him. To give him chances. Surely, sense would kick in. It didn’t. So, the last time he ripped apart a piece of furniture:

I locked him up for good:

That last picture went viral among my friends and family. So much so that memes were invented and hilarity ensued. The hashtag #FreeLudo was everywhere. This was just before Christmas of 2016.

About a month later I was having a beer with my dear friend @dylan_andersen when he handed me two items as gifts. One was a copy of the fabulous book The Ask. The other was a sealed envelope, very light in weight.

Inside the envelope was a stack of bumper stickers. On the bumper stickers were the words #FreeLudo and the URL for my blog right below. I literally cried laughing.

I’ve passed the bumper stickers around to friends and family, so if you’ve seen it around and wondered what it meant, welcome. This is the story about a hashtag about a dog. A dog in jail.

Ironically enough, about the time I received the bumper stickers from Mr Andersen I also bought Ludo a new wire crate to replace his 5th-generation plastic one. In his desperation to escape he had ripped the interior of the original crate to shreds. When I brought the new crate into the house I treated it like it was Ludo’s new gift; his very own home. He fell in love with it.

He never fights about it anymore. When we go to put our coats on, he joyfully runs and lays down in his den. Ludo has a great place to hang out when we leave and my furniture feels safe again. Win. Win.

But “Free Ludo” has become a part of our lexicon now and it’s not going away. Neither is he. He’s a 3rd-generation angel.

He still bites his brother’s face, but his brother doesn’t mind. He still talks back to Mrs C, but Mrs C doesn’t mind. Ludo is still the most energetic and anxious dog I’ve ever had.

But I don’t mind.

Ludo is free to be Ludo, all day long.

Author: Tom Being Tom

Tom writes, drinks beer, loves his wife, and hangs out with Golden Retrievers. His worldview was formed by the strange intermingling of comic book superheroes, decades of political analysis, the Air Coryell offense, and an atheistic spiritual awakening. He intends to save the world next Thursday.

15 thoughts on “#FreeLudo”

      1. Thank you, Carole!

        I gotta find a way to get him down there to hang out with all this aunts, uncles, and cousins. Y’all will just love him!

  1. this is absolutely awesome, Tom! and so much laughter to boot!!! thank you for this amazing story! Ludo fits in to our family very very well! give him hugs & kisses for me as well as all of your animals! I love & miss you all! Have a great week end! ps..you really do have a talent in writing, Tom…..just so you know!……:)…..

  2. Omg AWESOME blog! Love it and you! I hope you saved me one of those famous bumper stickers. It’s the ONLY THING I’ll stick to my new beautiful car!!

    Ludo is an amazing boy! You and Mrs. C should POST A VIDEO of Ludo “talking back” to her. I, for one, would pay good hard beer to watch it!! Share the hilarious daily “Ludo” episodes. You must stop being so selfish!! 😉

    1. Hahaha! We need to get that on video when we can … he’s so unpredictable! I still have stickers left; I had them in my car when I came down and forgot about ’em! I’ll make sure you get one!

    1. Aw, Bill, you got me to read it again, and it’s been a while. One of my personal favorites! And Ludo? Well, he hasn’t changed that much … he still talks back and chews on his brother’s face, and he’s still the most playful dog I think I’ve ever had. He was aptly named, it seems. 😉

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond! Glad to meet ya!

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