A tribute to Lucy, the rescue dog who has been taking care of J.R. Reed and his daughter for ten years.
Eleven years ago this week (more or less) a puppy was born. I don’t know where she was born and I don’t know anything about her early life. All I know is that she was at the animal shelter when I was looking for a dog for my Drama Queen’s sixth birthday.
I found one-year-old Dallas (that was her jailhouse name) excitedly bouncing around a cell, her strong tail smacking the chain link fence as she barked excitedly. I kind of fell in love with her on the spot but wanted to make sure this was the right dog for my daughter and I, so I went home to think about it.
Two days later I returned with D.Q. and she loved Dallas. The rest, as they say, is history. I named this excited, bouncy boxer/German shepherd/pit bull mix Lucy and over the last ten years we’ve had some good times. And a few bad.
Lucy’s flatulence is legendary and she snores loud enough that I occasionally hear it through my headphones. Her specialty is the “Drop and go.” That’s where she drops a stink bomb then stretches and leaves the room. I hate when she does that.
My dog has had her nose scratched by a cat she was trying to play with and was blasted in the face by a skunk under the porch. I don’t think she was actually trying to play with the skunk so I guess the only thing I can fault the skunk for is being under my porch in the first place.
If I could shoot toxic fluid out of my butt and a 55-pound animal was coming my way I’d probably bathe the animal in the yellow liquid too. Even if I was trespassing on their property.
Lucy is lazy and I can’t count the number of times I’ve crawled out of bed only to find her right where my feet should be. I politely ask her to move but she generally just opens one eye, rolls it in my direction and goes back to sleep. “Stay,” I say while stepping over Lucy’s outstretched limbs. “Good dog.” It would be a lot funnier if she understood sarcasm.
Lucy is truly a member of the family and was there consoling my daughter right after her hamster died. My bedroom had a sliding glass door out to the backyard and I walked into my room to find my six-year-old kneeling down with the door slightly open.
In the six months before the death of Buttercup my dad had passed away and Drama Queen’s mom moved out, which was hard on her. On this particular occasion my daughter was at the door with Lucy’s nose sticking through the crack offering kisses and friendship.
“Lucy,” my daughter sobbed. “Papa left. Mommy left. And now Buttercup is gone. Please don’t leave me Lucy.”
My first instinct was to go to my daughter and try to make things better but I couldn’t do that until I composed myself. I ended up standing in the doorway for three or four minutes watching the two of them and crying because I felt so helpless and unable to protect my child.
Lucy has been there for me on more than one occasion, listening to me vent and trying to take my mind off whatever is bothering me. Why does she do it? Being there for one another is what friends do and I guess she understands that concept. Lucy knows I have her back and I know she has mine. Even the times where I swear she’s flipping me the paw.
When it comes to friends you take the good with the bad. Friends don’t pretend to have to go to the bathroom at 2 AM when it’s 20 degrees outside and snowing, but Lucy did. It turns out that she only wanted to play in the snow and really didn’t have to do her business. Lovely, huh?
When I’m at home writing Lucy is almost always chilling nearby and often goes with me to work where she lays, farts and snores the day away. Her favorite sport is pulling possums off the back wall (but not killing hem) and then waiting for me to come out, scoop them up with a shovel and set them free.
You would think the possums would return home and tell their peeps to stay away from the big brown dog but they return time and again. I guess you can’t teach a possum how to avoid getting rag-dolled off a cinder block wall.
Lucy is eleven and I’ve started to notice some hip problems. She doesn’t run as fast and as hard when we go to the dog beach plus she has trouble hopping into the back of the car when it’s time to go. I know what she’s going through is typical for a dog of her age but I still feel sad.
I watched my brother’s dog suffer through similar problems and to watch it happen was awful. The past few days I’ve been thinking about what I would do if Lucy’s health gets worse and she needs to be put down. I’ve decided that I need to look out for Lucy’s best interest and not what my daughter and I want. I don’t want Lucy to suffer simply because we can’t let go of our dog.
She’s been there for us and when the time comes I want to be there for her too. Why? Because friends put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.
This may sound like a goodbye letter to my dog, but it’s not. I’ve had friends pass away before I had a chance to thank them for their friendship or tell them how I feel about them and I want to make sure I say thank you to Lucy for being my friend. She can’t read this and if I read it to her she’ll have no clue what I’m saying so I guess this post is more for me than it is for her.
Thanks for being the dog that I was looking for when I went to the shelter and thanks for being my friend through good times and bad. You’re the shiz and even though your snoring is currently distracting me from my writing, I love you.
Photo courtesy of the author