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Mister Rusty Bucket

The Hoppy Adventures of Our Tripawd Brittany

To Lucy, with Love

The one and only, Miss Lucy

Today has been one year since we lost Lucy and for those of you who have survived such a loss you know that the time goes so quickly and yet stands still. Lucy was my first dog as a grown  up, the first dog that was all mine. She was a true and perfect friend and I miss her every minute.

I met Lucy when she was two days old. My boss found a pregnant dog tied to tree in Nashville and took her in and let her have puppies on her antique yellow sofa. I got to see the eight puppies almost every day and watched as their tiny eyes opened and they began to move around. I loved playing with them but was not considering adopting a puppy. One day I came in to work and heard this pitiful, mournful crying. My boss had taken the puppies outside town that weekend with a “free puppies” sign and every pup had been taken…except one little black girl. I couldn’t stand to hear her crying so I asked if I could just take her home just for the night so she wouldn’t be so lonely. I didn’t have a kennel so I brought her home in a plastic mail bin. Well, one night turned into 14 and 3/4 years and it was the best decision I ever made.

Lucy and I checking off a bucket list visit to the Walker Art Center

Lucy was my best friend, my confidant, my protector and we did everything together. Lucy was wicked smart and could learn new words quickly. She was incredibly agile and loved to go hiking. We went all over, the two of us, and I always felt safe with her by my side. Three years later, with Lucy’s consent, we adopted Rusty after he had been hit by a car and she helped me nurse him back to health and the two of them became thick as thieves. Lucy was always the leader and Rusty was happy to follow his big sister anywhere.  Lucy was definitely the brave one in our trio. She was the one who would go investigate things that went bump in the night while Rusty and I cowered under the covers. She would lead the way on the trail and choose the safest path. One day Lucy and Rusty were out in the yard and I heard her start “alarm barking” so I ran to see what was happening. I couldn’t believe it, a giant turkey vulture had flown into the yard and had picked Rusty up off the ground. Lucy was hysterical and was jumping straight up into the air snapping at the bird. She was relentless and it finally dropped Rusty and flew off. I couldn’t believe it, Rusty was unscathed (although he didn’t want to go outside again for a couple weeks and has never gone out in the yard without me attached to his leash again – I doubt that damn bird can lift me).

Rusty and Lucy were opposites in just about every way. Lucy was a very dainty eater, she would take food so gently and lick an ice cream cone very carefully. Rusty, well, you better guard your fingers and ice cream disappears in about 3 big bites! Lucy loved to play with toys, especially squeaky toys and would trot around joyfully with her orange dinosaur, Norman. Rusty…he thought squeaky toys were the worst and would hide in another room and cry while I let Lucy play with Norman. Lucy hated to get wet, she thought rain was torture. Rusty loves water and canoeing and swimming and has a kiddie pool on the deck. Lucy liked to sleep near me, but not touching and if I bumped her at night she had to get off the bed in a huff. Rusty wants to lay right on me and barks at me to pick him up and snuggle. Lucy would bark at anyone who approached the house and would defend Rusty and I from any kind of danger. Rusty will run and hide when the doorbell rings and pray that no one finds him. But they were the best of friends and would play and run and roll and have a big time.

My two beautiful kiddos

Lucy was a pitbull and Australian Kelpie mix and I always thought she needed some sheep to herd, instead she got a fluffy white Rusty dog. The first time I told her to go out and get him in the yard her little face lit up! It was as if she had been waiting for that command her whole life and she took off like a shot and back she came with a bewildered Rusty who couldn’t understand why Lucy was shuttling him up the deck steps. She was so proud, I was so proud, Rusty was confused.

My view for many, many, many walks

We moved to Minnesota over two years ago in November and spent Christmas Eve at the emergency vet (as you do) when Lucy, it turned out, had vestibular. Then in February, she had an emergency splenectomy for what turned out to be hemangiosarcoma and we did IV and oral chemo, a liver lobectomy and homeopathic treatments. Rusty was such a good support system for her (and for me) and went with us to every appointment and waited with me in the waiting rooms and snuggled with her on the rides to the vet and took his “medicine” right along side Miss Lulee. Lucy was a wonderdog and even hemangio couldn’t keep her down.  The initial vet told us she probably wouldn’t survive the splenectomy but she did and she set records at our specialty vets for hemangio and lived for 18 months!

Rusty wearing his sympathy “chemo” bandage so they could get treats together.

It was devastating to lose her, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and just unimaginable. Rusty has really stepped up though and will watch out the window and has even barked at the mailman! I could never have guessed this time last year what this past year has held in store for me and Rusty. Rusty has done so well and has become so strong and is now the cutest little guy on three legs. We celebrated our Lucy today. We went and got her favorite ice cream and her favorite cupcake (she only liked the gluten free one) and went to the Nature Park where we spent countless hours on adventure walks. We busted out our best bottle of wine and said a toast to our best girl. We remember you today Lucy and are thankful that we were lucky enough to share our lives with you. You will never be forgotten.

With so much love,

Mom & Rusty

Here are some pictures…

Me and My Best Girl

Stealing a Kiss

Lucy with her favorite ice cream

Me and Rusty today at the ice cream shop (a huge thanks to my Mom who loved Lucy so much and helped me every day when Lucy was sick and did all of these adventures with us today I wouldn’t have made it without her)

Me and Rusty today with Lucy’s favorite gluten free cupcake – she was very particular about pastry!

Me with Lucy & Rusty at Quarry Hill for an adventure walk

Me and Rusty today at Quarry Hill in memory of Miss Lu

Miss Priss on her birthday – she loved to dress up and if I held her t-shirt up she would come over and stick her head through the neck to help put it on!

Lucy with her paw on her little brother “watching” him as they rode home from a chemo appointment.

12 Comments

  1. So Sweet. Thanks for sharing your day and your tribute to Miss Lucy with us.
    w

  2. OMD, what a sweet tribute to your most amazing girl. Thank you so much for sharing Lucy with us! And what a wonderful way to celebrate her life by touring all her favorite places on her birthday. I know she was there with you every step of the way.

    xoxo,
    Martha, Travis and the Oaktown Pack

    • Thank you very much for your sweet words about Lucy. It touches my heart that you would take the time to get to know her here. Hugs to Travis Ray.
      ❤️ Amy & Rusty

  3. To Lucy and Amy and Rusters with love.
    It is great to hear (and see) your story with each other. You knew her since she was 2 days old! The ritual you did on her behalf with Rusty and your Mom is wonderful, it’s full of love.
    What an amazing spirit. Rusty looks oh-so proud and happy in that picture with you and Lucy at Quarry Hill. His grin can’t be missed!
    And the pink tutu? Miss Lucy Priss indeed! Those ears are made for snuggling.

    Thank you for sharing some of Lucy’s story. I am so happy to learn more about her.
    Sending you a big hug.
    Mascha & Schlomo (Rusty’s brother from another mother)

    • Mascha & Schlomes, Thanks so much for caring about Mister Rusty and Miss Lucy. I wonder what Lucy and Schlomo would have done if they had seen each other, probably thought they were looking in a mirror! I know Rusty misses Lucy, I try to fill the void as playmate but I’m not nearly as much fun as she was. We did have a fun time celebrating her favorites and Rusty LOVES ice cream. Big hugs back at you.
      ❤️ Amy & Rusty

  4. Oh Amy, what a special girl, your Lucy. You can see the kindness, strength, and wisdom in her pretty eyes. I know it’s so hard and time plays weird tricks…how can it be a year and seem like yesterday and 10 years at the same time?

    And she knew how much Rusty needed you then and maybe somehow how much he was going to need you in the future.
    I love all your pictures of both of them. Thank you for sharing your girl with us. One look and it’s clear how special she was – and is :).

    Tracy & Zatoichi

    • Tracy & Zato,
      Thanks so much for your sweet words about Lucy. She was such a special girl and it really means a lot to me that you saw that. I miss her every day but it does make me happy that I can now think of her and our adventures and just smile and not hurt. Hugs to You, Zato and the Gang.
      ❤️ Amy & Rusty

  5. I LOVED reading about sweet Lucy, what a GORGEOUS girl (that face! those ears!) and what a beautiful connection you shared with her. You have been through so, so much this past year, and it must feel as though you’ve been dealing with Cancer of one sort or another for such a long, long time. I love the way you marked this day. It made me well up actually, tears of sorrow for the loss of your girl, but of happiness too for the love that so clearly bonds your pack together. Such love never dies. It’s not possible. Lucy will always live in your heart. Thank you for sharing your story with us ❤️

    • Clare,
      Thank you so very much for your kind words about Lucy. Your story about Billie actually inspired me to share her story here. I didn’t have a Tripawds community when I was going through Lucy’s cancer battle – what a HUGE difference it makes to share the journey with people who understand and appreciate what you are going through. Thank you so much for understanding and for saying that “such love never dies” you are so right and hearing that means the world to me.
      Much love to you and Meg and Elsie Pie,
      ❤️ Amy & Rusty

  6. Wow, Lucy was indeed that once-in-a-lifetime dog. What a beautiful thing you did by adopting her and giving her a chance at the best life EVER. She had that fightin’ spirit that kept her strong for so long (18 months with hemanio IS amazing!) and I have no doubt that her strength rubbed off on Rusty.

    These anniversaries are so hard but I hope that sharing her story with the community has brought you closer to peace and healing in your heart. Thank you for inviting us into your life. Lucy, Rusty and any other future dogs are indeed blessed to be loved by someone as kind as you.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words about Lucy and for reading her story. You are right, she was a once-in-a-lifetime dog. I am so thankful for this site and for the opportunity to share Lucy’s story with the kindest people I know who understand this fight and the love we share for our kiddos. It really helped me to share her story, she was incredibly brave and such a fighter. She had a blue bandana that said “kicking cancer’s tail” and now Mister Rusty has his own blue “Tripawds” bandana!
      Thank you for your kindness and love.
      ❤️ Amy & Rusty

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