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 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.
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.
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!
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…