Lovin’ Lucy

  • Friday, June 13, 2014

She was blonde from birth and had big chocolaty eyes and a bright pink tummy, so much so that early on she was dubbed “Miss Pinkness.”

She was part of their family for 13 years and passed on last week.

If she had been human she would have turned 91. But Lucy was a yellow lab, the matriarch of three. She belonged to our daughter Cathy and her husband Todd.

Her genetic sister, Babs, came along five years later and Bella, who was rescued from an abusive situation, was adopted three years ago. Babs is full of sparkle and spunk and is their Diva Dog. Bella is the most quiet and reserved. Lucy had the sweetest disposition, and always sought out the neediest person in the room in her role as complete caregiver.

Todd said they were introduced as she was propelled along in a wheelbarrow crowded with her litter mates. When the pups were gently decanted, she came straight to Cathy and sat on her lap. “And that was it,” says Todd.

Lucy’s engaging quirks included her love of shoes. She’d often crawl into the closet and lie atop them on her back and go to sleep with a look of ecstasy on her face. She also liked rump rubs and showed her emotions by a distinctive patterned tail thump.

She was the peacekeeper, between both humans and dogs. If there was a lot of yelling at a football game or a squabble between her sisters Lucy would step right in the middle to be sure everyone was all right. She’d then shake her head at the fuss and glide off for a nap.

A couple of years ago she began showing her age, developing arthritis and breathing problems. She could no longer negotiate the backdoor steps, so Todd built a ramp especially for her which Lucy let us use as well. Three months ago she had surgery to help with her breathing and was taking a litany of medications for multiple issues.

Her hips gave her trouble and she sometimes hopped like a rabbit trying to get around. Like most aging creatures she had her good days and her bad days.

One of her problems was eating so fast she tended to choke, so their vet, Jan Greathouse at Westbury’s, prescribed tennis balls in Lucy’s feeding bowl so she would have to eat between them and slow down.

Todd and Cathy knew time was getting short as it became harder and harder for Lucy to move around and she still had breathing problems.

On the day Lucy died she had had a difficult night followed by a bad morning. Going to work, Cathy impulsively added a kiss to Lucy’s head, reinforcing the regular goodbye petting ritual. Todd checked in on her after an early appointment to find Lucy in great distress, unable to get up and gasping for breath. He immediately took her to the vet and called Cathy. They agreed it was time to end Lucy’s suffering.

Cathy said Todd lay on the floor beside their dog comforting and stroking her until she slipped away.

My favorite memory of Lucy is that whenever I visited, she would wait until I got settled in my chair and then come over and sit on my feet. “That,” Cathy told me, “is because she doesn’t want you to leave.”

That’s the way we all felt about her.

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