We said goodbye to our dog Lucy this morning. This is the fourth dog that we have lost, and it never gets any easier to say goodbye. As a friend said to me, dog’s are God’s joke on men. They are man’s best friend, but their lives are way too short.
From the start, she was my dog. Lucy was a rescue that we adopted 14 years ago as a puppy. Apparently she had been abused by a man before we found her, because of her reaction to my husband and other men. She just did not like men, especially tall men. She was afraid of them, barked at them, occasionally snapped at them, especially my son-in-law when he visited from Chicago. There would be a point in every visit, where he would be standing still and she would go for his ankles, just to let him know she did not approve. Lucy quickly got the nickname of Lucifer.
Rescue dogs can be complicated. You don’t know how they were treated before they came to you, which can make the transition difficult. Some are so grateful that they are in a warm, loving family, that they can’t do enough for you. Others, like Lucy, have fears from being treated poorly or even abused. It takes them a long time to acclimate. Lucy bonded to me immediately, but had a complicated relationship with Mr. Twitchy. She wasn’t so sure she could trust him, so their relationship was rocky from the start. So much so, that Lucy had her 5 minutes of fame on a friend’s national radio talk show, where he talked about Lucy not liking Mr. Twitchy, but loved me. Not once, but TWICE, she was the topic of conversation on his show.
Lucy was always meant to be my dog.
My kids decided that I needed a dog because I was home alone so much. Mr. Twitchy was commuting between LA and Chicago for work, our kids were all living out of town at that time, and our golden retriever, Rusty, had died a couple of years earlier. I had also begun having health issues at that time. My oldest daughter started searching on Pet Finders and sent me photos, lots of photos. She sent this one and it was love at first sight, for me anyway. That pink nose was the clincher.
Through the years, she was a source of comfort for me as my health issues continued. She would curl up beside me on the sofa when I was not feeling well. And she forced me to get up and take her for walks on the days when I didn’t want to get out of bed. For anyone with Parkinson’s or any other chronic disease, walking a dog regularly is good exercise, even if they go slowly and stop at every bush or tree. It won’t count as cardio exercise, but it benefits you in other ways. Most of all walking your dog combats isolation and gets you moving. After all, dogs are magnets for other dogs, so the walk becomes a social outing, for your dog, and for you since you can’t ignore the other people walking their dogs.
I loved walking Lucy in the early mornings. For years, she had me up at 5-5:30 am to go out. It was so quiet and peaceful at that time of day. In the winter, we would watch the the last stars fade and the sun rise, sometimes getting spectacular photos of clouds bursting with color just before dawn. In the summer, everything was quiet, except for the chirping birds. It was our time alone with each other before everyone else woke up and the phones started ringing. We both loved having that time of day together.
We will miss Lucy, but will have the memories. And as my almost 4 year old grandson said, Lucy will go to the happy place on the Rainbow Bridge* and wait for us along with Penny, Rusty and Layla, to join her later. 🐾🐾
*The Rainbow Bridge (Author Unknown)
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of all its beautiful colors.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.
There is always food and water and warm spring weather.
The old and frail animals are young again.
Those who were sick, hurt or in pain are made whole again.
There is only one thing missing,
they are not with their special person who loved them so much on earth.
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!
The nose twitches! The ears are up!
The eyes are staring and this one runs from the group!
You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him in your arms and hug him.
He licks and kisses your face again and again –
and you look once more into the eyes of your best friend and trusting
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together never again to be apart.