Relationships: Lucy the Dog Part II

I have three years’ worth of favorite memories with my husband, and seven months’ with my kid. For Lucy, I have 14 years of experience. It’s not full of adventure and mishap. It’s two friends who lived together and loved each other and went a lot of places. To me, my time with Lu is a novel, a movie, a Bible. She has taught me so many lessons. The most important: Assume everyone you meet will be your best friend, and chances are, they will.

Other times that shine in my Lucy mind:

  • When I first got Lucy I was dating a guy who lived on a sailboat. I went down to visit him and Lucy was following me along the maze of marina docks to get to Jeff’s boat. When I got there, I realized Lucy was no longer behind me. I backtracked. No Lucy. Then someone said, “is this your dog?” pointing to the water. Why yes, indeed it was. Lucy had somehow toppled over the side and was just dog paddling until I came to fish her out. She hated swimming after that.
  • When she was a puppy I used to take her to work in my tiny office in Port Townsend. She would hang out while I wrote stories or matched couples for my dating service, and then we’d go play on the beach for a while. Once she was very, very uncharacteristically quiet and I turned around to see her chewing on my brand new Lord & Taylor chunky-heeled mary jane shoe. I was aghast. “Oh, Lucy,” was all I could say, in a throaty, disappointed voice. She looked up, stopped in mid-chew, and never touched a shoe again.
  • She used to bark at and try to herd farm animals — horses, cows, chickens. We once went to visit my friend The Pig Lady and her husband Dan, who raised potbelly pigs. Lucy was chasing around the pigs and freaking them out. Dan gave her a swat, which freaked me out. We loaded up into the truck and drove out for an impromptu camping trip in the woods near a stream. I cried half the way there. Lucy and I did a lot of hiking. She ate a lot of deer poop that trip.
  • I once tied Lucy up outside a fancy tearoom in Victoria, went for a quick tour, and came out to find a bunch of Asian tourists crowding around her and taking her picture. I guess they’d never seen a Lucy before.
  • When I started my Very Corporate Job at a Very Conservative Company we had a two-day offsite meeting at a fancy hotel. I didn’t have anyone who could watch Lucy, so I brought her with me. She became part of the last-day’s team-building exercise. This helped to establish that I was the slightly wacky creative person in the office, so that perhaps all rules would not apply.
  • Once Lucy and I drove from Los Angeles to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for Thanksgiving. My genius plan was to make the return trip without stopping at a hotel for the night, just napping along the way. Which would have worked except for two things: It is cold as hell is hot in the Siskious in November, and when you turn off the engine, there is no heat. And also, that I am a human being that can’t type an email, let alone drive a car, if I haven’t had enough sleep. By 2 a.m. it became clear that my plan was a failure, but there were no hotels in sight. So I’d crank the heat until we were baking, pull over, cuddle together in the back of the Prius under my down blanket, and then get up and start all over when frostbite began to set in. During one of those times, we woke up to snapping cold to see that we’d parked under a shimmering Mt. Shasta, glimmering like a giant diamond in the pre-dawn cobalt sky. It was, to this day, the most amazing sight I have ever beheld. I’m so glad Lucy was there to share it.

Lucy is not doing well. She paces around until I let her out, then she strains to pee and poo, then meanders through the bushes in our courtyard until I come to get her. She lies on her bed and sleeps. I lie down next to her and we spoon and she shivers and I cry into her fur and feel her silky ears and try to imagine the moment when she is no longer warm and with us.

I do not know how to say goodbye.

Vanessa McGradyRelationships: Lucy the Dog Part II

Comments 2

  1. Jaime

    Oh, Vanessa…I know just how you feel. I had to let my Daisy go 5 years ago…I still can’t get over it. Lucy is so loved though…what a great life with a great mom. Hugs to you both.

  2. bellabubba

    I’m so glad to have spent time with the sweet, Cleopatra eyed Lucy. You capture her essence beautifully here. Super smart, gentle, devoted friend who was also in her own way, extremely funny. Thank you for sharing these sacred memories. I wish I could be there to hold your hand while you hold hers. I love you friend.

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