Monday, January 4, 2016


Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.
~ Roger Caras

My husband and I adopted our dog, Lucy, back in 2003 when she was somewhere between 1 and 2 years old.  When we went to pick her up at the shelter, she bolted out of the shed and hopped up on the picnic table where we were sitting.  It was instant love.  We didn’t have kids at this point, so she was our first baby.  When we brought her home, she was shy and timid.  She’d been in an abusive household for the first year of her life and had spent most of her day in a crate, thus everything was new and scary.  We lived in an apartment at the time so things like the elevator spooked her to no end and she would often bark at foreign (usually inanimate) objects like statues and trash bags blowing in the breeze because she’d never seen anything like them.  Over time, she began to get used to her new routine.  I worked from home back then so Lucy and I would head out together at least 3-4 times/day.  As she got older, I started taking her running with me.  Just a  few miles at first, but then as she got used to it, she could hang with me for as long as 6-8 miles.  After a few stops to use the bathroom, she'd get into the zone and fall into pace with me.  She truly was the best running partner.

Swimming (& fetching) at Lake Winnipesaukee

Lucy also loved to play fetch, both on land and in the water, and she was, like so many of her kin, totally obsessed with chasing squirrels.  She went everywhere with us and her energy was endless.  Hiking, running, swimming, all of it.  When the kids were born, Rosie first then Grace, Lucy got the hint.  She was still top 'dog', but Rosie and Grace would ultimately be running the show.  We managed to get her out and I ran with her when I could, but our routine no longer revolved around her and she knew it.  So, she huffed and puffed a bit and then she claimed the couch.  It was a fair trade as far as we were concerned.

Standing guard (sort of) as Rosie slept

Eventually, we ran out of space and moved to the burbs.  We upgraded to a house with a small yard and there were tons of new trails nearby.  It was pretty close to dog heaven as far as we could tell and she was very happy to be running free again.  As she got older, 7,8,9 years old, she started to slow down a bit, but not much.  She could still run, though not as far, and she would often stand guard on our lawn, making it clear that she was the protector of what was inside.  In August of 2014, we got a second dog; a puppy named Clover.  At first Lucy wanted nothing to do with her.  She was now about 11/12 years old, often tired after her walks, and she had no desire to deal with a pesky little one in her face.  Clover got the picture right away and learned that if she wanted to hang with Lucy, she needed to just be chill and maybe give her a few licks every once in a while, but that was it.  Gotta love dogs.  At the same time, though, we noticed a spring in Lucy's step with the new kid in town.  Before Clover arrived, we'd often offer to take Lucy out and she'd just shrug it off and lay back down.  After Clover came into the picture, when we went to grab the leash, Lucy would come right over, albeit slowly, to let us know that she was not going to be left behind.  Lucy lost about 5 pounds that first year from all that exercise.  Youth does have it's benefits.

The Queen and her underling

About a month ago, Lucy got sick with an infection in her pancreas.  After a visit to the hospital and some heavy meds, she was back on her feet.  She was clearly slow, but relatively steady for a 14 year old dog.  After Christmas, the infection resurfaced and this time she no longer had the strength to fight back.  So, this past Saturday, we had to say goodbye and let her go.  It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make in years.  And even though I know it was the right thing to do, I wasn’t prepared, and the heartache was and still is beyond anything I could have imagined.  She was my friend, my running partner, my shadow, my sidekick, my protector and so much more.  I take comfort in knowing that she had a very full life with a family that loved her to pieces.  She never did catch a squirrel.  Perhaps she’ll get him in her next life, wherever she may be.  Rest in peace, sweet Lucy.  You will be so missed and your spirit will be forever in our hearts.


~ We taught her how to trust again. She taught us that laughter heals almost anything.
~ We taught her how to swim.  She taught us to be brave and try new things regardless of how scary they might be.
~ We taught her how to fetch.  She taught us that if you do something long enough, you'll get really damn good at it.
~ We taught her that rest is key. She taught us to get outside and move as much as possible.
~ We taught her how to share.  She taught us to play with EVERYONE.
~ We taught her how to run for miles.  She taught me to stop and smell the….um…everything.
~ We taught her how to be flexible. She taught us that simple is often better.
~ We taught her not to beg.  She taught us to appreciate everything and that no treat is too small.
~ We taught her how to sit.  She taught us that a little praise goes a long way.
~ We taught her how to go to the bathroom outside.  She taught us that accidents happen.
~ We taught her how to deal with the heat and the snow. She taught us that every season has something amazing to offer.
~ We taught her to be safe. She taught us to always protect the ones you love.

In the end, we both taught each other to live life to the fullest and to love unconditionally; lessons that I will carry on with me, with her in mind, for the rest of my life.

Listen to this:
Keep on Dancing - We Are The City


  1. I'm so sorry. It's just not fair that our dogs live such short lives. Lucy sounds lovely and I can't imagine how hard this was. Of course I cried as I read this. It was beautifully written. xx, friend!

  2. Oh, Rebecca!! It's so tough to let them go, isn't it? My husband and I made this decision, under similar circumstances, for my dog Simon in October 2010; he was my buddy and we went through a lot together. It sucks; I hate that you're experiencing this and I'm glad you have a way to share your thoughts and memories of Lucy. She sounds wonderful!

  3. Beautifully written, my friend.