A Tribute to Lucy: My grandma always told me that she wanted a little dog that could sit on her lap comfortably, so I was a little surprised when she and my grandpa brought home an 18 month old boxer-pitbull mix from the shelter.
Lucy had been in the Cherokee County Animal Shelter for less than a week when my grandparents went to take a look at the dogs. They brought my cousin (who was three years old at the time) to the shelter with them to help pick a puppy. As they passed the bigger dogs, she asked my grandparents if she could go in and pet Lucy. One of the volunteers confirmed that she was safe with kids and soon my cousin had her arms wrapped around Lucy’s neck. They left that day having signed the adoption papers for a much bigger lap dog than they had expected.
She came out of her shy shell very quickly and became one of my favorite playmates. We would run around my grandparents’ yard for hours. When I was eight I started taking horseback riding lessons, and after a short time decided to teach Lucy to jump like a horse. My cousin and I would set up jumps out of lawn chairs and sticks and bait her over them with treats. I don’t think she ever fully understood the exercise, but she did it a lot to please us.
Sometimes when my grandparents would go out of town, Lucy would stay at our house. It was very exciting to have her over, and I loved to tuck her into her bed and read her a bedtime story. I always read her the same story, but she always sat still and looked at the pictures when I put the book in front of her face.
Lucy also made many trips to the beach when my grandparents joined us on vacation. She loved running on the beach with my dad and chasing crabs along the sand. She hated water, but somehow she got over it when she was in hot pursuit of a crab. One of my fondest memories of her was when she stole my dad’s tacos on the way back from a beach trip. We always had to stop at places with outdoor seating so that she could sit with us in the shade. As the waiter set down my dad’s plate, Lucy jumped up and stole the basket right out of his hands. The basket crashed onto the ground and she devoured the taco in a flash. That was almost eight years ago, and my dad still laughs about it to this day.
Lucy loved to eat. She stole whole pies, avocados, and even fresh salmon. It was always an adventure to hear what she had stolen each day. Her favorite snack was a vanilla Frosty from Wendy’s. Every year, Wendy’s offers a card that gets you a Frosty a day for a year, if you donate a dollar to their charity. I bought her a card every year. Lucy could hear t-r-e-a-t from anywhere.
As an older dog, Lucy continued to play and complete daily food heists, but she began to appreciate cuddles more than runs. I would lay in the floor with her on her bed and stroke the little white heart on her nose. It began to fade as she grayed with age, but I always knew right where it was. She became a foster mom to kittens twice when my grandparents rescued orphan kittens from the riding barn. When my grandparents were exhausted from being up around the clock to feed them, Lucy kept the babies occupied by letting them pretend to nurse on her and licking their heads like their mother would.
It broke my heart when I found out that Lucy had advanced lymphoma at the age of eleven, first because she had never been sick a day in her life, and second because she had always looked after me. She was by my side for the majority of my childhood, and for many great moments, and she has left us many wonderful stories to share with others. The day that I said goodbye to Lucy, she licked the tears off of my face and looked at me as if to say, “Don’t cry child, I will always love you.” I think about that every day and it puts a smile on my face. Lucy was my first best friend, my most adventurous sidekick, and always a shoulder to lean on.
I love you Lucy, always and forever.
“There is nothing truer in this world than the love of a good dog.”