On March 27, 2019, my second ‘child’ Lucy took her final breath. She was my first dog. A humble dog. I had nothing to measure her by. Still, I knew from very early on that she was special.
We got her as a pup, just eight weeks old. She cost us a fortune, but we got our money’s worth, that’s for sure.
I wasn’t in the market for a dog. To be honest, I was more in the market for a second child but our first-born had been a bit of handful. (Read this post about my worst parenting moment and you’ll get the picture.) Frankly, our baby scared the crap out of us. If I was on the fence about having another, my ex-husband was over it. And I was fine with that.
Still, I felt the family dynamic needed one more member. Our kitchen table seated four, after all. And so, we got Lucy.
Let me tell you about my humble dog.
This here is Lucy as a puppy, and yes, she looks like a battery-operated toy. That little pink fairy to her left — we had her to thank for Lucy. Our Anna was a feisty one. Sure, she looks like an angel here, but I see right through that crooked smile. And just look at the grip she has on Lucy’s collar. Pretty suspect, no?
When she and Lucy were out of sight, well, let’s just say I learned in later years that Lucy was afraid of feet and neither my husband nor I ever kicked her. So yeah, we’re looking at you, kid!
Lucy was easy to train. Either that or I’m the Dog Whisperer. Honestly, you could take her anywhere. Within days, she learned to sit patiently as I filled her bowl. Even when I walked away, task complete, she’d wait for my verbal cue before putting her head down and tucking in.
And she never begged. Personally, I love that feature in a dog. (Sadly, it wasn’t an option with our current model.) Another awesome feature about my humble dog — she knew how to read a room. Seriously, you want cuddles? Game on. You need alone time? No problem. Oh, cuddle? Cool. Space? Sure. Cuddle? Alrighty then. You’ve got it.
— Science explains why humans love their dogs as much as dogs love their humans (Sarah Knapton) —
Lucy was never needy.
She lived to fulfil our needs, not hers. And she was kind.
In 14 years, I never heard her growl or saw her bare her teeth. I never saw her turn her back on a single human being who approached her. My humble dog was always ready to stop and let total strangers pet her, leaning into them as if she knew they needed love. Head down in service. It was as if her purpose on earth, truly, was to bring others peace and joy.
Unlike our sweet little Biscuit, who greets everyone with sloppy kisses, Lucy would bow her head to the floor when you greeted her. I tried often to coax her chin up so that we could look eye to eye, but she would always look away and bow down in what I truly believe was humility. That’s why I called her my humble dog. My sweet and humble warrior.
When Lucy was five, she went off to a new home.
My ex and I had separated. I was moving from a house in the suburbs to a condo in the city. Despite the fact that my new and current neighbourhood has a bigger population of dogs than it does human beings (not quite but almost), I knew that bringing her along would be tricky. I was a single mom with a child to watch over and no backyard. What would I do if Lucy needed a late-night bathroom break?
I mentioned this predicament to my cousin. Lo and behold, she and her husband had been considering a second dog. I couldn’t have been luckier. Neither could Lucy. As I transitioned into my life as a single mom, Lucy transitioned into a life of hills, hikes, countryside, canine companionship and home-cooked meals — frankly more than I could ever have given her.
I don’t know what I would have done if my cousin hadn’t adopted Lucy. I was exceptionally lucky that she remained in the family. Not only did I know she was in good hands; I had first right of refusal when it came to babysitting and lucky for me my cousin travelled often.
My humble dog last graced my home just days before she died.
Having been diagnosed with stage four kidney failure just a few months prior, Lucy was on borrowed time when she came to stay. She ate little and complained never. She was a frail version of her former self. Still, she sprang to life when just days before her passing, I took her to the beach. She spotted a woman with a ball. Lucy loved balls. The woman with the ball loved Lucy. The woman gave Lucy the ball.
Just a few days after I took this photo, Lucy became beyond lethargic. She had no interest in even the shortest of walks. Her appetite was gone. Even liver treats couldn’t interest her. It was clear the end was imminent. My cousin returned from her trip. She came to fetch Lucy. The next day she called to say it was time to let her go.
The following evening, my daughter and I (Anna is now 18 and very kind to animals, I’m pleased to report) joined my cousin and her husband in their home; Lucy’s home. As we waited for the vet to arrive and send her off to doggy heaven, the four of us took turns cuddling and nuzzling her on the sofa before laying her on the living room floor so that we could all maintain contact with her until her enormous heart stopped beating.
It was only after Lucy was gone, after Anna and I had left my cousins’ house, that I realized it was then — in her final hour — that we finally locked eyes. She barely blinked. She didn’t look away for a second. She soaked us all in as if she knew it was now or never.
There is no such thing as “just a dog.”
RIP Lucy my love ❤️❤️❤️