Over the weekend we lost our sweet Lucy. She was a cairn terrier resembling Toto from the wizard of Oz. My husband and I got her when she was a puppy. Her parents belong to Jesse’s parents. For some reason I was drawn to the tiniest in the bunch. So small she could fit in the palm of your hand. Her ears meant to be upright would remain floppy giving her her own special adorable look. I grew up with a Cairn Terrier named Meggie so was happy to have another one in my life.
Lucy was hilarious in the way she would bounce through tall grass and looked at you with sweet kind eyes. She always looked as though she was smiling after she had been off on a hunting adventure. She would return to the house with a wet beard and a wild look in her eyes. Sometimes Lucy would appear as though she had a mustache when the fur on her “snoot” would become twisted, and pointed and curled upwards. She was the dog that would be my little sidekick. She was my nurse, always laying close by my side when during my first pregnancy it was determined that I would need abdominal surgery to remove large cysts from my ovaries or the baby might not survive. She snuggled with me as I cried big tears when the worry was that it could be cancer. Thankfully it was not and although the surgery was not ideal only 12 weeks in to pregnancy my sweet daughter made it through and is now a creative, energetic, curious eight year old. My daughter would become Lucy’s best friend too along with her brother who arrived two years later. They loved Lucy and she loved them even when she had to tolerate fancy hairdos at bath time and being stuffed into a queen costume for Halloween.
Lucy had many quirks which is perhaps why we loved her so much. She loved visiting her Mom and Dad just up the hill and would sometimes sneak out and run through the field to go and see them. Whenever she went “missing” a simple phone call would certainly reveal that yes, she was sitting up on the porch up the hill happy as can be. You see the gardens at Grammy’s house are a cairn terriers best hunting ground. Rock walls filled with teasing chipmunks who would play hide and seek. We don’t think she ever caught one. She loved Grammy immensely always jumping up and barking when Grammy would arrive and especially loved riding around with Grammy on the tractor or the lawnmower.
Lucy came to have a best friend before we had our kids, a loving black lab came into our lives, a rescue dog who would become Lucy’s anchor dog even though she sneered at him for several weeks after his arrival. She would sit like a queen on the couch and look down at him from her throne. Homer always let Lucy go first at mealtime, waiting in line for her to finish. An unusual sight seeing as he was a 110 pound black lab. They were often seen laying together and became best of friends. Sadly we lost Homer before Lucy and I truly think that she had a broken heart. After Homer was gone Lucy pined for him and didn’t eat. She became more nervous than she had been although she still provided the best snuggles.
Last year a few days before we were to leave for the Boston Marathon and to leave Lucy with a dog sitter, I took Lucy in for a routine check-up at the vet. When we were there I mentioned that she seemed skinny and that her energy seemed very off. After carefully looking her over they too worried that something was wrong. Blood work revealed an issue with her red blood cells and we were directed to take her to the emergency vet. There they discovered that she had an autoimmune disease that was destroying her red blood cells (Immune mediated hemolytic anemia). In some dogs a certain death sentence. In many a struggle to survive. I supposed I began my grieving then. I knew that Lucy’s life would probably be short. Every morning my routine became to give Lucy her many pills from what seemed like my own personal pet pharmacy. Dr. Hyde had warned me that unfortunately with this disease in some dogs it would be the medication in the end that would cause the most harm.
Lucy fought and stayed with us through the summer and most of this fall. She perked up and became more like the dog that we knew. She hunted with fierce determination. She hiked with us to our favorite waterfall and she even enjoyed her first trip to our family lake house where she lounged on the porch and enjoyed the kids. This fall things did not seem to be going her way and our trips to the vet became more frequent. My vet was so compassionate and caring and I knew that they were doing everything they could to make her be well. In my heart though I knew that we were losing her. She became more tired often resting her head sleepily on my arm as I drove to pick up the kids.
It was unexpected and happened too fast. I think I knew she was leaving us. On Friday night I lifted her carefully on the bed. She curled up where she liked to sleep and I curled around her listening to her heartbeat and patting her soft fur. We weren’t ready to say goodbye but she had to leave us. On Saturday morning Lucy was despondent and could barely lift her sweet little face to greet us. We had to say goodbye.
Lucy held a big piece of my heart. She was with us for almost 12 years and so much has happened in our lives. Our house seems so empty now. When we lost Homer we still had Lucy. We aren’t quite ready to let another dog into our hearts. When someone or something that you love slips away you are never ready. The fact that there is an empty space is so hard to understand. I keep expecting to see Lucy and am ready to let her outside first thing in the morning but she isn’t there. I keep thinking I see her out of the corner of my eye but then realizing it is not her I feel a twinge of sadness.
My grief over losing her right now is big but my heart is filled up every time the kids remind me of a silly story about her and tell me how much they loved her.
We must grieve when we lose someone because it reveals how hard we have loved. My 6 year old son through splashing tears told me, “I don’t think I have ever cried so many tears in my life.” I know sweet boy . . . I think that is always how grief must feel but that shows how much we love and how much we care.
May Lucy be running freely now. She is running through green fields with Homer now.
Thank you for reading . . . writing this is helping my heart.