That's a good girl, Lucy
Lucy pants and paces, circling continuously before finally wandering away to lie down. When she looks at me, she appears confused, as if she’s lost.
She’s skittish. When someone tries to pet her, Lucy appears frightened, like she’s about to be hit.
Her teeth, what little is left of them, aren’t pretty. She’s so deaf she, as my grandfather used to say, “can’t hear it thunder.”
Lucy is my aging border collie. She’ll be 15 sometime this fall, though we never knew the exact date of her birth. We adopted Lucy from an animal rescue operation 14 years ago this past spring.
When we took her to the vet for her first checkup, he estimated she was about 6 months old. So my sons, who at the time were little more than toddlers, decided we’d celebrate her birthday on Halloween.
It was an easy date to remember and we even dressed Lucy in T-shirts and let her participate in the trick-or-treat festivities.
Lucy was one of those dogs that was never much of a bother. She was so obedient that I could take her for walks without worrying about a leash. A sharp shout of, “Lucy!” would immediately have her retreating from whatever peril she was about to encounter.
When we were both younger and thinner, Lucy and I ran together almost daily on a dirt road near our house. The road was all but abandoned and measured a mile long. Lucy and I would run from one end to the other and back, with Lucy occasionally rousting a deer or flock of Canada geese along the way.
She enjoyed it.
She once rolled in fertilizer in a field at the end of the road and as a result smelled so bad I had to toss her in a pond before I’d let her in the car for the trip home.
I probably cursed her a bit that day, but Lucy knew I didn’t mean it.
Age has caught up with Lucy. In addition to the health problems I mentioned above, she’s incontinent, peeing and worse down her hind quarters.
I feel sorry for her, and wonder if she’s enjoying life. She lives outside now, under the screened porch. If she survives until winter, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with her.
I mentioned putting Lucy down the other week, but my youngest son, Will, objected. Will is 20 and in college in Greensboro. He offered to take Lucy to keep me from putting her to sleep.
He and Lucy grew up together.
I’m not sure Will’s work and school schedules would allow him to take her in, though. And I reminded him I don’t take any satisfaction in having Lucy euthanized, so for the time being she’s still under the porch.
Things could be worse. Lucy still occasionally accompanies me on strolls around the neighborhood.
I have to leash her when we do so, but it’s for her own protection. Lucy has grown so hard of hearing that she can’t hear when I scream at her to get out of the road as a car approaches.
At times, when I give her leash a pull, Lucy will look back over her shoulder at me and appear to almost smile.
It reminds me of the Lucy of old.
Contact Steve Huffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.