On a gloriously Pacific Northwest-style sunny Sunday afternoon, we had just come from seeing the indie movie Wendy and Lucy to meet up with friends for a late lunch and a couple of Bloody Marys. On the way home, David suggested we go to the Humane Society “just to look”. Having suggested that to him many times before with no bites, I was excited to see the tides turn.
Once inside, we turned the first corner and that’s when we saw her, peeking around the concrete half-wall in her doggie cubicle, looking up at us with that wrinkled forehead and those satellite seeking ears. David fell in love at first site, and wasn’t interested at ALL in looking at any other dogs. I thought that we should look at EVERY dog there, just to make sure we weren’t missing our destined canine, knowing full well we had already found our girl.
After a week of waiting, and talking to landlords, and scrounging money, and trying to decide if this was the right time, and going back to see her again for a longer visit, David brought her home on March 6th, 2009. Her name changed from ‘Tinka’ to Lucy*, and our lives changed from dogless to a home full of dog love and dog hair.
Lucy was six months when we brought her home; timid, nervous, and a little shell shocked, I think. She slept like a rock her first night with us, maybe feeling like she could finally let down her guard. And from that day forward, we feel so privileged to have her in our lives, because she brings us so much laughter, joy, and magic. This girl has taught us to be more patient, to laugh more and not take anything too seriously, to pay better attention to things, and to enjoy each day.
She is orange and muscular, with eight tiny little white hairs at the very tip of her tail and black spots on the back of her pink tongue. She’s an athlete, a trickster, and a wildly energetic playmate. She loves other dogs, is transfixed by cats, and loves to try to catch squirrels and black crows. She is crouching dingo, hidden Lucy, as she gets low in the “tall grasses” (in her mind) prior to pouncing on other dogs at play. She can take a walk without a leash, comes when she’s called (well, almost always), and can’t stand to be away from her people. She doesn’t like water much unless she’s at the beach or the river, prefers baths inside to ones with a hose, and she loves lettuce, walnuts, and cucumbers. She will straight sleep on top of you, and wake you with loving kisses. She grunts and groans and grumbles, and can make an entire game out of sparring with one, single, tiny kibble. She is fluent in canine AND English, and is the softest furred mutt in all the land.
One night early in our canine relationship, David and I went out while Lucy tried her new spot in the large, tile covered bathroom with the European-style shower. Upon our return, the bathroom was full of water, the rugs were soaked, and there wasn’t a dry area ANYWHERE. Yet, the water was off, and Lucy was bone dry. Not even her paws were wet. Since then, we have known that she is a shapeshifter, and catch her taking the form of coyote, deer, and penguin, along with her native African Bush dingo spirit.
I suppose it would be fair to suggest that we’re a bit obsessed and mono-focused on Lucy, and some might say fanatical, since we literally spend every day gushing about this most amazing dog with whom we spend our days. But we really wouldn’t have it any other way, and as the proud caretakers of this magical and loving girl, we’ll own your name-calling, smiling every step of the dog-walking way.
*her namesake is the dog in the movie we saw on the day of our first meeting, and also one shot in Portland, based on a Portland writer’s book of short stories)