Lucy passed away yesterday.
She died in the very spot she always slept, in our bedroom, surrounded by the love of her family, friends, and people around the world who never met her but wrote to her here at Holy Cow! wishing her the best after she began her battle with osteosarcoma, a deadly bone cancer, nearly two-and-a-half years ago. To all of you, Desi and I want to say thank you with all our hearts. We loved it that you loved our girl.
Lucy came to us as a one-year-old from the Washington Humane Society, our first rescue dog. She was a huge German Shepherd mix who looked like a wolf, with a past that was a mystery and a heart that was full of love. The first night she came home I fell asleep on the couch watching TV, and woke up to an unknown sensation: a huge doggie tongue planting slobbery kisses all over my face. Lucy was not a prolific kisser, as I found out eventually, and today I know exactly how special that kiss was, and how much love and trust it offered to a human she'd just met. No one had told her she had been adopted, but it was like she knew we would be together for life.
The next morning, when Desi took her for a walk, she slipped out of the collar to chase another dog and disappeared into the woods. An hour later, she found her way home by herself, even though she had just lived with us a few hours. She knew she was home and she wasn't going anywhere.
We named her Lucy after the wonderful Lucille Ball, because of her unusual red coat and her screwball behavior, especially right after we had adopted her. She loved stealing and chewing on dry flowers. I'd be sitting in the room and the vase would be right near the door and I'd see a head pop around the corner, mischief written all over the face. I'd pretend not to notice and she would grab a couple of dry stems and take off down the stairs to find a secret place to enjoy them.
When we brought Opie home, he was just a puppy and had to be crated for a lot of the time. Lucy would not let him sleep, so I had to keep them separated for a good part of the day. But she'd find ways to get to him, including crawling across the room, close to the floor, hoping I wouldn't notice. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen.
We had many nicknames for her: Fan-Face, as Desi liked to call her, because of the way her two huge, pointed ears framed her long, pointed muzzle. Lucita Momo (whatever that means-- ask Desi), Lucinda, Lucille, and Angel-Face. Peanut, because she loved nothing more than peanuts in their shells. She would sit patiently while Desi shelled peanuts for her, and guzzle them in the blink of an eye. Strangely enough, she did not like pre-shelled peanuts. Go figure.
Today I can only think of how much I miss her. I miss the feeling of her soft ear in the palm of my hand. I miss the sweet smell of her fur when I'd kiss her behind her head, I miss how wonderful she felt when I hugged her, or how honored I felt when she shyly offered one of her rare kisses. I miss how she followed me around the house, hid in the closet during a thunderstorm, begged for a ride in the car at every possible opportunity, danced around my feet when I came home from work, and offered me her belly to rub.
If there is a heaven, Lucy must surely be in it today, along with all those other great animals who make our lives so much better than we can imagine. For me, Lucy was a life-changer. Loving her and learning how intelligent, gentle, and loving she was opened my eyes to the suffering other intelligent, gentle, and loving animals endure in our world. She was the reason I went vegan. She was the reason I started to write Holy Cow! and met you all.
I am a better person for knowing Lucy. For that, and so many more wonderful reasons she gave me over 10 years, she will always be my true love.
Sleep tight, my baby.
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