Trust takes time. I had a dog that cared more about trust than any human being I have ever been with. She let me know who she was. She let me know what she expected. She also let me know that she loved me. She let me know she loved others. Smiles were her goal every day. She loved….
On Thanksgiving weekend of 2011 I brought home a dog. A rescue dog. Not a pup to raise from scratch. The first few years, in retrospect, were hilarious. Imagine a bachelor father has an instant teenage daughter. My dog was not going to put up with my behavior, and I was growing quite weary of hers. But real love, IMHO, is a funny thing. It is better when we work at it. I said I was…….
Early on in my time with Lucy I had some serious decisions to make. It really came down to giving her up to someone else or coming up with actionable ideas to make it work. People said dogs are this way or that way. I mean dog experts were saying that. I was not seeing that in Lucy. But I came up with….
I salute all of you who take on the responsibility of dog ownership. I have great respect for what you do to provide for them. I have great respect for the love you have for them. May God continue to bless you with the love and resources to provide great lives for your dogs.
I took the opportunity of Thanksgiving to reflect on all the good in my life, and my mind drifted to bucket list checkoffs. Some of them are still on my list, and some of those may never be accomplished. But no matter what I accomplish with the rest of my life, I cannot imagine any greater joy than…..
In today’s world I think of Lucy often. I think she knew what was going to happen in 2020 and decided she didn’t want to be a part of it. I see people polarized, unable to talk to each other without their blood pressure going up, and name calling and anger being the rule of the day. All Lucy wanted was to see people smile. She was my refuge from
Lucy made me go to places I never would have gone without her. What would have been a boring walk in the park for me became a new adventure for me watching what interested her. Watching her joy running in a place like this brought me more joy than I ever would have known before.
To me, Lucy was more than a dog. She was not my companion on our adventures. She was not always obedient. She was not always happy with my behavior. She never seemed to be satisfied, she always wanted more. More for me, more for us, and more out of life. More than anything else, she was my partner. That is right, partner. We butted heads, we disagreed, we negotiated and compromised so much that eventually, we knew each other inside and out. She knew if I did not do it, I couldn’t do it. At the time of this picture, she hated looking at the camera. I was laughing at my unsuccessful attempts
“Meanwhile, I was still leaving her in the cage every day. Every dog owner/expert said they get used to it. I had to keep anything I valued out of her reach from the cage. Then I had to secure the cage to keep her from sliding it to something she could grab and destroy. She got to the corner of my glorious chaise lounge and tore it. All the while she continued her determined efforts to make a break in the cage that would allow her to escape.
Finally, I came home one day to find the cage literally destroyed. Two weeks was all it took for her to destroy it. It was a pile of metal, stacked in the middle of the trailer. On top of that, once again, she seemed to be quite proud of herself. She was bouncing around with a look that said, “aren’t you proud of me”, “look at me, I got out!”. It was impossible for me to be mad at her, and I was not sure it would work if I did get mad.
I could not help but be proud of her that she had broken through. She was not here to be pinned up. Locked away from bringing joy to others was not her calling.”
It was one year ago today that I was told Lucy’s kidneys had, in my words, failed. I was devastated. Even though I knew this day was coming, I did not know how I would react. I even used to tell people that if I thought she would be taken care of, I would rather go first. I did not know how I would react to it. In Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he spoke often of love, and how it transcends the physical. The love I have for Lucy transcends many planes of thought, and I know she loved and knew me the same way.
In a recent comment, which I initially disregarded, it was inferred that my dog had me wrapped around her paw. The person read the book and loved it, but I did not get the meaning of our relationship across. This is why I will do a rewrite. Lucy loved me, and I loved her. It was never about who was the Alpha. She got her way sometime, and I got my way sometime. It was all a happily done exercise in give and take. Lucy figured out my motives. I was ridiculed in her later years because she would not always come when called. But she already knew that I was goaded into calling for her, and she wanted to let me know that she would not participate with someone who was just being a jerk, calling me out to prove something that she and I knew. If it was important, she did it. If it wasn’t she didn’t. Trust and respect were the core of our relationship, and that is why I will always love her..
First of all, thanks to everyone who bought the book and read it. I especially want to thank all those who had comments, questions, and feedback for me.
Writing the book was a great purge for me in getting the facts, as I saw them, out in public. I did not write the book expecting a bestseller. It was a year ago this month that I was told Lucy had two months. I began a grief process, and only recently have I been able to clearly look at the book.
As I started going over the book again, I realize the deficiencies in the book made it difficult to completely understand, and the writing left many open holes for a wide variety of interpretations. I will do a rewrite, I will try to find a professional editor, and I might try to take it to a publisher. In its present state, I don’t think it is worth promoting.
One person was surprised that a short story in the book was about a real person. Their reaction to my giving the name of the person referenced was one of cognitive dissonance. I had no desire to make anything up. I took notes throughout my time with Lucy, and the book is a collection of those notes. Another felt I did not go into depth about my philosophy, and I agree. I didn’t explain myself well enough. Someone said it was full of anger, but I only got mad once during the whole time I had Lucy. No matter, I will rewrite it.
I can see my formatting mistakes, my disorganization of the story, and know how desperate I was to let the world know Lucy. I am committed to letting the world know who Lucy was, but maybe it will be what she meant to me, with all my personal issues. I will continue to put excerpts from the book on this website. There will be expanded versions of all the stories, as more will be told about how Lucy and I developed an amazing trust and belief in each other.
The rewrite will have more about my faith in God, as I didn’t really go into it in this book. And that is what Lucy really helped me realize, how much faith I have in God.
So many say Lucy was spoiled. I say all she wanted to do is make me happy, no matter. Funny thing is that if she thought I was showing off, she would not respond. If it was important, she did it. I say I had her trained, but she trained me as well. Love is a power that will always beat force..
At times when I see fear, I think of Lucy. Lucy was fading in her last few months, and she had so much courage. Here is her effort to jump just like she had done months earlier. Toward the end, she knew her time was short, and she cared more about how I was going to be without her. She was ready to go to that next plane of existence. She knew how much I loved her. Her look of love at me at the end will be etched in my mind, but she also knew it was her time. That is why I looked her in the eye and promised to tell anyone who would listen what a wonderful dog she was, and how much she will always mean to me. And I will be okay.
The first day I saw Lucy, she exuded hope, even though she was in a cage. Whenever we went on trips, she looked for what might be next exciting stop. When the police pulled me over for speeding, Lucy bounced up to say hello, hoping for a new friend. And she won them over. Lucy reminds me that no matter what happens, don’t let the negativity get you down. No matter what we hear, never lose hope. Even at the end of her life, I know she had hope for me and my future. You see, before Lucy, deep down, I had lost hope in a lot of areas. No matter what I hear, I won’t lose hope for my future, thanks to having Lucy. Having her in my life gives me hope.
Upon publishing the book, and looking back on it I missed emphasizing some of Lucy’s virtues that I did not fully embrace. If you read the book and skimmed over the chapter on “Lucy’s Run” it might have passed the reader as well. Lucy showed courage, hope, belief in herself, and intolerance for negativity. I will always want to model that behavior in me as well.
Too many times in life we see our limitations and give up on what we really want and need. It takes courage and determination to break out of the figurative cages we put ourselves into. Lucy ended up totally destroying this cage and escaping, and she was quite proud of herself. She won me over in the process.
Lucy reminded me of who I am. Here she hopped into my lap, anxiously looking to what smiling face we were going to see going through the drive-through. It was one of my greatest joys seeing her light up the person behind the window. It never discouraged her when the person did not respond.
When I brought Lucy home for the first time, I brought all of my knowledge into my experience with Lucy. Yesterday, I found out one of my football coaching heroes was going into the Hall of Fame. Jimmy Johnson mentioned a book that I immediately went out and purchased. I quoted the author in my book about Lucy. The book had a significant influence on how I wanted to deal with my dog. You can get it here.
As Lucy and I were developing trust, she learned to bring whatever food she found on our excursions to me for approval. It was an amazing trait, developed from our time together. Here she was letting me know that I better not take this from her. I didn’t. My lesson? Some people will take your bone, if you let them. Find those people that won’t take your bone, whatever that might be for you. Click here for more good lessons this guy learned from having Lucy.
Lucy the comforter. She knew I was not feeling well, and she was glad to comfort me. She was good at comforting me, as well as others. She was and is a gift from God to me, and all that we came in contact with if they chose to receive it. Click here to obtain your copy of the book, in Kindle or paperback.
Read a description of my hope for the book, and one of the reasons it will be re released
Lucy had an independent streak that I deeply loved. If she could do it herself, she would. The exception would be the occasional test of me. Sometimes she would make me put her in the car, even though I knew she could do it herself. She just wanted me to prove that I would listen and care about what she wanted. She always had great joy seeing how she could successfully work me. I loved her for that. Here she decided she needed a drink of water, and she got it.
For years I have said that control is vastly overrated. In all my relationships I have (unsuccessfully) tried to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. There is no way anybody was going to agree with me on everything, and I want to respect their differences, even if I did not like it. One of the reasons I got a dog was to test this since I was usually unsuccessful with humans.
I hit the jackpot with Lucy, she was really smart, confidant, and eager to see everyone happy, even in disagreement. She and I developed a trust that amazed me. The leash turned into the equivalent of holding hands for humans. She knew how far to go, and she knew I would protect her.
Here the time had come when we had to go home from our romp at the stadium, and she got it. If you get far enough in the video, you will see her look away from me standing at the door of the car, and look at me to see if we could explore a bit more. I was fumbling for my keys, and she was waiting patiently for me.