Life with Lucy

Since Lucy’s a rescue dog, we’ve never been entirely sure of her breeding. When we first saw Lucy’s photo on the rescue group’s website and I inquired about her, I was told she was most likely a Boxer/Lab/Beagle/Hound mix. Her body shape and the color of her fur seem to verify that she’s part Boxer. The other breeds aren’t so immediately apparent – until I take her for a walk. That’s when I know that Lucy’s got some Hound in her.

When we go out in the mornings, Lucy spends most of the walk with her nose to the ground. She spreads her front legs wide and literally pulls me along as she chases one scent or another. And just as I get in a rhythm with her pace, she’ll stop dead in her tracks to sniff the grass, a light pole or some low hanging pine branches where some other dog has most likely left his mark. Then, like a toddler with ADHD, she’s off like a rocket again to chase some other smell.

It’s a good thing I have long legs. They make it easier to keep up with Lucy. And if I run to keep up with her, she just moves even faster. I’m apparently not allowed to get comfortable. And to make matters worse, the local bunny population seems to have exploded all of a sudden. These cute and fuzzy bunnies reside in the grasses along the neighborhood paths we walk each day. They hop out into the open and Lucy catches their scent before I can even notice them. Unfortunately, the bunny defense mechanism is to stand completely still. Lucy does her best to yank my arm out of the socket when she lunges after them and I get an arm workout while trying to remind her who is in charge on this walk. I swear, I could hire her out as a farm hand. Hook her up to a plow and put a bunny in front of her and off she’ll go.

Lap DogLucky for Lucy, she’s got such a funny personality. She loves to give hugs and sit on laps. She doesn’t seem to realize she’s a canine. She rarely sits on her back legs, instead sitting on her back end with her hind legs stretched out in front of her.It’s obvious she thinks she’s a people. And she knows her favorite people by name. The other night, I asked Kacey, “Is Connor here?” Lucy leapt up from the floor, woofed and went running to look out the front door.

Sometimes we take her collar off and tell her, “Lucy! You’re naked!” She won’t relax until her collar is back on. Clearly she doesn’t like to be naked.

She has never learned to obey when we say, “Lucy, come!” But if someone even whispers the word “treat,” she’ll come running from the far corners of the back yard. And when it comes to treats, Lucy definitely knows sit, speak, and shake.

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She’s got the prettiest topaz-brown eyes, and she’ll melt your heart when you talk to her directly and she cocks her head to the side as if to say, “Really! Tell me more!”

She constantly makes us laugh and Kacey and I are always remarking at how we somehow managed to find the cutest dog in the world. (Feel free to argue with me, you other dog lovers. I know you will, and we’ll agree to disagree!) We spoil Lucy just a little bit, like when she hears one of us scooping ice cubes from the plastic bin in the freezer. She thinks ice is a treat, and we always give her a cube to chew. We’ve added Princess to Lucy’s long list of affectionate nick names, and she seems to take the new name to heart. But spoiled as she may be, she’s generous with her love and is the best cuddler. Which is probably the only reason I’ll forgive her for waking me up at 3:30 this morning and whining to go out for our daily walk.

Lucy’s Home

It’s amazing what happens when you tell your family, friends and coworkers that you’ve taken the leap and you’re going to get a dog. Those people divide into two camps. First there are the non-dog people. They raise their eyebrows at your news. They ask things like, “You know dogs are a lot of work, right? You know they shed all over your house, right? Who’s going to pick up the poop?” One well-meaning cousin even felt obligated to warn me that when I might want to go out after work and have a drink, I won’t be able to because I’ll have to go home and take care of my dog first. I assured her that I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone out after work for a drink, so I was pretty sure I could manage.

And then there are the dog people! Their faces light up with joy at your news. They hug you. They squeal with delight and tell you how happy they are for you. When you decide to become a dog owner, you suddenly become a member of a vast and varied group of people who suddenly have so much to talk about with you.

I like it!

Lucy’s arrival felt like the most anticipated dog adoption ever! All week long people asked about her. “Are you getting her? When do you get her? Are you excited?” One person even marveled at how I was able to come to work on Friday. When I asked why I wouldn’t, she said, “Because you’re getting your puppy tonight!”

She made me laugh. As much as I was looking forward to Lucy’s arrival, I certainly didn’t feel the need to take an entire day off work to wait for her. She wasn’t even coming until the evening anyway!

After work I did begin to get anxious for her to come. And she arrived right on time with her foster mom. She was smaller than I remembered and I was surprised at how mellow she was. I expected her to come bounding up the stairs from the entryway and begin to sniff out all of the new smells. Instead, she creeped slowly up the stairs and cautiously explored her new surroundings.

Lucy’s foster mom and I talked. She filled me in on all of Lucy’s immunizations, the fact that she’d been spayed and that she already has a microchip. She apologized when she gave me the rules about what to do if I decided I didn’t want her after all, telling me that I would be obligated to return her to the rescue group. She said she didn’t want me to think she expected such a change of heart but that she was obligated to make me aware of the rules of the adoption agreement. While we went over the particulars, Lucy got to know Kacey and Mark. And when all the business was taken care of, Lucy’s foster mom told her she was all mine.

I’m sure Lucy wondered about her new surroundings. After all, for the past couple of weeks in her foster home, she was surrounded by five other dogs. She checked things out while we followed her around the house and told her what was okay and what was not.

We told her the new bed was for her,

and so were the toys,

but that the kitchen counter was a big NO-NO! (She understands “NO” and listens well.)

Lucy also quickly figured out that there’s a cat in the house (who is none too thrilled with the new addition to the family.) Lucy really wanted to meet Tigger, but Tigger was having none of it and hid under my bed.

Before we called it a night, Lucy also got to meet some of Kacey’s friends. We were so happy to see that Lucy just wants to be friends with everyone she meets.

She only whined a little bit when I closed her in her kennel for the night. Not knowing how she might behave if left to wander the house, I decided it was best to keep her confined overnight. I placed the kennel where she could see me sleeping in my bed and she settled down quickly and slept all night long.

This morning, we went for a walk and Lucy explored her new neighborhood. When we got home, she ran up and down the yard along the fence with her new neighbor dog, Kona and she played with a tennis ball, sneaking up on it and pouncing on it like a cat.

This afternoon, she has completely conked out! I think we’ve worn her out!

I am sure happy she’s here!

 

Sliding Right Down the Slippery Slope of Dog Adoption

Yep. It’s happening. Doesn’t even seem like it was just yesterday that I decided I was seriously ready to look for a dog. And for the record? I discussed my desire for a dog with Mark. He was quiet at first. He studied my face for a few minutes before telling me that if I wanted a dog, I should get a dog. I really did not expect this reaction from him. I think he’d be content to remain dogless.  That’s not to say he doesn’t like dogs. He loves them. But having Shelby put down was really difficult for him. So I know what a big deal it was for him to agree to give his heart to another dog.

Since then, I’ve poured over the pet-adoption websites and fallen in love several times over.

Unfortunately for Mason …

… I can no longer consider him. He is an American Staffordshire Terrier. I put his picture up on my FaceBook page and someone commented, “He’s a cutie, but you know that’s a Pit Bull, right?”

Nope. I did not know that. I did a little research and technically the breed is not the same as a Pit Bull, but it’s a relative. And Pit Bulls have a sketchy reputation. The websites can tell me all they want that these are great dogs, gentle and sweet. But I’ve heard one too many stories about Pit Bulls turning aggressive and attacking. I’d just rather not take the risk.

Kacey advocated all day long for Adam.

I reminded her that Adam is nine weeks old. That’s just like having a baby in the house. I can’t go to work all day long and think that a baby will be all right on his own. Granted, Jake is home during the day most days, but he sleeps a lot. It just wouldn’t work and it wouldn’t be fair to the dog. Also? Adam is a mixed breed, including, you guessed it. Pit Bull.

There are an abundance of Pit Bulls available for rescue, let me tell you!

So we were feeling a little frustrated, Kacey and I. (She had one class today and from what I can tell, spent the majority of her afternoon perusing adoptable dogs and passing their info on to me via text message.)

And then I saw her.

Adopt a Pet ::  Sarah Pie - Oakdale, MN -  Boxer/Labrador Retriever Mix

The adopt-a-pet website said that her name was Sarah Pie and that she is a Labrador Retriever/Boxer mix.  I got all squishy over her. I texted Kacey her picture and she got all squishy over her. I took the leap and emailed an inquiry to the contact, Ashley, who as it turns out (long story) is someone I sort of know. Ashley responded almost right away. She was excited that I was interested in Sarah Pie, provided some details, and copied the dog’s foster mom on the email so that we could work out a time for me to meet the dog.

Foster Mom then emailed me to say, “Hey, I’d be happy to show you the dog in my care, but her name is Lucy Pie, not Sarah Pie.”

She described the dog and said they would be at a nearby pet store tomorrow for an adoption event if I wanted to come see them. She also told me to check out the dog’s original and accurate listing on another website. The dog she described sounded the same as the one I saw listed as Sarah Pie, so I told her I would plan to come visit her and Lucy at the adoption event.

I then visited the other website which belongs to the agency for which Ashley works. My heart sank. Lucy’s description said she was a Labrador Retriever/American Staffordshire Terrier mix. I was so disappointed. But I emailed Ashley to explain about the different descriptions of Lucy’s breeds on the two websites. I asked if she could confirm whether or not Lucy truly had some Am Staff in her. Hours later, I had not heard a word from Ashley. I thought maybe she was avoiding giving an answer I didn’t want to hear.

Meanwhile, Kacey came home from school. When I got home from work, I explained what I’d learned about Lucy and said I didn’t want to consider her any longer, but that we would still go to the adoption event and check out the other dogs. She was disappointed, but understood. Then I thought I’d check my email one more time.

I was surprised to see another email from Ashley. She had written back to explain that she works at two animal emergency clinics in our area. After receiving my last email, she met with some of the doctors to ask about Lucy’s breeding. They all agreed that Lucy was most likely a Boxer/Lab mix. One doctor thought she was probably a Boxer/Beagle/Lab/Hound mix, to be very specific. Ashley said that determining a rescued dog’s breeding is always a best guess, but that they have quite a few Pit Bulls in rescue and that Lucy does not seem to have any Pit in her whatsoever. She said the description on the website was incorrect.

I told Ashley that was good news and that Kacey and I were looking forward to meeting Lucy at the adoption event. She was very excited to hear that and told me, “I hope it goes well and you are obviously approved for adoption if you fall in love!”

That made me laugh. I don’t think it’s quite that easy. I still have to fill out my adoption application and get a couple of references (one from the vet.) I’m trying to remind Kacey (and myself) that it’s unlikely that the first dog we see ends up being the perfect fit and we take her home. But I think it’s pretty obvious. We’re going to be dog people again!