Saturday, July 7, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF LUCIE


I hate it when people tell me that my Maltese Lucie is "just a dog." Lucie is so much more than that. She is part of my family.

Lucie joined my family in 1999 after the death of our Maltese Frosty. Frosty had been viciously attacked by two large dogs that had gotten into our yard. We had an invisible fence for Frosty. When Frosty wore the collar for the invisible fence he couldn't leave our yard, but other dogs could come in. Frosty lived a week in an animal hospital, but his injuries were too severe and he died.

I was heartbroken. Frosty had always been near me. Either he was laying beside my wheelchair or sitting in my lap. Whatever room I was in, you could be sure, Frosty was nearby. I desperately wanted another Maltese. My mom wanted to adopt a dog from the Humane Society in hopes that the dog would be trained because she didn't want to have to train a puppy.

Mom saw how much getting another Maltese meant to me so she give in and we began looking in the newspaper to see if anyone was selling Maltese puppies. We found a breeder who had one female puppy left located in Bourbon, Mo. We agreed to meet the breeders in Washington, Mo. to pick the puppy up. Friends from church drove to Washington with us to pick her up.

The first time I saw Lucie she was a little white ball of fur with big paws. When they placed her in my lap her little pink tongue began darting in and out. I had eaten french fries while we waited for Lucie to arrive and she was licking the salt off of my fingers. Thus began her love of people food.

Lucie quickly became a doggie diva. She slept in bed with my mom. She refused to be put in a dog kennel when we were not home. she flunked obedience training and she refused to play with other dogs because she considered herself to be part of our family, therefore she thought of herself as a person, not a dog. Lucie had us right where she wanted us and she knew it. Mom and I spoiled her rotten.

Whenever my mom was in the hospital Lucie was my emotional support. Sometimes the only way I could fall asleep was feeling her little body near mine. Lucie also gave me something else to think about as I knew she depended on me to oversee her care.

When my mom was on Hospice every night when she went to bed she would ask, "Where's Lucie?" Our caregiver would put Lucie in bed with my mom so she could fall asleep. Now that my mom is gone, I'm the one who asks, "Where's Lucie?" every night.

When I come home she is always barking and has lots of kisses for me. When I leave I tell her where I am going and that I'll be back soon.

Lucie has many faults. She barks too much, begs for food and still has accidents from time to time. She's not a service dog in the traditional sense. She hasn't been trained to pick things up off of the floor and bring them to me. Lucie does however give me something just as important. Lucie gives me unconditional love.