Do you own, or have ever owned, a dog or dogs? If so, this will stir strong feelings about your furry family member who loved you unconditionally. Friday was a tough day in our house. Lucy, our "bad" yellow labrador, was going to be 15 in July. Nelli, our Cairn Terrier (age 5) grew up thinking this larger yellow family member was her mother. After all, they shared everything together. Beds, treats, and "their people"-us. Lucy had what appears to have been a stroke. She didn't eat (which, trust me, is highly unusual for this lab who got into so much stuff, it would take pages to describe what she actually ingested over 15 years). She couldn't walk. It was clear the time had come to say goodbye.
We have said goodbye to other Labs before her. Astro, Ellie, and our best dog ever-Lilly. It does not make it any easier when the time comes. Lucy was special, because she was our naughty, forever-getting-into-trouble, dog. Like the dog "Marly" in the movie. We have a pet cemetery located under a large Oak tree in the back yard. It has large round smooth cobblestones that mark the sites where the ashes of our beloved pets are buried. Ivy vines grow around the painted names on the marked graves. We love our pets and planning for their death is just as hard as planning for our own. The saying goodbye part is so final isn't it? We won't have any sort of ceremonial burial when the ashes arrive. Just some words of rememberance and perhaps burying Lucy with a favorite toy. Probably some off the cuff comments about her bad behavior. And did you know that you can even be buried with your pet?! There are official pet cemeteries, at least in Texas, where you can be buried alongside your pet if you don't want to pay the higher price of being buried in a "human" cemetery. You can even buy a fancy marker for your pets grave, if you so choose. We will stick to using a large, smooth, stone from the shore of the Atlantic ocean where we live. Lucy loved to swim there and eat disgusting things she happily discovered in the sand. Nelli, not so much! The house is quieter now, Lucy's loud snoring forever muted. Clouds of fur that once floated in the air every springtime when Lucy's winter coat cast aside in seemingly chunks of white fluff slowly disappears from the hardwood floor. There is a dog heaven and I believe that Lucy has joined all of our other dogs there for romps on the beach with big sticks, jumping in the waves, endless treats and the chance to once again shed piles of fur on my mother, Nonnie, who claimed to be highly allergic to our dogs (though we never really believed her!) R.I.P. DEAR LUCY