Growing up, we had a dog from the time I was in 7th grade. I never minded the dogs, but I wouldn’t call myself a dog-lover. My parents still continue to have dogs and love them like a child. First was Sambo, followed by Freckles, Molly 1 and Molly 2, and Lucy (better known as Lucile). She was put to sleep today after almost a year of kidney failure.
I always respected the choices a dog-lover made with the needs of their furry friends. I observed my mom over the past 40 years and saw how much joy and companionship she got from her little girls. She always spoke of them as you would a young child. Telling stories of the cute things they did and what they enjoyed.
During this past year, my parents nurtured Lucy as they would any human being. My mom retired last May and was able to spend every minute with Lucy. They walked, visited the neighbors and cuddled up together. She followed my mom everywhere. As her kidneys continued to fail, my mom would take her 4 days a week for fluid infusions. She was always by her side, rubbing her back.
Over the past several months, her appetite was going and my mom would make her gourmet meals of filet, beef stew, chicken, hamburgers, and tuna noodle casserole, just so she would eat. You never want your kids to be hungry. If I was to come back as a dog, I would want to be my mom’s pet. My aunt and I would laugh that my dad would get Lucy’s leftovers for dinner. We all got a kick out of that. He didn’t mind, he felt the same way about her companionship and sweet demeanor. She filled the house joy and kept them happy.
The basic lesson that is always taught by my mom’s actions is that any living being deserves respect, care, and love. I think that in some ways dogs give pure pleasure after the potty training and teething are over. They settle down, keep you company, are always happy to see you, and appreciate you just being there. Unlike children, who give you tons of pleasure, there is no talking back, homework, or drama. I know that it takes time to mourn the loss of a pet like anything else. I will go with my feeling that is once a dog lover, always a dog lover, and after the heartbreak passes, she will be out ready to take care of another little one to call her baby. Her Lucy was a twinkle in her eye:)