Thirteen years ago I taught at Firgrove Elementary in the Co-0p. Julie Ryan was my next door neighbor, and my Co-op buddy. She introduced me to her two Australian shepherds, and our love of Aussies was born. After meeting some important goals and after some valuable research, Lorri ordered the tiny puppy that would be our Lucy from Sierra mini-Aussies in Fresno.
I’ll never forget the drive to the airport to pick up our puppy, aged eight weeks. She arrived in a little puppy-sized crate, with a blanket soaked from her spilled water dish. After picking her up at Alaska air freight we took her, crate and all out by the car and let her out to go potty. Everything was concrete except for a small planter, and she wasn’t interested We rushed her out to my parents’ house in Renton where she happily wandered the lawn and took care of business. She was little, sweet and happy, three characteristics she displayed all her life.
Lucy passed away tonight at the age of twelve and a half. She suffered through a brief illness, and we had to make that difficult decision. It is hard to imagine life at our house without her.
Lucy lived most of her life with Jack, whom we lost a year and a half ago. They were constant companions, for both good and ill. Jack was the chief counter-surfing, garbage emptying, cat-food snarfling villain, but Lucy was his faithful side-kick. We walked together Sunday mornings off-leash at Pierce College and in Orting on the Puyallup River, and on-leash around the neighborhood. They were like peas and carrots.
I have so many wonderful memories of the two of them together, but my favorite happened not long after we got Jack. I didn’t like him very much. I thought he was mean to the other dogs. But we took Jack and Lucy down to Astoria for a weekend at a dog-friendly B and B. When we took the two dogs to Cannon Beach, Jack got Lucy, who pretty much stayed away from water, to splash around in the stream that bisects the public beach. Later they chased birds into the ocean at Fort Canby State Park, and they were partners in crime forever after.
When we lost Jack, Lucy was happy to be the Queen Bee. She loved the attention that Jack frequently absconded with, and I think she was a little miffed when we got the two boys. Amos never really cottoned to her much, but she and Rusty became buddies. Even this summer, as she began to decline, she could still outhustle her little brother to a ball. In the air, on a bounce, the little black and white girl could judge a fly like Ken Griffey, Jr.
What you should know about Lucy is that she lived a good life, with family that really loved her. She was a healthy, happy dog. Though she will be missed, our memories of our angel girl are good ones with no regrets.