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17 January, 2016

LUCY IS A RESCUE DOG AND A LIFE GIVER ALL WRAPPED INTO ONE

"People do not rescue dogs, dogs rescue people!"  That rather profound statement was made by the comedic George Lopez, emcee of The World Dog Awards Show on television the other night.

The truth in those few words stayed with me long after the TV special went off the air.  I do not think that Lopez was referring specifically to the "rescue" breed of dog, rather he meant all breeds -- purebred to mongrel -- dogs who are loyal and love unconditionally, dogs who are trained to lead the blind and physically disabled, visitor dogs who bring joy to the ill and infirm in hospitals and old-age homes, dogs who bring comfort with the wag of a tail or a well-placed lick on the cheek, dogs who have a sixth sense when it comes to being sensitive to human illness and anxiety.  In other words, dogs just being themselves which is the only way they know how to be.

I would go a step further with the "dogs rescue people" thought...I think that they literally save lives.

Personally, I do not know how I could live without my little dog Lucy, a blind 11-year-old Miniature Rat Terrier who weighs in at 15 pounds soaking wet.  Lucy is absolutely the most pure, unspoiled creature that I know.  She knows nothing of rejection, hate or meanness because we have sheltered her.  She just loves everyone and thinks that everyone loves her too.  She is everyone's best friend.

When glaucoma took her eyesight a little over a year ago, I sadly and reluctantly considered euthanizing her because I could not accept her having to function in a dark world, not seeing her favorite toys, her food bowl, birds and squirrels  -- me.  I even went so far as talking to our vet about it...He understood but suggested I go home and think about it overnight.

Oh ye of little faith, she has more than justified my ultimate faith in her to assimilate and to stay the course.  Her adjustment to a new dark world was virtually overnight...She is the same old Lucy, she just bumps into things more now and I have had to introduce her to new verbal directions enabling her to follow my voice, like "over here", "other way", "stop", "Lucy up", "Lucy go".  She knows our house and yard like the back of her paw...Increased instincts to smell and to hear have compensated for her inability to see.  She still runs to greet friends and family...and strangers too, if we let her.

She is my constant companion, either at my heels or on my lap (her favorite place).  She knows my every mood and anxiety, my bodily pain and heart aches.  I frequently just hold her to my chest for a few minutes and the warmth of her body absorbs the heaviness, the aches and the hurt that tends to localize and overwhelm a soul.  She sleeps with me in bed a night, tucked tightly to my hip.  I have often said that one day they will have to surgically remove her.

Lucy's antics make me laugh, generally at a time when I am not seeing much humor in life.  She brings the first smile of the day to Rosanne's face, likewise the last smile at night.  You simply cannot become too down or depressed when you have a dog in your life.

"Wus" as I often call her, comes to Rosanne for affectionate pats on the head, belly rubs and the odd treat, but understands the delicacy of my wife's condition and has never offered to jump up on her lap, with one remarkable exception a few months ago when we returned from the hospital with a cancer diagnosis for the first time.  Lucy hovered under Rosanne's reclining lift chair and then began to repeatedly and uncharacteristically jump up on the leg rest.

"I think that she wants to comfort you," I offered as I gently placed the little soul on Rosanne's lap. Lucy immediately adjusted herself into position higher up on Rosanne's stomach, directly on the spot where a lymphoma tumor had been discovered, and remained there for the next three hours.  I was astounded and Rosanne was deeply touched.  It was a one-time-only occurrence, but it had great lasting meaning for us.  Dr. Lucy doing her job!

Rosanne's words pretty much sums it all up.  "I never knew that you could love a dog so much!"

Indeed, Lucy has rescued us more times than I can count...She gives us life...She is our life!


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