This is the picture that made me fall in love with Lucy. The stance, the tail, the alert ears, and the focused eyes – she looked smart, and of course, adorable.
The week Scout died I found myself surfing the Chessie Rescue Association website and watching YouTube videos of Chessies retrieving ducks. I’m not sure what I was doing – mourning? wallowing? denying? Who knows.
Kids are more resilient than grownups. At least, my kids are more resilient than I am. The day after Scout died Ruthie cried when I picked her up at the bus stop because I didn’t have her with me. The day after that she declared we were getting a new dog and her name will be Chop Chop, and when Chop Chop dies we’re getting a new dog named… I can’t remember what she named that dog, but the point is she was planning ahead for generations of dogs.
And that’s when I realized: we’re a Dog Family.
So that’s the story of how we ended up with a new puppy just two weeks after our beloved Scout died. As annoyed as I am at falling for a puppy – I was on the Chessie Rescue site looking for an adult dog to adopt, and ended up with a 5 month old – Lucy is sweet and cuddly, and completely okay with Thomas twisting her ears. In fact, I think she likes it.
Lucy’s “foster mother” said she’s a snuggler, and she wasn’t kidding. The night we brought her home she bounded across the family room floor, leaped onto the couch, and planted her entire body across Bryan’s chest. If I stand in one spot for more than 30 seconds, she is lying on the floor leaning against my ankles. The other day I was on my back stretching after a workout, and she snuggled into my armpit.
Did I mention she is 42 pounds? Not exactly armpit snuggling size, but oh well.
She follows me everywhere, including from the refrigerator to the kitchen sink to the stove… while I’m trying to make dinner. But that’s okay. I think she’s just trying to find that balance between “snuggler” and “stalker.”
Lucy’s “foster mother” also told us “she is very motivated by food.” This, as I’ve come to conclude, was code for WILL LEAP TALL BUILDINGS IN A SINGLE BOUND IN PURSUIT OF A TINY GRAIN OF BREAD. If you are less than four feet tall, she will accost you for that cup of crackers you are holding. If you leave your covered pot of oatmeal on the stove while you go to the bathroom, expect it on the floor and consumed when you come back.
I took these drastic measures one day to keep Lucy out of the kitchen. She’s fine when I’m in the kitchen and can keep her in check, but I didn’t want her eating the dinner salad when I wasn’t looking. It worked for awhile until she figured out how to shimmy her skinny little rubbery body UNDERNEATH the bar stools.
The first time I fed Lucy on Monday I was a little shocked at her lack of table manners. She rushed the food bin, jumped on my back when I bent over to fill her bowl, crouched over her food like a Neanderthal, and inhaled two cups of kibbles in 30 seconds flat. No exaggeration. By Thursday I had her sitting on command while I filled her bowl, and by Friday she snapped to a sitting position all on her own the moment my hand touched her food bin. She now eats like a lady.
Potty training is another issue. For awhile I thought I’d lost my mind, what with puppy accidents, four year old accidents, and even six year old accidents. On more than one occasion I was cleaning up a puppy puddle, changing a poopy pull-up, and washing a stinky princess dress all within a span of fifteen minutes. But now, a month later, at least Lucy seems to know where she’s supposed to go.
It’s taken us all a long time to get over the mistake of calling her Scout. I think I’m the only one who still slips up at this point. My friend recently reminded me Audrey Hepburn had numerous consecutive dogs of the same breed and named them all Mr. Famous, so it’s not like it hasn’t been done. I’m just not sure yet if Lucy can fit into Scout’s name. She has a lot to live up to.
But she brings a lot to the family that Scout wasn’t able to. Scout was indifferent to the kids and didn’t like to be touched, cuddled, or pet by them. Lucy seems to have attached to all of us, and tolerates all forms of ear twisting, tail pulling, and super snuggling from the kids.
For the record, the rainy season probably isn’t the best time to get a new, extremely energetic, puppy. But to be honest, it’s nice to have a motivating reason to get outside on a regular basis for some fresh air and exercise. A long walk or a half hour of fetching is usually enough to mellow her out for the rest of the day, and I’m pretty good at making that happen 3-4 times a week.
So it seems the last major hurdle we have is to acclimate our water dog to the water. Our first outing was not so successful. We lost a buoy, and would have lost a ball were it not for someone else’s dog fetching it for us. Lucy wasn’t merely uninterested by the water, she seemed afraid of it. I honestly can’t remember if Scout started out this way, but I’m hoping in time we can get her into swimming.
So there you have it: the puppy post. Sorry it’s three months late!