Epitaph for a Much Loved Animal
Lucy, the innkeeper’s dog died on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. She was not quite nine years old. Her passing was not so much a surprise as an event long avoided by her sheer determination to live, and mine to keep her well and happy. Animals are wonderful and I’ve had many dogs since childhood, but there was something about this one, something that struck almost everyone who visited Sam Hughes Inn and stopped to say hello to Lucy. She had eyes that begged for sympathy, love and attention. Guests often threatened to take her home and some would even disappear for a nap, taking Lucy along with them.
She was always a joy to have around, full of life and happy to be loved. I figured she’d go home with anyone who picked her up, so happy was she to be stroked and talked to. Coming home, even from a short errand was cause for exultant leaping, crying, and begging to be picked up, as if I’d been gone for years when it was just to the grocery store,
She was a dog for humans only and couldn’t have any animal friends of her own for fear she would catch something. Because of her ailments she only received rabies inoculations; the others were feared because they might do more harm than good.. Many years ago she developed an auto immune disorder that destroyed the joints in her front legs and the medications took her immune system along for the ride.
For more than a year we marched back to the orthopedic surgeon’s office to have casts removed and fresh ones put on her legs. The staff always decorated them in flowers or pumpkins, Christmas trees, and other fun seasonal items or signs like Stop and Go. The casts might be hot pink, orange or bright red and they didn’t slow her down at all. She could run, and chase lizards & birds with the best of them and quickly accustomed herself to the awkwardness of stiff legs. More than six years ago her permanent leg braces took the place of the colorful casts and these too were just a bump in the road for her.
Lucy had to visit the Vet many times a month because of the constant infections that attacked her. In March this year she developed diabetes and for many months we struggled with getting the dosage of insulin just right. So along with daily home tests she went once a week to check her blood glucose levels. She had to eat three times a day to keep her flagging weight up and to administer almost a dozen different medications daily, most of them hidden in treats or sprinkled on her food. You could say she was a triumph of big Pharmaceuticals, but I know it was really love that kept her moving.
Although in the last year she wasn’t able to do much besides eat, sleep and stroll around the house and back yard, she still exhibited the desire to play. She loved to stretch out in the sun and to wander around the yard looking for lizards.She growled to show her appreciation of belly rubs, unless they just put her to sleep.
On the morning of September 26 she began to show signs of an illness which turned into pneumonia. Her blood pressure sky rocketed, she grew anemic, had a heart murmur and was unable to eat anything. Despite valiant last minute attempts to clear her lungs we had to give in to the inevitable.
She died surrounded by people who loved her, the wonderful Vets, Drs.Tim Ireland & Amy Kranch at Encanto Pet Clinic, Tina Ireland, Liz, the techs & assistants who helped and worried over her, the woman who created her fabulous leg braces and made many home visits to ensure that they were in proper working order (Kate Titus of A Loyal Companion), and her fantastic groomer at Encanto, best friend to all creatures with four legs and tails – even feathers, Treva. We were so lucky to have all these people who worked so hard to keep her alive and well. I know they miss Lucy too.. And I will certainly miss all of them.
RIP, my dear little buddy.
.The following pictures are of Lucy and some of the friends she made along the way.