A golden heart stopped beating on Saturday, and I am very sad. Losing a furry family member leaves a big hole, and I remind myself that it is so much better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. So, I’m painfully aware of how blessed I am to have had Lucky, a not-so-small retriever-lab-? mixed breed yeller dog.
She was an accidental family member. One afternoon in the fall of 1998 a young cop found a young pup wandering around. We later learned that someone had dumped her near the police station in western South Dakota, and I think that somewhere deep in their miserable soul, they thought that leaving her there would assuage their guilt of abandoning her. Standard procedure for the cop was to take her to the humane society shelter. He recognized that taking her there at that particular time would be a sure death sentence, because the shelter was fighting an epidemic of parvovirus. So, alerting local animal rescue agencies of her foster home, he brought her to his parents’ house, where there was a big fenced yard, a playmate, and dog-loving people (alias suckers). He was sure that a hunter had lost his dog, and would soon reunite with her.
So, the mom said she could sleep in the garage (she never did) and she could stay for a short time (13+ years) until her owners found her (and they did, in a matter of speaking). The cop’s wife named her “Lucky” for her good fortune at landing with these people. After 2 weeks with no one claiming her, the family sought out a new home for her. When a prospective family came to inspect her, the dad saved Lucky from the torment of the family’s rambunctious kids and pronounced that she was staying. Huh?
Lucky bonded immediately with her new family’s springer Jack, and the cop’s pup Emma. Jack feared Emma, Emma feared Lucky (only a little), and they all 3 feared the 15 pound Maine coon cat (with claws) Suzi Q. Lucky didn’t play favorites, but she always had a preference for the cop who found her and his brother, and would do whatever they bid her to do. She very quickly learned that this new family did not like her habit of walking over the chain link fence, and she gave it up except when there was something she really, really wanted to do. After her escapes she always showed up at the front door, looking very penitent. She wasn’t fond of rabbits that got into the fenced yard, and put a quick end to two of them, although after bringing them down, she left Jack to stand guard until the people took care of disposal.
Over the next years Lucky’s family moved to 2 places in Minnesota. Lucky loved going for walks. When she went with her mom, who discussed work problems with her, Lucky always gave good advice. The family expanded to include grandkids, and Lucky loved them too. When one of the grandkids got very very sick, Lucky was his loyal companion through the first scary months of his treatment, and listened to him read his homework to her.
As the years passed, first Suzi Q, then Jack, then Emma crossed the Rainbow Bridge where all animals go to await their owners. Lucky’s mom and dad adopted an annoying little creature that looked more like a gerbil, and after Lucky set the pug dog straight she decided she was a worthy companion. Lucky got slower, but never lost her happy countenance. When the family came and filled the empty bedrooms, Lucky went from one to another basking in their love.
After everyone left New Years Day, she seemed to get more tired. She enjoyed her meals and begged for all the treats she could get. She would take longer to go up and down the stairs in the multi-level house, but always stayed near her mom and dad wherever they were. Finally, on January 28th she got her mom up even though it was Saturday (she always did that) and went out with the pug dog to do her business. When she came back to the house she stopped on the patio outside the door, fell, and her soul floated off. The pug dog barked at her and nosed at her, but Lucky was no longer there. She had crossed the Rainbow Bridge and even now is playing with Suzi Q, Jack, and Emma.