A story of a dog named Lucky

On May 11, 2002, I married my first husband on a beautiful sunny day.  Within a week, I realized my marriage was full of complications making me feel very lonely.  My whole life, we had dogs in my home. So, I knew one day, I wanted a dog of my own. In the beginning of my marriage, I often took care of my Dad's dog when he worked long hours. This definitely helped the void but I still wanted my own.

In the middle of September 2002, I started to seriously look for a dog.  My sister called me explaining that she knew of the cutest puppy for me. My sister is an occupational therapist and did many home visits.  This one family had a puppy named Lucky that was rescued from the SPCA. When my sister mentioned how cute she was, they said that they were taking her back to the SPCA because she was a hand full with already having many children as well.

My sister brought Lucky to our house on a Saturday.  She was nine months old - born December 5, 2001. She was the perfect size and black and white.  Lucky seemed very comfortable the minute she came in the door.  It was easy to fall in love with her.  She even sat on my husband's lap, kissed him and in that moment, he said we could keep her.

Lucky was a hand full. As any puppy, she had energy galore. We didn't have a fence yet so she went on walks.  I did get a wireless electric fence that worked well too.  She wasn't completely house trained which annoyed my husband who already had anger issues.  I'd protect her though from any yells and we formed a bond.

Lucky, however, didn't quite respect me in the beginning. When I was alone, she thought it would be fun to pull me by my sleeves and be naughty. There were moments where I almost gave up on her because she hurt me.  I was so distraught one day I called my dad.  He bought me a long stick. All I had to do was bang the stick on the floor and she would stop whatever she was doing.

Lucky enjoyed sitting with me in my office or laying on the couch.  She loved chew toys, balls and bones.  On her first Halloween, my attendant and I dressed her as a pink princess. She wanted nothing to do with that!  But it was cute while it lasted.

I needed to buy lots of decoration for our first Christmas.  My attendant and I went out and bought lots. We came home and dropped them off and went grocery shopping.  Crazy Lucky ate many of the decorations and even the glass bulbs.  She was ok though.

Early on, I noticed that Lucky was acting unusual in my bedroom when I was in my office. I went to her and thought she was dying. I never saw a dog having a seizure before.  I took her to the vet and he said if it happened again within a month, she'd need to be on phenobarbital for the rest of her life. Unfortunately, that's what happened.  

I saw many of her seizures through her life. Many were small but some were very scary.  Her dosage of medicines increased but I'm so thankful a seizure didn't kill her as I always dreaded.  Lucky enjoyed getting her morning and night pill.  It was disguised in sausage, ham, peanut butter, treats and in the most recent years, a piece of a hot dog.  Lucky wouldn't let you alone either when it was pill time and would stare you down until she got it.

Lucky has an active and fun personality.  She'd love to play. Israel, my first husband, would call her sports dog.  They'd play tag and ball. She loved bouncing it off her nose like she was playing soccer.  Lucky loved lying in the sun but was also an excellent guard dog. Since I sit on the floor, all I had to say was, "who is it, Lucky?" She would stand on the couch and look for me. I could tell who was here by how fast her tail wagged. Sometimes it wagged so fast, I thought she'd propel herself into the air. 

Lucky was a blue heeler mix.  Her ears were hilarious- when she was alert about something, they would go straight out like bat ears. Lucky hated squirrels and ran after them.  When Laura was two, she used to ask why Lucky barked, and I'd say it was because she saw a squirrel.  Well, little did I know that this made Laura scared of squirrels for quite awhile.

Lucky was there for me in all the troubling times in my first marriage. We comforted each other and she kept me calm and loved. When the day came when my husband passed away, Lucky was there too.  We entered a new chapter together.  Lucky also made many friends with each attendant I hired throughout her life. She was well loved by all.

Since Lucky has been gone, memories are still bittersweet.  Lucky hated being cold so on really cold days, she would run inside as fast as a rocket and jump in my bed.  She loved burrowing under the blankets.  Often, you'd just see a lump under the blankets and knew it was her.  I loved covering her up when she slept.  When I was outside today, I could picture her in the grass and chewing sticks.  Also, during spring time, she would race back to our shed to check on baby bunnies.  Lucky enjoyed spring and summer by lying in the grass or on our deck.

I loved when she would lie on her back and manipulate her bone or ball.  Lucky was so playful and ready for action. When I had Jason, I felt bad because she was in her older years.  When she was young, she would've loved playing and running with Jason.  She liked kids but not when they cried.  When we came home with Laura, she smelled her and wagged her tail. But on extra crying nights, she looked at me like please make it stop. She tried to leave a few times with my attendant at the end of a shift.

Lady came when Lucky was 8. They had a little adjustment but not long.  They had very different personalities. Lady is very laid back and just likes to sit next to you and be pet. Lucky just wanted to play. They were good for each other.  In the last year, as Lucky's eyesight began to fade, she stayed close to Lady.  Lady would lead her to the door to go outside etc.

In the last months, Lucky seemed to be confused, her eyesight worsened and hearing off.  She had lost her way in the backyard sometimes and couldn't find her way inside by herself.  She would get stuck in corners or chairs.  Standing and walking looked painful. Then the accidents happened and became more consistent. I talked to my friend for a long time who is a vet.  She listened and asked questions.  She said at this point, letting Lucky go was the most compassionate thing I could do.  I knew she was right.

On Tuesday morning, I came out to the living room and saw Lucky lying in her own mess.  She didn't even know and then I knew that Lucky wouldn't want this and no reason to keep her in pain.  At this point, it wasn't for her life, it was because I didn't want to let go. It was time.

Laura and I had been discussing it lately and she agreed that Lucky wouldn't like this.  Laura requested that I didn't tell her when and do it when she was at school.  Very mature decision for a nine year old.

I called the vet, and glad my friend was close by because once I said she needed to be put down, I couldn't speak and just cried.  We set the time and I spent the final hours on the floor with her, petting her.  I gave her a hot dog and she devoured it.  And I cried.  Jason was away at his grandparents and Jeff was available to go with me so the timing was right.  She had enough.  I could never have enough of her but life in a body can't be forever.

I prayed to God to help me know she was okay.  An image popped in my head that she was going to the biggest steak house and could eat all she wanted. She could jump, play and hop on the couch. (She loved sleeping on the couch but became too weak about a year ago.). This image didn't stop me from crying but put me at peace. She would be really happy again and no pain.

I didn't know how far I could get with the process.  I'm a strong person but weak when it comes to saying good bye.  The staff was extremely nice and understanding. They were gentle and made Lucky feel comfortable. I cried but could answer heart breaking questions.  I decided against getting her ashes but wanted an imprint of her paw.  

They gave her medicine before stopping her heart that put her to sleep.  This is much more easier and suggested by a friend who is a vet.  That's their policy anyway.  As they put the IV in, Lucky and I stared at each other right in the eyes.  Our final good bye before she fell gently asleep.  The other medicine worked fast and as she passed, the room fell silent.  The vet and Jeff let me hold her body one more time in my lap.  They took her paw print and I pictured her happily eating and running.

As a family, the pain is lingering.  I forget and call her name.  Jason asks me randomly where she is and I say happy in Heaven. Laura cried lots the first night and some last night.  Today memories keep popping in my head aching my heart but one day will make me smile.  She was the first dog I ever had for fourteen years, and first dog I could be with in her final seconds.

Lady is feeling a bit better today as well.  Having another dog is a huge help, but you know the cycle will continue. To love a dog and be loved by a dog is like a sliver of Heaven. You just can't stop at one sliver.

RIP Lucky. December 5, 2001-March 15, 2016


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