Last week I met the most gentle soul named Lucy and this is her story.
Last weekend we got a call from one of our neighbours on the island. They had spent the whole weekend in search of a dog that had presented itself mysteriously at their house a week previously. After leaving food and water for the dog it had disappeared. They were leaving the island the next morning and asked us to keep an eye out and let them known should we spot her anywhere.
The next day Boomer, Brody and I were out for our morning tumble on the lawn. Brody had left us for a moment for a root around the ground floor of the house. Under our staircase, from the main house to the side lawn, we have a covered gravel area where we keep lawn carts and various bits and bobs for work around the outdoors. The dogs very seldom find this area of the house interesting. There are no toys, no food and nothing worthy of a hefty sniff. So when I looked over and found Brody standing stiff as a board looking at this part of the house, I knew something was up. My heart leapt into my throat as my thoughts immediately sprung towards the idea that an alligator had come onto the grounds. Then, through the wooden slots covering the side of the gravel space, I saw a skinny white tail waving to and fro. My pup remained still as a petite snout emerged from behind the wall and met Brody's nose. I waited for Brody to switch into defense mode for me and his brother. His defense system kicked in but it wasn't for me or Boomer. Brody immediately became the protector of this small fragile creature. He moved his body so that it was flush with hers and looked to me as if to say "come now and help."
My mom was walking down the stairs as this was all taking place. I called out to her to bring her mobile phone. "We've found the missing island dog."
I cautiously released Boomer's collar and allowed him to approach the other two dogs. The lost dog was an old Coonhound. She was a beautiful mix of white, black and brown strokes. Her face was dainty and gentle and her body language made me relax immediately. She approached me wagging her tail with her nose in the air to receive my hand. I immediately named her Lady as that's exactly as she acted - regal and sure of herself.
The boys immediately began shifts of watching over our Lady. Brody refused to leave her side. We fed her, watered her and brought her a fluffy bed from the house. The sight of her bare bones laying on concrete was painful. We immediately understood why she had sought out the gravel under the stairs for a bed.
It looked as if Lady had come down a rough road before she found us. Locals have been known to dump dogs and cats off on our island when they no longer want them. We figured the beautiful lady had suffered this horrible fate. She was left to die but she wasn't having any part of that end to the story.
I sat on the floor with lady after she finished what looked to be her first hearty meal in some time. She nestled her head into my lap and looked up at me with terribly cloudy and sick eyes. She then drifted off to sleep.
Mom immediately called our neighbour that had been seeking out the pup. She asked us to take Lady to the local vet if we could. We found out she had been calling her Lucy so we decided Lucy should keep her regal title, and so she became Lady Lucy.
We wrapped Lady Lucy in an oversized fluffy towel and lifted her from the bed on the floor. As we sat in the car, she crawled into my lap and rested her head on my thighs. The whole drive to the vet she slept soundly, only occasionally looking up to see that I was still there. When we arrived, we set her down on the ground and each and every person that greeted her found a happy dog with a wagging tail and a loving touch.
From there we said our goodbyes and well wishes. I kissed Lady Lucy goodbye and told her I'd see her back on the island when she was all better. The vet told us she would be appropriately spoiled rotten and I do believe she was. She loved each and every person that approached her. How any human being could say goodbye to this dog, I will never understand.
Upon arriving home we found ourselves confronted with an unexpected situation - two depressed dogs. Brody, in particular, didn't seem to believe we had taken her. Every hour on the hour he was under the house looking for her or sitting and waiting for her to come back. It was heartbreaking. We kept telling him that Lady Lucy would be back, he just had to be patient.
Then yesterday we had a heartbreaking call from our generous neighbour that had taken Lady Lucy on as a member of their family. After 72 hours of trying their best to nurse Lady Lucy back to health, she had lost the battle.
After knowing a dog for only hours, I still felt a terrible loss. It's amazing how after just one touch a connection is formed with a beautiful soul.
Some of the most painful moments in my life have been those associated with having to say goodbye to dogs. These little creatures find a way to burrow into my heart and etch their names in there for all eternity. So this, my dear Lady Lucy, is a story for you. It is written with hope. Dear reader, if you do have the opportunity to save a stray, please do so. The act will change your lives forever. And on that note I'll leave you. We may have lost Lady Lucy but I still have two dogs here begging for some attention. Oh how spoiled they are and they don't even know it. Funny how life works, eh?