Extract Junk, Inject Living


I’ve been remiss in my effort to give folks a true sense of our lives by failing to talk more about our dog, Lucy. And, actually, I’ve already misled you by even referring to her as “our dog,” since, if you were around us for even a short time, it would be clear that we are, on the contrary, “her people." From her perspective, which she would argue is the operating discipline of our little pack, we serve her, and we serve at her pleasure.

I must tell you a little more about Lucy. People usually think the name is sweet, and they usually pronounce it with a distinct lift in pitch at the end. Think like a “valley girl,” and you’ll instinctively know what I mean. Margaret and I, on the other hand, usually pronounce her name in more of a scolding tone. More like “loosie.” That’s because it’s not unusual for us to be scolding her when we actually use her name, instead of terms of endearment like “baby” or “sweetie”. When she really misbehaves, however, we simply use her full name, which is “Lucifer.”

Yes, we (only somewhat kiddingly) say Lucy is short for Lucifer, since she can be a little devil. If we don’t respond quickly enough, or if we fail to accurately interpret her latest demand or desire, she lets us know by giving us a little growl of disapproval. These little growls are generally separated by a short pause, during which she stares at us with a look that says, "Listen to me…are you stupid?” We’re allowed to ask clarifying questions….

Water? Potty? Food? A bone?

She will look away when our guess is incorrect, and she’ll administer a sharp, approving bark when we get it right. And so it proceeds until we properly address her needs, ‘cause if we don’t, she won't let us rest.

Now I can already hear what readers are thinking. Yes, she’s sort of smart (and we're pretty stupid to let 14 lbs. run herd over us). But the problem with this is, since she knows she can make these demands, she knows we’ll do what ever we have to to shut her up. Which means, what she really is, is a demanding little cuss…more akin to a satanic figure than the little angel she appears to be at first glance.

And, we love the heck our of her. So much so, we essentially bought an RV so that we don’t have to leave her behind when we travel. When she’s not at our sides, we plan our days around checking in on her and attending to her needs. We’re allowed to sleep anywhere in the bed she leaves available, we can sit in any chair she isn’t occupying, and we can stay up past her bedtime, as long as we make her comfortable on one of our laps and keep our voices low enough to avoid disrupting her sleep.

Lucy, to her credit, seems eager to ignore our inadequacies and heap large helpings of love on us every time we return, either to our home or the RV. She accepts that while we are a work in progress, we are members of her pack. She loves us for who we are, and we return her love…enthusiastically and unconditionally.  —Alan

Lucy is Short for Lucifer