I wrote this several days ago and never got a chance to post it before we were side-tracked…
We are slowly adjusting to life without Lucy. She was a special needs dog, we liked to joke, but it somehow never felt like a burden. Now the house just feels empty. Beagle dinner used to take a full five minutes to prepare. In addition to the handful of medications we would shove into a wad of peanut butter, we cooked scrambled eggs and added them to her dog food, along with clam juice, freeze-dried liver treats (we tried the real deal with liver, and after two attempts neither Craig nor I could stomach the stench), and powdered herbs, all at the suggestion of a veterinarian who practices traditional Chinese medicine. It was a gourmet meal for a dog who would have been happy eating trash, poop, and dead animals for her meals. We think the complicated meal was helpful, however, in making Lucy quite healthy over her last several months.
We really missed Lucy on Thanksgiving. She was always in the kitchen if we were there, eager to see if she might get a treat, or if we might make a mess that she could lick off the floor. One of her favorite activities was pre-washing the dirty dishes loaded into the dishwasher. Of course, at times we could be heard telling her to get out from under our feet or out of our way, but now the kitchen seems empty without her there. I also missed her sitting politely next to us as we ate our dinner. She was always there, hoping for a scrap (which she never got). I had purchased two special dog bones a couple of weeks ago to entertain the dogs during our holiday meal, but of course I only had to pull out one, which Rocky ignored. Lucy would have chewed on hers for hours on end, until we took it away.
We carried Lucy upstairs to bed most nights, because she saw no need to get up from her snuggly spot on the dog bed or the couch in the living room. She’d look at us with a face that said, “I’m perfectly happy here… why should I get up?” Craig would carry her up like he was cradling a baby. I wish now that I had taken a picture of that scene; it was always so sweet. She would sleep at the foot of our bed, curled up against our feet and legs, adding extra warmth whether we wanted it or not. She would often come up to be near me as I did my nightly reading in bed, and she would get scratches and pets with one hand while I held my book in the other.
Walks with the two dogs were always an adventure, since Rocky likes to pull, pull, pull, eager to get to whatever our destination might be, while Lucy liked to mosey along and sniff and smell and eat everything she could find. I imagine we offered some amusement to neighbors – one beagle ahead, one beagle behind, and a person in between trying to keep everyone moving at the same pace.
We also had to always keep an eye on Lucy, as she was known to pee if the door wasn’t open, and she also got into the trash and kitchen cabinets on occasion. I removed the baby locks from the kitchen cabinets the other day; no need for them anymore. We put her crate away the day after she died. I couldn’t bear to look at the crate that had no dog to go with it. Now there is an empty spot where her crate used to be; I tried to fill the spot with a plant.
Rocky has been missing Lucy, too. They were never really friends, at least in an outward way. They mostly coexisted in our world. But gosh darn it, I think Rocky misses Lucy. He seems more anxious when we come home, after having been alone all day. He got into the bathroom trash for the first time in years over the weekend. And, he escaped from our yard three times over the holiday weekend. Neither of them had ever found this escape route under the neighbors’ fence in the two years we’ve been in our house. I’m taking it as a sign that he finds our yard a bit boring without another dog in it. We made a temporary fix to the fence, and we’re planning to drive some new stakes in to make it more secure. I told Rocky that the last thing I need right now is a lost or dead dog, so he needs to stay put and be happy inside our yard.
Life goes on, of course. It just seems a little empty right now.