Scooter and Lucy

When I was growing up, my family & I had two dogs. The first dog, Scooter died when I was about 9 or 10 of cancer. For months he walked around with a growth hanging from his mouth. He could be very mean but also very sweet. I remember when I had the chicken pox in 2nd grade; he stayed by my side until I was able to go back to school. He would do that with anyone in our house who was sick. I was at school the day we had to put him to sleep. My mom took him to the vet to have him put to sleep and my grandfather had to pick him up because my mom was an emotional wreck. This was my parent’s first dog. They got about 6 months after they married in 1975. My grandfather picked Scooter up and buried him their back yard. Needless to say I cried when mom told me what happened.

Our second family pet was a spaniel mix, like Sprite, who was black & white named Lucy. She was also a shelter dog. She always hid under my parents bed when we getting ready to leave the house. One day, when we got home she didn’t greet us at the door entering from the garage. When we got upstairs, we heard her whimpering & we followed the sound to my parent’s bedroom. We tried to call her out & she couldn’t move. My dad got under the bed & got her out. Once she got out, she couldn’t walk; she could only drag her hindquarters behind her. We found out, after taking her to the vet, that she had broken her back. We had three options to consider. First, (which we never considered) was to put her down. Second, surgery (with little guarantee of success). Third, were weekly steroid shots directly into her spine to aid the healing process. We chose the third option. For 6-10 weeks, we took her to get her shot. During that time, we had to carry her down the stairs from the back porch to use the bathroom and push on her bladder to urinate. One day after I came home from school, mom carried Lucy down to the backyard & came into the house to check on dinner. I was in my room working on homework. All of a sudden, I heard mom screaming, “Ryan! Ryan! Come here! Quick! She’s standing!” We hugged each other & cried there on the back porch for about 20-30 minutes.

We had a kitten, named Statler, at this same time too. I think he was vital to Lucy’s recovery. They would chase each other around the house and just entertain us for hours. Lucy, bad back & all, still loved to play catch. From the day Lucy hurt her back, she would lose control of her bladder & bowels and mess in the floor as she was walking. It was sad but she was a miracle. You could really tell when Lucy was excited, because she would squat & urinate on the floor. We would just laugh and then clean it up.

About two years ago, my wife & went to visit my parents, Lucy, and Statler. Lucy was pitiful. She could barely walk (she was 15 or 16), was deaf, and almost blind. She was losing her teeth. She would hold her food in her mouth to soften it so she could eat. Mom & Dad, about 2 months later, decided to have her put to sleep. Dad took her to the vet where my cousin worked, dropped her off, saved her collar and a clipping of her fur. Mom called me after I got home from school (I teach high school history) to tell me and I, once again balled like a baby. About 2 months after Lucy was put under, Statler, the cat (now 13) started moping around. Dad took him to the vet and they found out he had cancer all in him bowels & intestinal tract. Mom called me almost immediately at school, while I was teaching to tell me they had decided to put Statler to sleep. I had to stop class, cry with mom, talk about the cat, and gather myself. My wife & I have gone back to my parents’ house several times since then, and I still cannot get used to Lucy and Statler not being there.

This story, does have a happy ending though. Two years ago, my wife said she wanted a puppy for her birthday. She wanted a Yorkie, but we ended up with a black Lab after seeing how much it cost to get a Yorkie. We have had Abby now for two years (Jan. 2008) and we enjoy having her in our lives. She is certainly our “baby” because we have no kids. We even had Christmas pictures taken with her last year. Every card we send, is signed “Ryan, Katie, and Abby.” She is very high maintenance and constantly gets into trouble. I’ve had to stop typing several times to get something out of her mouth (which usually involves me chasing her around the house. It is aggravating, but watching her evade me and/or my wife is hilarious! She always turns around a bad day, makes us smile, and helps us enjoy life. When I tell mom & dad what she does, they say it reminds them exactly of Scooter. It is bittersweet to hear them say that. I can’t imagine our house with Abby around.

Ryan from KY