Lucy Belle Dog Pasternak
It all started when my sister Karen decided she wanted a dog. Karen really liked our foster dog Annabelle, but Miss Annabelle was a bit too barky and rambunctious for Karen's house. One day a new Lab Rescue dog listing came for a six-and-a-half year old yellow female Lab named Lucy. We contacted Lucy's owners and got the scoop on her. They'd purchased Lucy as a puppy from a breeder and adored her. However, life with the three kids who'd come along since was just too hectic. Lucy's owners decided that she needed someone who could devote more time to the girl. We made arrangements to go meet Lucy the following weekend.
The trip was an hour and a half one way and involved crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on a Saturday in late June. We followed the advice Lucy's owners gave us to leave northern Virginia no later than 7:00 AM and it worked; we missed the backup at the bridge. Karen, her housemate Steve and I spent some time with Lucy and her family. Lucy greeted us at the door and was a friendly, playful girl. After the visit we agreed that Lucy would come to stay with Dave and me. We would introduce her to Karen's rabbits and bird once she was settled down and see how things went. If Karen could adopt her, great, but if not, Dave and I would foster her until she found a new home.
Lucy panted on the trip back. She panted all afternoon. We kept her in air-conditioned comfort, but she was very excited and didn't settle down. Her tongue was deep red and her ears and feet felt hot, so I took her temperature. It was 108 degrees! We wrapped her in a cool wet sheet, put an icepack between her back legs, and rushed her to the emergency vet at SouthPaws. It seems that Lucy was dehydrated and the excitement and stress led to hyperthermia. Her temperature came down to normal with intravenous fluids and she came back to us the next day with orders to keep quiet for several days. She seems to have no ill effects from the episode.
Lucy's other health issue involved her tail. She was a happy, waggy girl and wagged so hard that her whole body shimmied. Her tail whacked everything in its path--walls, furniture, cabinets, dogs, people and door frames. Lucy opened a sore on her tail one morning and the foyer suddenly looked like the set of a slasher movie. First we caught the dog and cleaned up the tail, then we washed the walls. Lucy's tail is healed nicely after we applied an empty toilet paper roll to the end of it. Bonnie was pretty good at avoiding being thwacked. Sam just closed his eyes until it stopped. Much to our amazement, Lucy left the roll alone. (For detailed instructions on applying my Happy Tail dressing, please see Saving Lucy's Tail. In cases of persistent tail injury, amputation is recommended. My method has also saved the tails of at least two other Labs in addition to Lucy's.)
Meanwhile, at Karen's house, there was a guest bird. Barley screeched and flapped when Lucy came in the house, so the visits were curtailed until Barley returned home. Then came the experiment. Merlynne, the parrot, was ok. She defended her cage and made it clear that she would not let Lucy near. Sage, the male bunny, was ok. He just watched from his favorite place under the table. Hazel, the female bunny froze. She wouldn't calm down even if Lucy was on another floor of the house. Karen was heartbroken that she couldn't adopt Lucy.
Dave and I swore we'd never have a third dog, but we'd become very attached to Lucy. Lucy ass affectionate, people-oriented and a fetch monster. She got along fine with Bonnie and liked to hang out with Sam. Lucy slept in our bedroom, like Levi and Toni did, sometimes on the bed and sometimes on the floor. Lucy loved walks and was good enough on the leash that she could be walked with Bonnie and Sam. She never had to be crated in our house; she was always fine with the run of it when we left. Lucy quickly fit in with the pack very well. On July 11, 2002, Dave came home from work and called Lucy over. He asked her if she'd like to join the family and she accepted.
Karen got her dog on November 9, 2002. Meet Teeny.
Here are some photos taken on November 19, 2002 of Lucy. She turned 7 on November 9.
During the summer of 2004, Lucy had swimming dates with some of her fellow Lab Rescue alumni. Lucy loved the water and was an excellent swimmer. Here's an account of her visits to the Northern Virginia Animal Swim Center. Lucy's swimming page. Lucy's favorite place to swim was Deb and Steve's pool. Deb and Steve volunteered with Lab Rescue and invited Lucy over to enjoy the pool. There are photos of her swimming there on my Flickr page.
Lucy remained a fetch monster until sometime between 14 and 15 years old when she finally slowed down. Here's a video of her fetching on her 13th birthday.
We had to say goodbye to Lucy a little over a week after her 16th birthday. She was a great girl, and we were grateful to have nine and a half years with her as part of our family.
NurseBobbi's Home Page - Lucy's mom (and the main page of this site)
Last updated 24 November 2011
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