Lucy was a stray given to us by a friend’s parents. We think she was half miniature dachshund and half Chihuahua – she was so ugly she was cute. She had three functioning brain cells, but she was sweet as she could be. She’d go down to the end of the driveway and start looking across the street. She’d get this vague look as though she’d never seen the neighborhood. If you called her, she’d turn around and start running up the driveway as fast as her little legs would go, with a look of relief that said, “Thank God you’ve found me… I had no idea where I was!”
Lucy was very social. “Never met a stranger,” as my mother, would say. She would disappear whenever possible – following joggers, moms with strollers, anyone who came by. We’d get a phone call saying, “Do you have a little brown dog?” from a house three miles away. We’d go over, and there would be Lucy, sitting on the front porch being petted by thirteen little children. Grinning, she’d look at you like “Oh, hey, howya been? We’re having a porch party!” Occasionally, she would go out into the street. A passing car would see her and slow down to 2 to 3 miles per hour. Never thinking about getting OUT of the street, Lucy would start running madly down the middle of the street, looking over her shoulder every few feet, like she was saying “OMG, they’re still back there!”
Lucy liked to sleep in the short, dark hallway between the den and our bedroom. Inevitably, you’d come out of the bedroom into the hallway and catch Lucy on your foot, scooping her into an airborne punt into the den. She’d land with a soft thud, get up and look at you reproachfully, as if to say, “I don’t know why you have to do that to me.” If you sat in the den with your legs crossed, she would insert herself under your lifted foot, so you ended up petting her with your foot whether you wanted to or not.
When we’d had Lucy for about a year, we got an Australian Shepherd puppy named Daisy. Daisy was about Lucy’s size when we got her at 11 weeks, but she grew rapidly. Lucy and Daisy enjoyed “fighting” with each other. Ever respectful of Lucy as her elder, as she grew taller, Daisy took to lying down during their fights, so Lucy could stand over her and be “tall.”
Lucy was fearless — she never met a dog she couldn’t beat. She once made a full grown Chowchow turn tail and run, just with her bark. The kids and I went to a life-sized dinosaur exhibit that had a Tyrannosaurus Rex next to a small dinosaur of some sort about 18 inches high. Meredith turned to me and said, “Mama, Lucy’s like that little bitty dinosaur, but she thinks she’s a Trannosaurus Rex!” After that, we always saw Lucy and Daisy’s fights as “Tyrannosaurus vs. dog.”
One time Lucy ran off, and we just could not find her. We put up signs all around the neighborhood; after she had bee missing about four hours, I got a phone call from a lady who worked in a gift shop. Lucy had crossed a four-lane highway, gone into the shopping center, and visited all up and down the row. The woman who called us worked in the tenth store down.
We couldn’t have a fenced yard, so we put in an invisible fence. Daisy figured out the little flags and the shock that you got if you went too close to them pretty quickly. Lucy, on the other hand, would go into the “shock zone,” then roll over on her back and squirm and moan. She’d lie there, being shocked, until you went out and got her. No amount of showing her how the shocks came and went did any good. Eventually, we took off their shock collars and gave up. Daisy didn’t want to go anywhere we weren’t, and Lucy was incorrigible.