Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sh*t Happens...and it always happens to Lucy

When it comes to unfortunate events, if something is going to happen to one of our dogs, it's always Lucy on the receiving end.

Lucy is our "middle dog", a black lab/german shepherd cross. She has the coat of a lab, and the mind of a shepherd, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's part cat too, because she seems to be using up nine lives.

Lu had a miserable start to life, and when we got her as a thirteen-week old puppy seven years ago, she had been confined to a cage for weeks. She was so frail that we had to pick her up and carry her when we went walking. She soon gained her strength, and also developed a severe case of separation anxiety. By the time she was eight months old, she had done several thousand dollars' worth of damage to walls, door frames, carpeting, clothing, and eyeglasses. She was very difficult to house train, and more than once I threatened to send her back to the SPCA where she came from.

She was medicated for her separation anxiety, and one Sunday morning, playing tag team with the cat, who knocked her bottle of medication onto the floor, overdosed on Clomicalm and had to be rushed to the emergency animal clinic in Vancouver.
By the time she was about four, she was more or less psychologically healthy.

A couple of years later, while out an about for a romp on Annacis Island, Lucy squatted to pee - unfortunately on a wasp's nest. She was promptly swarmed by dozens of wasps, and was badly stung and ill for days.

Lucy's passion has always been chasing and fetching balls...she used to fetch until we were too tired to throw a ball. I'm sure her heart would burst before she'd give up fetching. Last year, she tore a ligament in a knee while chasing squirrels, and had to have surgery. Xrays revealed that she also has severe hip dysplasia...the vet said that those xrays could just as easily belong to a dog that couldn't stand up. With medication, she's doing just fine. Her ball chasing days are over, although she still dashes after squirrels from time to time.

Today I came home to find her with a hugely swollen neck and the top of her head is swollen too. Her airway is fine, and we have given her some benadryl. We'll watch to see what happens. She seems quite content, and now is getting a little sleepy. I'm a little worried about her tonight.

Lucy sounds incredibly tough when she barks, and she has an imposing presence that keeps people who don't know her at bay. She is Jasper's self-appointed protector, and she can't decide whether she should love Molly (the cat) or torment her. She's a gentle soul, though...she loves babies of any species. She can sense unhappiness a mile away, and always comes to console me when I'm sad. Last fall I fell down the outside stairs and hurt myself quite badly. She stayed at my side while I determined that nothing was broken (Jasper on the other hand wolfed down the apple and carrot slices I had dropped when I fell), and then stayed with me for the rest of the day. She has the most soulful brown doggy eyes I've ever seen.

Given the bad state of her joints, it's unlikely that Lucy will live to a ripe old age, but she's doing fine for now. I hope she's better by morning.


Cicero Sings said...

Ahhhh ... poor Lucy. I hope the swelling is down this a.m. Sounds like she has had quite the life! but she's found a good pack to hang out with ... you all look after each other VERY well.

Karen & Mike said...

She's about 50% better today, thanks! I've been enjoying your flower pics each day.

Jennifer said...

*hugs* to Lu-bell ... poor girl