Our golden retriever, Lucy May, died from complications from cancer on the Friday night before Christmas. It was sudden and a shock. We loved her so much, and the love she gave us changed our family forever.
Lucy came into our home when I was in kindergarten. She was a bundle of energy and a happy puppy. For the most part, she was a very good girl. She did dig up the yard, go to the bathroom indoors during thunderstorms, pick through the garbage looking for bones, chew my favorite pair of pointe shoes, and eat an entire pumpkin pie once. Still, she was always there when you needed her. She’d nudge your arm for a gentle pat and greet you with kisses no matter your mood. At 90 pounds, she still believed she was a lap dog, and when her scratchy pink tongue licked the tears off your face, it was impossible to stay sad. In truth, she helped our parents raise us, and Lucy was all about love.
When she was three, we got her a “brother,” another golden named Linus. He is completely lost without her now. Together they were able to accomplish things one dog could not. They would get up on the counters, pull open cupboards, unroll miles of toilet paper, and chew two pairs of furry slippers and a pair of flip-flops in an afternoon. Shortly after Linus arrived, they demolished an entire box of S.O.S. pads and half a box of dishwasher tabs overnight. They were never that clean again.
The thing they truly loved to do was break out of the electric fence and roam the town. They loved the small creek in the backyard and reveled in the freedom of the open road. They’d return home, often accompanied by law enforcement, completely wet and muddy, covered in ticks and burs. Once they were picked up by the owners of a pet boutique on Main Street and spent an afternoon eating treats and greeting customers. Thankfully, neighbors, friends, and even complete strangers brought them safely back to us, as we did our very best to corral these freedom-loving creatures. The smell of the wild always enticed them.
Lucy was even married once to Henry, the handsome chocolate lab next door. It was a wonderful outdoor ceremony with live music and lots of doggie treats. Lucy loved being in a new yard, able to sniff everything and anything she wanted. It was her day.
As Lucy got older, she quieted down. Her face grew grey and her gait slowed. Most days she slept by the fire like the goldens from the L.L.Bean catalogue. But, to me, she was still the puppy I first saw while riding home on the Meadowbrook Farms bus. She was wearing a red ribbon and sitting inside a cardboard box held by my Mom at the end of the driveway. Lucy was beautiful, and she made our family complete. We all miss her terribly.
Today would have been Lucy’s 12th birthday.
Grace Miner is a junior and East Greenwich High School.