Houndini revisted

Couple more thoughts to add to the Proud Lucy post - everyone warned us about how much our little lab would chew things up. We marveled at how little she actually did. Oh, she was certainly a paper shredder and chewed up a few books but we learned quickly to keep them off the floor and she eventually stopped. But shoes, furniture, etc. didn't seem to interest her. Sly little thing. We were so impressed we even bragged about it a little bit. "Oh, no Lucy doesn't chew things up. We're just lucky she's such a good girl." Yeah. So we start getting ready to sell the house and start finding all kinds of little surprises. Like the dry wall she annihilated in the laundry room. It was behind the door which we very rarely close. But when we first got her, that's where her kennel was. And, apparently, the wall that served as her teething toy. A few days later Paul and Rosie came by to pick up the pressure washer we'd borrowed ages ago. Sure, we'll have that ready for ya. Matt went outside and started wrapping up the cord only to find that it, too, was completely chewed up. Um. How about a replacement check instead?

And then, back to the Houndini situation- while in Walla Walla, we left her with her doggy cousin Daisy while we went to the radio. Daisy's got some digs to envy. Big ol' Kennel with lots of room to run. We get back to their house around 11 and there's our little Lucy. In the front yard panting her head off. Daisy, however, is still in her kennel. What in the hell? Lucy doesn't look the slightest bit worried, in fact she seems quite pleased with herself. She is also soaking wet. Not just maybe she ran through a sprinkler wet. No, she is took a dip in someone's pool wet. And I swear she's grinning at us like "Look guys! I found water!" Matt's cousin teased me that it'll be worse when I go to pick up my kid and he isn't where I dropped him off. Which is true. But my kid damn well better be able to explain a) why he's dripping wet, b) how he snuck out and c) where he really was. With Lucy, I was thankful she found her way back in new territory and I lost some sleep worrying that the next day we'd get a call that she destroyed someone's pool in an effort to get to her precious water.

Proud Lucy

Lucys_first_collarI'm working on an essay about the ways Lucy is preparing us to be parents. The list keeps growing making it a super long post so I'll start posting one at a time.

Lucy Baby has taught me to be careful about bragging her up. I mean it is amazing how smart she is but just when I get too braggy about her, I'm stunned speechless by something else she's done.

I think I mentioned her escape artist phase? I came home from work one day shocked to see her sitting on the front porch panting. I think she saw me coming and ran home to beat me. Matt fixed what we thought was the problem. A week later, I was putting my key in the door and she rounded the corner of the yard and looked at me like "Hey! What's up?" Um. Why are you out of the back yard?! We eventually got this situation under control. We thought. 

I was at the neighbor's house paying my last respects to her husband who was dying of cancer. A group of us sat around making the kind of awkward conversation you make while pretending not to hear the horrible sounds of death approaching in the next room. Someone asked me how little Lucy was doing. I proudly said that she's finally stopped getting out out of the yard. There was an uncomfortable silence.

"Well ..." My neighbor started, "actually, come take a look." I followed her out to the porch, there on her freshly seeded lawn were a hundred little Lucy-sized paw prints. "Also, she's been getting into my pond. And I'm concerned that if she ruins it, it'll be expensive to fix."

"I'm so sorry!" Because what else do you say?

"And our neighbor has been complaining of a raccoon getting into her pond and leaving big muddy foot prints."

A little brown "raccoon" named Lucy.

Ego boost

I gave in to Lucy's pleading green eyes and took her on a little walk tonight even though I'm still recovering from our recent Incident. The one that ended up with me getting x-rays on my wrist and a "nothing we can do about that" nod toward whatever I pulled underneath this mass of baby. So we're walking along, trying out her new leash, the kind that goes over her nose so she can't pull. She does not love her new leash. But I do. Until these two little boys charge at her. "Oh, a puppy!" And they get all up in her face before I can warn them. She's nervous and barky with them. We eventually get things worked out and they play nicely for a bit before one of the little boys looks up at me and asks:

Are you pregnant?

Yes, I am.

That was my first guess. My second one was that you've been eating a lot. And I mean, like, a lot.

The Kindness of Strangers

Dscf2693 Sure, mean people suck. But where's the bumper sticker celebrating the Kindness of Strangers? There are so many awesome people that don't suck and I just want to give a little shout out to Awesome People Everywhere. To everyone who has ever stopped what they were doing to ease someone else's day, even just a little bit.

Lest you think this is a random, gushy post, let me tell you a little story. Lucy and I had a little ... um ... adventure this afternoon. I promised her we'd go to the river today. Didn't occur to me that everyone else in town might be there too. But once we got to the park, I was determined not to bail out. She gets so excited at "do you want to go to the river?" she comes barreling into the house with a stick in her mouth. She's packed. And then eagerly, she watches you pack her gear: poop bags, treats, towel, leash. Off to the river. Just as we pulled up, so did another couple with a lab, Jack. Jack was a little less eager than Lucy. Or, his owner was a lot stronger than me. Either way, they made their way down the hill in perfect form while Lucy and I lurched along, me trying not to loose my cool as well as keep my balance to avoid the Humpty Dumpty effect. It was a disaster. I can't think of the last time I got this dirty. We take Luce off her leash at the top of the hill so she is in the habit of running full speed into the river. This may not have been the best thing to teach her. She pulled free of my grip and pounced into the water as Jack's owner threw him a stick. Kids, dogs, people to play with everywhere. Lucy was beside herself with glee as she bounced along the water, leash trailing behind her. I started rolling up my overalls knowing I'd have to go in for her. Then, before I could stop it, she was bounding back toward me with a new doggie friend in tow. The only thing standing between me and these wildly delighted dogs was a blonde boy who learned how to stand maybe yesterday. His mom freaked out as she swooped him up and got him out of harm's way. Harm, stopped short of barreling him and stood nearby panting wondering why he couldn't play. So mom turned her fury on me and I stared at her stunned. Don't get me wrong, she was right to be worried, I was too, but to act like my dog is rabid and that I'm some kind of criminal for bringing her to the river was a little over the top.

I was ready to go. Lucy, however, was not. Under the watchful eye of the Furious Mother I kept wading in after her trying to get her leash until finally a woman approached me and said, "Can I do anything to help you?"
"No, thanks. I'm fine."
"Are you sure? Because you look very uh ... pregnant." And you know how when you're barely keeping it together and someone is super nice to you, it makes you loose it? So everyone is watching us and I suddenly can't speak because I am crying! I was already having a bad day so this just topped it off.

"Can I help you get your dog somewhere else? Don't worry about her." She glared at the Furious Mother still watching me.

"Yeah, back up to my truck would be great."

"You don't really want to go home do you? That's silly. You have a right to enjoy it down here AS MUCH AS ANYONE ELSE." Another pointed look at Furious Mother.

She got her sons to help coax Lucy over to another part of the river where we played for nearly an hour. Lucy calmed right down and stayed in her area, fetching sticks, doing her alligator impersonations and just splashing around. When it was time for us to go, her third-grade son offered to help me get Lucy back on her leash and up the hill. That turned into another ordeal but this time, it wasn't so bad because instead of judging my incompetence, the people left at the park laughed about how "ours does the same thing."

I really appreciated this lady's kindness as well as the thoughtfulness of her sons. I hope to raise Sam to be as thoughtful and considerate as these boys were. 


Lucy_sleeping_3  Lucy_sleeping_2Babylucyand_froggie



I am pretty sure Baby Chi Chi's first sound is going to approximate the same "Squeak, Squeak" of Lucy's froggie. Froggie is her very favorite toy and she reminds me of a toddler the way she'll come up to you, trailing Froggie in her mouth, and nudge it against you asking you to play. All day long she pushes Froggie into my belly, squeak, squeak. And as often as possible I give in and play with her. If I don't she'll try for awhile squeak, nudge, squeak, nudge, squeak, squeak. And when she gives up, she still leaves Froggie at your feet, as a little reminder in case you want to play later.

She first got Froggie when she was seven weeks old and it's head was bigger than hers! I suggested to Matt last night that perhaps we'll bring Froggie to the hospital and put it with Baby Chi Chi for awhile and then bring it home for Lucy so she knows the baby's smell.

Me: We'd wash it first, of course. (I say this in response to the look of horror on my husband's face.)

Matt: But, still, what you're talking about here is taking our dog's chew toy and giving it to our newborn?

Me: Yes, but just for a little bit so Lucy is ... (his look of horror is not fading)

Matt: Yeah, I don't think so. That might make them call Child Protective Services and they'll take the baby away from us. Maybe let's just bring one of the baby's things home for Lucy.

Giving in

We broke the one and only rule we've been able to keep for Little Miss. Lucy. And I'm just really fine with it. In fact, it makes me laugh every time I think about it. Lucy Baby had surgery last week to make sure there were no more Lucy babies. It was hard to see her in pain and she was such a damn good sport about it that you just really wanted to do something extra for her. So we gave in on a few little things here and there. This included hand feeding her human food. What surprised me though, was when Matt broke the number one, ultimate Rule that Shall Not be Broken.

He walked into the living room and I asked where Lucy was.

"She's resting."

"On the bed."

"Our bed?"
"Mmmhmmm." Guilty smile.

So when I went to bed I let her be. Matt was shocked to find a furry friend on his side of the bed when he came in much later.

Him: "You let her sleep in the bed with you?"

Me: "You let her up here."

Him: "Yeah but not to sleep with us. That's just gross."

Me: "Whatever. You let her up here." Back to sleep.

The next morning we agreed to go back to our original Ultimate No Lucy on The Bed Ever (again) Rule.

When I got home from work however, I noticed something suspicious. Matt was working on the trim in the bedroom.

"So, uh ... Was Lucy on the bed?"

"Okay," I said grinning and pointing to the bed where he saw the telltale Lucy was Here sign - her favorite little Froggy lying next to his pillow. Right next to the Lucy sized rumple.

Shy? Not so much.

Shy_lucy_1 "Is she always this shy?"  Is a question I hear a lot when I'm out with Lucy. After observing her for a couple months I've decided that she just has a very discerning personality. She doesn't mess around being polite to people she doesn't like right off the bat. I don't know if they smell bad, look funny to her or put off some wicked vibe, but she's pretty blunt. She cocks her head to the side and I can just hear her thinking: you can crouch down and pat your leg as much as you want, pal. I'm not coming.

The first time it happened, she was still pretty new to me. Lucy and I were playing in the front yard when a guy working on the construction project next door stepped onto our side of the lawn. She instantly got all growly and into her if-I-could-bark-yet-I-would mode. This guy went on about how cute she was and how all dogs and kids loved him. Not mine. And I felt a little bad, like Lucy was being rude and hurting this guy's feelings. I gave him a treat to try giving her and stood by him as he tried to coax her over. She didn't flip him the bird or anything, but she made it clear she would have nothing to do with him no matter how hard he tried.

"Wow. Is she always this shy? I mean, really, because dogs always come to me."

"Ummm...yeah she is. I guess we'll have to work on that" (in truth? Shy? Not so much. She's pretty much a beef treat and belly rub whore)

I'm so stoked that she is already protective of me. Her little growl is kind of comical but I love that her instinct is already to have my back.

A dog named Lou

Lucy_in_yellow_truckWe didn't have a lot of time to name our new puppy since she was so unexpected but as soon as we decided on Lucy, we knew it was completely the right name for her. We wanted a name that would shorten to "Lou" and at first started with LuLu but she is so not a LuLu.

We wanted Lou because it was a dog named Lou that connected Matt and me in the first place in 1998. I was working at what I now refer to as the Postal Crook and Matt was working for a log home company traveling between Washington, California, Colorado and Nevada. Since he moved so much, he had a post office box established before I even started working there. I'd never met him but had sent many bundles of Box 184's mail to his various addresses. Because of the type of mail he got and because he lived in a place called Camp Sherman, I just assumed he was an older man. If you're me and you work at a place putting up people's mail you a) love, love, love your job and b) make up stories about people based on what they get in the mail. So as far as I was concerned Box 184 was an old guy.

One day my boss mentioned that Box 184 was going to be in town house sitting for some friends of ours, and taking care of their dog Lou. Couple days later, this jacked up yellow Toyota pulls into the parking lot with the unmistakable Lou riding in the back. I was sure it was Lou because there is no other dog like him on the planet, a Lab-Grizzly mix.

Box 184 hops out and he is SO not an old guy. If it weren't for Lou in the back of the truck, Box 184 could've come in, got his mail and left and we might never have met.

Swiss Bed

Lucys_new_bed_2 Lucy got a little bed from Matt's mom when we came to Walla Walla for Christmas. And she really seemed to like it. For about a week.

Matt comes home the other night and starts praising Lucy for being such a good girl.
"She really is a great dog you know."
"Mmmhmmm." I bring out something I think he needs to see.

Lucys_swiss_bed_1 "Before you get carried away with being all proud of her, check this out." I hold up her doggie bed which is now more of a Swiss bed. With plenty of ventilation. Matt scrunches his face for a second before saying, "Well, that thing is really more for poodles or chihuahuas." So, you know, we're keeping things pretty strict around here.

Lucys_scolding_1 (Here's a picture of me scolding her, very sternly as you can see).

More later

Overwhelmed. More later. Having one of those days ... er, weeks, where it seems overwhelming to do the dishes after work, not to mention writing or do anything else creative. I am amazed at how much a spirited little puppy can lift my spirits though! Dscf2534_1In this picture you can see in her eyes why we sometimes think we subconciously named her Lucy, short for Lucifer.