Pet Tips 'n' Tales©
A Dog's Ten Years of Loving Service
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"©
Family friend, Garrison, joins Teresa and Darin Boyce, and sons, Garett and Reily. The family's black Labrador, Lucy Lu, is a town celebrity. Lucy has shown up at work at Boyce and Sons, for ten years. She expects to go to work and customers expect to see her. The happy family photo also includes Lola Lu, held by Teresa.
Customers at Boyce and Sons Landscape and Building Materials on River Road, are greeted by a beautiful black Lab, Lucy Lu. (Tip: Arriving with a treat greatly helps with an enthusiastic welcome.)
Lucy was born August 2001, into a litter of 13 black puppies. Pity her mother having to tell them apart, and the owners trying to find homes for that big litter!
"We didn't choose Lucy, she chose our family." said Teresa. "She was one of 5 females, in an all black litter, and when we arrived she left the other puppies and waddled over to us. We returned weekly, to watch her grow. Then disaster struck! Her litter contracted Parvo. Puppies usually die from this highly-contagious disease. A round-the-clock vigil began and all 13 puppies survived!
Most labs are considered a "family dog" but Lucy only has eyes for her daddy, Darin. For Lucy, the sun rises and sets around Darin. The only time she needed me was when she was about to give birth to her puppies. She lay on my feet as if asking for the support of another woman.
Darin began taking puppy-Lucy to work with him. Now, she and the customers expect her to be on shift! In fact, she gets upset upon hearing Darin's truck start and she isn't in it! Like a girlfriend, Lucy loves sitting next to Darin. The one thing that would make her happier is if she could be in his lap!
Years ago, Bubba, another black Lab, would accompany his owners, Charles and Ethel Hinkle, to the store. Lucy took a shine to him, he reciprocated the excitement, and they eventually had beautiful puppies together.
Customers had said, "If Lucy ever has puppies - let us know." So, it was a rare-fast event homing her 8 bouncing black puppies. (Lucy is spayed now to help alleviate the problem of overpopulation of dogs.) As with many love affairs, Lucy never saw Bubba again after the puppies were born, because he moved out of town with his family.
Lucy is a steadfast dog, never chewing or ruining anything and never giving us cause to worry. She's docile, protective, and mellow.
One day at closing, Darin put Lucy in the back of the truck. He then returned to the shop to lock the door. When he got back to the truck, Lucy was gone! He looked all around Boyce & Sons' large lot and couldn't find her. So he went back inside and phoned everyone he knew, asking if she was with them - and they all said, "No."
Darin drove around town looking for her. After a few hours, he returned to Boyce & Sons, and found her standing outside the front gate. She was all banged up; her lips were raw and she had wounds on her head and ears. Police Chief Mike Grover thought her wounds resulted from her jumping out of the back of someone's else's moving truck. Thankfully, she made a full recovery.
We don't leave Lucy very often because she has severe separation anxiety. While we are on vacation, my brother-in-law, Rick, takes Lucy home and then to work so she can see customers. She holds a vigil at the front door, watching for Darin. A few times, when Rick took her home, she wouldn't get out of the truck and refused to eat anything. She moped until Darin's return. It is beautiful to see her when she spots Darin. She whines with delight and does figure 8's through his legs. It is truly love for both of them.
Lucy Lu, not one to steal the limelight, wants to give a "shout out" to her sister, Lola Lu, an 11-pound long-haired Chihuahua. When Lucy's work shift ends, and she arrives home, Lola dances circles of delight around Lucy--until Lucy acknowledges her. Then Lucy lies down on her bed for the evening.
Lucy recognizes individual customer's voices, the sounds of their cars, and who has a "cookie" for her. One of her favorites is Police Chief Mike Grover because he brings her treats. Everyone who knows her agrees, "We are so lucky to have Lucy in our lives."
"Whenever our dogs get treats, we individually call out their names. When I call "Lucy", she steps up and gets her treat. Lola patiently waits, then I say "Lola," and Lucy steps back, and Lola moves forward to get her treat. They are very respectful of one another. In the earlier years there were problems when I'd toss a treat up into the air. Both dogs fought to see who would get it. We discovered by calling out their individual names they each wait for one another and there is absolutely no fighting," advises Teresa.
"The same works for cats," writes Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe", "Each of our cats knows their name, and waits while the others are given their treat. A pet knowing their own name is both helpful and a safety measure."
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Mary Ellen, & Miss Wings, Pet Tips 'n' Tales Columnist
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