“Lucy, stop,” I said sternly. Our 2-year-old ignored my request and continued doggedly down the driveway.
My boyfriend said, “Lucy, come here” and “Lucy, sit” and she did.
As I watched her settle at Ken’s feet, I thought back to her adoption. Every dog owner on our street has two dogs, as had we until recently. We had lost one of our dogs months earlier and I thought our remaining dog, our collie Gus, was depressed and unused to being alone.
After weeks of checking the SPCA website, I saw Lucy’s online profile go up. I went to see her that same day. Ken tried to talk me out of it, but I pointed out that we’d be giving her a home and saving her.
“You’d save them all if you could,” he replied, which was true enough. Off I went to the SPCA. After I emailed Ken a picture of Lucy, that was the end of any objections.
I wound up being the one to second-guess my decision. I began referring to her as “Lucy-fer” after she tore into anything remotely chewable, such as the corners of our baseboards and the formerly high heels on my shoes and, as a canine coup de grace, put a hole the size of a softball in the kitchen wall. I was staggered by her determination to wreak havoc.
Lucy also was forever leaping on Gus, nipping at him and eating his food if we didn’t stand watch. On occasion, after some particularly egregious transgression, Gus would turn and look at me as if to say, “Really? You did this for me?”
My son came to dog sit when we went on vacation a few months after adopting Lucy. A couple days into our vacation, I began receiving texts and pictures, such as the one of my expensive easy chair with its fabric torn and its stuffing pulled out. This was followed by a text that read, “I am never doing this again.”
One picture particularly concerned me, where Lucy appeared to be lunging at Gus. Even though he outweighed her by 50 pounds, he was obviously cowed by her aggressiveness. The accompanying text read, “Gus is now a shell of a dog.”
It was clear that Lucy needed some obedience training. I enrolled the two of us in a local program and showed up the first night with Lucy and my allergies in tow. Our instructor was an older woman with a voice my mother would’ve described as “Gravel Gertie’s.” She could have been a drill sergeant. While she scared the hell out of me, she had no discernible effect on my dog.
In one exercise, she barked out directions to our group: “Left! Another left! Now right!” When she finally ordered us to halt and about-face, Lucy and I turned around to see the rest of the class at the other end of the room, looking at us. We tried again, only this time I was the one turning the wrong way – “your other left!”
Shortly after that embarrassment, my allergies caused a respiratory infection and we flunked out of obedience school after missing the final session.
There have been times when I questioned my decision to get another dog, such as when Lucy ignores me but listens to my boyfriend. I’m sure Gus would give us an earful if he could talk, even though he and Lucy get along well enough now.
What I know for sure is that we rescued a dog that didn’t have a home and she has become part of our family. That’s answer enough.
Lori Duvall lives in Amherst.