Shared joy & pain

Lucky Dog: The Luckiest Dog in the Universe

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Lucky Dog, newly groomed

Just before Christmas in 2003, Husband and I (with at least one of the boys in tow- Cave Dweller, I think, though back then we called him Head in Clouds) went to the local big box pet food store to pick up treats for Husband’s wonderful old lab/doberman mix, Bob (Bob is no longer with us, but he was one of the truly great animals of all time).

We walked in the front door to be confronted by a cage full of adorable rescue puppies, retriever mixes. We petted them, as was our duty, and sternly told ourselves we were NOT there to get a dog. Bob didn’t seem to agree, as he really liked puppies, but, we told ourselves, he didn’t get a vote.

Cover of The 13th Warrior

As we were leaving the store Bob made a beeline for the cages again, so we humored him and gave the puppies one more round of pats, then went home. And the subject of the puppies came up. And again. Before we knew it, we had slipped back out and back to the pet store, and adopted one of the puppies. His name was Bulwyf (pronounced Bull’-vye – we’d been watching The 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas).

This story is not about Bulwyf. Bulwyf ate books for fun. Even with tons of nasty bitters on them (many of my books still smell of bitters). Bulwyf also slipped his collar not a week after we had him and got run over by a car. Just before Christmas. We broke it to the boys, gave his body to the pound, and put a memorial in the back garden.  We missed him – except for the book eating part.

Husband was now thinking he wanted to keep looking for a puppy he could train as a hunting dog (this was shortly after his father had gotten a Brittany Spaniel that was and is a hunting genius). I made him put an actual gate on the yard (Bulwyf had been on a tie-out because the fence wasn’t finished).

Fast forward to February. You know how sometimes in February spring decides to come pay a visit and remind you why you look forward to it? Yeah. One of those days. Gorgeous. Mid fifties, warm enough that I was wearing a wool sweater and no coat while I waited outside the local garage for new tires on my old (very old) Ford Tempo.

I was chatting with one of the attendants (this was our regular garage and we went way back) when we saw, out of the corner of our eyes, someone throw a half full trash bag out of a car going by. The speed on that road is 35 mph, but most people go about 40. I like to think we stopped talking long enough to glare down the road sternly at the litterer, but I’m pretty sure that’s memory making me look good.

About thirty seconds later, a school bus full of kids suddenly slammed on the brakes. In the middle of the road was a tiny, fuzzy dog, about four or five pounds, and he was walking straight for me, now frightened but apparently oblivious to the danger he was in. I ran into the road and picked him up, waving on the bus driver, who had waited through all this.

It didn’t take long to put two and two together. It wasn’t trash that was thrown out of that car window, it was this little guy. I borrowed the office phone and told Husband I was bringing home the dog – just temporarily, you understand, because this was some sort of terrier mix, and wishing won’t ever turn a terrier mix into a bird dog.

The little guy slept in our bed that night, still shivering periodically from his ordeal. We thought he might be a young Yorkshire terrier- he was about the right size- but we didn’t know for sure. We did know he was undernourished and wormy, that second problem one we remedied right away.

Still a Lucky dog

When we got him to the vet two days later, we were shocked. This wasn’t a young dog, it was a puppy, no more than six weeks old. A very bright, loving puppy who had survived a truly traumatic event and found a home. We call him Lucky (and rightfully so) but I always insist his true name is Ch. Lucky Joe Murphy, champion of the loveable lap dog division.

And that’s how we got our Lucky dog – the luckiest dog in the Universe.

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