The one-year anniversary of Lucy’s death

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the sudden passing of my pooch Lucy, aka Lucy Loo, Lucia, The Royal Bitch and Lucifer. More often than I know I should, I still replay her final days in my head, wondering if there was something I could have done/should have known about her health. Maybe she’d still be here if I were a better pawrent, I think, though I know I shouldn’t have such thoughts.

Lucy watercolor painting (2)She was 13 when she passed, a senior citizen but still not that old by Chihuahua standards.  I’m surrounded by her photos and portraits all day long. There’s one picture of her solo on the desk in my office and a beautiful watercolor painting of her on the desk in my bedroom. On my bedside, there’s a photo of the two of us, right next to the photo of me and my deceased mother Lucille, her namesake. On the other side of my bed are her remains.

I still talk to the box with her ashes and her photos. “Lucy Loo,” I sing out loud, the same as I did when I didn’t want anything in particular—just for her to hear my voice. I’m sure she still hears me as she snaps at all the dogs in doggie heaven who try to sniff her.

I tell myself that Lucy didn’t die in vain.  As much as I miss her, I truly believe my four-legged pal left me earlier than I had hoped to give me the courage to leave an unhappy relationship that I stayed in too long because it was easier than walking away. I finally gathered the courage to get out and now am happier than I’ve been in years.

When my now-ex was gone from the apartment in Pacific Heights, I used to curl up on the living room couch with Lucy and whisper in her ear, “Lucy, we won’t be here forever.”

She’d look back at me with her large black eyes in a way that I know she understood what she was saying. We were thatclose. Long gone were the days when she would try to talk to me, but I swear she used to try her damndest.

When she was a pup, we’d also play the sighing game in bed. She’d sigh. I’d sigh louder. She’d sigh again. I’d sigh louder. And back and forth we’d go until we grew bored and found something better to do with our time.

I used to say, “I love you,” and she’d respond by giving me a big kiss. We’d do this over and over until her tongue was dry.

These are the little things I miss about not having a pet. I guess one day I’ll gather the courage to get another little companion for I know first hand the joy animals bring to humans. After all, I mustered up the strength to leave a comfortable relationship that did not bring me bliss.

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About Kelly E. Carter

New York Times bestselling author Kelly E. Carter is the Director of Communications at Alpha Omega winery in the legendary Rutherford bench of the world famous Napa Valley. The bon vivant made a name for herself writing about sports, entertainment, lifestyles and pets. She founded The Jet Set Pets, the luxury travel site for pampered pets on the go. Her latest book, National Geographic's
The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel , was released April 1, 2014 and earned Kelly a Lowell Thomas Award. She teamed up with tennis phenom Venus Williams to co-author Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession, a New York Times bestseller in 2010.  
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