Today marks the second anniversary of the unexpected loss of Lucy, the best petsetter ever! Honestly, I thought today was the third anniversary. It seems like the hole she left in my heart has been there for much longer than 730 days. I constantly relive the shocking moment when she took her last breath and died as I held her. Why won’t that memory fade? Do I want it to?
There are days I miss her terribly. And, I admit, there are some days when I’m glad I don’t have a dog. Earlier this month I returned to Italy, where Lucy, aka Lucia, and I made our home for 2+ years. It was odd traveling to Italy without her because she loved that country as much I still do. Really, she just flat out loved to travel. She was the ultimutt petsetter with an official European Union doggie passport. In our 13 years together, she had traveled extensively throughout the States, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean. It wasn’t always easy toting her, but having her with me made for a more enjoyable and adventurous journey.
Three weeks ago, when I left for Italy via Istanbul, I proudly sailed into San Francisco International Airport with only carry-on luggage for the 10-day trip. I knew I couldn’t have gotten my clothes, shoes and purses into one suitcase that couldn’t weigh more than 8 kg/17.6 pounds since a suitcase weighs half of that. Lucy in her pet carrier would have served as my other carry-on.
“It’s a good thing I don’t have Lucy,” I selfishly thought to myself as I spent about two minutes checking in at the business class counter at Turkish Airlines.
My tune soon changed. Two nights later, while out with a group of Italians at El Gringo Pub in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi on the Amalfi Coast, a few people in other groups had their well-behaved dogs. The pets wandered around aimlessly on the front porch letting whomever pleased caress them. I was in heaven! While Lucy wouldn’t have wanted to be in the company of her kind, I certainly did — even if doing so made me think of her and miss her all the more.
A few days later, I enjoyed the flexibility of not having a dog as I debated where to go in Italy after my stay in Positano. On Airbnb, I checked out places in Ravello, Ischia and other parts of the Amalfi Coast to substitute for Capri. Not having to look for a pet-friendly place to stay certainly gave me more options. In the end, I stuck to my original plan of Capri. On the chic island there were soooo many dogs strolling the narrow, pedestrian-only streets with their pawrents. How I longed for my petsetter Lucy!
On the return flight, I saw a lady boarding the flight from Istanbul to San Francisco with her dog tucked under her arm. I wanted to ask the lady if could I take her dog’s picture or snap it surreptitiously as I usually do, but I refrained. I didn’t want to look at the image and be any sadder than I already was. Of course I would have sacrificed checking luggage and searching feverishly for pet-friendly accommodations to have my Lucy with me the same way I always sacrificed the exit row seat, where animals are not permitted, for her to be with me on our short-haul flights. (Of course, we were always in the front of the plane for trips longer than four hours because I needed the leg room.)
While I was away in Italy two friends contacted me about taking their dog abroad for the first time. Coincidentally, both women were headed to France. I’m so jealous! Another friend is in Italy right now, and she left her adorable prince of a pooch in Sonoma with a petsitter because her fur baby is not yet trained well enough to enjoy a three-week international trip that involves constant travel.
Yes, there are pros and cons of having a pet with you when you travel, but to me, the pros always outnumber the cons. After all, dogs can make a hotel room feel like home.
Continue to RIP my dear Lucy, the best petsetter ever!