Our gardens were named after Lucy, the original chiots. “The Chiots” name was inspired by the French section of the dog food bag and the name stuck. Chiots, which we pronounce “chee-oats”, means puppy in French. There were many nicknames: Stinky Chiots, Brown Chiots, The Brown Wonder, Big Brown, The Luce, etc. She was a large part of the gardens, always being out and about with me as I weeded and worked, following me here and there. Yesterday was her final day in the garden, now instead of our garden being a place where the Chiots can run, it’s a place where the Chiots can rest. A place where she can rest her weary, painful joints and enjoy peace.
Over twelve years ago we stopped the local dog pound on a Friday afternoon and spotted a lovely lab/hound mix with a few puppies. The puppies were born at the pound, their mama was dropped off a few days before she had them. We knew right away by the mom’s temperament that the puppies would end up being wonderful dogs. With all the craziness that is the dog pound, barking, jumping, running, whining, she was standing quietly at the front of her kennel watching us, almost begging us to take one of her babies to give them a nice home. That day a little brown chiots came home with us, she rode in a cardboard box on my lap and she whined the entire way back to the house. She was covered in ticks and fleas, so we settled her into a kennel in the garage.
At only 10 pounds and around 7 weeks old, she was a wee little thing. That night she got very, very ill with parvovirus. After reading that 95% of puppies with this virus die, we mourned the loss of our puppy and called the vet, who told us to try to keep her hydrated over the weekend and to bring her in on Monday if she survived. She managed to make it through the weekend and Monday morning found us at the vet’s office with Lucy in a box. They kept her for a few days and gave her IV fluids and we picked her up a few days later, full of spunk and energy. She only weighed 7 lbs at that point and was super skinny, but she had pulled through, we had our puppy. We knew then she was going to be a tough dog, and she proved she was, many times throughout her life.
Lucy was a terror as a puppy, as most dogs are, digging up flowers, making a mess and generally being way too energetic for her own good. I’d be up every morning walking with her for miles trying to use up some of her boundless energy. That never really happened until a few years ago.
Lucy was also a lover of cats, always enjoying when they slept and snuggled with her. She loved rubbing her nose in their soft fur. Luckily all of our cats have always loved Lucy, except Dexter, who was leery at first but learned that she wasn’t so bad after all since she warned of visitors and other things with her barks. Every now and then you can even find Dexter sneaking in a rub on Lucy’s legs.
Dressing up was also one of her favorite things, which is good because her cousins LOVED to dress her up. She had many costumes throughout the years and loved every single one.
Chasing and biting at snowballs was a favorite winter activity. She really enjoyed winter and seemed to have extra energy whenever there was snow on the ground.
Lucy also loved hanging out with her cousins (my sister’s kids). We got her six months after our first niece was born, they have known Lucy all of their lives and have loved playing with her. One of her most favorite things was to go trick-or-treating with them every Halloween. No doubt they will feel her loss deeply as she is woven throughout their childhood memories.
Lucy’s arch nemesis was the UPS man, she’d sit in the front yard all day waiting for him to drive by. When we finally came she barked ferociously and then jumped in his truck to greet him with glee. I’m fairly certain he liked her as much as she liked him. He had dogs of his own and we even gave him homemade dog treats every year at Christmas.
Lucy ended up being a large part of our lives. She traveled with us, walked with us and was involved in many of our adventures. She stole everyone’s heart when they met her “She’s the best dog” everyone always said after being around her. They all loved “The Luce” and so did we. Though we are sad she is gone, we are happy that she is no longer in pain. The last few months have been tough for her and for us. We knew when she stopped wagging her tail constantly that the pain was getting worse, even with increased doses of her pain meds. Last Friday she had a stroke or a seizure and it became very difficult for her to walk. We knew, and she knew. We gave her the weekend of her life, she feasted on bacon, cat food, popcorn and ice cream. She laid in the cool grass under her favorite tree and talked to her cousins via FaceTime.
We took her on a last car ride, something she loved very much. Monday morning our vet put her to sleep, right in the back of the car. It was fitting really as it was one of her favorite spots. “Wanna go to gramma’s” was one of her favorite things to hear. She’s get excited and jump into the back seat. Though for the past couple years there has been no jumping into the back seat, she still gets very excited when she thinks it’s time for a ride. She was laid to rest in one of her favorite spots, the very spot she’d spend hours sleeping while I worked in the garden. Next spring we will plant a tree here to always mark this special place.
So long old friend, we’ll miss having you in our lives. You were larger than life, woven through almost every memory we have from the last twelve and a half years.