Lucy and the Birthday Burger

Lucinda hit the big 3 this week. I was out of town during her actual birthday, which was August 26th. But Lucy was kind enough to forgive me and agree to celebrate on the Saturday following instead. So we did.

She began her celebration by getting her nails done. This is something she does not actually enjoy, so I’d be wrong to call it a gift. But they needed to be done and the quick had grown a little too far into the nails for me to feel comfortable cutting them. So I took her to the pros.

At the store, waiting to get nails done.

At the store, waiting to get nails done.

She did better than ever, not even once crying out for me. I always have to move out of sight during the procedure or she’ll make a big scene. Or worse, use her mind control. But not this time. The nail docs told me she didn’t even resist. And I was listening just outside the door and never heard her, so I believe them.

“Good girl, Lucy,” I told her as we walked back to the truck. “Since you were so brave, would you like to hit the drive thru on the way home?”

That would only be right, came the response.

And so we went. With the windows halfway down, Lucy received compliments from both the fast-good money collector and the food presenter – at both drive thru windows.

On the way home, we shared some fries. She had a burger coming to her and knew it. But that would wait until we got home for two reasons. One, it would be her birthday burger and still needed candles. Two, Bella was getting one also for turning a year old in August (which exact day we’ll never know so she will simply celebrate on Lucy’s special day each year…Bear would want it that way).

Grabbing some fries on the way home.

Grabbing some fries on the way home.

Once we got home, Lucy sported her new nails and sat patiently alongside Bella. Pia ceremoniously lit their burger birthday cake candles, we all sang Happy Birthday, and walked outside to make the presentations.

Birthday burgers

Birthday burgers

Outside on the deck, Pia placed their plates in front of them. Bella attacked hers and it was gone in a flash. Lucy, never satisfied with doing anything the boring old normal way, turned her burger dining into an art form. She licked the top bun first, somehow causing the entire thing to fly into her mouth while the rest of the burger remained on the plate.

It gets even better.

Next, she used her big Leo tongue to lick the underside of the burger, causing just the lower bun to disappear into her mouth (I still don’t know how). Now only the patty remained on the plate. At this point I’m laughing and pointing at Lucy, asking Pia how in the world she did that. Pia smiled, I silently kicked myself for putting away my camera a few moments ago, then watched Lucy make short work of the patty.

Only Lucy can make a show out of having a hamburger. And the whole thing reminded me of the time Lucy and Bear made hot dogs together.

Happy birthday to Dragonslair’s Lovesong Melody’s P Litter, to Lucy, and to Bella.

Lucy and the Cat Smackdown

NO one saw it coming. Not even the cat.

There is an uneasy peace between the cats and dogs in our home. One particular cat, Trinity, has always had a strong dislike of any canine. The other two cats tend to do okay with them, but Trinity always gets into scuffles. She is fearless and eggs the dogs on, too. Taking boldness to a whole new level, Trinity used to attack our German Shepherd every evening. She’d smack him in the nose with her nails fully extended (sometimes causing them to bleed), then he’d go for her with jaws wide open. Back and forth, every night.

Trinity "the Sphinx" Stuller

Trinity “the Sphinx” Stuller

[on a side note, when the Shepherd crossed the bridge, Trinity moped around all sad looking for him. I'll never figure cats out]

That was all years ago. Fast forward to today.

Trinity is up to her usual tricks. It’s not uncommon to hear her hiss loudly, then the thunderous sound of Lucy giving chase. Lucy, like our previous dogs, only seems to chase Trinity and not the other cats. I think it’s because dogs can sense who doesn’t like them. And they’re not about to take much attitude from a little cat.

Then last night, Lucy broke new ground in the cat/dog dichotomy. I heard Trinity hiss, watched her crouch down low, and then it happened. Lucy gave her a one-paw smack down. Right on the poor cat’s head.

Lucy's weapon of choice

Lucy’s weapon of choice

It happened in a flash. Lucy extended her huge, right Leo paw, spread her webbed edges wide (making her paw appear twice its size), and swatted hard on top of Trinity’s head. Trinity went down even closer to the ground under the crushing blow, then scampered off (with an extra long hissssssss).

I heard my 13 year-old son, Tony, gasp and say “OH my gosh! Mom you should have seen what Lucy just did to the cat!”

My heart froze. There were witnesses.

I ran and slid across the floor on my socks to get a better view of Tony, while staying out of Pia’s field of vision. Our eyes locked and I made the “sword across the throat” gesture with two fingers. Tony stopped in mid-sentence and smiled knowingly at me. He said no more.

But this only increased Pia’s suspicion.

“What did she do?” Pia demanded.

I had to say something. “Nothing to worry about. Trinity was giving Lucy a hard time again,” I replied unconvincingly.

I pet Lucy and advised her not to get caught doing stuff like that. “Psst. Hey. Don’t get busted doing stuff like that, okay?”

No response.

Eventually, the tension passed and Tony and I told Pia what had happened.

I do admire how quick and efficient Lucy whipped that paw out and landed it with deadly accuracy.

Never underestimate a Leo.

Lucy in the Room

Lucy grows into a smarter and sweeter dog each day. She’s now firmly entrenched as a member of the family and everyone treats her like a star. Which is a good thing, because if they didn’t they’d get the “canine pre-licked plate.” : )

I have also noticed slight changes in the Luce as she matures. The most obvious would be her coat. It’s grown out so nicely and fully she literally looks like a Lion when the breeze hits her right. She has developed quite a mane.

A more subtle change I see is that she is more expressive. She was always vocal upon the return of a high-value human (I’m happy to be counted as one of her favorites). But increasingly, she maintains this demeanor long after the person’s arrival. She even requests to be pet and hugged much more so than she used to.

Maybe we’re growing on her…much like her coat.

Lucy taking a well-deserved break.

Lucy taking a well-deserved break.

She is also a little (just a little) less stubborn. Oh you still can’t boss her around or anything. And don’t dare expect her to run excitedly towards you when called. But she is more willing than ever to comply when you ask her over. Just a few weeks ago, for example, Lucy and Bella slipped past me out the front door. I called them both back. Both looked at me. Bella turned to continue to run off and explore the area around our house. Lucy hesitated, then walked straight towards me.

Good girl.

She’s a great alarm clock, too (even if you don’t need one). Each morning, Lucy tells me if she thinks I’m sleeping longer than needed. She lets out a certain “wake up” sound with her Leo voice. Then she slaps a few licks on me in rapid succession. If I turn away, she ramps up the noise. If I turn towards her, she ramps up the licks. One way or another, she gets her message across.

At this point I usually invite her to jump upon the bed to buy some time. Because she’s fairly large, I have to prepare a wide landing pad for her. 90% of the time, she’ll jump up and nap next to me for a few minutes. The warmer the weather, the shorter her duration upon the bed. It just gets too hot for her, even with AC and a dog fan blowing in the room.

All of this is welcome and I really appreciate it when I’m away. I’ve been traveling a lot lately and the days can tend to run together. Some mornings wake up (still half asleep) thinking I’m home. My mind plays tricks and convinces me Lucy is in the room. Then reality sets in, I see the unfamiliar surroundings of the hotel room and think “this sucks.” Next a look at the calendar to count how many days until I can go home. And wake up next to next to my better half. And of course, Lucy the Leo.

But this just makes me appreciate those mornings when I really do wake up at home all the more. And Lucy really is in the room. Even if she’s waking me up too early.

Isn’t it great to have dogs in your life? They make all things good.

Give your dog a hug and a “high paw” today. They deserve it.

Lucy Didn’t Do It

Sometimes a “deposit” is spotted on the carpet in our home. With three cats and two dogs, the list of suspects is short. And since each could be sick enough to forget their manners at any time, the source of said deposits is sometimes the subject of controversy.

Recently, there was something unpleasant on the carpet. While no one caught any creature in the act, the clues began to present themselves. Clues such as size, for example. Four out of five of our pets would be considered small. Lucy, of course, is the big one so if something big materializes, she jumps to the top of the list.

“Lucy left a surprise on the carpet in the basement,” Pia told me when I came home.

Uh oh.

“It couldn’t have been Lucy,” I replied. “She’s been feeling fine lately.”

Pia eyes narrowed.

“I think it was Bella,” I said. Not sure why. Bella wagged her tail at the mention of her name, totally unaware that I just threw her under the bus.

The kids are too old to blame, or I might have gone there next.

“No,” Pia said. “It was your Lucy girl. In fact, she did it twice.”

Uh oh.

“It couldn’t have been Lucy,” I insisted. “She doesn’t do those things.”

“Oh really?” Pia asked. “Then how do you explain this?” At that, she lifted Lucy’s tail and, well, let’s just say it appeared there was some light circumstantial evidence that Lucy might have been involved.

Uh oh.

“Well…ummm…” I stammered and suddenly became interested in some flowers near my foot.

Pia waited patiently, letting Lucy’s fluffy tail drop down to it’s normal level.

“I think she sat in it, but didn’t do it,” I offered unconvincingly.

“Yeah right,” she said. Then there was an awkward silence, which Pia finally broke by asking me, “So are you going to clean her off or am I?”

“Well I’m not sure she did it, but I’ll clean her off anyway,” I said.

“Grab the garden hose,” Pia instructed. “I’ll help you.” I did, and held Lucy gently by the collar while Lucy’s Leo caboose got all dressed up again.

So Lucy’s all clean again. But I’m still not convinced Lucy did it.

Innocent until proven guilty.

Innocent until proven guilty

Innocent until proven guilty

Lucy and the Rainbow

It was Memorial Day, and Lucy had already finished an action-packed weekend. With daughter Selina graduating high school, and two family birthdays in the month of May, Lucy had enjoyed the constant stream of friends and family who came by to visit. And in her pure, innocent Leo mind, all of these visitors came just to see her.

But by Monday, most of our guests had to head back home. Some had as much as an 11 hour flight ahead of them, so hanging around all day was not an option. Duty calls.

Try explaining that to Lucy.

She played around with Bella and napped. She ate raw beef hearts for lunch and got a few pieces of steak from a generous human at dinner (using her mind control, of course). She showed me one of her best card tricks, and I thanked her for it.

Playing with Bella

Playing with Bella

 

Then in the late evening, she stood at the corner of the backyard and watched the fountains. After barking at a few passers by, she looked up at me on the deck and told me something was missing.

Lucy watches people by the lake

Lucy watches people by the lake

“What is it, Lucy?” I asked.

I received no response back, of course. Just that familiar deep, soulful stare. But something was clearly bugging her. And as good as I’ve become at reading her body language, I still sometimes have to guess when she makes vague “statements” like this.

So I took a stab. “And just so you know, I can’t bring all those people back. Before you even ask.”

A moment later, I learned it wasn’t all about the people being gone. Sometimes Lucy wants things that don’t even cross my mind. This was one of those times.

She gestured up at the sky with her dark black mask, indicating I should follow her gaze.

I did so and was startled to see a rainbow in the sky. It had not even rained! As soon as she noticed I saw it, Lucy wagged her tail and came over to me. She was immediately more settled.

Lucy's rainbow

Lucy’s rainbow

I guess she wanted a rainbow. I guess she needed something brilliant and colorful to finish her big canine party weekend. And a rainbow was just the thing she needed. “If you had told me you wanted a rainbow I would have got you one,” I whispered to her, hoping to save face.

She wasn’t fooled. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was the one who conjured up the rainbow herself. Not sure how, but she and a few dog friends on the other side could probably pull it off.

Such a silly puppy…