Giving Thanks For Lucky

Friday, Nov 26, 2010 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (5)

This is the picure I took of my twins before they left for college this September. If it weren’t for the Emergency Animal Hospital in Fairfield, this farewell photo of my childrens’ childhood pet, Lucky, would in all likelihood never have been taken. Our 13 -year old springer spaniel underwent emergency surgery in July. The main thing I communicated to Dr. Hunt, the amazing surgeon was, “Please don’t let Lucky die just before David and Julia go to college.” I couldn’t imagine a worse send-off from home. In David and Julia’s eyes, Lucky WAS home.

So this Thanksgiving I am grateful for the skilled doctors and staff at the Emergency Animal Hospital who helped keep Lucky alive and healthy this year. All of Baristaville’s pet owners can themselves feel lucky and reassured knowing such an outstanding facility exists right here in Essex County, and that it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am sure that many pet owners in other areas are not nearly as fortunate as we are.

Lucky’s illness in July was a true wake up call to the thought our family had been suppressing for a while—no 13-year old dog can live forever. And, since July, Lucky has already developed some new conditions which hamper his walking and proprieception. Thus, we have seen Dr. Hunt again, and even consulted with the Hospital’s neurologist.

Without a doubt, though, Lucky’s still got his “mojo.” Among other activities, including sleep, Lucky loves to eat, to smell (which I’ve come to equate with reading), to wag his tail, to keep himself and his habitat clean, to bark at our long-suffering but good-natured mailman.

Family dogs are part of a family’s legend. I had Suzie growing up, my husband had Frisky, my father had Trixie in 1925 and my mother had Brownie in 1935. Already a legend in his lifetime, Lucky has been the “mayor of Glenview Road,” observing and watching the street from his favorite spot on our front porch. Over the years he has made his way to a neighbor’s kitchen, (she didn’t mind), across the street to a neighbor’s pool party, (she did mind), and to his friend Molly’s house a few doors down for nighttime visits (My friend Marge was glad to see him).

Talking with people about their older dogs and end of life experiences is not easy. Tears well up in peoples’ eyes as they remember their dogs and their last years or final days. I hope nature will be kind to Lucky and our family. I hope he will neither suffer pain nor the indignity of old age.

Right now, though, I am grateful for his presence. For all the years of love and pleasure he has given us. For all of the sitters who have cared for him and walked him when we couldn’t. For the South Mountain Reservation where he has pranced and sniffed like the athletic hunting dog he is. If you love your pet, I am sure you have similar feelings of gratitude, too.

This year, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving feast and your dog enjoyed the table scraps. I know Lucky did.


  1. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  November 26, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    What a beautiful piece, Janet. So glad your Lucky is doing well. As the owner of a senior dog (12 this past November), I relate to everything you said.

    I confided to our vet earlier this year that I wish I had the bucks to take Kelly to this fancy animal hospital in NYC to get a proper workup on her spinal/back leg dysplasia issues. She said to me, “There’s no cure for old age. You’re doing everything you can possibly do.” While this made me feel a mite better, it doesn’t erase the fact that we only have a couple more years with this beautiful soul.

    Enjoy every moment with Lucky. He is “lucky” to have you.

  2. POSTED BY MellonBrush2  |  November 26, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    Lucky is lucky, indeed, to be blessed with such a fine family.

    Janet, your piece brought tears to my eyes. All my pets, over the years, have brought me so much joy, I can’t imagine living this life without their love and companionship. The crushing grief that accompanies their departure are assuaged by the passing of time and the happy memories that last a lifetime.

    I wish Lucky good health and a beautiful holiday season to you and your family.

  3. POSTED BY croiagusanam  |  November 26, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

    Lucky may have more time left him. I have a 15 year old among my pack of curs, and while she does have trouble with stairs and has the occasional wetting well hey, so do I!

    She’s always been a great dog, but as the string runs out she seems even gentler, even more appreciative of a back scratch and a piece of bacon. It is extraordinary how affecting these animals can be in our lives.

  4. POSTED BY Erika Bleiberg  |  November 27, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    Janet, thanks for this lovely story, and for conveying the depth of feeling that people can have for their animal friends. My own Henry, almost 14, is one of the loves of my life, and I do indeed well up at the thought of losing him one of these days.

    While his behavior is sometimes mysterious to us, he is a steady and unfailing presence in the ebb and flow of family life, and loves nothing better than being with to his people. He brings his own brand of joy to our lives and is the most uncomplicated of all my relationships.

    I wish your Lucky content days and restful nights. It’s clear that he’s a fortunate fellow to be so well loved. Long may they run.

  5. POSTED BY abbyscoop  |  November 29, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    Janet thank you for sharing these beautiful feelings. My face and keyboard are soaked as I remember, Sam, the 15 year old lab/shepherd mix we lost 6 years ago. Mrs. M, you and your kelly might find relief, as Sam did, from accupuncture. I took Sam for monthly treatments for his joint pain, dysplasia for the last year of his life. The difference in his mobility and quality of life was amazing!

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