A few years ago (it’s a long story), I ended up adopting this decrepit looking elderly miniature poodle. The vet knew how to push my buttons, it was me adopting her, or her getting put to sleep. I didn’t realize then that most of her teeth were missing. I wondered why she wasn’t eating anything for a few days, and then I managed to look inside her mouth. Oops. Emergency canned cat food and a few google searches later (what do you feed a dog with no teeth?) and we managed to work out our system, dry dog food soaked till it’s mushy, it’s what she seems to prefer over everything else I’ve tried. Starving your dog for a few days is not among any hints I’ve ever seen for adopting a new pet, but she forgave me. Embarrassingly quickly.
She’s named Lucy (she had an underbite – before she had to get the rest of her teeth pulled – and she looked kind of evil, so one of my friends suggested Lucy for Lucifer). The name Lucy fits her, she is the shyest, scaredest little thing. She follows me around about one inch behind me (she gets stepped on a lot). When I sit, she wants up beside me on the chair. She sleeps almost all the time. This is not a frisbee catching, playful dog. We guess she’s maybe 13, but who knows. My cat is bigger than Lucy (and picks on her).
People write inspiring things about adopting an older dog, this is my first older dog (I mean that I got her when she was already old) and we have developed quite a relationship, but it’s not your normal dog/owner relationship. She is so needy. I am always looking out for her, rescuing her, making sure she’s ok (which is easiest to do when she’s up on the chair beside me, frankly). She is so dependent on me. She can barely see, I stand outside and watch her when I let her out, because she can get turned around and go off in the wrong direction and get lost. She can barely hear, so calling her doesn’t do much good. I run after her and when I’m close enough to pick her up, I do it gently, trying not to startle her too much. When I lose her, I am calling at the top of my lungs, because she’s so hard of hearing. I’m sure the neighbors think I am angry at her all the time.
When guests come over she gets confused by all the feet she crashes into, so I usually end up just holding her on my lap. I’m sure people think I’m a crazy dog person. But she runs around trying to find me, and I feel guilty. We’re alone a lot, but I do like to have people over and feed them and Lucy doesn’t know what to do with all those strange feet in the house.
And she never wants to stay home. If I am taking Xtobo, my other dog, for a walk, Lucy wants to go, too, even though she’s got to run along at top speed to keep up with us (and we’re not walking fast!), and it’s not like she really needs the exercise – she’ll get tired and have to be carried home.
Of all the dogs I never imagined myself owning, poodles have to be number one. And a miniature. Sheesh. Are you crazy? I know nothing about her former life, except that she was used to sitting on laps, and used to being fed bits of people food whenever people eat. So, spoiled. Loved. I can’t help but wonder what happened to her former owners, how she ended up out on the street, unwanted.
She is sleeping right beside me now. I’ve grown quite used to it.