Sunday was Mother’s Day. Our daughter brought dinner and wine, a plant for her mother, and of course our grandchildren, 11 and 8.
The kids, with help from their father, had given their mother a lovely flower arrangement.
The five of us ate, drank, talked, and played games. But in all this festivity, one more mother was . . . well, not overlooked. Rather, celebrated not for her motherhood but for herself.
Lacey, a thirty-pound English Springer spaniel mix, came to us about five years ago from the Columbia County Humane Society. She had already been a mother at least once, maybe twice, by the time we met her—but that was all behind her. She came to us as a spayed four-year-old.
She was a bit shy but soon meshed into our household routine. In temperament and docility, as well as looks, she was a reincarnation of Walt Disney’s “Lady,” from Lady and the Tramp. She loved to go on walks, to play and frolic in our backyard, and especially to sit in our front bay window and yap annoyingly at anyone or anything in the street outside.
Lacey trotted into the vacancy left by our previous dog—a superannuated Siberian husky. She was a welcome change of pace.
We discovered that Lacey did not have two brain cells to rub together. She could play all day chasing stray light reflections around the living room. When she saw a dog in front of the house, she ran for the back door so she could bark at it in the backyard. But her lack of intellect was overbalanced by her sweetness.
Lacey’s sweetness was legendary.
If she was Lady, her Tramp came along in the form of Midnight, a terrier/husky pup about twice her size and endowed with an unreasonable share of rambuncity. He was doughty, all male, and became her loyal foster brother.
Our neighbors have a gorgeous male Siberian named Bruce. When Bruce is in his backyard, and especially when he deigns to come to the fence, he is a rock star. Both Midnight and Lacey unleash an orgy of barking, running, jumping, and hysteria. Bruce then pees on the fence and strolls away.
Midnight spends most of the day patrolling the backyard for signs of Bruce’s approach. When Mister Cool makes his appearance, Midnight erupts in a cacophony of barks. Lacey springs from her perch in the bay window, races out the back door, and zooms across the yard for the sighting. The sight of Lacey dashing to the fence on stubby legs, stripping her gears, is both comical and endearing. Worth the price of admission.
Lacey has given us her full measure of love and devotion.
What I am leading up to, Dear Reader, is that Lacy’s afterburner has been quenched. No more headlong dashes on Bruce patrol. Last year, at around age eight, Lacey developed a cancerous tumor in one of her mammary glands. The veterinarian removed it surgically, with a good margin around it. Lacey bounced back from the operation, and we hoped for the best.
But the cancer came back. It was clear that no matter how many surgeries she endured, the cancer would keep coming back. We opted to let her live out her life as best she could.
The past few months have been a good time for Lacey. Only recently have her energy and her appetite begun to flag.
We scheduled a peaceful passing at our house Monday, May 10, assisted by Journeys Home, a veterinary euthanasia service.
Our Mother’s Day, May 9, was shadowed by this foreknowledge. Near the end of a happy time, when our daughter and her children had to say goodbye to their lovely little friend of the past five years, the floodgates were opened. It was a rough way to end the day. But an honest one.
I told them that if we want the love, we must bear the grief. That about sums it up.
The vet will be here in a less than two hours to escort Lacey on her next journey. She has been a good dog. What more can be said?
P.S.—The traveling vet arrived on schedule. She was gracious, caring, and capable. Lacey departed peacefully, mourned by quiet tears.
Larry F. Sommers, Your New Favorite Writer
Author of Price of Passage—A Tale of Immigration and Liberation.
Price of Passage
Norwegian Farmers and Fugitive Slaves in Pre-Civil War Illinois
(History is not what you thought!)