Likes: sitting at my feet and taking trips with me in the car
Pet-Peeves: none - the most stoic contented dog you'd ever meet
Favorite Toy: old socks tied in a knot
Favorite Food: had to be when I cooked ribs
Favorite Walk: a 20 acre wooded area
Best Tricks: she wasn't a trickster
Arrival Story: Back in 1991 my home was broken into after mid-night while I was up and about. It was a very brazen burglar. I could sense he was in the house but didn't know it until he was gone. That's when I went out to get a guard dog. I actually went to buy two pit/rottie mix puppies. I picked out two and gave the seller a $10 deposit with the agreement I would return to get them in a week. But he turned around and sold them. However he offered to give me the mother, Lucy, because he noticed she liked me. She did warm up to me. He said she wasn't usually friendly with strangers. So I took her home.
She was skin and bones. She hadn't been well cared for at all. The only person in that house that I think missed her and spent time with her was the little girl. She cried as I took her away. Lucy had staph infection and red mange. She was also covered with mosquito bites since she was kept outside. I treated her for those problems and she quickly gained a healthy weight.
I could never understand why the previous owner said she wasn't friendly with strangers. My experience was that Lucy would roll over on her back when anyone leaned over to pet her. She was a total sweetheart and very affectionate. From day one she was a 70 LB lap dog!
I used to ride on my bicycle to the lake and she would run along beside me. It was good exercise for her. I'd also get her to jump 100 times or so almost every day. She had incredibly muscular legs.
At the lake there was a volley ball that I kept tucked under the dock. I'd pull it out and throw it in the lake and she'd run and get it. She loved this. But one day a gator about 8 feet long turned up about 100 feet off the shore. I almost stupidly tossed the ball over toward the gator to see what the gator would do. But thankfully my brain stopped my hand from releasing it! I waited to see what the gator was going to do. As soon as Lucy turned her back the gator swam after her. I yelled to Lucy and the gator stopped. That was the last time I ever let Lucy near a lake!
After that we would take walks in the woods. There was a 20 acre wooded area nearby and we had a place where I would go sit and she would hang out with me. I used to like to watch the sun set. After awhile she seemed to gain an appreciation for a good sunset herself.
I've never seen a dog that liked to ride in the car like this dog. She didn't care WHERE we were going. She just liked to go out with me in the car. And we took some long trips together.
As Lucy got older she still tried to be a puppy but she grew weak and would stumble. At first I used to crack up but then I realized each time she stumbled she was stumbling one step closer to the grave. So I just made sure to enjoy her as much as I could while I still had her.
I noticed a lump on her side that seemed to grow. I asked one lame vet about it and he didn't act like it was any big deal. But I took her to another vet and she thought it could be a cancerous tumor. So I had it removed and it indeed was cancerous. I immediately noticed her energy levels increase as well as her appetite. I have no doubt she was dying before the tumor was removed and the surgery extended her life by about another year and a half.
One day when she was about 12 or 13 she went out to do her thing and came back with a wound on her back. I touched the spot and big clumps of hair came off. When I cleared it all away there was a patch of hair missing about 1.5 inches in diameter. I could see 2 small punctures. I knew she had been bit by one of the big yellow spiders everyone calls a "banana spider". The next day I noticed she was acting different. It took a day or so to realize she had almost completely lost her hearing. Otherwise she was fine.
Her hearing never did recover after that. It changed her too. For one thing it changed her bark. It became very high pitched. She was still the same old Lucy but she got quiet and she was in her own world. And it was a transition to learn to communicate with her in an entirely non-verbal way. It took some effort to draw her out of herself too. She was always happy just to be laying near me--usually at my feet. That part never changed.
In her old age she was getting somewhat nervous. I couldn't help but think the hearing loss helped her to calm down and possibly extended her life. She was no longer so stressed out as she had been for some time over the least noise. She would sleep VERY soundly. And she slept all the time as she got older.
I found my other dog Patch when she was about 12 1/2. He is also a pit bull and a male. They got along VERY well. Never had a fight although Patch was very territorial about food. He helped her to get as much exercise as she could stand. He wanted to play with her constantly. She wanted to play too but she'd wear out fairly quickly. Still I noticed she was getting more active after he came along.
She had developed arthritis. I noticed this during the winter because she would constantly lick her paws. I accidentally discovered the benefits of vitamins at this time. I bought her some vitamins and noticed almost immediately that she stopped licking her paws. I continued giving her vitamins for the rest of her life and even though I noticed her shoulders seemed to be stiff she didn't seem to be as uncomfortable as she was before she was taking vitamins. So Patch has been getting vitamins almost his whole life.
I went out of state for 5 days and left Patch and Lucy behind. I had a 5 acre property so with feeders and lots of water they could live comfortably for extended periods. When I came back though Lucy had lost some weight. I thought it was because Patch wouldn't let her eat. But I had also previously noticed that she'd go eat when he was asleep. I thought maybe she just really missed me. She was waiting right at the gate when I came home.
I ended up moving to a place that had a smaller yard and at one point I tried to keep her in a kennel. Within minutes she grabbed onto the fence and just yanked on it until she was able to get under it. She actually bent the steel bar at the bottom. She was such a powerful dog even in her old age. She was always proving to be an escape artist if she didn't like being confined. She never did try to escape when she was on the 5 acre property even when I would leave her for a few days. She was very happy there.
We made another move and a few months after the move she really took a turn for the worst. I took her to the vet and they determined she was dying from liver cancer. She lasted another 2 weeks or so before I had to have her euthanized. During that time I gave her as much love as I possibly could. And she appreciated it too. I remember she kept licking my feet incessantly as if to say goodbye. I was glad I had the chance to say goodbye to her before she passed on. She's been sorely missed.