I Love Lucy

Lucy is my dog. I want to be more like Lucy.

My wife’s friend Marilyn stopped by with her friend Gayle. The visit was intended to be brief as they had been at the hospital nearby all day. Gayle’s husband has had a grueling battle with throat cancer for the past 18 months. Gayle had only ever been to our house once before. The pain and stress of her dying husband was visible all over her. Her husband had recently contracted pneumonia and had been moved to full hospice. He was now unable to speak or move. His body was in its final shutting down process. His end was imminent.

Gayle’s 8-year-old twins had said their final goodbyes to their dad just earlier that day. When my wife Georgia asked how she was feeling she said, “My heart is broken into a million little pieces. I am completely lost.” And she started to cry. It was then that my dog Lucy went up to Gayle and put her chin on her thigh. After a few minutes Gayle got on her knees to pet Lucy. Lucy licked her tears, and for the first time in many months, Gayle smiled. Gayle hugged Lucy and really started to let it out. For the next hour Gayle shared the love she has for her husband and the pure anguish she has been going through. All the while Lucy never took her head off her lap. She never stopped comforting her.

Out of all of us there it was only Lucy who was willing to offer her unguarded love and comfort. Lucy showed me how I could be if I were more open to expressing and giving of my love. That day, and really most every day, my dog Lucy taught me how to be a better human.

Dog is God backwards. When I observe my Lucy or other dogs I often think this must be what God is like. Maybe that is why they are here—as our teachers.

If only we could learn to be more like dogs. Dogs are:

  • Color blind – Black, white, Asian, Indian, Texan or Lithuanian, dogs see them all the same, love them all the same.
  • Rich or Poor – Dogs are completely nonjudgmental. The wind in their face out of a VW bug is just as exhilarating as out of a Mercedes. They don’t care if you have a palace or a card board box. They love you, not your possessions.
  • Easily entertained – They don’t need exotic travel and fancy vacations. A dusty stick and a willing arm is bliss.
  • Joy – They express joy, readily and openly. With the slightest bit of your attention they wag their tail wildly.
  • Enjoy – They constantly practice the art of stopping to smell the flowers. The warm morning sun streaming in the French doors or cool grass and a slight breeze is heaven on earth.
  • Vulnerability – They readily exposed their belly to offer you their trust.
  • Forgiving – No matter what you did or didn’t do to them an hour ago, they readily forgive and don’t hold grudges.
  • Patient – They will wait all day for you to come home. Even if you are late they aren’t mad; they are only thrilled to see you.
  • Tough – If they bang their head, they shake it off and don’t pout.
  • Persistent – My Lucy is a gracious but persistent sales “person.” When she wants a little something from your plate she will sit a few feet from you and just stare at you with her big brown eyes. If that doesn’t work, she will daintily come up and place her chin on your thigh (as seen in the picture) and leave it there until you relent. If she had insurance to sell you, trust me, you’d be leaving our house with your new policy.
  • Welcoming – Imagine how we could make people feel if we expressed our excitement every time we saw someone as a dog does every time you come home or someone stops by to visit. Every time I come home from traveling, it is my dogs (besides my beautiful wife of course!) that I am most excited to see. Why? I think because I know they are going to be so excited to see me.

Let’s not miss this opportunity to learn from God’s teachers. What has your dog taught you? How do you want to be more like your dog? Tell us in the comment section below.




36 responses to “I Love Lucy”

  1. As a dog trainer and lover of dogs I can share so many similar stories. In a funny coincidence I just posted a podcast today that talks about this very topic: http://thegreatdogadventure.com/episode53.

    My friend has a therapy dog and the stories he tells of how dogs comfort and know just when need them most. They really are exceptional creatures and friends, and you’ll never get another relationship on this planet like that with a dog.

    I’m very sorry for your loss Darren and my thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. Dear,


  3. I remember the night my grandmother died, the first loss of a close relative I ever had. I just shut down. Our cairn terrier Lady always slept on the end of the bed. That night she curled up on the pillow by my head and stayed until morning. It helped more than I can say. As I told a friend when he emailed me about the passing of one of his poodles, “In this sad and violent world I sometimes wonder if people have souls, but I KNOW dogs do.”

  4. I loved your post. I have 3 grown German Shepherds that I love more than I can say. Everything I do to try to make money on the internet is so I can afford to buy some land out of town to give them more room. We live in a small mobile home because I am permitted to have them here and so many people refuse to rent to anyone with dogs especially big ones like mine. What really bothers me are the number of people that tell me I should give them away so I can live in a nicer place. They don’t understand that without them a mansion to live in wouldn’t make me happy. I would move into a tent if that’s the only way I could keep them. I am an RN that caught Hep C and am unable to work full time. These dogs do more to keep me fighting this dreadful disease than any doctor could. I make sure I take good care of myself so I can be around to make sure they are loved and taken care of. I know God will continue to watch over us and we will find a better, bigger place to have more room and be able to take in a few unwanted dogs that need a home. Thanks for your post and all the comments from people that understand what treasures animals are, loaned to us so we can get an idea of God’s love for us through them.

  5. Dog is better to me as friend than people specialy in this time.


  6. As I wipe the tears from my eyes from reading this inspirational story. I am blessed with my own angels from heaven. My dogs are my children and they are the only ones sometimes that can bring a smile to my face or make me laugh.

  7. Darren-

    I hardly ever reply to blogs, posts, etc…but this one I had to comment on!..about 15 years ago my dad had passed…and it did not hit me until a few months later…I was sitting on my bed all alone in the house as every one was somewhere else…there I was sitting on my bed with my hands on my knees just wailing my eyes out and all of a sudden my dog “Sheba” forcefully pushes her head between my leg and hand to get closer to me and just starts howling along with me…wow!…it felt so good to know that she knew that I was hurting and she wanted me to know that I was not alone and she loved me!!!!!!

  8. Wow, that was such a moving story. I am still in tears as I write this now. It is so true animals offer us an unconditional love and acceptance, that we can learn from.

    My two cats are my teachers, I learn to receive from them everyday. Animals are so healing and a blessing to have around.

  9. Great story, and cute picture of Lucy-Lu. I absolutely agree that dogs teach us many lessons. One lesson I have learned from my beloved Mr. Big, a miniature Poodle I rescued last year, is to “Live in the Moment”. Dogs don’t dredge up the past, and they also don’t worry about the future. They are simply happy to BE. My dog has taught me to don’t worry – be happy! PS I love Lucy, too! (and Texas Boy!)

  10. I am huge dogs lover… I can’t let dogs go. I must have dogs with me all time in no matter what.

    One thing that you forget about dog….. Once you pat your dog… you will feel less stress.

    Dogs make people get less stress. So pat dog lot!

  11. It is not just dogs, cats also can give this love, but not as consistently breed to breed. We had a wonderful MaineCoon that whenever anyone in the house was sick would just sit with them and love them. I once fell off a ladder and broke some verterbrae, needing to lie still in bed my companion most of the time was Taffy our adorable MaineCoon.

  12. Beautiful message. I agree so much with you, our dogs are like Gods. My cocker spaniel, my best friend, just died last May at age 15. He lived a long and happy life in our family. So much emptiness is now left in my heart since he left. During those 15 years, I personnally went through many difficult times on a personal level and my dog’s presence has made it so much more easier for me to go through those obstacles and challenges. He made everything better. Why, because he was the first one to greet me at the door when I came home, the one who watched me go each morning, the one who stayed by my side when I had breakfast in the garden, the one who comforted me when I would cry of discouragement….We shared an unconditional love together. Noiraud died in my arms last May. He is buried in our garden near the rasberry bushes he loved, close to where I could go and talk to him. R.I.P. Noiraud; you will forever be in my heart. I love you…..

    [DARREN HARDY] Beautiful story about Noiraud, thank you.

  13. We lost our 9.5 old pug unexpectedly on Monday; we are heartbroken. We have a 10.5 old Boston terrier that has been doing the same thing with us as Lucy did. She is offering comfort, licking our tears – and she lost her best friend. Dogs are amazing. RIP Chloe; my little sunshine girl, Mommy loves you.

    [DARREN HARDY] Michelle, I am so sorry to hear about Chloe. I know how heartbroken you must be.

  14. We have four dogs now, all given to us cause people couldn’t keep them. Since we live on a small 420 acre ranch they love it here. Sometimes we admit not having a desire to to go for a walk but because of them we always go from 2 to 4 miles a day. Dogs have to learn to understand our language, but I was taught over the years to understand dogs, horses and cattle from paying attention to them. It has taken me a lifetime to learn the things they display while it only takes them a couple of years to learn our language. I know who is the fastest learner! The most stubborn of them very often prove the most intelligent if we keep trying.

    Dogs are the most loyal friends we have. We have had dogs that would place themselves between us and something that they thought was dangerous many times. Few people would do this. It makes me sad to see a dog waiting for someone to come home only to see that someone just walk by and ignore the dog. If we humans did this to a human friend, we would lose that friend but the dog just accepts the human weakness and keeps right on loving.
    There have to be dogs and other animals in heaven or to me it could not really be heaven.

  15. I am and always have been a dog person, really an animal person, my whole family have always loved and appreciated animals. I am so sorry for your friend Gayle but her husband is well now and I believe still the same person who still loves his family. I have so many special dog stories but one I want to share especially. When I was a baby my parents bought a Collie named Mike. He was a beautiful sable. Once when I was about 2 and my mother was pregnant with my sister, we lived in the country. I somehow wandered off and my mother was hysterically searching all over the 100 acre farm and finally found Mike and me both covered in mud I was crying in frustration at not being able to get into the pond. Mike had churned up quite a bit of mud pushing me back sitting me down on the bank, we don’t really know how long it had been going on but we all feel he would have stayed there keeping me out of the water until help arrived.

  16. Thank you for sharing Lucy with us. Mine are the same – I am always woken up each morning by multiple kisses, nuzzles, and playful whines by my three (also all rescues.) They are always extremely happy when I come home and follow me from room to room. My cats are always ready to be picked up and snuggled with when I’m blue. My horses are always ready to give me kisses and whinny as soon as they see me or hear my voice. If people loved each other the way animals love us for simply taking care of them, the world would be a much happier place.

  17. There is nothing like the unabashed love a pet shares with his “family”. Through grief suffered due to loss of a loved one, another’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, a perceived family crisis, and even the day to day squabbles between husband and wife; not a tear is shed or a voice raised with emotion, that our faithful 8 year old Golden Retriever is not “johnny on the spot”. He appears from nowhere, a paw on your leg, sometimes a whine, if his presence is not enough to dispel the emotion his keen sensitivity has registered. I am a healthcare professional and would give anything to understand and bottle the gift he tirelessly shares, as counselor and confidant extroidinaire! (And all of this for a daily walk, belly rub, ear scratching and a few dog biscuits!…It doesn’t get much better than this!)

  18. I alwasys envied a dog’s life. Now I know why? I never really thought of them being like God. But having known and knowing God, I can see the same characteristics. If you think a dog is like that, God is even better. He offers eternal life to those that don’t deserve it.

  19. Lucy gave Gayle an immeasurable gift. There are no words to express the loss Gayle and her family has experienced. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.

    Truly, dogs are great teachers and consolers. During a difficult time in my life, I was sitting on the floor crying one day when my dog, Buster, came over to me with his favorite toy. He placed it in front of me, and then nudged it closer as if to say, “Here Mom, if you play with this it will make you feel better.” Of course, it made me smile and I gave him a big hug. Dog hugs work wonders! That little guy helped me through several rough spots. Buster is gone now, but I will always treasure the memories of his loyalty, caring and love.

  20. Great to read a story like this which instantly brought tears of thankfulness for the wonder of unconditional love. Our older dog always seems to know when someone needs some extra love. She seeks them out and stays close for however many hours she feels is necessary. She was my saving grace during months of dark depression and gave motivation to get out for a walk. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us to be more true to our innate spirit.

  21. What a touching story. I’ve seen a list of traits exhibited by dogs before with the idea that we should be more like them but never connected to a story liked this. Ironically, my wife and I were with a family member this past weekend who is just home from the hospital with double pneumonia and is extremely weak. His cat exhibits dog-like traits like I’ve never seen before but generally will not jump into his lap (there’s a limit on cat affection, you know). But now his cat jumps up into his lap, gently licks his hand and sits patiently, watching over him. Yes, we should show our love unconditionally as we server our ‘master’.

  22. Puts so much into perspective, I’d had my beloved dogs for many years. They were perfection to me, more so than most people I’ve ever met. We do learn
    what is truly important and NOT, about our lives by observing an unconditional
    love and dedication. God is a great example of exactly what animals such as
    they portray and represent to us as an entirety! We miss our most recent loss
    after realizing she was trying everything possible by certain ‘eye signals’ to warn
    about a hazardous condition. Unfortunately passing away before we discovered
    this toxic environment, we’re forever grateful for having her while she was here.

  23. In my darketst hours my dog has been there for me in that very same way. A head placed softly on my lap and no expectation. Just unconditional support and love. They just seem to know when you are in need most. Thank God for them :)

  24. I have a sticker on my car that says “Wag More, Bark Less”! It is a constant reminder to be grateful for what we have and not complain about what we don’t have or what seems to be not going our way. I have 6 dogs, all mutts, all rescued strays and they truly love with an agape love that illustrates how much God loves us!

    [DARREN HARDY] You are doing great work ILisa rescuing dogs. Lucy was a rescue dog. On my first date with my wife I showed up at the door not with flowers but with a bone for Lucy. We both fell in love that day. Oh, and it did score points with her mother!

  25. I agree completely Darren. Our dogs, all rescued golden retrievers, have helped me cope with my disabilities and to see things in a more accepting and joyously playful way. I just finished reading a fine book about an intelligent dog who wants to reincarnate as a man. The book is really about dealing with Life. Learn from Enzo as he helps his family!

    ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’ by Garth Stein


  26. When my family was on the verge of falling apart, it was our little mutt dog Sadie that held the family together. You’re right Darren, we should all take the time to learn from our dogs, or better yet just be the people they think we already are.

  27. Thank you for such a beautiful story. My heart goes out to your friend and her children.
    I’m glad you have Lucy in your life. Besides ‘dog’ being ‘god’ spelled backward, there’s a reason that, as the t-shirt I saw on Castro Street last week said ‘Dogs are the new children.’

  28. This article inspired me … I imagine that I am like that for my family…. but I do not outwardly display these qualities, I only experience them internally. I will make a point to show it and to experience it as often as possible. Thank you so much for this blog.

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