They love each other. Sam’s big. Lucy’s small. They’re inseparable. When we all take a walk together, she scoots around underneath his belly. He’s always careful not step on her. He weighs 100 pounds. She’s ten pounds.
They eat together. First one bowl then another. Each one politely letting the other get a bite. No pushing. Lucy claimed the job of telling us when the water bowl is empty. She stands in it and tries to scoot it around the kitchen floor. She gets a treat for her hard work. Sam watches on fondly, like a doting uncle spoiling his young niece on the first day of summer with a mint chip ice cream cone.
Last Fall Lucy was seven months old when we brought her home to meet Sam. As soon as we came into the room, he quietly lowered his body and stretched out on the floor. His massive brown head between his white paws, he was at her eye level. Lucy immediately bounded over to him. Sam didn’t move a muscle as she checked him out, carefully licking both of his black-tipped ears. Then Lucy did that puppy-squeal thing and leapt up in the air when she spotted a tennis ball across the room. She fell over herself as she raced to get the ball. She dropped it on the floor in front of Sam. She made us all laugh. Sam too.
Sam’s old, almost 14. That’s really ancient for a big dog. We love him so much. We all worry about his getting old and dying. We worry about Lucy. She’ll miss him terribly. I can’t tell her what’s around the corner. If I could make her understand, how could she prepare herself? Would she put up all sorts of defenses? Distance herself so it won’t hurt so much? Back off and love him less?