Yesterday afternoon, we made it official. Lucy Peach Ariel Hannah is now a member of our family.
When we first met her, she was terrified. She cowered behind Mrs S, the woman who has been fostering her for the last three weeks. She had her tail between her legs, her head down, her little body shaking ever so slightly.
Winston wanted to play. He was trembling with excitement. Luau had to hold him back. Lucy wasn’t ready.
Katie made the first move. She sat on the floor with Mrs S and Lucy. She stroked her gently. “It’s ok, sweetie. It’s ok,” she said softly.
Brooke squealed. “It’s Winston’s best friend,” but she made no move toward her. They both needed the same thing. Just a little time.
Lucy’s story is in her eyes. It’s also in the way that she avoids stairs and drops to the ground in a lump when anyone approaches her. It’s in the long scar along her back leg – the one that had to be repaired when her first owner kicked her so hard that it broke in two places. It’s in the stiffness of her gait.
Katie saw it all. “How, Mama?” she asked plaintively. “How could anyone do this?” I didn’t have an answer. “People can be cruel, baby.” I said. ” I’ll never understand why.”
When she was ready, Brooke came to sit down with Katie and Mrs S. She reached out and patted Lucy’s head, then kissed her back. And then she walked away.
Mrs S told us that when they’d come to rescue her, she’d been so frightened that no one could get near her. They had tried desperately to collar her, but she’d run away each time. It was a five year-old little girl who finally managed it. She was the only one of whom she wasn’t afraid. With the little girl, she knew she was safe.
There was no question that we would take her home.
When I spoke last week with the woman down in Louisiana who was responsible for her, she said the following. “I’ve seen a lot of applications for this dog and I didn’t know why none of them felt right. Then I got yours. And I knew. We’d been waiting for you. Yours is the family that this dog deserves.” It gave me chills when she said it. Still does.
Mrs S had a hard time leaving her. She had planned to help us bring her into the car, but she couldn’t do it. We thanked her for taking such good care of her and she left without another word.
We were concerned that Lucy would be nervous in the car. Mrs S had told us that she didn’t like car rides so much – that she might be scared.
Just to be extra safe, we crated Winston in the back of the car and put Lucy between the girls. She plopped herself down like she’d been there all her life. I snapped a picture before we even left the parking lot.
And kept snapping as we drove.
And my heart nearly exploded as I took the pictures. Because my God, you see it. Don’t you?
Do you see what I saw?
Look at Brooke.
Really, really look.
Her posture, her face – her hands.
It’s all in her hands, really.
Do you see it?
My girl is absolutely, positively AT EASE with this dog. This dog that she laid eyes on for the first time some half hour before these pictures were taken.
A SECOND dog in our family.
I’m still scratching my head.
I need you to understand this. I really do. It’s important.
My girl wasn’t afraid of dogs. She didn’t dislike them. She wasn’t uneasy around them. No, what she was was TERRIFIED. Truly, completely, absolutely morbidly TERRIFIED.
She shook like a leaf when a dog came onto her radar. It could be across the street – if she could see it, she was shaking. Her hands turned into tight claws. Her entire body tensed for flight. She made a noise that can only be described as hooting. She scrambled up the body of the nearest human. Her fear was visceral, overwhelming and heartbreaking.
Any new home, it was the first question. Visiting friends, relatives, my dad. Either the dogs were cordoned off or she was. There was no choice.
Now, there’s this.
Welcome to the family, Lucy Peach. It’s been quite a journey for all of us, hasn’t it?
But the past is the past.
And I can say without a doubt that right now, you are in exactly the right place, little girl.
And so are we.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart to all those involved in bringing Lucy to us. I’m not an overly religious person, but there is no doubt in my mind that what you’re doing is God’s work.
Please, if you are thinking about a pet, please consider a rescue. Lucy’s story is heartbreaking, but not unique. www.PetFinder.com