Terms of Endearment: Lucky, Luckster, Luckers, Lil’ Man,
Baby Boy, Demander, Stinker, Littlest One, and finally, Beloved.
Thanksgiving weekend 2004, Bend, Oregon: It’s six months after I found this wee pup running down the road. We’re sleeping on a futon I’ve dragged to the living room for quick access to the door. He’s got diarrhea and is vomiting every two hours.
Who knew this would be the first indication of life-long inflammatory gut issues? Lucky also had frequent urinary tract infections. In 2009, Baby Boy was diagnosed with compressed discs. He was subject to flare-ups in his gut, back and urinary tract his whole sweet life, making differential diagnosis difficult. He’d suddenly hunch up in pain, running around biting anything he could get his jaws on.
My role as pain manager grew, as did the apothecary I had on hand at all times. I’d try to discern what combo of meds to administer and when to vamoos to the emergency room for the big guns.
By the time he died, he’d become sensitive to new environments, so we couldn’t travel. He couldn’t see or hear well, or pee on his own (I learned to express his bladder). He had moderate dementia and other neurological issues that affected his gait (he walked like a drunken sailor). He no longer registered signals he needed to go poop. (Got it?)
I have 33 insurance claims for 2009 – 2017 alone for emergency treatment (pre-2009 claims from a different company are lost). He was seen by the vet, God knows how many times, for dietary indiscretions.
Example: While I briefly had my back turned, Lucky broke into a zippered suitcase to get at dark chocolate covered espresso beans that were sealed in their original package. Not only did he eat most of my treat, he cracked a tooth in the process, which I only learned of when I paid the bill for his annual dental cleaning.
You get the picture, but you should also know that through it all, he was a super-trooper. He was sweet, mischievous, smart, friendly and affectionate. Lucky drew people to him from when he was a pup. I’d meet folks who knew him through his god-parents or other friends who’d say, Oh, so you’re Lucky’s mom! A regular community dog. Everyone was Lucky’s favorite. His gregarious greetings were a source of delight; we all felt special to him. Even so, I must say the Littlest One adored his Auntie.
My life with this 12 pound wonder-pooch was one of challenge and tremendous joy. He was a teacher, companion and a muse par excellence. My world revolved around him for a blessed 15 years and three months. Lucky was the most demanding, humble and innocent guru I’ve ever known, and I, his faithful adherent. He taught me the nature of non-attachment, equanimity, joy and impermanence.
After Lucky lost the use his back legs, we had one last stellar weekend together. His Auntie Janice and I cuddled with him on the sofa the night before he died and watched My Neighbor Totoro, one of his favorites. During a sweet, earthy ritual at home, he scarfed down hamburger, a previous dietary no-no.
Surrounded by immediate family and god-parents, Lucky died peacefully in my arms, just shy of 16 years old, on May 19th at 2:40 PM. But just seconds before the injection that ended his life, the Luckster offered a parting gift: He wagged his tail. Vigorously.
Avec amour, always, Krayna
Image: This is the back of a 2.5 x 2.5 “Tiny T-Art Book” I made from teabags.
Title: Lucky, Nose for Truth. A Biography. A pure muse he was, and remains.