Golden Retriever Rescue [YGRR] was founded in 1985,
and if it wasn't for them, this happy picture of Lucy would never have been possible.
During the week of February 15, 1997, a puppy was found in the North End of Middletown,
Connecticut. Two reports were given. One was that the pup was found dumped on a
doorstep, in a basket. The other was that she was found in a dumpster. That pup
was Lucy, then named Precious.
She was taken to Pieper-Olson Vet Clinic, in
Middletown, where it was then learned that she was paralyzed from the waist down. YGRR was called and she was admitted into their program. She was
transported from there to Yankees Vet Clinic, Fremont Animal Hospital, in Fremont,
New Hampshire, where more tests were done. Soon after that, Precious was brought to Tufts
Vet Hospital for more extensive tests and it was determined that she suffered from a neurological injury, either
as a birth defect, or possibly from being dropped soon after birth, although no evidence
was found to support that theory. Their recommendation was to euthanize her. YGRR refused
and brought her back to Fremont.
At Fremont, her name, Precious, was being challenged.
Because she wasnt housebroken, she was constantly covered in feces and urine. Her
nickname soon became Not-So-Precious. Someone came up with the idea to rename her
Lucy, short for Lucifer. Dr. Audrey, Freemont's vet and owner, loves a challenge, so she
developed a plan to try to rehabilitate Lucy's paralyzed rear, at least to the point where
she could get along by herself. Lucy had always been able to walk on her front legs, but
she dragged her rear end with the result being constant sores and bleeding.
Audrey hoped that as Lucy grew, she would become
strong enough to support most of her weight on her front legs, and then be able to use
what little use she had of her rear legs to support her. It was not to be, however. One of
Lucy's legs was bent at an angle that hindered the use of the better one. Audrey tried,
under anesthesia, to free up the joints and tendons of that bad leg, but to no avail. She
made the choice to remove the leg so that she could concentrate on the better one. After
the operation, Dr. Audrey continued the physical therapy, using her own swimming pool in
the hope that swimming would loosen and strengthen the leg. It worked, over time, to the
point where Lucy would use the leg when she was running, but she still didnt use it
Lucy was sent to Riverview, YGRR's kennels in Hudson, Massachusetts, to try her luck at getting adopted.
Unfortunately, between her lack of house training, and her constant need for baths, plus
the sight of her dragging herself around, the staff at Riverview felt that Lucy was not
adoptable. They felt that it was unfair to Lucy to live the rest of her life in a kennel
and sent her back to Fremont with the suggestion that she be euthanized. It broke their
hearts, but they could see no alternative. At Fremont, one of Dr. Audrey's Techs had an
idea. If Lucy could somehow be housetrained, she would have a much better chance to be
adopted. She had fought too hard to live and deserved another chance. She volunteered her
parents to help house train Lucy and socialize her with their two YGRR Goldens. Those two
people were Chandler and Darlene Rudd, both members of the Rescue. This is the story from their point of
Our daughter, Susan, had been telling us about a
handicapped Golden at Fremont Animal Hospital for months. She now came home and asked us
if we could help this little dog out by taking her into our house. We were to try to
housebreak her and socialize her with our two Goldens, Maggie and Bennie. She explained
that this was perhaps the last chance for this dog to become adoptable. We really
didnt want a third dog, but Susan said that it would only be temporary. When Lucy
became housebroken, she would go back to Riverview and hopefully get adopted. I decided
that I wouldnt become attached to Lucy. I considered her a work in progress .
a job, so to speak.
We had our work cut out for us that first night. Lucy
was a sweetheart, but, oh my! The mess! We began by putting her on a schedule. Just like a
puppy, she would go out to 'potty' right after every meal, as soon as she woke up, and
right before bedtime. We praised her after each successful 'outing' and after a few days,
she was almost perfect. Sure there were some mistakes, but we could see that Lucy was
One night, Lucy was sleeping on the couch. I looked
over at her and watched as she dreamed. Her eyes, although closed, moved as she watched
something in her dream world. Her legs moved rhythmically as she chased it. I
wondered if she was still handicapped in her dreams, or if she could run as she had never
done. I moved closer to her, studying her face, looking at the perfection in her
features. Wondering why something so beautiful, so innocent, could be so imperfect.
As I drew even closer, Lucy must have sensed my presence. Her eyes opened a little, and
when she saw me so near, they opened wide in surprise. Then something happened that
changed everything. She recognized me. Her eyes softened, and she leaned closer to me and
gently licked my face. This one act went straight to my heart. I knew then that I was
totally in love with this little girl. I also knew that we would never part. All our plans
for her were now in our hands. She had found her 'forever home'.
We had originally envisioned Lucy being adopted by a
Physical Therapist. Someone who could use her disability along with her wonderful
personality to help handicapped children overcome the obstacles in their journey towards
rehabilitation. Dee and I felt that Lucy was put on this earth for a purpose. She had come
a long way and fought incredible odds just to get this far. Now we had a new
We wanted to, eventually, use Lucy to help others. It took almost one year. We worked with
Lucy, socializing her with other dogs, working her with people, especially children. She
loved children! We worked with a local Rehabilitation Hospital, and Lucy became certified
as a Therapy Dog to work in that hospital. Later this year, she was also certified by
Therapy Dogs International to work in any hospital or nursing home in this country or
We want everyone to know that Lucy leads a pretty normal life.
She has learned to swim like any other Golden, and spends hours retrieving her tennis
balls. She travels with us wherever we go. She rides in a modified jogging stroller when
we go on our walks, but she gets down and plays with the other dogs from time to time. She
has become something of a celebrity. Due in large part to the Internet, Lucy has her story
told in several publications, and her pictures adorn more than one website. We are
supported by a wonderful group of people who have stuck with us through everything.
Through a Golden Retriever List Group, my nightly stories on Lucy's progress drew comments
and cheers. It was that support that made us realize that we had a very special Golden.
We dont know how long we will have Lucy. So far
she has been extremely healthy, but with the immense strain on her front shoulders, we are
aware that this could be a temporary thing. In the meantime, Dee and I will do everything
in our power to make sure that this special girl lives life to the fullest, and happiest!
. . . And, she is definitely not
woobie deprived. Lucy simply loooves
woobies! She pulls all her favorites out of her toy box and plays with them all . . . at
the same time!
April 2008, The Goldstock Fund announced the addition of a new fund,
During life, Lucy’s courage, determination and unconditional love constantly
amazed and inspired everyone she met. All ages, all nationalities, challenged
and able-bodied—she touched thousands of lives both physically and
emotionally. Lucy was an active therapy dog, and a shining example of the
positive life force that can be found in all dogs. Click below to see her on the
job, as shown on NHPTV's Outlook Program on August 6, 2001.
Lucy's Legacy Fund, actually developed
from an idea by YGRR founder Joan Puglia to honor Lucy, will provide therapy dog
training as well as activities to
enhance the bond between people and their dogs. Proceeds from activities will be
given via grants to Golden Retriever rescue programs.
Partnering with other
groups that improve our dogs' quality of life, Lucy's Legacy
will be featuring educational and social activities that
explore the health, emotions, and behavior of canine companions. One such
LUCY, is providing guided workshops for developing each dog's emotional and
physical potential—so offering relaxation, recreation
and social events for people and their canine companions.
The following camp experiences are being planned:
Annual Dog Camp — for Goldens (all breeds
Wee Dog Camp — for dogs 20 pounds and under
Special Needs Camp — for dogs that require adaptive equipment or
Holistic Retreat — alternative therapies
Performance and Splash Camp — for the active outdoor canine
Therapy Dog training and testing weekends
The first annual
LUCY, hosted by
Camp Robin Hood,
will be held September 12-14, 2008 on Ossipee Lake in beautiful Ossipee, New Hampshire. There you can strengthen
the bond with your dog in the quiet tranquility of the White Mountains. All
meals will be provided by the camp and prepared by their gourmet chef.
Snacks and vegetarian selections will also be available.
Lodging in the camp cabins is included in the $200 price. Although lodging is
shared, the cabins are large and offer plenty of room for you and your dogs.
Check out the wonderful activities and workshops, your ability to
participate in as many or as few as you choose. Or, if you wish, you
can simply enjoy the weekend relaxing with your dog. The camp has a
beautiful sandy beach, large fields and miles of hiking trails. For
more info, email Chandler Rudd at email@example.com.
First aid and accident prevention
Introduction to tracking
Flower essence workshops
Introduction to land and water retrieving
Daily guided nature walks (on leash)
Canine Good Citizenship preparation and test
Movies and beach campfires
Senior Seminar: Develop and implement a comprehensive,
holistic, home enrichment program for your senior
"Feel Good" dog therapeutic massage cabin with certified
canine massage therapists to provide individual massage
sessions. Canine massage training provided on request (both
included in camp fee)
Click below to enjoy wonderful articles,
photos & video of Golden Lucy and her family back
Ready, Willing & Able: Man &
Best Friend Seek Out Those in Need By Maureen Cummings, Contributing Writer, Seacoast Newspapers, January 26,
Chandler Rudd of Hampton Falls rescued Lucy, his
Golden Retriever, who now works with people with disabilities. Lucy was born with
four years ago & abandoned at 5 weeks and Rudd adopted her. Staff photo Carrie Niland.
His compassion towards both people
and animals facing difficult challenges has led Chandler Rudd to touch lives in a unique
Rudd, who serves as transportation director for the
Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue in Hudson, Mass., reaches
out to the elderly, the disabled and the ill through his beloved pets, which are also
internationally certified therapy dogs (Therapy Dogs International TDI).
"I've always liked to help people. This is just a different way to
do it," says Rudd of his canine partnership. The Hampton Falls resident and his wife
Darlene regularly bring their two Goldens, Ben and Lucy, to
nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and hospitals. The dogs are used to comfort and
"Some people communicate better with animals than with other
people, especially the elderly. A lot of times, the dog brings back memories. Sometimes
you can reach people more using an animal, whether it's a dog or a cat," Rudd says.
Rudd explains that therapy dogs have been temperament tested to assure
that they behave around strangers, particularly the infirm, such as the elderly. They are
also certified to be obedience trained in all situations.
Training is on-going, Rudd says, adding that Ben and Lucy have been in
training since they were adopted. To be certified by TDI, the dogs are required to go
through an evaluation conducted by one of their testers.
Tasks the dogs are asked to perform include being able to heel on
command while walking on a leash, sitting by themselves without their owners for five
minutes, remaining calm while loud noises or quick motions are affecting their
environments, sitting quietly while being poked, pulled and vigorously rubbed, staying
calmly next to a person in a wheelchair and showing no aggression when a strange dog is
TDI also insures all of its members with a $3 million dollar liability
insurance policy. Both dogs also have the Canine Good Citizen Certificate (CGC). This
shows that the dogs have good personalities and can interact with other dogs and people
with a minimum of trouble.
Patients can particularly identify with Lucy, whose hind legs are
paralyzed as a result of spina bifida. "When they see how happy she is, it really
helps them cope," says Rudd.
Lucy first became certified through Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital
in Salem, where she visits children and adults who have disabilities, recalls her owner.
"She seems to connect with kids more than the adults."
Darlene Rudd, who is also a YGRR member, adds that animal assisted
therapy with Lucy is very positive psychologically. "When someone has lost a limb
they may say that they can't do something. Then they took at her (Lucy) and get a whole
Lucy connected immediately with a 9-year-old boy named Joshua, who also
has spina bifida. The two instantly became best friends after Rudd pushed Lucy in a
stroller alongside the youngster, who was also in a stroller.
Joshua asked Rudd why the dog was in a stroller, and whether she was
handicapped. When Rudd told the child that Lucy had spina bifida, Joshua's reaction was,
"Oh my G-d! So do I!"
"It's one of those things you can't explain," Rudd says. The
encounter with Joshua last summer energized Rudd to double his efforts to find more local
clients for Lucy to cheer up.
Lucy became part of the Rudd family when daughter Susan, who is an
intern at Fremont Animal Hospital, told her parents about the physically challenged dog
who had been abandoned. She pleaded with them to take Lucy into their home temporarily to
housebreak her and socialize her with their two Goldens, Maggie and Bennie.
Susan informed her mother and father that since everyone had classified
Lucy as unadoptable this would be her last chance. The recommendation was for Lucy to be
euthanized. The couple agreed to take Lucy in, initially thinking that she could be
adopted by a physical therapist so that her handicap and outgoing personality could be
used to encourage children with disabilities in their own rehabilitation.
During the days of hard work that went into keeping her on a strict
"potty" schedule after every meal so she could be house-trained, the Rudds fell
in love with Lucy and adopted her as a permanent member of the family. Lucy requires
almost no special care now, the Rudds say, other than to be helped climbing up stairs.
She walks using her strong front legs, pulling her rear legs behind
her. For long walks, Lucy rides in a modified jogging stroller. The Rudds also have a sled
Lucy uses during the winter months. "She loves to do all the things that normal dogs
do. She swims, plays with tennis balls, and wrestles with her brother Ben," Rudd
Because the Rudds believe that Lucy was saved for a purpose, they
pursued their idea of using her to help others. It took about a year of working with Lucy,
socializing her with other dogs and people, especially children. Now that she's certified
with TDI, she can work in any hospital or nursing home in the U.S. or Canada.
Rudd states that he has two missions for Lucy. The first is to increase
public awareness that special needs dogs can be a valuable addition to households. The
majority of these dogs, which may have seizures, amputated limbs or paralysis are
"I want to let people know that it's very rewarding to adopt these
dogs, probably more so than a normal dog, because she (Lucy) appreciates every day. Having
Lucy has enriched my life, and made me appreciate things I've taken for granted in the
past," Rudd says.
Having been a member of YGRR since 1989 and serving on the Board of
Directors for the past eight years, Rudd says he hears about all the Goldens who need
homes, especially the ones with problems. He says YGRR takes dogs that are turned in,
evaluates them medically, spays and neuters them and places them on a waiting list to be
adopted. He has rescued four Goldens himself (including Ben and Lucy), which he trained to
be therapy dogs.
Rudd's goal is for Lucy to continue to help those who need her. "I
just think she has a lot to offer, with how she copes with her disability and her cheerful
Besides his full-time job, and part-time snow plowing, Rudd spends from
one to 20 hours per week as director of transportation for YGRR. In that position, he is
in charge of transporting dogs from shelters and kennels to Hudson, Mass. He also
volunteers for the car donation program in which cars are given to non-profit agencies for
tax credit." I stay busy," he says.
The rescuer and his wife used to visit Northeast Rehab weekly, spending
from one and one-half to two hours with the patients. However, because of the time and
distance required to get there, they were unable to maintain that schedule.
"My regular work duties, plus the ever increasing demands on me
for my time with YGRR have caused us to try to focus on local areas," according to
Rudd. He also says he made a New Year's resolution to get more involved with local
visitations. His motivation for giving back so much to the community comes from wanting to
spread some of the happiness his pets have bestowed on him.
Recently, Rudd applied for his dogs to be part of the P.E.T.. Project
(Pets and Elders Together) at Rockingham VNA and Hospice. Jack Haynes, social work program
manager for the agency, says that approved pets (and their owners) visit long term care
and rehabilitation facilities as well as going to the homes of elderly clients who are
Haynes says interacting with the pets often brings back memories for
the elderly. "They enjoy them an awful lot." In the rehabilitation setting, pets
can be used to spur patients on to work with physical or occupational therapists, Haynes
says, adding that he will be working with Rudd to find out where he is most interested in
visiting and what his schedule in. He will then be placed on a regular schedule.
"I want to work with people that need her (Lucy) and help her to
help people," says Rudd, who never misses an opportunity to provide assistance and
hope. For more information, contact Chandler Rudd at 773-9660
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Man's Best Friends have Healing Powers
By Susan Morse, Seacoast Newspapers, August 4, 2003
HAMPTON FALLS - The work of
local pet therapist Chandler Rudd appears in a new book about the healing power of pets,
"Therapy Pets: The Animal-Human Healing Partnership." The book was published in
June by Prometheus Books, Amherst, N.Y.
In it, Rudd, a Hampton Falls resident, tells the story of his
golden retriever, Lucy, who was found in a garbage bin at 5 weeks old and left to die. The
pup had been born with spina bifida.
Rudd, who belongs to the Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue, adopted
her and another golden retriever, Ben, who had been chained outdoors for eight months and
had become aggressive.
Both Ben and Lucy are now both beloved pets and pet therapists,
having gone through training at Northeast Rehab, Rudd said. A good part of the training is
dog obedience to make sure the animals wont nip or bite if theyre pulled by
the tail or caught in a bear hug.
Lucy gets around in a stroller, and for short jaunts can lift
herself up on her front paws to move. Each Tuesday night, the dogs don green vests that
say, "Please pet me, I am friendly," and visit rehabilitation and long-term care
patients at Exeter Healthcare.
Chandler and his wife, Darleen, have been visiting the center for
three years. They also visit the oncology wards in hospitals - different hospitals have
different policies on allowing visits by the certified pet therapists - and the special
education class at the Garrison School in Dover.
People respond in amazing ways, Rudd said. "Theyre so
happy, they just love the dogs," Rudd said. "Occasionally, Im asked to go
in and visit people with brain injuries or who have suffered a stroke." One patient
who was unresponsive otherwise reached out to pat one of the dogs, Rudd said.
Patients can identify with Lucys infirmities, Rudd said,
and feel a special connection to her. One girl got out of her wheelchair after seeing Lucy
hop out of hers, Rudd said. "Thats what you see with children," Rudd said.
"Lucy connects with them."
Lucy sat by the bedside of an 11-year-old girl undergoing
chemotherapy at Maine Medical Center. This story is the subject of the chapter in the book
on the Rudds and Lucy. The book was co-authored by dog trainer Karen Pomerinke, of
Washington, and Jackie Crawford, a clinical psychologist in Moorhead, Minn. Crawford got
Rudds name from an e-mail list and asked him to submit a story.
Each Labor Day, the dogs get a weekend off, when theyre
joined by 500 other golden retrievers in the mountains of Pennsylvania for summer camp.
The camp is a fund-raiser for Golden Retriever Rescue.
In this photo, Bennie and Lucy are
patiently awaiting the arrival of three hundred children at the Garrison School in Dover,
NH where they will help educate the kids on pet ownership and coping with disabilities
This winning photo, taken by Teresa Bullard, from the
Bymyside Photo Contest so captures the special bond that
Lucy had with her family (and her ball, of course!)
On December 1, 2006 we received this heartbreaking
message from Chandler:
We think Lucy had a minor stroke a few weeks ago. Half
of her face is now paralyzed but we did a full battery of
tests, shy of an MRI and we found nothing. She's having
great difficulty getting around at all. She is still happy
though and we treasure every moment with her. Bennie, bless
his heart, has stepped up and will not leave her side. Last
night he even grabbed a paper plate from me (it had crust
from a pizza on it) and carried it to her so she could have
a snack. How could I be mad? Bennie has never begged or
counter surfed or taken anything from my plate . . . ever.
So, this can only be what it appeared to be. A simple act of
generosity and love.
I am sooo afraid that we will be asked to make the supreme
decision some day and it is already to hard to bear. I'm
also afraid of how Bennie will handle life without Lucy. His
whole life revolves around her well being.
On June 25, 2007, Deb Haggerty posted the news we all were dreading to hear:
Chandler just called and Lucy spent the day with he and Dee getting lots of
treats and lots of love. They looked at all options, and with breaking hearts
Lucy went to Rainbow Bridge about 30 minutes ago. Lucy had a life full of love
and the constant devotion of Chan and Dee. All of our goldens are special, but
Lucy was the picture of rescue for so many of us. Helen and all the bridge kids
will be there to welcome Lucy and show her the field of tennis balls just for
her. We love you Lucy and you will always be in our hearts.
And, on June 27, 2007, Chan shared his thoughts about the
family's heartbreaking final decision to let their Lucy go.
First we want to thank each and every one of you, our dear friends, who have
sent heartfelt good wishes to Dee and me. I cannot possibly answer the hundreds
of messages we received. I am truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from
you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Last night was the hardest night of my life. Period. I have never cried, second
guessed myself, or asked God for guidance so much. We were sitting on the front
lawn of our vets, Lucy, Dee, me, and Dr. Audrey. All of us were in tears as we
watched Lucy struggle. The pain in her eyes was finally obvious to me. As she
lay on her side, unable to get up, a cat wandered by. Her ears perked up and she
gave it her undivided attention. I was amazed. That was my Lucy.
The bottom line was there was no way for her to recover from this. Being a two
legged dog was one thing, being a one legged dog quite another. There was no
time frame for a recovery. She may not have recovered. She couldn't swim, one of
her favorite activities, and she wouldn't catch or even pick up her beloved
tennis ball. The look in her eyes was unmistakable. She was asking us for help.
Our proud, resilient, feisty, independent girl was asking us to do the right
We hugged her, told her that we loved her always and she returned our love with
soft sweet kisses. As the sedative took affect and she grew drowsy, she leaned
over and gave each of us a kiss. Our hearts broke then and we gave in to our
tears. She went peacefully, closing her eyes with a small sigh. We stayed with
her for quite a while, maybe not believing she was really gone. I watched for
the rise of her chest or a twitch of her paw. Finally we rose and turned to
leave. That's when reality hit me. I knew my baby girl was gone but when I
walked away it would be final. I felt that by walking out I was leaving my life
as I knew it. How true that is. We're just normal golden lovers now. We can walk
down the street without drawing attention.
We will look for Lucy's star tonight. Her spirit, I'm sure, is making an impact
at the Bridge.
This afternoon, I had to move Dee's car. I got in, started it, and as I began to
move, a song came on the radio. We have a CD player and it randomly selects
songs. This song stopped me short. It was sung by Charlotte Church and it is
called "What Love May Be." It was based on the theme song for the movie "A
simple Mind" and I think that somehow Lucy selected this song for me to hear.
The words are so perfect, the voice so clear, the music so beautiful. I sat and
sobbed uncontrollably. This will be the song I remember her by.
Lucy, you have quite a legacy. You have changed our lives forever. You are known
world wide and loved by thousands. You have taught many how to be courageous.
You have shown that a quality life is there for anyone if you just go for it.
You have shown us what is truly important in life, love and friendships. I will
continue, as we have for 10 years, living life as you have done, with zest and a
smile. It will be hard for a while, but because you would want it that way, we
will go on. We love you my sweet special baby girl. I will miss those hugs and
our nightly rituals. I promise I will care for your brother.
Till we meet again, Mom and Dad
On July 1, 2007, Chan shared more about Lucy's Star.
I arrived home around 10pm. Poor Bennie was waiting for me with his tail
hanging. We both went out into the back yard. I stood still while Ben wandered
into the woods. Looking up, I realized that there were no clouds. Millions of
stars studded the night sky. I wondered if Lucy's star would be visible. Hope
turned to disappointment as I scanned the sky. I saw the usual lights but not
one stood out.
"Maybe it's too soon," I thought.
Such a beautiful night, it was such a contradiction to the events that had taken
place earlier. As I gazed towards the heavens, something caught my eye. A light
streaked across the sky. A shooting star! It wasn't the usual faint streak but a
brilliant blaze that left a faint trail behind it
It vanished only when it disappeared beyond the horizon. As the faint rail
vaporized I realized what I had just witnessed. It was Lucy. Not only was she
telling me that she had arrived at the Bridge but that she could now RUN! Not an
ordinary run but a blazingly fast run, like a run that she had never been able
to experience while here on earth with us.
I felt it coming then. The grief, the sadness that I had tried to hold inside me
for the past hour came rushing in to me. I fell to my knees in the soft grass,
overdue sobs wracked my body. The realization that I would never see my sweet
Lucy again was just too much. I felt a nudge at my elbow. Bennie stood next to
me, staring into my eyes, a worried look on his face. I reached out and cupped
his beautiful face in my hands.
"Do you understand?" I asked him.
As if in response he pushed his head into my chest. I buried my face in his fur
and hugged him. I just didn't know how I was going to get over this. I worried
too about Dee. She stayed behind at Audrey's, making arrangements for a private
cremation. Lucy was her life for 10 years. She was her small child who never
grew up, never stopped needing constant care. Without Lucy, Dee's life would be
Fast forward to the present. As tempting as it was to stay home and wallow in
our own self pity, we decided to take Bennie and go to one of our favorite
campgrounds. It's on Cape Ann in Massachusetts and is a very quiet, peaceful
campground. We would have good quality time with Bennie, and almost more
importantly, almost no one there would know us thus avoiding the inevitable
questions about Lucy.
Last night was another beautiful early summer night. Not a cloud could be seen.
Again, the stars dotted the night sky. We decided to take a night walk up the
hill and into the woods where the tenting sites were. We left our campsite and
turned the corner to begin our hike.
There, just above the treetops, was a bright light perfectly centered in front
"Lucy's star!" I told Dee.
"It's an airplane," she replied.
"No. It's not moving. It's a star."
It was a star. The brightest star I had ever seen.
"That's her star, you know," I told Dee.
We looked at it as we walked up the long hill until it was hidden by the trees.
We took a long leisurely stroll through the campground and when we finally
headed back down the hill, I turned to look at Lucy's star one more time. It was
I thought that it must have set behind the trees but I realized that they stars
moved the other way and it should have been higher in the sky, not lower. With a
chill I knew I had seen The Star. Lucy was home at The Bridge and waiting
Dee and I want to thank each and every one of you for the hundreds and hundreds
of emails from around the world. Japan, South Africa, England, Scotland,
Australia. Every state in the country. The cards and flowers are overwhelming
but comforting. I never knew just how powerful Lucy's message was. She continues
to amaze me.
Writing this is my form of therapy. I have found comfort in my memories both
when Lucy was alive and now, in her absence. I'm glad that you all have enjoyed
her stories, I have my work cut out for me now. I have many more memories to get
down in print.
G-d bless you all.
On August 14, 2007, Chan shared more about Lucy and the Legend of
Lucy continues to do amazing things. Somehow she is finding ways to
influence people she has never met. Lisa Cadieux and Candice Carlon, two good
friends of ours and both lovers of Lucy, decided that a traditional sympathy
card would not do. They commissioned a woman to make something special,
something that, as it turned out, was so amazing that it has achieved a life of
It all started with the Legend of the Star. That's an old Indian story about
what happens to loved ones (be it people or animal) when they die. The legend
goes that the first clear night after your loved ones death, you go outside and
look up. There will be one star, much brighter than all the rest. That star will
be your loved one letting you know that he made the journey successfully.
The night that Lucy died, I went outside and looked up at the clear sky. Not one
star stood out from the billions up there. I was disappointed. "It's just a
legend" I thought. Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I saw a shooting star.
It went from horizon to horizon, leaving a red trail behind it. I felt t was
Lucy, not only telling me she made the journey but that she could run as she
Back to the story. I received a card from Lisa and Candy and on the cover was a
picture. The more I looked at it the more I couldn't believe what I saw. It was
amazing. The work, the thought, the talent. It will remain with me forever.
Here's the picture. Look at it closely. It's one of a kind.
(Here is a breakdown of Lucy's achieving the ability to fly on
So Sad to Say Goodbye to Bennie
On February 13, 2009 we learned the news from Chandler:
day 9-20-06, left for Rainbow Bridge 2-12-09
at a loss for words. My emotions are running from the depths of
grief to the realization that Ben is now pain free and is being
reunited with his beloved sister, Lucy.
Since Lucy's death a year and a half ago, Bennie just hasn't been
the same. They say a dog cannot grieve because they lack the
intelligence to understand death but I disagree. I think dogs
experience emotions and understand such things as sickness, pain,
and loss. Today, he asked me if he could be freed from the pain and
suffering. I looked long and hard into his eyes and knew it was the
In the last week, he has been increasingly uncomfortable. I've slept
on the floor with him for the last four days and neither of us got
much rest. We changed his meds with very limited difference. He had
a temperature and his breathing was very rapid. His tongue was blue
and his eyes had lost their focus. Last night he refused food. I
cooked a steak for him and he wouldn't even raise his head. I called
our vet and brought him in this morning.
Audrey walked into the room and said "Oh my G-d, Chan" and
immediately began crying. She examined him and found his tummy
distended. He was almost unresponsive at that time. We talked about
more tests and treatments and the possibility of putting him on IV
fluids and keeping him sedated but I knew what Ben had asked me to
do and I just couldn't keep him going for my sake. He's 13 and a
half and has not had a comfortable day in a long while. I remember
the advice I always give to people facing this very decision. "Don't
I went out to the car and brought Luke in. He walked into the room,
laid down next to Bennie and just looked at him. I laid on the floor
with the two of them and Bennie lifted his paw and put it on the
side of my face. For the first time in two days he looked at me. I
felt a feeling of gratitude and thought I heard the words "Thank
You". The three of us remained like that for a while. Bennie's
breathing, rapid and shallow, Luke's slow and steady, and mine in
sobs. We stayed like that for a long time.
Audrey came in and asked to let he know when we were ready and I
told her that we were. Minutes later, she came in with her kit and
began to work. I watched Ben's face for any sign of stress and as
Audrey injected the pink fluid into his leg, I saw the light go out
of his eyes. No sudden intake of breath, no twitch, just peace.
Audrey said that he was gone before the solution was fully injected.
"He was ready" she said.
As soon as Bennie had gone, Luke got up from his side and walked to
Audrey, wagging his tail. He then went to the door.
"He knows" she said, "and he's not sad."
I think Luke understood what was happening better than I did. I
should learn from him.
Now that we're home, Luke is at my side. When we walked into the
house, he sniffed Bennie's dog beds and came over and sat by me,
offering his big head for comfort.
Once again, my life has changed and will never be the same. The Lucy
and Bennie chapter has closed. Two amazing dogs that have done so
much for Dee, me and hundreds of others. It will be a while before I
can resume my life with some semblance of normalcy. I'm sure Luke
Please light a candle for my sweet red boy. He is now reunited with
Bennie loved that Lucas was pulling and
not him, and teased him unmercifully!
Bennie is not for Pulling Sister Lucy!
Bennie says, Whoa! Get that guy Lucas back!"
Sweet Miss Maggie is shown here in the
winter of '99, at Wagon Hill, a dog park in Durham, NH.
Here's Bennie at Wagon hill in 1999.
Here's Maggie &
125-pound gentle giant Jerry, who was 8 when he became a family member. When walking with
me, Jerry would lean his head against my hip. He was 12 when he went to the Bridge that
fall from cancer, and is still missed terribly. The photo was taken in 1996 on the flying
bridge of "Summer Paws," my 34 foot Silverton Convertible.
"Dee, Bennie and Lucy
Boating" Here's a typical day in the Summer. Bennie and Lucy are clearly
they take the dinghy to their favorite beach with Mom, Dee. Look at Lucy's face!
Wanna know what happens when it snows 30
inches, and then another 10 inches? Well, for one thing, poor Lucy has to stay in the
snow-blown paths so she can pish and poop! Check out these funny pix of Benny and Lucy in
their snow kingdom.
Here is Bennie & Lucy in the kayak
after everyone had left Goldstock. It was actually a demonstration
of my obedience
training as the kayak was very wobbly and Bennie and Lucy wanted no part of it!
There was a dock diving competition and
Lucy watched all the dogs jump. Then she walked over to the dock, asked me to help her up
and proceeded to go to the edge where all the other dogs had jumped off. The message was
clear. "I want to jump too!" and jump she did to the delight of all who watched.
On the agility course, Lucy had watched
me take Bennie through the obstacles. So she went to the starting point and waited for me
to take her through. I had to help her over the jumps and ramps, but she insisted in
running the flat part (as shown below) by herself. There wasn't a dry eye at the event.
Lucy is on the transom of our boat, a 36
foot Carver Mariner that I have finally completed
repairing...and will probably sell this