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Reaching the Limit, Even for the Dog

I think all of us at some point have reached our mental limits during this Covid crisis. I certainly have. Some days I function as if nothing is wrong in the world, but other days, I've found myself sitting on the floor in tears.

And who comes to my rescue when that happens? My dogs. They sit with me and lick away my tears, endure the crushing hugs or even at times put their own paws around my shoulders.

Dogs know when things aren't right, and it seems to me their happiness is tied up with our happiness. If I didn't have them, I don't know how I would get through this. True, I have other pets. I have three hilarious parrots I love dearly. We talk to each other, although the truly in-depth conversations are a little one sided with their answer being "Tickle tickle bird." And if you hug a bird too tight, their little eyes bug.

Dogs offer a different sort of companionship and devotion.

My two are Mini Aussies, and herding dogs in general are a bit of control freaks. I can't walk through the house without one of them bump drafting me. If Lucy can't find Raven, she's searching every room and inch of the back yard until she finds her. Raven, on the other hand, is the ne'er do well sibling who sits and watches Lucy do perimeter checks and everything else that looks like work.

Something happened this week that made me realize Lucy doesn't always have it together as she seems too.

A week's worth of way to close powerful fireworks had really put both Lucy and Raven out of sorts, but Lucy seemed affected more so than Raven. Lucy spent half of two nights with my husband's arm wrapped around her in bed. Her usual spot is at the end of the bed or on the floor next to it.

Yesterday when one of our smoke detectors began the annoying "change the battery" beeping, Lucy had reached her limit. It's awkward location meant I had to wait for my husband to get home to change the battery, which meant two hours of the beeping.

Lucy disappeared, and I found her crowded underneath our deck. Despite being out of the sun, the heat underneath seemed stifling. I managed to talk her out with the promise Dad was on his way home from work, but even at that, as soon as she greeted him, she took off again refusing the dog cookies both of them eagerly wait for every day when he comes home.

She still refused to come in hours later. It's hard to convince a dog even one who's scary smart that the problem is gone.

At 8 p.m., I went to the door to see if she would come in, and what I saw both broke my heart and my me smile at the same time.

When we first got Lucy as a puppy, we had Lily. Lily was old and blind and not a good playmate for a puppy. But Lily was still the happy laid back dog she'd always been. For weeks, Lucy slept with her back snuggled up to Lily, and when Lucy realized Lily was blind, she led her around by the ear as her personal seeing eye dog. Lily didn't need one, but Lucy believed it her duty to take care of her.

Lily passed about ten months later, and Lucy was devastated. For months she would go sit by Lily's grave, and when we got Raven, she wouldn't let her new little sister near the grave.

Last evening when I looked outside, Lucy was curled up by Lily's grave. She had reached her limit of stress and found her comfort by making a connection to Lily. I know dogs grieve and like us move on from the pain, but after two years, though, Lucy still misses her pal, and sought out Lily to help her.

Lily had the sweetest soul of any dog I've ever known, and everyone loved her.

Even now, she's still soothing us in stressful times. Lucy still needs her, and I realized so do we.

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