In 2011 when my daughter, Michele, moved to Carson City to stay with me, I never thought my life would change so dramatically in a moment. She brought with her a puppy called Lacie along with her older dog, Lexe. Lacie is an English springer spaniel ... mischievous to say the least, but adorable with eyes that seem to look right through you. Of course, she learned all her tricks from Lexe, who took her under her “wing” and taught her the ways of being a busy, trouble-causing puppy. My home has never been the same!
I had to step back and realize what life would be like with animals in my home; I never had a pet before in all my life! It was an eye opener to say the least.
Gone were the days when my house would be totally clean and sparkling; now it had hair all over and windows with smudge marks from their noses. Life changed for me and perhaps I changed, too.
Sadly, Lexe died a few years later, and Lacie was left alone to grieve and take over the role of “main dog” in my life. Lacie got under my skin like no one has ever done before. Since I lost my husband of 56 years in 2010, we both had much grieving to do together. She became my constant companion till my daughter and Lacie moved into their own home in 2014 here in Carson. She listened to all my sad stories of my life becoming a widow and how I missed my husband.
We would have nap time daily, and she listened with those dramatic eyes to my stories of the life I led before being alone after so many years of being a “pair.” I’m sure my story is similar to many widows, but having an animal so intelligent and caring makes my story a little different. Maybe we both got through this trying period together with our grief shared. She was young, and the young seem to bounce back faster than we oldsters who have so many more years of memories in our memory bank.
Regardless, Lacie and I have become close, even though we now live apart. She comes for her “play date” with me on Fridays and waits at her window for me till I come and pick her up. She knows grandma will be there for her.
She has the status of being my “grandchild,” and I treat her as such. She knows I give her treats when she comes over and sits in the kitchen till I do it! Her “greenie” and a low-fat cookie are part of her routine. Then she waits till I play with her in the yard or go for her walk. She’s a creature of habit and waits till I do these things or sits and wonders why I don’t. You can see it in her beautiful eyes.
Dogs have such wonderful instincts it’s a wonder to watch. You can tell what she’s thinking just by looking into those eyes. For someone who never had a pet, this is a first for me. I have learned so much about love and caring from this four-footed furry animal than I ever learned from humans. I had always read pets were wonderful for seniors, and now I understand what they meant. They change your life for the better, and I wonder what life was without Lacie in it. I do believe God sent her to comfort me when I needed it the most. It’s an unconditional love that’s there in her eyes every time she looks at me and brings a joy that’s hard to explain.
I have had many joys in my life through all these years, including my wonderful daughter, son-in-law, a fantastic husband, grandchildren, family, friends and colleagues in my business world, but the happiness of Lacie in my life takes a special place that can’t be explained. She brought a light into my life when I thought that light would never be there again. She’s a beacon of hope for my twilight years, and I feel I’m never alone or lonely because of her. She has taught me the meaning of unconditional love.