Almost 4 years ago, I started working at the shelter in Yuma. One day, hubs came by, we walked the kennels together, picked out a sickly little pitty pup to foster, and…. she sort of never left. She grew up with our two labs, Jack & Buddy, and became our stealth puppy…. illegal in base housing because she was dog #3 and because she was a pit mix. I named her Lucille McGillicudy Ricardo, from I Love Lucy in case you didn’t get the reference. Just after a year post adoption, I was looking for a home for rent that would take not only a pitbull mix, but 4 dogs as well. We got lucky, and were able to move north to Washington state. Unfortunately, Lucy had a prey drive that just never ended well for her. At first, it was the chickens….reasonable, considering they were a natural prey for a dog like her. Then came Mabel as a target. Again, super unfortunate, and we did our best to just keep them separate. Then she decided to take on the cat, and the goats, and that’s where things headed downhill towards the inevitable. You already know the end, that’s why we are here. It’s not fair to let her injure other animals. It just isn’t. So, instead of a gory story, I’ll just continue with this.
After the Doc came to look at Rosie after the last attack, I had a lucid conversation with him & came to the same conclusion I had weeks prior. The only difference was, this time, I was acting on it instead of postponing. I got Lucy out of our daughters room, took her outside for a potty break, then let the vet sedate her. Of course, true to form, it took a second injection to truly sedate her. We snuggled. She licked my hand. She got more & more quiet, and eventually laid down, with her head in my lap. We waited until she was really sleepy, then I repositioned and laid down next to her so I could hold her and bury my face in her neck, and the last injection was given. Seconds later, she was gone. I could feel her take her last breath, as her fur absorbed my tears. My girl, that yes was super livestock aggressive, but was also super stranger aggressive and saved me at least twice from strangers trying to enter our home. How does this even happen? I loved her, with all my heart. I was literally heartbroken when we finally brought Panda home tonight and had to tell her what happened, what I did without her being there. I had to be the one to do it, no one else could. Euthanizing for illness or injury is one thing….. behavior is a whole other ball game. I know in my heart of hearts that she would have never thrived in another environment. I love her, still. She’s my girl. Will I be judged for euthanizing her? Yes. Will I care? Yes. Absolutely. Do I feel like I did the right thing? I feel NOTHING. Just numbness. I am so numb, you could shank me and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I loved that dog, more than our own kids sometimes. But, here we are… Lucy is gone, a hole will be dug, and she will spend eternity under an apple tree in our backyard. I said I’d never own a pitbull, mix or otherwise. I don’t know that I could ever do another one. She broke my heart, but she also taught me to love her, against all my better judgement.
My favorite blogger wrote something a while back that sits with me now. “Feel it. Love what you love. Trust. Be devoted. Give in.” I love you, Lucille McGillicudy Ricardo Carrigan. Thank you for loving our family.