Sunday, September 27, 2009


Following Lucy

I realize it would be understandable to accuse me of prejudice, but Edward is a most intelligent dog. When he is dozing by my chair, he never fails to snap to attention when an animal comes on the television. (Grizzly bears seem to be his favourites.) When we watch the Westminster Dog Show he sits right in front of the screen like a child from the fifties watching the Lone Ranger in his footy pajamas. I am convinced that he knows when the UPS man is coming to the house long before the man even knows himself. And if I point at something, he looks where I point. Now that one is a rare talent for a dog - try it, you’ll see what I mean. I do have to admit however, that as an only child who grew up with very close dog companions all my life, I tend to credit them most highly in pretty much every area...intelligence, kindness, wisdom.
But to be fair, this has only once caused me any problem.
Only once.....

Years ago, the Songwriter and I were staying at a lovely little inn in a particularly bucolic setting. Tucked away high in the mountains, far removed from the hoi polloi, this was a charming place with verdant mountain trails singing out for exploration. The inn had, as all good inns do, a resident dog. A large, elderly girl named Lucy, she was usually to be found lounging on the front porch, ears half-cocked, keeping a drowsy eye on things. Her one well publicized occupation was that of trail guide. Whenever anyone would start out on a hike, the innkeeper would encourage them to, “
Take Lucy along! You’ll have no need of a map, she knows the way perfectly, and she loves nothing better”. This sincere admonition was even included in the inn’s brochure and of course the idea naturally appealed to me. And sure enough, when we headed out, Lucy jumped up, eager to lead the way.

We hit a gorgeous trail, following her at a brisk pace until the inn was out of sight and we were beginning to wonder exactly which route she had selected for us. Having been told that each trail formed a long, wide loop that would eventually lead us back to the inn, we were a wee bit disconcerted to see that we seemed to be travelling, not in a loop exactly, but rather in sort of a hexagon. (At one point we found ourselves in the back garden of singer Perry Como’s holiday cabin. Yes, really. Seems this particular property featured a small, and fairly fetid, duck pond which was an irresistible feature for our exalted four-footed leader who wasted no time in diving in and retrieving a duck who was, sadly, in one of the latter stages of malodorous decomposition.) I kept faith with old Lucy, up hill and down valley, continuing on for another hour or so. But soon, it became painfully apparent that the skills of the dear girl had waned a bit over the years. Either that, or her sense of humour was more highly developed than her owners had ever realized. We were lost. Well, two of us were. I was still reluctant to give up on Lucy’s heralded abilities completely, so when she suddenly turned and headed straight up a densely wooded hill almost as if she was thinking...”
Oh yes, by Jove, I have it now!”.... I turned to follow.
The Songwriter, who to be honest, had voiced sincere misgivings about the head of our hiking party all along, could finally stand it no longer. “
You are not going to follow that dog into the wilderness! You are not! There is a road here somewhere and we are going to get on it and find our way back!”...
What about Lucy??”, I wailed.
Suffice it to say, I was informed, in so many colourful words, that Lucy was, well, on her own.

So. After a winding, and fairly arduous, trek up a mountain highway, we eventually made it back to our inn. Tired, filthy, and seriously bramble scratched, with muddy boots and cloudy moods, we climbed the steps to find our dear Lucy sound asleep in her comfortable spot on the porch.
I swear I heard a chuckle as we passed.

43 comments:

  1. Well now, Lucy did know her way back, didn't she? Hahaha... I love it! I'm off to bed a smile on my lips. Thank you for this, and for your heartfelt comment on my blog earlier.

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  2. very entertaining story, but I can imagine it didn't fee entertaining when you thought you were well and truly lost...

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  3. A lovely story well told and beautifully illustrated, such a wonderful painting you have chosen.

    My dog does not understand pointing at all, he seems to think it means about turn.

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  4. What a fantastic story, and so funny too. Yes, dogs are remarkable creatures. My Ralph watches out for animals on the TV too! Suzie. x

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  5. Our last Westie, the darling Jock, used to get so excited when he saw animals on television he'd run into the next room to try to get behind the television to see where all the beasties were hiding. Always love a doggie post! Leigh

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  6. I am laughing at this! I guess Lucy must have been thinking that the joke was on you...of little faith-or that of the Songwriter.
    They are so smart sometimes-it's scary.

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  7. Great story! Go get 'em Lucy!!Bet she wags her tail each time the phone rings for a booking!

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  8. And a chuckle it was, indeed. Lucy sounds like lovely company. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  9. what a great story to start my day with. Put a smile in my heart and laughter in my eyes. Thank you for sharing your talents of story and your wonderful family. I love Edward and his smile. We used to have a little lady named Sunshine that looked very much like Edward. She would go out each morning through the doggy door and go swimming during the summer months in our pool. Her beautiful white coat had a mysterious shade of green by the end of summer.
    Thanks for the good morning wake up call.

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  10. Hello P&E,

    And I thought it was dogs who have unfailing confidence in their owners! Glad you made it back.

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  11. Men just HATE getting directions from a woman or from a dog! Loved the story and I agree, Edward has an extremely high IQ, I see it in his eyes! :)

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  12. LOL a dog with a sense of humour.

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  13. OH my! We watched Marley and Me last night and that was the best movie for dog lovers! Enjoy your day!

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  14. Love it! What a lovely story. I am sure Edward is far too kind and thoughtful to ever play a trick like that!

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  15. I have that image on a trivet. A friend brought it back for me from a visit to England. I love it! (It's a whippet, after all.)

    I learned long ago: always trust the dog. Always.

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  16. I just popped in to say hello. I can not resist a blog that has a dog in it. Loved the story.

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  17. Our Siamese cats used to sit in front of the tv when cats came on and follow their every movement.

    Of course Edward is intelligent, he is beautiful too.

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  18. Love that story, Pamela - I'm sure Lucy WAS having a chuckle and thinking "oh, yea, of little faith".
    Judie

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  19. Well told! I love a dog with a sense of direction AND a sense of humor. I especially love the detail about the fetid duck pond in Perry Como's garden! xoxo Gigi

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  20. La la Lucy, what a dog. A fantastic telling, Pamela, and the illustration provided a good foreshadowing.

    I hope you reported to the innkeepers and asked for a little compensation, like an extra night for free? :)

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  21. This is a beautiful story! I think we really have to trust our dog, they know so much!!
    If I see my Ralph running somewhere and I see his little nose going up and down, and than he starts barking, then you must be sure that he has found something! It 's always so nice to discover what his treasure is!
    Yes dogs are so intelligent creatures!
    Have a nice weekend and thank you so much for all the comments on my posts, it means a lot to me!

    Greet

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  22. I really enjoyed this story knowing full well Lucy would get home before you. Lovely painting.

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  23. Lucy had it on you! I love this story.

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  24. What a hysterical story! She did take you for a wild ride, didn't she!?

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  25. delightful story, pamela...I don't doubt for a minute lucy was chuckling all the way home...

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  26. What a great story, I really enjoyed reading it:) One of our cats loves a nature programme we have over here called 'Springwatch' - she pats the screen when the small garden birds come on and goes round the back of the TV to see where they have gone to:)

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  27. I know just what you mean. My dog, Jack would look exactly where I pointed and even go check out the spot. And that's a cute, sweet story. I got a kick out of it.
    Edward is definitely cute and he even looks smart. Love him.

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  28. one of my dogs watches tv, it's so funny!!!! great story, as usual. my poor dog has been so sick. :( infected paws. I wouldn't wish that on the meamest dog in the world!

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  29. That's a hilarious story! Lucy had the last laugh that day didn't she?

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  30. Pamela! I confess to falling into each of your posts as I would a sumptious down-filled bed. Each one has a restorative quality for me that is unmatched in the blogosphere! Your writing style and turn of a phrase make my heart sing!

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  31. I don't know what I love most: this very charming story or the image of Edward watching the Westminster Dog Show.

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  32. What a entertaining dog Lucy was;fabulous story. If I were to get lost, how terrific to end up in Perry Como's backyard?! I always wondered if dogs really see the t.v.? My pup tends to watch too but never really knew if she actually focused in on it. Right now she is watching Top Gear. She loves the BBC! Great post Pamela ~ greetings to Edward

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  33. Dear Pamela and Edward. Sadie Mae and Jacqueline sat down to read your blog over pumpkin pie. Sadie thinks Edward is the most handsome boy she has ever seen. The story of Lucy had much adventure for you all! We enjoy your post, mama and pom pup both say hello!

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  34. Pamela, I've said it before and I say it again...you are a magician with words. This is yet another evocative post, superbly crafted.

    Thank you, too, for being such a loyal bloggy friend during my frequent absences from the Blogosphere lately. I hope now to be back, writing and reading, at full steam!

    Now I'm off to play catch-up on the rest of your posts. xx

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  35. Pamela, this is a splendid tale, as usual!

    Long reign Queen Lucy!...This channels imagery of Lucy Pevensie, insisting that she knew the way in Narnia when others doubted. Ah, out of the mesmerizing imagination of C.S. Lewis...

    I love the Greyhound in the painting! Tara approves:-)...

    Our Bailey is one smart little Sheltie. He also watched televison, opens Tara's crate and the baby gates. He's only 5 /2 months old so it should be interesting to watch him master even more feats.

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  36. Haha what a sweet story!

    Skuzzy looks to where I point too.. I was surprised because I sincerely thought only humans did that, and only later in life (I know babies look at your finger too!)

    Another thing Skuzzy does is she understands words stuck together.. like fetch X or Where is X? I also thought only humans could do that.

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  37. What a great way for me to end my day..reading a wonderfully funny, post....really this could be in a movie!

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!