It will be especially poignant next spring when tulips bloom in the garden. There’s one grouping, in particular, that I will appreciate even more because Lucy helped me plant the bulbs.
My beagle mix didn’t dig except when I loosened the soil and prepared it for planting bulbs. She’d mosey down the path, nuzzle my face as I knelt in the garden, then sink her front paws into the soft dirt and start digging. Her holes were deep and perfect, so I’d plop in a bulb. Tail wagging, she’d give me a toothy grin as I shifted her over, and she’d dig another perfect hole.
We planted “Shirley” and “El Nino” Triumph tulips. “Shirley” is an ivory-white tulip with soft purple splotches that blooms mid- to late season and turns light purple as it matures. “El Nino” is pink mingled with apricot, yellow and a barely-there streak of purple.
After six or seven holes, she lost interest and wandered away.
Lucy reigned over the garden as Queen of Everything and Princess of Quite a Lot. My terrier mix Andy and Jack Russell terrier Ollie were — and still are — the court jesters.
She was my constant companion. Whether I was planting, pruning or putzing, she was at my side. When I built the patio and path, she shadowed me as I fetched and carried bricks and arranged them in place. Later, as I swept sand between the seams, she and her jesters slowed the process by happily rolling on their backs in the sand.
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She wore a trail along the fence line behind the long border. As she grew older and cataracts took her sight, she still followed her beagle nose along the trail. She loved the scent of old-fashioned roses, lavender, rosemary, sweet purple petunias and geraniums.
I lost my sweet Lucy last week. She was 13. Three years ago, Dr. Jerry Den Herder saved her life when her heart murmur bloomed into congestive heart failure.
Two months ago, she entered the final stages of the disease, but her spirit was strong. I was grateful for those eight weeks with my happy, affectionate girl. A week ago, we finally lost the battle.
Her vets, Drs. Tom Taylor and Lori Cherney, were right: “She was a fighter … and a very good dog.”
My heart is broken, but those tulips will be a blooming testament to our forever bond.