PARENTHOOD: A Boy and his DogI think it’s good for children to have pets. They learn about caring for other living creatures, which helps ease them away from their basic nature that the world revolves around them.
By: Jim Lindlauf, Grand Forks Herald
I think it’s good for children to have pets. They learn about caring for other living creatures, which helps ease them away from their basic nature that the world revolves around them. There’s feeding, watering, grooming and exercise as well as the occasional lessons involving life and death. These are all invaluable experiences for boys and girls. This story is about one such pet, Lucy; a dog that was a dear companion of our family for 14 years. Our son, Carl, has had a few animals be a part of his life, but none have been as close as our dear Lucy.
I always loved the name “Lucy,” and sometimes imagined using it for a daughter. After my wife, Sue, told me she didn’t think naming a child “Little Lucy Lindlauf” was a good idea, we compromised, and used the name for our Labrador Retriever cross puppy (Little Lucy the Lab).
Lucy entered our life in 1992, and I could tell you many stories about her early years, but I’ll jump ahead to 1996, the year Carl was born. A few people warned us that dogs would be jealous of a new baby, but Lucy adored Carl from the time we brought him home from the hospital. Sue walked in the door, placed Carl in the basinet, and attempted to give Lucy a little attention after being gone for several days. Lucy wanted nothing to do with Sue, but instead stood peering at Carl, her tail wagging. It was love at first sight.
A toddler can be a little rough on a dog, and Carl certainly tested “Uff Uff” (his pet name for Lucy) enough times. He would sometimes grab Lucy’s hair, but she would look at him and wag her tail. He tried to ride her like a horse on more than one occasion, and would often drag her around the house on his little adventures. Wherever Carl went in our yard, Lucy acted as his shadow. Lucy was the gentle, patient protector, always looking out for her little friend.
Lucy and Carl would play hide and go seek together for hours. Carl would go upstairs and hide, then I would tell Lucy to go find him, and she would. I think she enjoyed it as much he did! Lucy loved to retrieve sticks, and Carl learned early on how to throw them for her. They dug holes together, and played in mud puddles. Carl shared his snacks with Lucy, and she brought him sticks to throw. They were best friends.
Carl, at one point, was afraid to go to sleep by himself in his own bed, but could manage if Lucy was in the room. When we went into the basement during a tornado warning, it was Lucy he wanted by his side, not Mom or Dad. When he was scared to go upstairs by himself, it was Lucy who would accompany him.
I had initially selected Lucy to be my companion, but in the end I realized she was something far greater: She was Carl’s first friend. Lucy loved Carl, and he reciprocated the affection, spending hours on the floor curled up with her. There is a strong chemistry between a boy and his dog, and there was something incredibly strong between Carl and Lucy.
Carl was good for Lucy, but more importantly, Lucy was good for Carl.