Have I ever told you about the dog’s cancer scare?
Before the rule of Sam, Terry Terry’s six stone bundle of Labrador fun, there was Lucy.
Lucy was a bit of a legend. She came to us at six weeks old after one of Mrs Terry’s friend’s dog got up the duff. Lucy’s mother was a pure-bred black Labrador called Cilla; this was considered the height of humour in El Porto. Of Lucy’s father, nothing was known other than his ability to jump a six-foot fence.
If there’s a better thing than a six-week-old puppy when you’re eight, tell me what it is so I can sort it out for my future kids. Because she was used to the relative rough and tumble of family life from such an early age Lucy was incredibly tolerant and put up with being dressed up and paraded down the road in a pram, being pushed down slides and jumping endless dog gymkhanas when I was going through a horse phase. To be honest, this phase is ongoing.
Mrs Terry had been a bit apprehensive about letting a black dog into her pristine house but Terry assured her that Lucy wouldn’t grow to be very big as she only had small paws. Lucy grew tall enough to sit with her bottom perched on the settee while her front paws rested on the carpet but maintained her dainty dog paws to the end of her days. By the time she grew so big Mrs Terry loved her too much to object to the Hound of the Baskervilles hogging the radiator.
In retrospect, Lucy did look like quite an intimidating dog: when she was riled by the postman, the paperboy, or just by a car going past she didn’t like the look of, hackles raised all along her spine, including a fine set of hackles on her head, giving her the look of an angry cockerel. The proudest day of Lucy’s life was when she pinned the electricity reading man against the back wall after he surprised her basking in the sun. But for all her fearsome looks she was very much loved by the Terrys, who knew that she was a gentle beast despite her blood-curdling bark.
One day, many years after Lucy’s slide-riding days, Mrs Terry, for reasons known only to herself, was examining Lucy in the area of her doggy breasts when she found a lump. Callous Terry tried to brush the lump off as meaningless but Mrs Terry reasoned, “If I had a lump in my boobs Sweetheart, I’d want it checked out.”
So, Lucy was taken to the vet and knocked out while her lump was removed.
Many hours later, the vet called and asked Mrs Terry if she wanted the good or the bad news.
“Erm ,the good news please,” Mrs Terry said nervously.
“Well,” said the vet, “the good news is, it’s not cancer. The bad news is, your dog’s just had liposuction.”
Lucy’s lump was just fat and everyone was happy except Terry who had to fork out for her slimming op.
Lucy lived to terrorise delivery men for many more years but it was only after her eventual death (of old age) that we found out about her secret other lives. About three days after she went to the great dog playground in the sky, strangers started knocking on the door asking where she was. One lady revealed she’d been feeding Lucy at 11.30am sharp every day for years. A woman and her toddler turned up, the toddler clutching a dog chew which she insisted her mum bought every time they want to the shop so that the little ‘un could feed it to Lucy through the bars of our gate. But the one that really broke my heart was the little boy and his brother who knocked on the door and asked if they could take Lucy out to play on the field.
“I’m afraid Lucy’s gone to heaven,” Mrs Terry told them.
The younger boy didn’t understand but the older one burst into tears on the doorstep. And when Mrs Terry shut the door, she was crying too.