Southern Thing Column

We don’t deserve dogs but thank goodness they don’t know that

Below is an excerpt from Kelly Kazek’s column that appeared on It’s a Southern Thing. Click here to be directed to the full column.

I’m looking at My Trusty Sidedog Lucy, lying on her bed in front of the crackling fire. Those big eyes – the ones that earned her so many treats and got her out of so much trouble in the nearly 11 years she’s been by my side – still work their magic in my heart. I love my little friend.

Baby Girl called one summer day before her senior year in high school to tell me a beagle-mix dog had been abandoned by her friend’s lake house, where she was spending the day. “If we don’t take her, they’re going to take her to animal control,” Baby Girl said, her voice pitched high with worry. “Please, Mom? Please?”

Before I even hung up, we had a dog. Lucy had a short coat of white fur with brown spots and the softest floppy ears. She looked to be fully grown but still had some puppy in her features. We guessed she was 8 to 10 months old. My initial doubt over having a dog in a household that already had three cats was immediately diminished by the docile nature of the sweet puppy. She loved to be cuddled and she would lean all her weight into the person holding her. “She’s like a sandbag,” I told Baby Girl. And she was – floppy and interested only in lying where she was placed. Baby Girl promptly gave her two names, Lucy Sue. She is, after all, a Southern dog.

We fed her Meow Mix that first day. The next morning, Baby Girl was scheduled to take her ACT at her high school. We awakened late and, knowing teachers close the doors at the exact time the testing begins, I hustled Baby Girl and the new dog into the car and took off like my tiny Suzuki Forenza was a racecar, taking the turns a bit faster than normal. Minutes before we pulled up at the school, I heard a horrific gagging as Lucy Sue vomited Meow Mix all over the back floorboard. When we got home, Lucy looked up at me with big brown eyes and, when I lifted her, leaned into me with her warm puppy body.

Within two days, I realized my mistake. Lucy was no sandbag puppy. She had just been tired from her days as a stray and from playing with a rowdy group of teens at the lake. I was greeted by a quite active Lucy who wagged not just her tail but her whole body. Lucy was still very much a puppy puppy, by which I mean still in her chewing phase. Click here to read the full column.

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