Even if you’ve never done anything more than look through my profile pictures on Facebook, you probably know that I love dogs. More specifically, I love my dogs, Lucy:
But really, I’m not picky. I take selfies with most dogs I encounter and give myself an extra 5-10 minutes when I walk to class in case I see a pettable dog in Forsyth Park. I do, however, have a particular affinity for big, fluffy dogs with floppy ears and puppies who have not yet grown into their paws.
I’m not really going anywhere specific with this, I just like telling people about my dogs and if I do it on my blog instead of in person I don’t have to watch your eyes glaze over as you wait for the appropriate moment to excuse yourself from my company. So let’s start with Gracie.
Gracie is a little rat terrier/papillon mix that I got for my 6th birthday, which makes her 13 years old in case you’re keeping track. My parents convinced me that I was getting an ant farm, but I wound up with a darling little ball of neuroticism.
There are two funny things about looking back at Gracie as she grew up. First, it took her probably five years to grow fur on her throat, so for a while she had a weird little chicken neck. Second, it’s so trippy seeing pictures of her with two eyes.
I should explain. Several years ago, our neighbors had a yellow lab named Lady who was best friends with Lucy. She would come over sometimes and basically be our dog for the day, even going so far as to spend the night on occasion. So when I came home from school one day and saw her on the front porch, I let her in without a second thought.
This was a mistake.
To make a long and very traumatizing story short, Lady attacked Gracie, bit her in the head, and punctured her eye. (I broke up the fight by throwing a Bible in their direction, which only goes to prove that yes, God works in mysterious ways, but also extremely literal ones.) Gracie survived, but her eye didn’t, and now she answers to Winky the One-Eyed Wonder Dog just as well as she does to Gracie.
A couple years after that, a different neighbor dog tore open her belly, but she survived that too. Now Gracie spends her days chasing away big dogs, dozing in front of the fireplace, and finishing our DQ leftovers upon request.
I love this little fluff nugget with my entire heart, and she knows it. I never get fed up with her bratty behavior, because after everything she’s been through, I can’t help but feel like she’s earned the right to be a crotchety old lady.
Lucy’s life hasn’t been quite as trying, but that is not to say it hasn’t been eventful. Her adventures err on the side of ridiculous, including episodes such as getting a traffic cone weight stuck on her head, being stung in the mouth by a bee, and consuming four pounds of chocolate without throwing up.
A true Brittany, Lucy also loves to run. Unfortunately, this does not do much to combat her pudge, so she’s earned herself the nickname “Chub Scout.”
Lucy prefers not to run alone, so she either goes with one of us on excursions or she chooses a dog to go with her. For many years, she found this companion in Smokey, an enormous golden retriever who stayed with us when his family went on vacation.
Though several years Lucy’s senior, Smokey was game to explore the neighborhood with his orange and white companion, even going so far as the other side of the highway where we found them after a fully day and night of anxiety. Neither of them moved for the next 24 hours.
Smokey, God rest his soul, is no longer with us, but I know Lucy misses her best friend and remembers him fondly when she sets out to explore nature. She still tries to convince other dogs to escape with her, but so far the best luck she’s had is with Bandit, who she doesn’t even like that much.
Bandit is only kind of a Schollaert pet, in that he belongs to a friend of my sister’s but also spends a lot of time with her, including Christmas break. Lucy initially despised him, but eventually came around when she realized that he was impressionable enough to be lured away into the great unknown. Luckily, we put a stop to that pretty quick, so Bandit had to go back to trying to play with Gracie, who would go for the throat.
When Lucy is not exercising a negative influence on susceptible minds, she’s pretty ambivalent toward other dogs– that is, until one of her humans gets involved. As it turns out, Lucy is incredibly jealous of other dogs. My favorite example of this was when Smokey’s mom Carrol came over while Bandit was visiting. Naturally, she was excited to meet the puppy because she’s not a sociopath, but Lucy had other ideas. The second Carrol took a seat, Lucy plopped down on top of her, thus trapping her on the chair. When this preventative measure was foiled and she got kicked out, she obliged and found a new spot– on Carrol’s feet. The message was clear: You will pet Lucy, or you will pet no one.
In spite of her questionable morals, incorrigible jealousy, and aptitude for counter cruising, Lucy is impossible not to love. She likes holding hands and has a lot to say, especially if you’re not listening. She smiles when she’s happy to see you (which is all the time) and looks after you when you’re sick. She has a stumpy tail and floppy ears and a tubby little belly she loves to have rubbed. She, along with Gracie and every other dog I have had the joy of knowing, is a gift, and I miss my babies every day I’m away from them at college.
So if you happen to see them (looking at you, Mom), pet them for me, maybe give them a treat, and tell them I love them.
If you’re interested in seeing more of my dogs, follow rachel.schollaert on Instagram, where literally every picture* is of my dogs.
*Except for one picture of a perfect marshmallow that I promised Michael I would put on Instagram as soon as I remembered what my username was.