4 years ago, I was already living on my favourite island, in a bigger apartment, and was able to take in foster dogs, to find them new homes from mine. One day, I received a message from my newly acquired friend, with a photo of a dog and a caption " I found you a dog". She was visiting a shelter in Lithuania, with some donations and saw Lucy.
At that moment I already had Josie and Sjuzi, and 2 very complicated foster dogs, destroying my rented apartment. I said, politely, I think I have enough, thank you. She said - "Just look at those ears!" . And indeed, I did, I did look at those ears and was in love. I contacted that shelter, it was a new shelter, I never spoke to before. I introduced myself and told them, that if Rina (back then that was Lucy's name), will not find a home until a colder season, I will take her in, because it is way too cold, for such a short hair dog, to spend winter season outside.
The shelter replied, they already have heard about me and will gladly send her to me, with full trust. That's how my friendship with that shelter began and now they are one of my absolute favourites. The shelter feels like a family now, although I did not manage to meet them in person yet. But one day we will visit them for sure!
A month later, on September 23, 2017, I picked Lucy up. She was very happy go lucky, very relaxed, considering she travelled so far. The driver said she was very lively. I greeted her with Sjuzi and Josie. And as with the photo, when I saw her live, I was damn in love. I knew I was in trouble.
A LITTLE BACK STORY
Lucy's age was determined to be around 4 years. She was delivered to the shelter by a couple, who said, they found her in their back yard one day. Later on, the shelter said, it looked like it was their dog, from the way she reacted to them. But, if she was, they did not acknowledge that.
She was deeply malnourished, hyper active and not social. She was scared and agressive. It took around a month for them, to socialise her and get back into somewhat shape. But sadly, they did not have very good conditions at that time and she was placed on a leash, outside. The collar on her neck, because of her hyper activeness, caused her trachea issues and a lump. She also had a big scar on her back, signs of old trauma, either caused by human or moving vehicle.
I was told she can be with dogs, not all, but most. They also said, she HATES cats and that was important to know. Later I realised why. There was not much more to go on to. I took in a skinny, very active girl, with most beautiful ears.
LIFE WITH LIULIU
When Lucy arrived, the first day she seemed friendly and sweet, even though her hyper energy was not taken fondly by Josie and Sjuzi and they seemingly had no plans to become friends. It very quickly became clear, that things are a bit more complicated than I expected.
I fell in love from the first photo and even more so when she arrived. Looking into her eyes, they felt familiar. So upon her arrival, I could NOT force myself to make a post about her, as one thats looking for a home. "Adopt me" collar on her was annoying me. For 3 days, I thought about all the million reasons, why I can't keep her. But, I could not imagine her anywhere else, I couldn't, so I decided she must stay and I'll figure it out. And she did.
Rina, her previous name, did not suit her. Lucy was something that popped into my mind, from the first time I saw her. But I wanted her to choose her name. So, on the third day, when it was decided she stays, I was naming all kinds of names, while she was sleeping. She had no reaktion to any of them, until I said Lucy. She chose it for herself.
THE BEGINING WAS CHALLENGING
On her very first day, out of all beds and sofa's at home, she chose a cardboard box filled with toys as her bed. Turned out, I was not allowed to move her. Lucy's reaction to everything, she did not like, was to snap. Weather it's my hand, strangers hand, Josie's ear.
The first night, she was with me, I wanted to get her into my room, even though I don't keep fosters in the same room, where I sleep. I wanted to do that with her, to stop her from barking at night. But she chose to sleep in the living room, in that toy box and there was no way for me to lift her out. So our battle began. I threw on her a blanket and dragged her, across very very long hallway, with that box, to my bedroom. She did not jump out, she is a stubborn one. She slept in the toy box, dragged into my room. This battle, continued for about a week, non of us giving up. Every evening, no matter where she was, upon noticing, we all go to bed, she ran to the toy box and refuse to move. And I tried to get her into my room, without being bitten.
Finally, she gave in, and one of the evenings, she was not trying to bite my hand off, I was finally able to lift her up. That was, as one would say, a break through. While I was carrying her into bed, she looked directly into my eyes, fully relaxed and took a deep, filled with relief, breath. I knew, I got to her. It became our favourite tradition. To this day, before bed, she runs somehwere and waits for me to lift her up. Upon me approaching her, she shows her belly, as sign of trust, and still looks, with sleepy eyes, into mine, while I carry her into my bed.
Lucy was and still is the most affectionate and sweet creature, but she has her demons and they show up sometimes. Lucy's playfull nature tends to get agressiv, within a matters of seconds. To this day, if she is sleeping and you touch her back or back legs, her immediate reaction is to bite. Luckily she stops herself quickly, but her self defence is on very high alert. Which is clear prove, that she went through a lot in her life. She also turned out to be very dominant. And she turned out not to be friendly with other dogs.
I am very glad I decided to keep her, because I believe, in any other home, she would have been "put down". She would not have been understood. Her demons would not have been tolerated. I, on the other hand, accepted her demons, from day one and prepared myself for a life being more complicated. I accepted her utter, hysterical hate for cats, her hate for bicycles and motorcykles, her constant pulling on a leash, her spontaneous attempts to bite strangers specially those, wearing gloves etc....I accepted, and decided all I can do is show love and do everything I can to prevent her demons getting her into trouble. I also thought that this will be the end of me fostering.
Turns out, she just needed time. To this day, she has mood swings. To this day she has to meet new dogs with a muzzle on. But now it's removed after few minutes, with confidence in my Lucy, that she will behave. The muzzle is a crucial part of our life, when visiting a vet or doing what she doesn't like, for example nail clipping etc. But, the difference between that stressed, hyper active, skinny, agressive dog and the gracefull, extremely affectionate lady now, is very very big. I am very proud of our journey and progress and I am never seized to be amazed by this one of a kind "Dumbo ears" creature. She truly is very very special. And her "bear hugs", where she presses her big snout towards your face, not letting you breathe - are also very special.
Life with Lucy is constantly changing, in one way, or another. She keeps surprising me. It changed a lot when Popsi joined our family. She was suddenly no longer the third wheel and had her own play mate, who was not afraid of her violent ways. Popsi brought everyone together and helped Lucy truly relax.
Lucy's face is getting more grey and she becomes more sweet and, at the same time, often grumpy lady. Everyday with her is a gift to me and I try that it would be for her as well.