We weren't quite sure what to expect the day we adopted our Miss Lacey. After the unexpected death of Brody (in January 2007), we were left with 2 aging Shelties. We thought while they were still in good health, we would add a younger dog to the mix. And so in March we adopted one year old Ginny Weasley. But Ginny was too energetic and constantly wanted to play with Barclay & Bonnie (and they didn't want to play with her). So now we were back out on the lookout for a fourth dog to be a companion for Ginny. And so we headed to the Memphis Humane Society in April to see what we could find. And who we found was our Lacey girl.|
When we got to the MHS, Carrie & I split up and started touring the place separately. After about a half hour, we met back up and both of us felt like we had only seen one dog that we thought might be a good mix. I told Carrie to show me her choice first and she took me to the area that housed five dogs. In the middle, she pointed out a big, black Lab that was standing in the middle of the room. I started laughing because that was the exact same dog that I had chosen as well.
At different times, each of us had seen her interacting with the other dogs. She was friendly, but not hyper. I had watched how she had reacted when it came time for a feeding. Lacey was calm and relaxed, not going crazy when the food came. And when another dog came and nosed in to get some extra food, Lacey remained calm and let the dog have her food.
When we asked the MHS folks about her, they told us that Lacey had been with them for about 18 months. She had been picked up off the streets with a couple of her pups. Everyone in the placed loved Lacey -- she was bright & sweet as could be. But she was a big, black dog, and so people kept passing her over.
We decided to bring Barclay, Bonnie & Ginny over to the MHS to meet with Lacey to see how the gang would react. I had a feeling that the 2 Shelties wouldn't have any issues -- and they didn't. Ginny on the other hand, wasn't too sure about this big thing that was 3 times her size. Ginny kept her distance until we were playing with a toy with Lacey and suddenly Ginny decided that she wanted it and rushed in, growled, and took it away from Lacey. And Lacey, being the good mother she was, just let her have it. And suddenly everything clicked. When Ginny saw that Lacey wasn't a threat, and in fact didn't mind if Ginny picked on her, Lacey & Ginny became great friends. And with that, we knew we had our newest member of the family.
For the next 5 1/2 years, Lacey was just about as good a girl as you could possible ask for. Though it did take her a while to really feel at home. For the first year or so she was with us, we had a hard time getting Lacey to look us in the eyes. And if we raised our voice to tell one of the other dogs "No", Lacey would always hunch down. We would have to go over and tell her that we weren't referring to her. And when you petted her and smiled at her, you could just see the twinkle in her eyes.
Although Lacey was a pretty big girl (around 60 lbs), I think she felt she was a tiny puppy. She would love to jump up on the couch or our bed and just curl up -- thinking she was just taking up a tiny little spot. But the Big Black Moose (as I would call her) was taking up half the couch (or bed). And if Carrie went to bed first, Lacey would jump up on the bed to join her -- laying on my side. And when I would go to get in, there was this moose filling up my side of the bed! And then she would look at me with those big brown eyes saying "Dad, I'm just the most comfortable that I have ever been". And if I asked her to move, she would always do so -- reluctantly. More than any dog I've ever known, Lacey would sigh. Any time you asked her to do something she really didn't want to do, you would hear a mournful sign come from Lacey. And it always made me smile.
While Lacey was by far the biggest of our furkids (and the silent pack leader), you would never be able to tell it from her demeanor. I never saw Lacey truly angry or aggressive. Every dog I've ever had would play-bite with me. But Lacey never would. Nor would she do it with the other dogs, even though she could have easily eaten any one of them for lunch. When Beau was a puppy, he would jump on Lacey and bite her - and you could tell that Lacey wasn't "thrilled" with what was going on - yet she would just take it an not even let out a woof of protest. I think that was the "mama" in her. And there were times that Lacey would grab a toy and start playing with it. She would turn and run with it into the bedroom - with either Beau or Ginny chasing after her. And a minute later, Beau or Ginny would come racing back with the toy. And then here would come Lacey, with a big grin on her face! Mama was playing with her kids. She was truly a gentle giant.
For the first 3 years we had Lacey, her health was great. Then one day, out of the blue, she suffered a seizure. It is always hard when a dog is hurting because you don't know what is wrong and what is hurting, and it is frustrating seeing them suffer. But I believe that a seizure is the worst. All you can do is watch while the seizure is going on and to try to hold them lightly so they don't injure themselves by hitting something during the seizure. After a minute, Lacey came out of the seizure and seemed no harm done. But it was just the start. Over the next 2 1/2 years, we worked with our vet to try and control things. We had her on phenobarbital, and it seemed to help. Lacey's seizures weren't very often -- every 5-7 months, but each one she had was worse than the time before. Then one Sunday night, she had a bad seizure. As had happened several times before, we took her to the emergency vet for treatment. The next day we took her to our own vet for observation and things looked okay. Carrie went and picked her up about noon and brought her home. She seemed fine and Carrie had some quality time with her. Then it stuck again. Lacey started another seizure. Carrie called me and we rushed her to the vet. They pumped drug after drug into her but they just could totally stop the seizures. Finally, about 4 hours later we went to see her. She was in a drug induced sleep. And though she had been seizuring for hours, we wanted to give her every chance to see if she could come out of it without major neurological damage. But even in her sleep, we could see her body having a seizure about every minute. And we knew we couldn't put her through any more pain. So laying with her and holding & stroking her, we said our final goodbyes.
Carrie and I have had our share of furkids during our marriage. We currently have 6 (Blake, Beau, Ginny Weasley & Bear, along with the kitties Calvin & Hobbes). And over the years we have lost others (Barclay, Henry, Bonnie, Brody, Maggie & Rusty). And when we had to say goodbye, it has always been hard. But within a week or so, I have always set up a Rainbow Bridge memorial page for our lost baby. But I just could not do that for Lacey. As I write this, it has been 6 months since Lacey passed. And I find I am having to force myself to do this. Losing our girl has been very, very tough and I don't like thinking about it. But she deserves her memorial, and so sweet girl, this is for you.
We miss you Miss Lacey. And we love you. Rest easy, you Big Black Moose. We will see you one day at the Bridge. And know that Mom & Dad will always hold you in our hearts and love you. Goodbye, Big Sweet.
* November 5, 2013. Hello, Miss Lacey. We can't believe that it has been a year now since you left us. Your sweet gentleness always filled the room and it is so different with you gone. We hope you and all our departed others are at peace. Wait for us at the Bridge. We will all be together again some day. We love you, Lacey. Love, Dad.
* November 5, 2014. Hi, Big Sweet. Doesn't seem possible that is has been 2 years now, but in some ways it feels like it has been much longer. You were always such a good girl, it was so nice having you around. And how you left was so painful. I am just glad you are at peace. We miss you, our Big Black Moose. Rest easy, Miss Lacey. Love, Dad.
*November 5, 2015. Hello, you Big Black Moose. It has been 3 years since you said goodbye. And while we now have the Bear Monster as Mom's latest big black dog, he just can't replace our sweet girl. We love you & miss you, Big Sweet. Rest easy, Miss Lacey. Love, Dad.
*November 5, 2017. Hello Big Sweet. Today marks the 5th year since we said goodbye. It is still so hard to remember that last day, so I just think of all the good memories. You were such a sweet & gentle soul who left us far too soon. Rest easy Lacey. Love, Dad.