Sammy and Lucky

21 Mar

Before Oscar there was Sammy and Lucky.

I strain my mind trying to remember Sammy. No matter how finely I sift through my memories, I can’t recall the sound of his bark or the texture of his coat. The only evidence I have of his existence is an old family photograph. Yes, a single photograph.

In the photograph I recognize my young self standing timidly alongside what looks to be an Akita mix, judging by the shape of his head and ears. Admittedly, this picture doesn’t stir that crushing feeling of loss because I don’t recognize the dog standing next to me. Whenever I look at his picture, however, I do smile and just briefly wonder what he was like.

That photograph was taken years ago; I was probably 2 or 3 years old. My parents attempted to fill in the incredibly huge blank that was Sammy’s history by telling me stories about him, but all I know for certain was Sammy had new owners and a new place to call home. I could only hope that he was safe and loved.

Photographs of Lucky, however, arouse heartache and remorse.

I’ll probably never meet another dog like Lucky; he had the strangest habits. Lucky steered clear of grass. Grass! He didn’t walk on it, didn’t stand close to the edge of the lawn. He was a carpet/tile/hardwood floor/(dry) cement kind of dog. Maybe the front yard looked like an uncharted forest to that 3-pound Chihuahua.

Despite Lucky’s odd vendetta with grass, he was still your typical lapdog: He’d spend hours on my lap. One of his favorite pastimes was swaddling; I’d bundle him up tightly like a newborn and cradle him while he’d relax with the tip of his tongue poking from his mouth.

The age-old adage that you never really appreciate something until it’s taken away from you is uncomfortably true.  I still love Lucky, but I never fully appreciated the time I had with him. I just never thought he’d be taken away so young. That’s the extraordinary thing about pets, I suppose: You have so much fun when they’re around you forget they’re living creatures with their own mystery lifespan.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think about Lucky, when I don’t miss him. Despite our limited time together, Lucky’s presence taught me priceless lessons about dog ownership and has, in a way, transformed me into the dog owner Oscar deserves.

I’m hopeful that someday I’ll be able to meet Sammy and Lucky again in their reincarnated forms. If they decide to give this dog owner a second chance, I’d be incredibly lucky.

Lucky's Beauty Shot

Last picture of Lucky before he passed.

Lucky (winter)

All bundled up for the winter.

Lucky Cuddling

The camera loves him!


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