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When I was a child in New York my mother rescued a stray dog dodging cars in Manhattan. I grew up with that dog. We were inseparable. When she died in 1977 at age eighteen I could not contemplate “replacing her.” However, in 1990 someone called to say she’d found an abandoned dog following the mailman in the rain. She’d named her Lucy and asked if I’d like to adopt her. I said I’d be right over. Out came Lucy, acting like she’d known me forever. Lucy—who looks exactly like my childhood dog. Whose name was Lucky. My best friend returned. Lucy’s presence in my life is a gift from above. She is an incredible friend and teacher. She has shown me the meaning of unqualified love, and, since her blindness, perfect acceptance in the present moment. She has spoken volumes without uttering one word. She embodies simplicity, innocence and magic. Crawling home exhausted from a world full of woe, Lucy has brought tears of laughter, comfort and joy. To many a dog is “just a dog.” An object. It’s hard to fathom those who have not allowed themselves true communion with a pure, loving being. A higher life form, a dog. God spelled backwards. Dogs express what we are here to learn. These are poems and essays about beautiful Lucy, now sixteen, and some of her friends. Poems and essays about the joys and sorrows of life with my now elderly best friend; meditations on the anguish of physical decline, and on coming to terms with mortality.
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