Posted by: patenttranslator | February 12, 2013

Lucy Is Gone!

Lucy on bed

The Unthinkable has happened – after a year and a half, my son has left for California, which is 3 thousand miles from here, with his dog Lucy riding shotgun, so to speak. He later told me that Lucy was doing just fine as long as he was going about 60 miles an hour, but that she would start panting and being really nervous if he increased the speed to 80 miles. Is that a really smart dog or what? Smarter than most humans if you ask me.

I have been taking care of Lucy for him for 18 months.Every day for the last year and half I would start my day by taking Lucy for a walk, watching her chasing squirrels and jackrabbits, or allowing children waiting for the school bus to pet her while wagging her tail to indicate her friendly disposition toward the juvenile delinquents in our neighborhood.

My mornings are empty now and without a real purpose other than working and waiting for the inevitable end of my days now that there is no need to walk Lucy as she is no longer here. And so are my evenings and nights. There is a Japanese proverb that says: “There are 15 moonlit nights and 15 dark nights in a month [月夜も15日、闇夜も15日, tsuki yoru mo jugo nichi, yami yoru mo jugo nichi]. But all my nights seem moonless now that Lucy is no longer protecting our house with her powerful presence.

Lucy knew that something was wrong when we asked her to get into the car. Dogs sense more than we know. Usually she can’t wait to jump into the car for another exploration of this world – she sticks her nose out of the window not to miss a single scent along the way before eagerly exploring a new area. But this time we had to ask her three times before she finally reluctantly assumed her favorite position in the passenger seat.

Lucy never was my dog. That was why she made it very clear that she was only willing to tolerate me and my wife. As long as we fed her, walked her and generally took good care of her, she would greet us enthusiastically every time when one of us or both of us returned home even after only a short absence as dogs do, but she would not overindulge us with an abundance of affection because the way she saw the situation, we were merely her temporary custodians, not her rightful owners. She would for example never jump on the sofa to be close to us when we were watching TV or talking. She knew that she had to keep her distance from us because she was somebody else’s dog. Unlike many humans, most dogs play by rules and the rules in the dog world are pretty clear and straightforward. The bond between a dog and the dog’s owner lasts a lifetime and a dog’s heart has enough space in it for only one owner at a time.

Lucy kept waiting for my son all those months because she knew that he had to come back at some point. When we took her to the airport to meet him there, she absolutely went crazy, jumping at him, embracing him with her front paws and licking his face again and again.

Soon I will be just a distant memory in Lucy’s mind because most dogs can be loyal only to their original owners even long after their death.

A statue at the Shibuya train station in Tokyo has been reminding  Japanese commuters since 1935 about the loyalty of Hachiko the dog  (忠犬ハチ公, “chuken”, or “faithful dog” Hachikō) who used to wait for her master there every day exactly at the time when his train was due to arrive for 9 years after he died of stroke. In Prague, people meet at Václavské Square “under the horse” or “under the horse’s tail”, namely a statue of the Good King Václav on his horse, who was assassinated on the order of his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel in 935. In Tokyo, people meet “by the statue of Hachiko the dog”.

Most dogs don’t have to suffer as Hachiko did, waiting for her master in vain for 9 long years, because most dogs live only about 10 years and most people live about 7 times longer.

Things are simply arranged much better in the world of dogs, compared to the world of humans, with strong, clear, and permanent rules that make so much sense that humans could use them in their world too.

But of course, we humans play by different rules, and besides, canine rules would never work in our world because nothing is constant in our world and the rules are constantly changing.


  1. It sounds like you need to get a dog. Just saying.


  2. But I don’t want a dog.

    I want Lucy.


  3. I hear you and agree with Jeff… you need a Lucy to call your own.
    I’ve been “unknowingly named owner” of Wall-E – our four-legged family member, and the unconditional love I get from this wonderful creature is without words.

    I wish you a dog 😉


  4. I know how you feel, you miss Lucy a lot. But I also surmise that you aren’t ready to yet again take on full responsibility for a four-legged friend of your own for the rest of its days. That’s such a big commitment, time-wise and emotionally.


  5. There’s a statue to one of those dogs in Edinburgh too:


  6. I agree with Jeff and abwords. But wait a while. Then go to a shelter, there are so many dogs desperate for a home. That’s what we did and, although to start with she was a bit of a problem, we worked through it and now we are all very happy. I start my days taking Eddie for a long walk and it does wonders to me, both in terms of health and concentration.
    Trust me, you will find your own Lucy and she will give you everything that your son’s Lucy gave you, and more because she will stay with you. Dogs just keep on giving – mine only asks for lots of food in return…;) – as you become their world (and even if we don’t admit it they are very much a big part of our world too). 🙂


  7. Follow Katie Melua’s and Federica’s advice: let Lucy go ‘piece by piece’ and then look for the dog whose ‘heart has enough space in it for only one owner’ -i.e. you. Just don’t give him/her a room of his/her own as you did with Lucy (judging by the photo) 😉

    Thank you for the story of the statue on Tokyo’s station and the info about canine rules – Nature in general seems to be a bit better than human nature.

    Hope you’ll get your 15 moonlit nights back soon. Otherwise your blog followers may gather and send you… a cat. ;-))


  8. @Abwords, Elisabeth, Margaret, Federica & Graca:

    Yes, I get it, I need my own dog, but I am not mature and responsible enough to take care of him or her.


    • But you took care of Lucy. And helped raise two sons (?) – or at least didn’t jeopardize their education to much. So, what other credentials do you need?! 😉


      • You are too kind.

        But thanks anyway.


  9. Condolences Steve! IMO it all goes to show that whatever we may think we never own them – they control us. 3 years ago I lost the dog of my life, a half-whippet, after she had been mauled by a Great Dane who hauled her through a gate that was covered by shrubbery and was invisible. She survived four months with daily home-visits from our marvellous vet, including the postponed surgery of a tumour that she had which had been originally scheduled for a date just after the attack. Alas, she couldn’t make it. Now we have three dogs, all as different from each other as could possibly be imagined. One of them, who was living in Slovakia, we found on the internet and, just from a photo of a strip of her back I knew immediately she was mine. Two days later I called the lady who was looking after her and asked her to keep her for me and a month later and when we did get to see her our love at first sight was mutual. A good friend of mine recently propounded to me by email the concept that the dog that we lose finds his/her replacement for us. Logically preposterous – psychically comprehensible in terms of what happened for me. May I suggest that your dog is waiting for you somewhere and that all you have to do is to have faith and s/he will appear?


  10. @Margaret

    Thank you very much for the story from Scotland. I wonder if there are similar monuments to dogs in other countries as well.


    Thank you very much for sharing your story.

    They sure own us, not the other way round.


    • I think ‘owning’ is such a strong word.
      In a loving relationship nobody owns anyone or, in my opinion, it would not be a loving relationship. You would not say you own your children, would you?
      There is a very enlightening book I read last year called ‘In Defence of Dogs’ by John Bradshaw which I would recommend to anyone intending to get a dog or who has a dog. It explains, among other interesting things, why dogs are the way they are and why they share such special relationship with humans…


    • “I wonder if there are similar monuments to dogs in other countries as well.”
      Die Frage ist zwei Jahre alt, aber ja, ich habe in Krakau/Polen eins gesehen. War auch für einen Hund, der lange auf sein Herrchen gewartet hatte, das nicht mehr zurückkam. Wenn ich mich nicht irre, hieß der Hund Dzok (mit einem Punkt auf dem z).


  11. I am late this time. On the one hand, I am sorry to learn that your dog Lucy is gone. On the other hand, I agree with all those people above that your dog is waiting for you somewhere and will appear sometime.

    There is no party that doesn’t end sometime just for another party to start sooner or later. Cheer up, Steve!

    I miss Miguel Llorens very much, but I know that I will meet someone like him somewhere in the cyperspace sometime. Remember that dogs have their ages times 7 to be ours. We might have 7 to 10 dogs in our life’s time.

    And I am glad that you are still blogging. Thank you!


  12. I read “Greyfriars Bobby” as a child and years ago found a copy via a rare book search. I think it is the epitome of the friendship, love, and loyalty of a dog. To this day I cannot see “Lassie Come Home” without weeping buckets. What would we do without these animals?


  13. Steve, I’m not kind, I’m actually a bxxch from hell but thanks anyway.

    About a year ago my niece’s cat died of old age. She cried her eyes out and swore she would never have another cat again. I understand but hope one day she’ll change her mind since it will be good for her and for her new cat.

    I myself have an old china cat that belonged to my mother – got it to stop my friends from saying how good it would be for me to have a cat. Being made of china it’s low maintenance and we get along fine. Must give it a name, though.

    The problem is I kill my plants by drowning them with to much watering. I’ve considered a rock garden but fear even minerals may not resist in my hands.

    So I fully understand the fear of being responsible for the well-being of any living thing. But you have a proven record of success so I rest my case.

    You’re also used to danger since you’re a translator, working with patents and dealing with lawyers. And you’re mad (sorry but it’s written by you). So you’ve got what it takes.

    I’ll shut up now.


    • Brilliant!


  14. […] readers of my silly blog will know that my heart has been recently broken when my son took his dog Lucy away from me and moved with her to C…. Yes, I have a thing for dogs. Lucy was the sixth dog whose company I was able enjoy so far during […]


  15. […] In my present state of mind, I am the beneficiary of much needed moral support from my son’s lazy dog Lucy who returned to a hero’s (or heroine’s in this case) welcome to our house just two days ago, riding shotgun and sticking her beautifully ugly dog’s face out of the car window in exactly the same way as she was doing it during her much lamented departure 7 months ago. […]


  16. […] squirrels like to provoke my mean-looking pitbull Lucy because they know that poor Lucy has not chance of catching them as several trees are just a few […]


  17. […] we say to our gentle pit bull Lucy (in English):”Lucy, bring your toy”, Lucy happily runs to wherever her red rubber toy […]


  18. […] blog about all things translation plus anything else that momentarily tickled my fancy, including my son’s amazingly gentle pit bull Lucy who was so far featured in about half a dozen posts, was listed also in the LaRassegna list of blogs […]


  19. […] One advantage of working for an intermediary is that translation agencies are easy to find. In fact, they are constantly and actively looking for new translators. On the one hand, they are swamped every day with dozens of new resumes littering their e-mail boxes from people who want to work for them. Because of that, there is apparently a whole new protocol for contacting translation agencies to make sure that they will notice you. I don’t really know much about things like that because at this point I don’t contact agencies myself. But I do know that I have to delete new résumés of translators many times every day, most of whom are hopeless cases who I would not trust to walk my dog Lucy, although she is a very smart and very gentle dog. […]


  20. […] It so happens that our dog Lucy is a very smart dog and understands both Japanese and English (to th… Could she become a member of a translator association? […]


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