Posts Tagged ‘spina bifida’

Doggone It – Part 2 (Lucy)

Since my last post, Part 1, I have received a steady stream of encouragement and sympathy. I really do not want to hand my dogs over to another family, believe me. If we can figure out a way to alleviate some of the allergy symptoms, we/I will. The issue is that our pediatrician likes to have at least a 2.5 year history of issues in order to proceed with any testing or diagnosis. I’m hoping the symptoms die down a little this fall when Lucy isn’t shedding as much.

Speaking of Lucy, she deserves to have her story told as well.

In April 2010, my sister was getting ready to deliver my nephew, Jeremiah, born with spina bifida. It was considered a high-risk delivery, so our family rallied together during his arrival and first surgery procedures. I spent many hours at Riley Hospital for Children, worrying, praying and holding the newest member of my family. During the months leading up to his birth, Steven and I were looking for another dog. Nothing had panned out well for us.

38116_772374333688_5369743_nI was sitting in a waiting room at Riley when Steven texted me that a friend and neighbor found a stray puppy walking along Ellenberger Park. They didn’t have room to keep her overnight, and Steven offered to take her in while we tried to find her owners. I came home late that night, but as soon I walked through the door, she greeted me with a wagging tail and crooked ears. She was a little shy, but she craved our approval, and we invited her into our bed (with Jake, of course) that night.

Honestly, we didn’t look very hard for her owners. She was too nice to be just a stray, but later that week, we heard about a similar-looking dog also wandering in Ellenberger Park. How could anyone dump such a sweet little girl?

We started calling her Lucy. That name was reserved for our first baby girl, but we decided it fit her. And she was our first baby girl. She was probably 4 or 5 months old when she became a Shattuck.

Lucy is the kindest, dumbest dog I’ve ever known. Her reasons for living are only to please and to play. Unlike Jake, she was housebroken in less than a month. She could chew through indestructible bones and toys within minutes. And she followed her big brother Jake all around the house, learning to wait until he was finished eating to drinking to venture toward the bowls. (If she forgot, he quickly let her know her mistake.)

Because her heart is so big, her brain is quite small. Isn’t that what an American dog is supposed to be like? She continually bumps into tables, doors and walls, is afraid of the vacuum sweeper and doesn’t know a stranger. She also thinks she is a lap dog and whimpers if she doesn’t fit into small spaces like Jake does. I laugh at her antics but also appreciate her ability to sense when I need a hug. She is a wonderful comforter and snuggle companion.

Her 55-pound body is muscular and strong. Her tail alone can wipe out glasses sitting on the coffee table, or take out small children. I was hesitant to introduce her to newborn Wesley, but she has been gentle and caring toward him since Day 1. I like her call her Mama Hen. She protects her people and guards her little boy from the wild world.

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She and Jake couldn’t be more opposite. He prances; she stomps. He’s delicate; she’s clumsy. But they are great siblings to each other. She made him a better dog, really. They got onto the same feeding and potty schedule, and they learned to play together. The commonality is that they both want to be with their people at all times, and they are both lounging, lazy couch potatoes. They may fight one minute, but soon after you’ll find them cuddling together.


And Wes? Oh goodness. There is a form of love between the three of them that I’m unable to describe. He is of their pack, and I dread the day it has to be broken – from sickness, death or whatever.


I honestly don’t know that I could endure a night without listening to Lucy’s snores and grunts in the dark. A life without Lucy would be… I just don’t know. Foreign.

She is our Lucy Bird, our Lucyberger and Lucy-loo.


Posted: August 30th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Family love

Little people at Wes’ baby shower, May 2011

I adore the little people in my life. They make me proud; they are smart; they are beautiful; they are strong. They are silly, too.

We got to skype with our nieces Alli, 7, and Anna, 2, yesterday. (Why don’t we do this more often?!) Oh, it was so fun. They enjoyed watching Wes play and try to figure out the people in the computer screen talking back to him. They loved joking along with Uncle Steve. Anna’s face was nearly always filling the screen – so anxious to see more. Nothing productive was accomplished – just giggles and enjoying our wireless company!

Today my sister, mom and I had a girls’ day of shopping, eating and catching a movie. Mom and I picked up my very pregnant sister and were able to spend a little time with my niece Elli, 4, and nephew Jeremiah, 2. She walked out to greet us with a big, beautiful baby belly and my heart grew a little larger right then and there. To top it off, the kiddos ran with open arms to greet me and Mom. The following half hour consisted of Elli’s showing off of new skills learned (She’s now able to complete a somersault, count by 2’s and 4’s, say the 10 commandments and impressively recite a historical timeline from Creation to 4000 BC.) and Jeremiah’s hugs, waves and blue, blue eyes. Have I mentioned the cuteness factor of his new glasses? Melt.

Hannah’s last pregnancy was different. Jeremiah didn’t move at all while in the womb. He was born with spina bifida and we were unsure of his physical future and health. I’m pleased to say he is a happy, thriving little boy today. This new baby is alert and active, and my hands felt his little kicks and movements this afternoon. It was pretty amazing.

Jeremiah’s birth wasn’t the only prayer-driven event in 2010. Our little Anna was born much too early after her mother’s kidneys stopped working and began dialysis. Born at 2 lbs, she fought and gained enough weight and strength to finally come home after weeks in the hospital. We are so thankful that Kelly, Anna’s mom, now has a new kidney, Anna is healthy and Jeremiah is doing great. Our hearts hold a special place for these kids.

Seeing all of my nieces and nephews in the last two days has been such a blessing. They are all growing up to be kind, caring and just downright beautiful. The girls are looking less and less like toddlers and babies and more and more like little girls. I’m not really saddened by this. I won’t say “slow down” to them or miss their infant days to point of blindness. I am proud of these kids and my heart is bursting with love for them.

Posted: September 22nd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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