If you are reading this article, it is highly likely you love dogs and, probably, you also own at least one. Dogs are said to be our best friends. They are a great company and a source of joy. With dogs come a lot of challenges as well. In Lessons From Lucy, Dave Barry tells the story of his best dog — Lucy and she changed his life. Lessons From Lucy is written so beautifully that we are publishing some of its excerpts for you to have the feel of what you are going to read. Lucy’s story started soon after Dave’s marriage with Michelle. Soon after their marriage, Dave and Michelle brought Lucy home who quickly adapted, as most dogs do, to her new home. As most dogs also do, Lucy started targeting some of the household things. The first victim was the family albums whom Lucy attacked whenever she could. Dave explains in his typical humorous way why Lucy and family albums could not co-exist. Dave writes, “Perhaps tens of thousands of years ago, Lucy’s ancestors were attacked by primitive photo albums, which in those days were much larger and more aggressive than the ones we have today. Whatever happened, Lucy had not forgotten it, and on several occasions during her first few months with us, we came home to find an album from one of our family trips chewed into small pieces, leaving little shredded fragments of our happy decapitated vacation faces smiling up from all over the floor… Eventually, Lucy made peace with our albums and became a good dog.”
Next, it was the turn of the living room sofa. Dave writes, “This sofa, which was no inexpensive, is white, in contrast to Lucy, who is black.” He continues, “The first night we had it, as we prepared to go to bed, Michelle reminded Lucy about the Official Policy by pointing to the sofa and saying ‘No!’ another thirty or forty times. Lucy listened attentively, looking at Michelle with a somber and alert facial expression. There is no question she was not getting Michelle’s message (specifically, ‘No’)… Nevertheless, the next morning, we realized that somebody had been on the sofa, and all the evidence pointed to one suspect, whose name you have no doubt already guessed…”
In spite of Lucy’s playing havoc with the household, Dave still loves Lucy. He writes, “But we don’t care what anybody thinks. We think Lucy is beautiful, inside and out. Especially inside. I don’t want to sound all Californian here, but there’s something spiritual about dogs. If you’ve ever had a dog, you know what I mean; you can see it when you look into their eyes. Dogs aren’t people, but they’re not mollusks, either. Lucy is somebody. Lucy has feelings, moods, [and] attitudes. She can be excited, sad, scared, lonely, interested, bored, angry, playful, [and] willful.” Now that Lucy has grown a little old. She is still happy. Dave says, “She sleeps more than she used to, and she moves a little slower, but her capacity for joy, her enthusiasm for life, does not seem to have diminished with age. Michelle and I often marvel at Lucy’s ability to be happy, especially compared with our own. We know, when we stop to look at the big picture, that we should be happy, too: we are very fortunate people leading very good lives. But we hardly ever stop to look at the big picture. We’re almost always looking at the little picture, which is a random collage of pesky chores, obligations and annoyances — deadlines, bills, doctor appointments, grocery lists, the insanely complex carpool schedule, the leak in the roof, the car with a tire that’s losing air (not to be confused with the car that needs an oil change), the odor in the kitchen that we hope will go away on its own and not turn out to be a deceased rat in the wall like last time, and on and on. When we think about bigger things, they’re usually things that worry us — disease, aging, death, politics, the economy, terrorism, the decline of the once-great American newspaper industry into a big frantic Twitter account.”
Lessons From Lucy is highly funny and entertaining but also insightful about dogs. If you own a dog or have once owned a dog, you will be able to relate to Dave’s experience. Dave’s writing style will touch your heart as you laugh your heart out. Dave is sharp-witted and has a unique sense of humor. Few books make you laugh so much. Lessons From Lucy is surely one of them. At times, he becomes sentimental and makes his readers sentimental as well. Dave tells us how dogs can change our lives and how much they can teach us about life. It is a treat for the dog owners and lovers.