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Marianne Paskowski

In Loving Memory of My Couch Potato: Lucy

March 12, 2007 10:20 PM

Today was a devastating day for our family, as we put down our beloved Yellow Labrador, Lucy, only age 5, from what seemed, at first, only to be minor, gastro distress. But over these past 72 hours, her status rapidly deteriorated into acute renal failure. She had the best of care, many consultations from three loving vets. No choice, but the worst.

For all of you who know Lucy, she loved TV. She was always with me in the den, in my lap, all 70+ pounds of her watching along with me, so, so many boring DVD cable pilots. Well, and sometimes, actually a few great ones. It didn’t matter. She loved all TV. She smiled through it all. But, alas, no more.

So with heavy heart I share this news with all of you, and urge you to be vigilant of your loving charges. They leave pawprints on our hearts. And for now, at least, I can’t even look at a television set. I miss her smile. So, help me in sending her off to heaven, with your remarks, and a toast for her, and all of our beloved lost pets. Today blows, bigtime, for me.


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Comments (34)


My condolences on the loss of Lucy. I know how much she meant to you and I'm certain her loss is devastating. I will always remember you writing a column on how you thought Lucy was gaining weight from watching too much TV. To people like me who never actualy met her, I understood how important she was to you by the way you spoke so fondly about her.

She's in a better place, running on a beach in the sky. One day you'll see her again and watch her fetch a stick you threw with such loving care.

Larry Oliver

So, SO sorry. I know you treated her the same way I treat my monsters -- like part of the family. That's just way too young, although it's never easy, no matter how old they are.

Marianne Paskowski:


You and I have been through a lot together, for so many years. And it's so great to hear from you , especially right now, after I wrote this

I remember how we talked about my column , several years ago, for Multichannel News, "Why My Lucy Has Love Handles." We both thought it was pretty lame, but it sure got a lot of response and the article got later posted at the weighing station at the vet here on the Cape.

Funny. It was a satire mocking all of the gadflys on the Beltway, saying cable was killing children by making them obese.

Lucy didn't die from her love handles or cable TV. Guess her time was just up.

Tough day, and thanks for making me feel better,


Marianne Paskowski:

Oh David,
I miss all of you guys, and thanks for your warm email. I will never forget what you wrote about Sammy (still alive, our male black lab, age 11 now ) about being kicked out of obedience school. It's on my wall.

Please let the others know, I really want her to have a great sendoff. She deserves it.

Best to you,

Bob Donath:


Words can't describe how you, or me, your husband, feel about losing Lucy.

But what the world wants to know, perhaps, is what Sammy, your 11-year old Lab by now wise in the ways of the media, and all your doggie charges to come, feel about those pilots to come. I know that Lucy always appreciated the DVDs--no endless cable commercial pods to suffer through.

I know your blog will give us the full picture.

Love always,

Your Bob

Marianne Paskowski:

To all, andespecially to my beloved Bob,

There are just some things a married couple can't say to each other. Guess this is one of those points in tjme. Frankly, I don't know what the next blog or column is going to be about. I really can't thing about that right now. But thanks for the encouragement.

Meanwhile, the big guy, Sammy looks AOK. But he hates TV. Always did, all these 11 years. And he's s who I am concentrating on right now.

Long bad day, warmest to all,

David Andersen:

So sorry to hear. Was it Lucy who had a tendency to tear up your English Garden, resulting in chickenwire throughout your yard?

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Dave,

No by the time Lucy came on the scene I decided gardening was not more me, thousands of dollars latter. The "gardener" was Ziggy, long gone.

Good to hear from you and thanks,


Tina montoya:

Sorry to hear such sad news. My dog daisy had kidney failure. The vet asked if I wanted to try dyalsis. that is living hell for people waiting for a kidney and I could not put my dog through that pain. The hardest part is going to the vet with alive pet and leaving with nothing. You made the right choice even if it is a day from hell for you. Lucy knew she had a great owner/caretaker since we all knew the pets are in charge
Love, Tina (cousin)

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Tina,

So good to hear from you and I'm sorry about your Daisy. You made the right decision, too, one nobody wants to make. You're a nurse, so you know what acute renal failure is all about///

And yes, I know I am not Alpha. About a month ago I went up on Nat Geo's "Dog Whisperer" website to take q quiz about who is the leader of the pack in your home. You couldn't get a lower score than I did, and I'm proud to say that.



I am so sorry to hear about Lucy. I can just picture her sitting with you watching TV and smiling and it make me want to cry. I lost two of my cats about a year ago and I will never stop missing them. Nothing really helps except support from friends and family and the following Rainbow Bridge poem:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...


Marianne Paskowski:


Many thanks for your thoughts and the poem. I'm not yet ready for Rainbow Bridge,I hope, but as some wise solon said, "nobody gets out of this life alive."


Dave Levin:


We were terribly saddened to hear about your lost Lucy. You've lost way too many friends in the last couple of years -- losing her must be unbearable.

And yet . . . life does go on. It seems like just yesterday that Ziggy and Zowie ruled the yard, and Sammy was the new pup on the block.

Take your time to mourn, then take the plunge again. As Charles M. Shulz wrote, "Happiness Is a Warm Puppy."

Author: Charles M. Schulz

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Dave,

Thanks. I know from where you come and how your beloved Ringo got killed t in the street, after breaking loose from his leash in a freak accident. Ringo, too, was young, and just gone.. So tragic and sudden. Now you have the new guy, Rufus, for you, your wife, and most important, for your young son Gabe.

For all of you who don't know Dave, he's the best web guy on the planet.

Dave, You know me well, after all these years and I you. And yes I will take the plunge again, getting another dog. Trying to get greybeard Sammy interested in TV. For now, He woud rather sit at his Dad's side reading the New Yorker. He's like Mr. Peabody from the Time Machine, if you're old enough to remember that cartoon. I'm not, guess I heard about it in the womb:)

Warmest to you and your family,


so sorry to hear about Lucy. i know it is very toguhto lose such a close family member.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Poncho,

Thanks for your kind email. The gang in New York missed you last week for our raucus dinner. And you know the rule: if you don't show, we all talk about you. you're ears must have been ablaze.

Seriously, thanks again.


So sorry to hear about Lucy. I lost Betty, my first basset hound, at 3 to renal failure. We, too, thought she'd pull through becuase she got better for a short time before she went downhill fast. Now I have Chester, a 10-year-old rescued basset who is my baby. I'm so attached to him that there isn't a day that goes by that I don't acknowledge how grateful I am to have him in my life. And when that inevitable time comes to part, I know how painful it will be. So I can certainly relate to how much pain you are in. My deepest sympathies.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Lela,

Hugs to you and Chester, and thanks for sharing your story about Betty. I was starting to feel like I was in some freak show or something, like how could this happen, but it does.

I felt really dumb after I wrote this blog, like way too much information, but I must say I feel better hearing from you all.


Jim Forkan:

Dear Marianne,
Sorry to hear about Lucy. Non-pet lovers might think we're all crazy but pets do become a major family member. And I know that you and Bob will (eventually) find another Lab to fill that void in your life.
I wasn't a dog person till about 14 years ago, when we bought a lhasa apsa for our younger son John. (When he got married, we "inherited" Teddy.) We named him Teddy because he looked a lot like a teddy bear (and also like an Ewok, from the Star Wars movie).
We've probably spent thousands in vet bills for Teddy in recent years, especially last year when his spleen was removed. But he seems much better now and, harking back to his Tibetan roots, loved prancing around in the recent snows we had. Some think we're crazy to spend so much on our dog, but you know why we do it.
All the Best,

P.S.: Like Lucy, Teddy used to watch TV -- but only took an interest when another dog or some other animal appeared on screen. Given all the barking, it was all but impossible to watch Animal Planet! He doesn't do that much anymore, I think because his vision's not as sharp.

Marianne Paskowski:

Ah Jim,

I big wet sloppy (dog kiss) to your Teddy who is hanging on so well. Glad to hear. Thanks for posting, all of this really makes me feel better. Why I don't know why, but it does.

I'm not sure if Lucy could read in death or life, but I know she would be happy to read that so many people cared about her and her caretakers. Jim, BTW, dogs love The Weather Channel, especially that stupid elevator/Muzak junk between the national and local segments.

Hope you're well and stay that way forever,


i'm so sorry to hear about you lucy. i know it's a horrible loss and your heart is heavy.
i lost my 15-year-old abysinnian named bob cat, because he looked like a bobcat, three weeks ago, and i still am interpreting any number of noises from the tv and the street as meows. it's very unnerving.
but i had time to say goodby to bob cat, who had more personality than any other pet i ever had. well, except for the capuchin monkey my father came home with in the '60s. he was always playing with himself, but that's a story for a more appropriate space.
just remember: all dogs go to heaven. and they wait for their humans.

Marianne Paskowski:

Oy Greppi,

Thanks for sharing about Bob Cat. Bummer, and I know how you feel. Never knew you had a monkey, perhaps that explains a little, or all, about your charming antics.I do want to hear more about that monkey, but I guess that's just between us, and for later.

Oh well, I'm sure Lucy is in heaven. Not so sure that's where I will land, given my checkered history. Thanks for posting amd saying that you think I have a chance at St. Peter's gate.


Patty Greco:

Dear Marianne...it always saddens me so when I hear an animal of a friend has died (or for that matter any animal). They are our kids, our babies, our friends. It's heartbreaking...it actually feels like your heart has broken. I am about to lose my 4th animal in less than 2 years...2 beautiful dogs (Teddy and Indy), a cat (Beanie) are gone and soon another cat (Molly). Nothing prepares you for it even though you know it will eventually happen as death always does. But...not so soon for dear sweet Lucy. She had terrific parents and a wonderful life. Remember the good times....when she made you laugh....when she was silly....even when she was bad. She will be in your heart forever...and she will help you get through this. Just think she's with Beau, Ziggy, Zooey, Casey, Teddy and Indy right now barking her brains out and having fun. Take care dear friend. Patty

Dear Marianne and Bob,

As you both know... my thoughts and prayers are with you! I had to take two weeks off of work when my beloved Elroy died last year. I know what you are both going through and my heart aches for you! It's hard to describe how important our animals are in our lives and not feel just a little silly. I feel the loss every day. As I told you on the phone, getting a new puppy to channel all that love into was critical to my healing. Love you both and wish you God Speed. Lucy will forever be with you!



I was sorry to hear about Lucy's passing. We can certainly relate at our household. As a good friend reminded me under similar circumstances, Lucy was a lucky dog to have lived her life where she only knew love and comfort. My thoughts are with you today.



Marianne Paskowski:

God it was just months ago that we were sitting in your kitchen, shedding tears over Indy, and we snuck a cig in your kitchen just as Mitch was unexpectedly coming home. Did you ever get busted?

And now you're facing this yet again with Molly. I'm so happy that your new boy Toby, a golden is now in your life.


Marianne Paskowski:


Thanks for your lovely note, all of them are making me feel better. I remember your Elroy period so well, and so recently. Bob and I thank you for the flowers, your prayers and that we all are in your big, generous heart.


Marianne Paskowski:


Thanks for your posting, it means a lot of us. My husband, Bob, to feels comfort from reading them for all of you.


Ronni Faust:


So sorry to hear about Lucy. And so young. My god dog who is only 10 weeks old is going through a failure of some kind, and we're all praying for her to get better. She is the cutest St. Bernard puppy, but she just won't eat or grow. I lost Dylan a few years ago, and I still miss his tail wagging when I open the apartment door. It definitely leaves a hole. Do think about getting a new puppy. It will help the healing process.

On a lighter note, my car is Lucy. She's less than a year old, blue and doesn't bark. She rarely honks (verboten in Santa Fe), but gets good mileage. Hope that at least brought a smile:)

Take care, and my deepest sympathies.

Warm regards,

Marianne Paskowski:

Oh Ronnie,

I'm so sorry to hear about your baby St. Bernard not feeling well. Hopefully, it's just some fluke and she will be fine and grow up to be bigger than you, Miss Petite. And so sorry to hear about Dylan.

And on a lighter note, I thought I was the only nut job in the world who named her cars. May your Lucy's engine purr along. A year ago I named by RAV4 Baby Dumbo, cuz that's exactly what it looks like to me.

Thanks for sharing your story, for thinking of me and taking a minute to offer your sympathy. It really helps. I've never sat Shiva online before:)

Take care of your baby,

Janet Stilson:

Dear Marianne,

I don't need to tell you how much I know what you're feeling, because of our many conversations about our beloved pooches over the years. It seems like whenever things became snarled at work, we could talk about those we loved -- oftentimes our dogs -- and it helped put life in perspective. Particularly as those lovable goofballs provided such comic relief. I well remember first seeing pictures of Lucy, and of course hearing about her so many times -- to say nothing of Zoe, Beau and Sammy.

As you probably know, the story I love to have you retell is the one where Beau (I think) got past your road barriers and decided to go to sleep on the freshly varnished wooden floor, and how you had to cut his fur to get him unstuck.

Your story, early this week, about finding Lucy in a barn filled with cooing doves, and how she learned to coo before she learned to bark, was wonderful.

I do hope you find yourself a fuzzy warm yellow ball to bring home soon. She certainly won't replace your darling. But I do believe she'll lighten your step. Please pass on my sympathies to Bob.


Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Janet,

Funny how you get your best material from retelling and sharing stories about our goofballs. On the hunt for the next fuzzy yellow ball, and the automatic seven pound weight loss from all the training.

And yes, it was Beau who I had to cut loose from the varnished floor. They are all tales to themselves. Thanks for thinking of us now.



Tom Becherer:

As the family member perceived as the "resident curmudgeon," I have found myself charged with the responsibility of having family pets put down. While the rest of the family never has known it, I truly feel your pain over the loss of Lucy. Humanoid friends are fine but they don't stand up to the four-legged variety. Ever lose track of a two-legged friend? Ever have one ignore attempts at contact? That never happens with our furry friends. They greet us at the door. They lap up any affection bestowed on them. (Okay, cats are different but still loving in their own way!)

The good news is, there is another fur ball waiting somewhere to find a place in your heart and, while Lucy will never be forgotten, ease the pain.

Marianne Paskowski:


Thanks for your note, you've been there too, and for sharing your thoughts with us.

Regards to you and your family,

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