“Mom, I miss Lucky,” Little Man told me today during the car ride to his grandpa’s house. “I’d do anything to get her back,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.
Little Man’s first dog died nearly a year ago, a sweet beagle/basset mix named Lucky that LM got as a puppy when he was three.
As someone who has never been much of an animal person, I was often skeptical of the connection some people say they have with their pets. Sure, a pet makes a good companion, but love? Considering them as members of your own family?
Watching Little Man and Lucky together made me a believer.
Those two had such a special connection. She was so loving and affectionate with him, yet so fiercely protective at the same time. I have so many pictures of the two of them just looking at each other, and the love is so obvious, almost painfully so.
Lucky was incredibly smart, too. When LM’s grandparents tried to take him home with them one day (they said their goodbyes inside), Lucky barked and circled their new car until my husband and I went outside to load LM into the car. They switched cars a few times, so this happened more than once.
Shortly before she died, LM took his favorite stuffed animal in the backyard when he was playing, but forgot to bring it in when he came inside, which he realized shortly before bedtime. We couldn’t find it, and he was in tears over the thought of one of his “sons” being gone and not getting to sleep with it. I later went to the front yard to get something out of the car and found Lucky sitting beside LM’s side of the car with the bear–not a chew mark on it.
Breaking the news to LM about his dog dying (we found her having a seizure and she died within minutes) when he got home from school that day was incredibly tough. After letting him know that we had some terrible news, I told him outright that the dog had gotten sick suddenly and had passed. It broke his little heart and he sobbed for hours, in between a few fits of rage where he punched the pillows on his bed.
Sometimes I wonder if it would had been easier on him had we told him that she just ran off and that someone found her and kept her. Maybe that would have been easier for him to deal with than the truth.
Every so often, LM brings up Lucky and talks about how much he misses her. I’m not sure what prompted him to think of her today, but he presented a Would You Rather? for himself:
“If you asked me, ‘Would you rather have every single toy and screen you own taken and never have anything else again or get Lucky back?’ I would take Lucky. I miss her so much.”
I reached behind me to hold his hand while I drove while trying not to cry myself. I told him that I was sorry that he was hurting over losing his dog and that I wished we could have her back, too.
“You know what, Mommy?” LM asked. “It would be cool if Lucky would just come up out of her grave. I wouldn’t care if she was a zombie or a vampire that wanted to suck my blood. I’d let her have it, just to have her.”
I squeezed his hand a little tighter. “I’m sure you would.”
He was quiet for a moment. “Well, I don’t know if I would want her back as a zombie or a vampire because she might try to kill me. So what I would do is just bury her again. But since burying her alive might kill her, then I’ll use a screwdriver to put some holes in the ground so she can breathe.”
Okay, then. His little brain was going off on one of his tangents, which is a good sign, even if that’s a rather disturbing image.
“You know what, Mommy? Lucky will never be really dead because her spirit will always be alive in heaven. It’d be nice if God would decide that she could come back and visit me, though, wouldn’t it?”
“It would. Who knows, maybe when you lose someone you love, God lets a little bit of their spirit go into something new, that way you can find each other again.”
“You mean like with Bilbo?” he asked. He got a new dog, also part beagle, before Christmas. Like Lucky, LM and this dog connected instantly and are also inseparable.
“Yep. I don’t know for sure, but maybe it could work that way.”
That thought cheered up Little Man a lot, and he was back to discussing various ninja moves by the time we arrived at his grandpa’s house.