Posted by: mahlbrandt | April 18, 2008

A Dog is not an Investment

In particular, my dog, Lucy, is not an investment. To justify her adoption fee, her former owner said, “I have a lot of money invested in her.” After seeing the pathetic state of the neglected little thing at her house, I was disgusted with her comment. This rural family apparently bought 2 full-bred cocker spaniels with the intent of selling puppies and making a load of money. Apparently investing time into discipline, exercise and affection wasn’t part of that. And unfortunately, neither was maintenance of her coat or proper nutrition. Yes, Lucy was in bad shape the day I met her.

She was terrified of me when I came into their house. The family lined up on the couch trying to look responsible. The little brown scruffy animal hid between her keeper’s legs and the couch and trembled. I reached out my hand for her to sniff, which she did quickly and then hid again. Her hair was so long on top I couldn’t see her eyes. Her ears had heavy matted cakes of hair at the ends. They looked heavy and painful as she hung her head. Jason trusted me to make this decision on my own while he was traveling. We were both set on finding a chocolate cocker spaniel to adopt.

I snapped a couple of pictures of her with my phone, sent them to Jason and then went outside to call him. “She’s in really bad shape,” I remember telling him. “She won’t even let me touch her.” He said, “She’s really cute. I think you should take her.” I couldn’t believe he said that. We had decided that since I was going alone, if I had any doubts at all I wouldn’t adopt her. I went back inside with new determination to pet her. We decided to take her outside on a leash. Once outside, she lightened up a lot. She finally let me touch her. Her ears! I had never seen anything like it. I realized that I had to take her. She needed help. [By the way, she was 2 1/2 and had had her first litter of puppies 3 months prior. They decided it wasn’t worth the trouble of breeding her again, I guess.]

$100 and some pedigree-transfer-papers later she was mine and we were on our way back to Nashville. She curled up in a little ball in the back corner of the trunk. She smelled like must. Within hours of getting home she was my buddy. I had fallen in love. The sweet little dog followed me everywhere. She was timid but she seemed appreciative. She inhaled a bowl of food so fast it was obvious that she was used to fighting for her share. Her frazzled, orangish hair was long and poofy but underneath I could tell she felt boney. Poor baby.

Jason got home around 3:00 am. They didn’t have much interaction. Lucy wouldn’t let him touch her. The next morning was Easter. I had a 7:00 am appointment to get her groomed at Petsmart (yes, on Easter). I dropped her off and drove back home imagining what she would look like after a bath, a shave and mos importantly without the heavy mats hanging off the bottoms of her ears. 15 minutes after I got home the groomer called and said she was having a panic attack and I needed to come get her. They weren’t allowed to continue because she could go into shock and die. Oh my.

Back in the car to rescue my new baby again. Back at home she finally got to meet her papa. Many treats later, she let him pet her. We realized we were going to have to get those mats off her ears one way or another. Scissors turned out to be the only option because the vibrating hair clippers terrified her. I could go on and on about those disgusting things. Who lets that happen? She was so badly neglected. So scared of people. So hungry. So malnourished. So not-housetrained. (Her former people had lied about this but I wasn’t surprised.) Ever tried to potty-train a 2 1/2 year old dog? Thankfully she was extremely loyal and wanting to please. Lucy was like a puppy in every way. I tried to take her for a walk that first day. She had no idea what to do. She faithfully followed right behind my heels so I was almost kicking her in the face with every step. So started the process of trust and education.

One year and 11 days later I can joyfully report that Lucy is happy and healthy. Her coat is shiny and brown. She is no longer afraid of people. She is 95% house-trained. (What a process!) She takes her time eating her food. And best of all, I don’t think Lucy ever thinks about her old life as “Jamie’s Little Hershey Girl.”

Here are some before and after shots:


  1. This is totally making me cry… wow. Thank you for taking care of her!!

  2. this was such an awesome post. i love the last two before/after pictures…where you can finally see her eyes looking up at you!

    yay for the name lucy!!

  3. […] You can read about how I acquired her and see “before & after” photos here. […]

  4. […] You can read more about Lucy’s adoption story here. […]

  5. […] And Puppy Makes Four Two years and two days ago, on April 7, 2007 Jason and I adopted Lucy. (If you have haven’t already, you can read her story here.) […]

  6. […] you’ve never read the story of her rescue, you can read it here. Filed Under: Select Category Art Art: Cooking Art: crafts Art: Drive-By Shooting Art: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: