lukaTwo weeks after my last post my best friend, Luka, passed off this temporal plane. Seven months later, I can’t even start this sentence without breaking down into sobs. Grimacing, heaving, saliva lap soaking, sobs. I can’t look at pictures of her without crying so I left this blog alone as she was, well, what it was all about. A vegan wolf. My shadow. Still, I figure it’s got to be cathartic to write about it. I do need to give some sort of closure to this space because I’d sure as hell like to not be a wreck right now while trying to type this. I’d like to stop waking up in tears. I’d like to stop sitting and staring blankly at the ground, waiting like she’s going to come back. I want to get to a place of peace with her being gone. Maybe it taps into deeper fears of death I didn’t realize I had. I’ve never been this torn up over loss. We have her ashes. I haven’t been able to pick it up and look at the box she is in. We plan to spread them in the forest up the mountain where we can return and visit her.

We adopted her six years ago on Valentines Day from the SPCA, the day wasn’t significant just a coincidence but it was a metaphor for everything she gave our lives and anyone that knew her. She was seven years old and only had one person before us. They don’t give out much information at the shelter but said she was given up because the previous person had to move and couldn’t take her. She had been in the kennel for a month even though she was a well adjusted dog, she was considered a senior and most people want younger dogs. She was also large, tall and intimidating looking but when we put a leash on her to take her for a trial walk there was no doubt in our minds we were adopting her. The name she had then was ‘Lucky’ and I couldn’t abide by that. I suggested ‘Luka’ like Luca Turilli, the Italian power metal guitarist and within a week the name stuck. We celebrated her birthday as the day we adopted her so this coming Valentines Day it would make sense to spread her ashes.

IMG_2108This picture was my screen saver for years. She loved the water and loved catching sticks.

Even though it’s common for dogs her size to only live up to twelve, we still hoped she’d be one of those 17 year old dogs. She’d stopped being able to jump or use stairs. Her hearing had gone and her sight was fading. X-rays showed that much of her spinal column had calcified and fused which explained her difficulty getting up after she’d been lying down. It was evident she needed to leave her body but god damn it, I didn’t want her to. It’s incredible how much I wanted to hold on. I guess it’s that tension still inside of me slowly unraveling. I’ve found it much easier to lose myself in work, or running & biking, or reading than actually take the time I need to face my grief. Most of all, I completely quit writing, subconsciously knowing it would snag this tightly woven part of me I’ve been trying to ignore.

I’d like to start tracing my thoughts and pictures here again. It saves friends from getting my epic long emails or letters when I can just direct them here to keep in touch without feeling the pressure of responding in kind. I’m sure I’ll talk about Luka more at other times but for right now I feel a little better crossing this bridge.

R.I.P Luka Dog, you were the best they make.


    • lysette said:

      I wish you and Vulpe many, many years ahead together 🙂 Thank you so much for the dog’s love link I really appreciate that, it helps xox

  1. Kelly said:

    Oh, I’m so very sorry for your loss. But thank you for sharing her story with us, and those gorgeous photos. I’ll be thinking of you.

    • lysette said:

      Thank you so much Kelly ❤ I hope you are well and it's so nice to hear from you 🙂

    • lysette said:

      You were the catalyst for me finally opening up this page and getting back to writing about it, thank you! ❤

      • anytime! Stay strong, you got this!

  2. FoodFeud said:

    Still so sorry Lysette! The picture of Luka in the water is great. Sounds like you two had some amazing adventures together. I actually think everyday about the fact that Haxan’s going to die some day. It’s sort of morbid but it doesn’t sound like you lived in that fear, just joy with each other. That’s wonderful. I hope the pain eases and I hope writing about it helps.
    Feel free to write epic emails or letters, or epic blog posts as the mood strikes. xox

    • lysette said:

      ❤ ❤ ❤ She LOVED the water! I have so many pictures of her just sitting in the water smiling, so many. Luckily cats tend to live twice as long as dogs, the larger breeds of dogs at least. Hax will always look just like a little kitten. Lisa sagely said the beautiful thing about the short lives animals share with us (and I'm paraphrasing, she put it a lot better than my memory allows) is they teach us about the joys of life, the present moment and in leaving it, help prepare us for the loss of our human loved ones, like both my parents and three siblings are still a part of my daily life. I've lost close friends, best friends but our animal pals are, to anthropomorphize, our children. I spent more time with Luka than Darby :/ more time with her than I do now with my friends, or family, as I'm sure you do with Haxan at home too. I think that's what Lisa was also gesturing towards, that because of this, it's okay to be really sad and fucked up about losing an animal. I'm just starting to warm up to the idea of being a volunteer dog walker at the shelter again, with no intention of adopting, just helping out in that way at least, so that's progress! Thank you for all of your condolences, and I will take you up on the offer to go epic again, fu sha! 😉 ❤

  3. That must have been very difficult to write, though it is a beautiful account of Luka ❤

    • lysette said:

      Thanks Faye, augh, you hit an emotional resonance, it chokes me up all over again ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. Beautiful words, pal. There’s nothing much I can say that would help, even though I spend about 75% of every day thinking about death and dying.I hope writing about Luka has helped in some way.
    Also, Rhapsody are one of my all time favourite bands, so I was particularly tickled to see where Luka got her name. Stay strong. x

    • lysette said:

      Thanks David, phooph yeah ditto… spend a vast amount of my brain space in death and yet it doesn’t make it any easier to cope. Yessss! I use to listen to so much power metal, little less lately but I’ll still throw on Manowar now and again. I invariably got asked if Luka was a reference to the Suzanne Vega song and the person would always start jauntily singing, or humming the pop song to which I’d reply ‘You mean the song about child abuse? No.’ You’re one of the first people to actually know who Luca Turilli is but that doesn’t surprise me either 😉

  5. cookeasyvegan said:

    Lysette — My eyes were full before the first paragraph ended. I’m so sorry you’ve lost your beloved girl. You’ve penned a beautiful tribute to your wonderful companion, and I hope it helps to sooth your sadness. The photo of Luka in the water is magnificent! She was a lucky dog to have lived such a happy life.

    • lysette said:

      Thank you Andrea ❤ Our relationship was definitely symbiotic, we were both lucky for it. That first photo was taken by a friend of mine Tim Matheson. He's a professional theatre photographer and while setting up to shoot our spring show in 2015, he caught that moment of Luka watching me. I'd gone down the path from the Timber Barn where the stage was set up, I don't know why probably to call for someone. When Luka was younger if I got up she would quickly follow but as it got more difficult for her to keep up, and to conserve her own energy, she would watch me to see how far I was going as she'd learned, I would generally come right back. When he first gave me that photo it upset me cause I could see how grey she had gotten, but I am so grateful to have it now.

  6. juliemokrzycki said:

    I’m so sorry, Lysette. Your photos of her are beautiful. What an amazing coincidence that someone as special as Luka came into your life on Valentine’s Day. Sending lots of love to you ❤

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