Sibling Assignment #37: You Can Call Me Al

" If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty when you call me
You can call me Al ."
Paul Simon

I gave the sibling assignment this week. "Think about a pet that has been a part of your life. Think about a significant event that happened with that pet that made you realize you were glad the pet was in your life." Raymond Pert's is here and Silver Valley Girl's will be here.

In 1990 I adopted my dog Lucy. She was a springer/cocker/maybe poodle mix. She always got along famously with my first springer spaniel Nikki. Early on Nikki "taught Lucy the ropes". The two pictures blended together above show the two of them enjoying the beach on the Oregon coast, but later that day Lucy was the bodyguard for anyone that needed watching. Lucy was a part of my life during the years when the most changes occurred. A marriage dissolved, her other owner went away except during hunting time, we moved to another town, her best buddy Nikki grew older causing her vision and hearing to wane, we moved to my current house, my dad died, Nikki died, Emily came into the household, and JEJ came into our lives bringing another dog. The day Lucy came home with Nikki and me.
Once my brother started singing Paul Simon's song " You Can Call Me Al" as he watched Lucy's protective bodyguarding around me. Of course later I don't know who was Betty- Nikki or me. The significant event I remembered was when Nikki got lost while on our nightly run. When I first started teaching in Inchelium I lived in teacher housing by the school. Across the road was the football field. It was a perfect place to take the dogs for their run each night. Unfortunately part of it isn't fenced. Nikki was sniffing, exploring, and running in the dark when she disappeared. I saw Lucy, but no sign of Nikki. I knew she was having a hard time seeing and my shouts would not be heard because of her slow loss of hearing. I looked down the hill toward the lake hoping she had not caught a scent and headed there.

All of a sudden I saw Lucy guiding Nikki back around the fence. I had seen her do this before, but that night it was profound. Lucy became Nikki's eyes and ears. In the football field in the dark I was so glad I had Lucy in my life. Nikki was just loping beside her as if nothing was wrong. Lucy continued to be a bodyguard. Most of the time it was with Nikki, but she protected me also. Everyone knew that Lucy was never going to let anything happen to the rest of her family (author note: right after that incident with Nikki I got a doggy Christmas collar that had blinking red lights so we never lost her again!).
Dogs sense our emotions when things change in our lives. Lucy had an intuitive sense that she needed to help both Nikki and myself during that difficult time. Whenever I hear Paul Simon sing "You Can Call Me Al" on my MP3 player I forever think of Lucy. She was my bodyguard.

This was our last day in Kennewick before we embarked on new life in northeastern Washington. (1994)


  1. Perfect.

    The two blended pictures: perfect.

    The description of Lucy: perfect.

    The story of Lucy helping Nikki home: perfect.

    Paul Simon: perfect.

    "She was my bodyguard.": Perfect

  2. RP: Thanks. I did love the way the blended pictures turned out.

  3. That is so sweet! we had one of those weiner dogs and a shepherd. The weiner dog lost his eye sight and would travel under the belly of the shepherd. The shepherd was her seeing eye dog for years. Their favourite game was chasing cats up into our big maple and then the shepherd would go on the hunt for other cats while the weiner dog sat at the bottom of the tree barking and keeping the stranded cats until the cats would realize he was blind and sneak down the other side! LOL The neighbourhood cats soon became the wiser and the dogs couldn't do it

  4. Jen: I see you understand the whole bodyguard thing also!

  5. A beautiful story. Pets are a very special part of our families. Lovely pictures too. I love the one JEJ took of the dogs checking out the hillside :)


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