In his characteristic free-flowing style, Dave Barry stares down aging by taking lessons from his 10-year-old dog, Lucy, in the delightful Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog.
Barry reveals seven lessons that his beloved Lucy has taught him, and he measures how well he’s succeeded in embracing those lessons. For example, he learns from Lucy how to be present, especially to “Pay Attention to the People You Love (Not Later. Right Now.).” Lucy always lives in the present moment, Barry tells us. When the garbageman comes, she “objects vociferously—she cannot believe we allow this to happen—he is taking our garbage,” but as soon as he leaves, Lucy has forgotten him and gone on to the next moment in her life. Barry tries to apply this lesson to his life with friends and family, working to be present with them rather than looking at his phone. Barry admits that it’s a constant struggle to focus on the people around him rather than on Twitter, but he thinks he’s doing better than he used to.
Another lesson he learns from Lucy is “Don’t Lie Unless You Have a Really Good Reason, Which You Probably Don’t.” When Lucy does something she’s not supposed to do, such as knocking down the Christmas tree, she greets the family with whimpering and “flattening herself on the floor in the yoga position known as Pancake Dog.” Barry points out that dogs are incapable of lying but that it’s more complicated for humans. Barry admits that he’s doing OK with this lesson.
Even as we’re laughing out loud at Lucy’s and Barry’s behavior, his witty and wise stories about aging with his dog touch our hearts.