I suppose those in my neighborhood who remember Lucy think of her as a large vicious dog. I remember her as a dog who didn't take well to teasing. I also used to think of her as a victim, but now I feel that in some ways she was a hero.
I hadn't thought of her for a long time, and only recently, with the attention paid to the escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, did I begin to think of her again. It took me a while to remember her name. It was the revelation that the young men teased the tiger, triggering an aggressive reaction that they surely now regret, that reminded me of Lucy.
Every day on my way home from school, I would make a point to pass her dog run. Her owners lived in the corner house, kitty corner across from my house. Along the dirt sidewalk at the side of the house bordering the street was Lucy's run.
As a puppy Lucy would run with the gamboling, clumsy gait of one whose feet and head were too big for the rest of the package. She was white and black, half German Shepherd and half Husky. At first, she ran with all the puppyish enthusiasm one would and should expect from a family pet.
That soon changed. Even though her owners put up plastic slats so that people couldn't directly see or touch Lucy, the damage had been done and continued to be done. People entertained themselves by kicking Lucy in the face when as a young pup she came with her sweet, excited bark up to the wire mesh fence. They waited until she was close enough, wanting to sniff their hands and meet these new people. They then kicked her in the face and laughed.
Lucy, of course, remembered these people. She grew up to be a big dog with an authoritative bark and a snarl. She didn't wait to bark when she came to the fence; you could hear her rushing up with an angry declaration. Yet when I lifted my voice above hers, greeting her, she quickly changed. She became docile, and instead of barking, she made that grunting sound dogs make when they want to be scratched in just the right place. My hand was small enough to squeeze through the wire mesh.