I first received word of Lacy Under Drawers from a friend of mine, Debbie Lawrence. She commented on my initial blog posts and eventually suggested that Lacy, her gorgeous dog depicted in the feature image above, would love some recognition for her presence among the canine community. In the photo above, Lacy is surrounded by Debbie and her husband, and despite the camouflage gear that might indicate a hunting trip, Lacy seeks affection above any wild game.
Debbie noted that when they adopted Lacy at eight weeks old, she initially began to respond to her husband’s hunting retrieval training methods and commands, yet it would not be long until she developed a tireless and devout love for her owners, trumping even her most primitive behavior: retrieval–a trait that dogs of her breed are famous for displaying. Debbie described her husband as “devastated” by Lacy’s refusal to retrieve, noting that she was only interested in “being by his [Debbie’s husband’s] side.” While they suggest that they may have her professionally trained at some point, they currently enjoy the love that she provides and desires despite her apparent lack of interest in traditional hunting roles–though maybe all she was ever really interested in hunting for in the first place was the love that she has now found. And as Debbie put so eloquently, “Isn’t that what we all strive for?”
Ironically, while Lacy currently does not hunt, one of her favorite resting places is within the parameters of her owner’s hunting bag (above, middle photo). Dogs have a way of sending us interesting and compelling messages, and maybe this is an example. While she presently does not hunt, perhaps she is warming herself up to the idea by spending time and immersing herself within her owner’s hunting bag. Maybe she wants to be a part of epic hunting trips, surveying the woods and retrieving game like so many of her friends, but maybe she wants to do so on her own time. Sure, this might fly in the face of conventional wisdom or sound far-fetched, and I certainly offer no scientific evidence to support my theory, but as a teacher of literature, I often refer to the famous line inked by Romantic author Ralph Waldo Emerson in his famous essay “Self-Reliance” that suggests complexity of being and the sometimes hidden element of one’s true self. Emerson notes, “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
And so it may be perplexing to many that a hunting dog apparently lacks interest in hunting, but as previously suggested, maybe Lacy is on the hunt for something else that transcends any wooded adventure. Maybe she is on the trail for an unbreakable bond with her owners, a type of connection that makes it difficult to chase down a bird when you’d rather lean firmly against the family that provides you love, shelter, warmth, and compassion. Maybe she simply feels a need to show a great deal of gratitude and loyalty before indulging in her most primal behavior. For as any unselfish being understands, to serve oneself is to strengthen oneself, but to serve another is to declare their worth as equal or greater than their own. Dogs like Lacy seem to embody this ideal.
Speaking of ideals, there is something to be said for standing one’s ground. Abraham Lincoln once stated, “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” At first glance, this quote may appear to have little or no connection to the aforementioned thoughts regarding Lacy and her relationship with Debbie and her husband; however, a deeper glance may reveal something more. Garnering love, trust, respect, and loyalty by exhibiting and practicing these very traits in her interactions with her owners seems to be Lacy’s recipe for establishing the connections she desires. By placing her feet firmly among the values and in the ground that she elects to live into, she has sent a transparent message of love and affection for all those willing to notice. Let us remember that such intentionality in building relationships is not exclusive to humans–in fact, we could often look to canines for such sage examples of sacrifice and selflessness.
“It is not sacrifice if you love what you’re doing.”