I’d jump off a roof for you
Risk my life as proof to you
I’d run away from home for you
Howl, growl, whine and moan for you
You know I’d do anything for you
Bite a snake in the grass for you
Bite your ex in the ass for you
Yes, I would die for you, Mama
But would you do the same?
The answer, as it turned out, was yes. But like the lukewarm lover in “Grenade,” I really tried to resist Lucy’s over-the-top efforts to woo me.
She’d wake me at six a.m. every day with her plaintive barks, and I’d stumble in the dark to her house, three doors from ours, and let her out of the gate. I’d bring her back to my house, watch her play with Ivy, and give her a treat when she begged at the kitchen pantry.
But some mornings I was tired. Some days I just didn’t want to give in to the demands of an 11-year-old Maltese Poodle that had a home, a family and a pretty decent life as far as I could tell.
Some days, I ignored her.
Until the neighbors called Animal Control…until she started scaling fences, digging holes and escaping through windows …until I found her on the edge of a roof, threatening to leap off if I didn’t climb up and rescue her NOW!
Then I did what seemed like the only responsible thing to do: I picked Lucy up every morning and took her home every night, making sure she was home to greet her family when they returned from work.
It was a nice, casual relationship. Lucy made a reasonable playmate for Ivy, warmed my lap while I worked and, except for a few nipping incidents with delivery men, more or less kept out of trouble.
Night of a Million Cries
But Lucy, like Bruno Mars, wanted more. First, she started treating every walk home as if it were a trip to the guillotine. Then she found ways to sneak out at night, serenading me at 9 p.m., midnight, 3 in the morning. Worse, when someone from her family came to retrieve her, she’d growl, snap at and sometimes bite the “intruder.”
It was frustrating, embarrassing and…kind of endearing.
Lucy, shy and timid when I first met her (she didn’t let me pet her for weeks) was head over tail in love with me and willing to do anything to make me feel the same way about her.
Point of No Return
One night, early in the summer, Lucy escaped to our house about 10 minutes after we’d dropped her off at her home. The temperature was in the triple digits and Bri was suffering a health crisis, so I decided to let her stay until someone from her family came to pick her up.
No one did. Not that night, not the next day, not the next week. And then we learned that her family was moving away.
We bought Lucy a new collar and name tag and started calling her ours.
No, No, No!…Yes
Lucy is a damn fine marketer, a branding genius.
I am not a small dog person. Dakota, my Great Dane, was tall enough to be my dance partner, and I considered Woofie, who weighed about 55 pounds, a lightweight. Ivy’s got model-long legs and bodybuilder muscle. I like dogs that force me to invest in a king-size bed, not ones that can curl up on a throw pillow.
I do not have the heart to adopt an older dog. I admire people who rescue senior dogs, but I am just not emotionally cut out for such a challenge. I once rescued a five-year-old Dalmatian and told everyone he was two. I referred to my white-bearded Golden Retriever as a puppy to spare myself the reality of his advancing years.
I am not a high-maintenance dog person. If grooming a dog requires more than a brush and a nail clipper, I pass. And, if I can get away with it, I skip the nail clipping, too. When Ivy’s nails get out of control, I take her for long walks in the neighborhood instead of at the park so she can file her nails on the sidewalk.
Convinced and Converted
And yet here I am, carrying Lucy and her new collar under one arm and a bag of groceries under the other (Dakota used to carry the groceries for me!) and taking her for swing rides in the park. I’m buying Caesar’s brand chicken with rosemary because maybe (WHY?) the crunchy food she’s shared with Ivy the past year isn’t good enough. And my daughters and I just spent an hour scissor-cutting her overgrown curly locks because we know she’s frightened by electric trimmers and there was NO WAY we were going to drop her off at some surly, heartless groomer’s shop.
Pursued and Persuaded
I’m taking branding lessons from a persnickety poodle. And maybe you should, too.
Lucy overcame the market research and ignored popular wisdom. She took a risk, pursued it with charm and tenacity and refused to accept any outcome short of her goal.
She first aligned herself with the key decision-maker – me – and carefully scaled up her adopt-me efforts one person, one pet at a time. Lucy, who was at first indifferent or downright mean to other members of my family, changed her marketing tactics when snarling and snapping earned my disapproval. She figured out it was in her best interests to give up the front seat of the car to Ivy and to let Doosis eat her Fancy Feast in peace. She arranged her rotating affection schedule so that she was on Kelsey’s bed when my younger daughter went to sleep at night and on Bri’s bed just before my older daughter awoke in the morning.
And, to allay my concerns about her age, she started acting – and looking – like a puppy. She lost her limp and led us on a three-hour walk. She woke Ivy up at midnight, begging for an extra dose of playtime. She asked to stick her head out the window on car rides and wagged her tail at passersby. And then, breaking the final barrier to my resistance, she smiled!
I smiled back and started humming “Grenade,” a song I used to consider downright creepy.
But, thanks to Lucy, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t start telling clients that I’d jump off a roof for them and urge them how to do the same for their customers.
Or at least teach them the importance of a killer smile.
November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, so this is a great time to open your heart and home to an older four-legged friend.
And, as Lucy has proved, an old dog can teach YOU new tricks!
What have you learned about life, marketing or love from the animals in your life?
Please share your insights and anecdotes below.
PS: Lucy has rebranded… Learn why she is now LuLU –and get her Mensa Poodle tips on how YOU can rebrand! — here.
Photo credit: Ashley Ella Design