I Love Lucy and (Finally) Appreciate Bruno Mars

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.

Why I'm taking branding lessons from a poodle (and why smart entrepreneurs should, too!) | KOTAW Content MarketingShe’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.

Business branding tips inspired by a persnickety Poodle Doodle | KOTAW Content Marketing

Meet Lucy aka LuLU, the newest member of our KOTAW Girl Gang!

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

LuLU spends her days happily hanging out with the entire KOTAW Girl Gang, including Kelsey (left) and Bri and Ivy (right).

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.

LuLU giving some Poodle Doodle love to her Kitten Cat, Doosis.

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!

Katherine Kotaw with LuLU (who we affectionately call our lamb-koala hybrid!)

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


  1. Awww, Lucy and Spike would get along great – and by great, I mean, they would ignore each other, fight over food and require more babying than you’d think :). It’s such an amazing compliment when an animal adopts you – and Lucy has superb taste. Thanks for the glimpse into your life, and for the great marketing applications. I might have to hire Lucy. :D

    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      Ha ha! Lucy and Ivy get along because Ivy lets Lucy get away with everything. Spike, I believe, would make a much tougher opponent (and put Lucy in her pernsnickety poodle place). It’s hard to believe that a year-and-a-half ago, we were mourning the loss of our only permanent resident (Woofie) and have since been adopted by two dogs and a cat! More miraculously, they all love each other.

      Thanks for commenting and for making me smile. Lucy’s for hire — she has to earn her heavy-duty pampering somehow! :)

  2. Awwww….Awww…..and more Awwwwwwsss

    Gosh – it’s wonderful to finally get to know YOU, Lucy!! You are such a cutie and I am sure your Mama loves you. ;) But although my Kat played hard to get, you finally won over her, so kudos darling! Muaaaahhh

    Kattttttttt – I petted this HUGEEEEE, but immensely gentle dog at Oreo’s vet today. You were on my mind the whole time #HUGSSS (Well, you are on my mind all the time ;))

    And you are right, sweetie, a smile can thaw the iciest hearts. Muaaaah



    • Katherine Kotaw says:

      You petting a HUGE dog!! You certainly faced — and conquered — your fears! I am delighted for you and the lucky pooch.

      I am off for a walk with Lucy and Ivy but wanted to write quickly in case I forgot when I returned. Many times on these outings, my brain fills with stories and empties all other thoughts.

      And I didn’t want to end the night THINKING I’d written to you when I hadn’t. Your Kat can be frightfully absent-minded, but you are always in my heart. xoxoxox

  3. […] 9 percent of people in the United States are diabetic — I eat a lot of broccoli, take Ivy and Lucy on a lot of walks and eliminate half the sugar in practically everything I […]

  4. […] Sure enough, we found him in the kitchen rolling out homemade pizza dough, with the plan of making a special vegetarian pizza for my daughters and me and a ham and pepperoni pizza for Ivy and her Maltese Poodle friend, Lucy. […]

  5. […] do know that we our Mother, Daughter, Daughter, Pit, right? As I write this I hear our sometimes-persnickety Poodle Doodle, Lucy, saying: “And Poodle Doodle too, and Poodle Doodle […]

  6. […] to meet our furry family members: Ivy, our sweet red-nosed Pit Bull and KOTAW’s Brand Ambassador; Lucy, a 11-year-old poodle mix whose Adopt Me NOW! campaign included threatening to jump off the roof of her old home, and Doosis, […]

  7. […] time my daughters and I walk Ivy and Lucy there, I drop off an armful of books.  Most disappear between visits, and I feel unreasonably […]

  8. […] Pit Bull Flower Power project — and that Ivy’s sweet rescue kitten-cat Doosis and her loving Poodle Doodle Lucy could too! — we were […]

  9. […] can read LuLu’s ADOPT ME NOW campaign here (spoiler alert: she threatened to jump off the roof of her previous owner’s house in order to […]

  10. […] My KOTAW Girl Gang (daughters Bri and Kelsey, Brand Ambassador Pit Bull Ivy, Poodle Doodle LuLu, Kitten-Cat Doosis, and me!) has been invaded (in the most loving way possible) by (gasp!) a […]

  11. […] girl in the whole wide world, who we call Doosis) and a 11-year-old sometimes-persnickety Poodle Doodle named Lucy, whom my daughters and I love with all of our hearts. Ivy inspires me to stay curious, love wholly […]

  12. […] gardening efforts on our entire block (meaning he left our gate wide open for five hours so Ivy and LuLu couldn’t be out there and came in and out of our yard to gather different tools, neglecting to […]

  13. […] the role of seeing-eye dog, shadowing Nooby until he could manage our home and yard on his own; Lucy was sweet and deferential even when Nooby stole her treats and landed on her head during a poorly […]

  14. […] little over a year ago, my mom introduced you to Lucy, the persnickety poodle who forced herself into the KOTAW Girl Gang’s lives (and hearts) by […]

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