Monday, December 8, 2008

Lucy at Whitcomb House

Photograph © Gross + Daley for Old-House Interiors (1997)

My friend Sue sent me this image today. It is of our bullmastiff Lucy, just over a year old, taken at our former home in Hancock, New Hampshire. She didn't pose but was just sunning herself in the front parlor of our old house in the warm light of an October morning. I remember she followed Sue and Steve around as they were shooting for an article on the house that I wrote for Old-House Interiors. They always brought along their dog Mabel, a Norwegian Elkhound and almost 15, who became a good friend to Lucy. [Susan Daley and Steve Gross shot the house in October 1997 that appeared, along with Lucy, in the Fall 1998 issue of the magazine. Their blog talks more about their latest book, Time Wearing Out Memory.]

Lucy also appeared in an oil portrait painted by Numael Pulido, a modern realist painter from Hancock. He loved Lucy for her personality and painterly qualities and posed her along with our boys when they were a bit younger (about five years ago). [His wife, Shirley Pulido, is also an artist in murals and pastels and they are both represented by Vose Galleries in Boston, Massachusetts.]

I should also point out that the portrait on the wall behind Lucy in the photograph, above, is of my father-in-law, Thomas Pond, who died in 2001. It was also painted by Numael Pulido (in 1996), and he first met Tom when he used to go for long walks around town with his straw hat and cane. For a long time Tom's portrait hung in the parlor but before he died we put the portrait in the dining room overlooking our dinner table. He often liked to read on his old leather chair in the library where, in the evenings, he would drape his lap with a blanket. Lucy would come in and lie down, right at his feet, on top of any spare bit of warm blanket. He loved his time with Lucy and they had a special bond.

As I see the image of this painting of our boys and Lucy for the first time in months, I remember other things, too. (The portrait hung in our Hancock home for the past five years and was crated and put into storage when we moved this summer.) I realize that the little chair, in the Renaissance style, was at one time in my Ohio bedroom and something I salvaged a long time ago from my mother's barn. It was likely a chair from my father's Ohio childhood. The hat on the chair was knit by my mother just before Eli was born, when we took knitting lessons together, and the car that Eli is playing with was a childhood toy that had belonged to my father-in-law. They were used as artist's props but to me have much greater meaning and symbolism. It is odd, upon reflection, that the artist chose to have Lucy leashed. She sat perfectly well for the initial sketches and photographs to get the poses but I believe the artist wanted Henry to hold something and Lucy's leash seemed apt. I now have her leash and collar in a small bag in a drawer, the very same that Henry is holding in their portrait.

Lucy Mariah Whitcomb Pond • December 2007 • Hancock, NH (a year ago)

Thank you all for your lovely comments and emails as they are comforting. Normally I would not write something so personal in my blog but I wanted to write a tribute to a great dog and friend and found myself needing to reach out about her. Since her passing on December 3 (see my December 4 blog entry) I have found that writing and reminiscing has been very helpful to me. Thanks for reading.


Wildside said...


Angelena said...

Beautiful. Your home is also beautiful from the pictures of Lucy.

Wylie said...

We so enjoyed reading your beautiful tribute to your wonderful Lucy. She was such a treasure, and your family was blessed to have her for twelve years.

My aunt told me that even though we own numerous pets over a lifetime, there is usually just one "special" pet, and I think Lucy was your gift.

Simply Heart And Home said...

Lucy was so majestically beautiful. What a blessing to have such lovely paintings and pictures of her.


Carolyne said...

Hello Catherine~ I just finished catching up about your "Lucy" and the wonderful story of her life with your family. I agree with you that we are so blessed to have animals become a part of our families.
My own precious "Lady", a beautiful auburn Chesapeake, chose our family and lived with us until four days before our first grand daughter came into the world.
How do you explain the way they weave their lives with your own, all the while comforting your griefs and teaching far more than mere intelligence can assign?
I will always wonder if angels walk among the animal kingdom as well.
Blessings to you.

Carolyne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

I'm very moved, Catherine. Thank you for this post, and the chance to see Lucy: she is a star. She has true depths in her eyes. I know how hard it is to come in to Christmas on the wings of a loss. This holiday has depths, too.

The one thing that gave me comfort after the death of my beautiful soul-dog was to make a promise to her memory that I would give another dog the chance to come into our hearts from a shelter, to have as happy a life as we could give. And so she goes on, a little.


Catherine said...

Thank you all for your good thoughts and taking the time to write about Lucy. It has been comforting reaching out in blog world about such a personal loss--and heartwarming, too.

Blessings, Catherine

Elizabeth-Plain and Simple said...

I love the painting of Lucy and your children. It is very obvious how much she was loved. Blessings to you.


goddessof4 said...

I just found your blog and I wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss of a great friend.It changes my perspective of my own dogs who are more of a handful.I only wish I can experience the special bond you have had with Lucy!!!! Blessings,Sara