July 13, 2010 – May 8, 2020
(Litchfield, CT) – – I’ve written of a marvelous cast of characters we’ve been privileged to encounter as community broadcasters. Among them were politicians like Nelson Rockefeller and Mario Cuomo of sainted memory and his son and heir Andrew Mark Cuomo, Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr., George Latimer, Edwin Michaelian, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Hugh Carey, Pat Moynihan, Henry Kissinger and Jack Javits; as well as entertainers like Fred Astaire, Mabel Mercer, Hugh Shannon, Louis Armstrong and Bobby Short among them.
I’ve also admired media players and journalists who were more graceful and articulate than yours truly … William S. Paley, Walter Thayer, Jock Whitney, Lance Morrow, Chris Ruddy, Mark Simone, Neal Travis, Jimmy Cannon, Phil Reisman, Philip Roth, Pete Hamill, Jimmy Breslin, Don West, Sol, Larry and Rob Taishoff.
I’ve tried to remember my pals: Jeff Bernbach, who is still with us, Joseph Migliucci, Sirio Maccioni and the great Mario Cuomo. I once almost wrote about a horse, a quarterhorse, who, I think, loved me.
But I’ve never written about a dog.
Her name was Lacey. She was a cockapoo. And my compadre Gregorio and I loved her unreservedly. She was 10 when her heart stopped beating over the weekend at 4:30 in the morning at an animal hospital in Newtown, CT after a central casting veterinary Chief Doctor Adam Porter, with help from a surgeon Jason Headrick and another amazing doctor Tracy Zeldis who tried to save her from bleeding and a tumor.
Actually, we have two other cockapoo puppies (I hate the word “dog”). Their names are Coco and Jack and they have the same provenance as Lacey, having come from a litter of the legendary breeder Carol Bobrowsky of Mulberry Farm in the Hudson Valley.
Lacey was a daughter of Izzy and Kandi Kane. She was born on July 13, 2010. In the 10 years we had her never once did she ever bark. Lacey was a hugger and a lover. I mean she wasn’t a “rollover and pet me” girl like our Coco. But she was a lover too and had a great following among our friends who were always taken with Lacey’s civility and those big, gorgeous eyes.
She would sit on Gregorio’s lap while I drove and loved to play with our niece Briana Alvarez and my grandchildren Lily, Izzy, Amelia, Flynn and Tucker. She also had pals at the radio station: Irma, Maggie, Gregg, Cindy, Don, Judy and Kevin. They recognized Lacey as a “real lady” and friendly as all get out when she would come to visit.
Mario Cuomo once accused me of always trying to find something good or, as he put it, “sweet” in everyone I meet. Unfortunately, I sometimes fail to find that goodness. I often have the same reaction to animals, with all due respect, recognizing that all pets are beloved by their owners. The Carpenter’s Son would not like this observation … but I don’t really like all people or even all babies. You can often imagine they’ll grow up to resemble their parents. Maybe it’s the same with our four-legged friends, some of whom, it is said, actually begin to look like their owner.
I’m just trying to tell you how really extraordinary this little girl Lacey was and I beg you to believe there was something special, something very special about her.
My friend Judy Fremont, a great woman of the theatre and a Radio legend, who is also a killer on the golf course, called Lacey “an elegant lady.” Judy would know.
During her brief time among us, Lacey was also our “Weather Forecaster.” Whenever a rough patch of weather started coming in from east or west, my girl would know and warn us of any approaching rough weather by shaking or shivering. She was our Flip Spiceland, Al Roker and Joe Rao combined. (Whatever happened to Flip Spiceland?)
Lacey the puppy also loved the outdoors with its wonderful and fragrant whiffs and smells. And she loved the flowers that bloomed around her swimming pool every spring. And she would also carefully check the smells and fragrances of the emerging fresh summer vegetables and plants in her garden every year.
She loved her “sister” Coco, who is that “rollover and pet me” type cockapoo who also loves me unreservedly. And who could not love our Jack Alvarez who is the “guard dog” of the neighborhood and watches over the entire historic district of Litchfield. Jack weighs in at a mighty 17 pounds. He is fearless and barks at every bird and rustle of wind just to let the wind and birdies know that he is The Boss of the ‘hood. Coco and Jack are also beloved, irreplaceable characters in our lives.
And speaking of which, my wonderfully bright daughter Kate O’Shaughnessy, under whose west coast roof resides a “Shirley” and a “Potter,” two adorable mutts and real “colorful” types who were adopted without benefit of Carol Bobrosky’s, shall we say, proper lineage or breeding, but adorable nonetheless. When my brilliant Kate heard we lost Lady Lacey last weekend she said: “That’s really sad, Daddy … she was the only one with all her marbles!”
I love the line. And I loved Lacey.
That’s why I had to put down my pencil many, many times as I tried to get through these reminiscences of a little puppy I loved and miss so much.
As I read back over these notes … I’m thinking I may just keep them to myself and not let anyone peruse these overly sentimental meanderings and certainly not permit my distinguished publisher Mr. Fred Nachbaur or any of the brainy Jesuits at Fordham Press in the City of New York to see them because, after all, she was … just a doggie … just a pet … just a puppy. Her name was Lacey.
That Fremont woman told me all doggies go to Heaven. Well, just to make sure … I also know a priest named Robert Tucker who is very beloved in these parts and was just made a big-time monsignor. I am going to ask the Reverend Monsignor Tucker to pray over Lacey. He knows that a somewhat “unusual” Italian named Francis from the hill town of Assisi became the greatest saint in the entire history of the Roman Church and that he, this Francis, being somewhat unusual himself, talked to animals and the sun and the moon and fire, even the wind. Tucker will understand all this.
I hope you will pray for our Lacey too.
Gregorio and I will have a talk with Coco and Jack about where their sister went.
But I think they already know …
She was a great puppy, a great lady.