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Dogs don't lie

Cover of Lessons from Lucy: The Sim
A review of Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry

I tend to read a lot of pop psychology or conduct of life books and when I saw that Dave Barry's new book was about life lessons from his geriatric dog, of course I was going to read it and love it.

Dave's dog Lucy is old and happy. She's a largish black dog, not the most beautiful creature on earth, and of a wide variety of breeds including Dalmatian and Retriever. Lucy lives life in a way that is open and authentic and in true Dave Barry fashion, he captures the essence of Lucy's stress-free life and translates it into life lessons to remind him and all of us how to be happier and age more gracefully. Lucy wakes up every day excited to play, sniff, enthusiastically greet whoever crosses her path and nap whenever the need strikes. Dave suggests related concepts for humans like have more fun, pay attention to the people you love, and let go of anger. This last one is especially important as we enter ice cream season and everyone in front of us wants to sample flavors at the ice cream shop even though the line is so, so long. Dave, you read my mind. 

One of the best and most ridiculous chapters is about honesty and the time when Lucy completely destroyed a Christmas tree and most of the ornaments. The family was away from home when it happened and it was evident the minute they returned that Lucy had been up to something. I have never met a dog that didn't have a super obvious tell and maybe humans would be able to avoid wars and world destruction if they didn't lie so much. Dave's take on the situation is that lying makes you a dodgier, crappier person and that there's no good reason for lying. Really, ever. There's more to the chapter that features a sailboat and scallops but I'll leave that surprise for you to uncover.

All told there are seven basic lessons in the book plus a bonus lesson that was part of the epilogue because of a catastrophic life event that happened in the Barry family after the book originally wrapped up. It wasn't planned but made a significant impact on the book.  

Some things about me that may have influenced my assessment of this book: I love Dave Barry. I read his newspaper column for years, I've read many of his books, and I have a similar sense of humor. I also love dogs (probably more than people) and have an even older, sweeter dog. I do not doubt if I lived my life like a dog, I would be happier and you probably would be, too.

May 15, 2019