Lacie Turcott has been a close friend of John and I for many years now. We all went to Art School together at Ohio University, lived in the same building for a couple years, and were in classes together for four. Art school bonds run deep. When we were considering relocating to Louisville, that fact that she was already living here certainly weighed in on our decision.
Dogless at the time, Lacie quickly fell in love with Max and Grace and started looking for a dog of her own. Love struck when she visited the local humane society and met a 9 month old Golden Retriever/St. Bernard mix. She had been returned to the shelter a couple weeks earlier. The family who took her home as a puppy decided she was getting too big and didn’t want her anymore. Lacie took her home and named her Rita Hayworth.
For the next year, Lacie worked very hard with Rita on the basics; sit, stay, come, heel, etc. Her ultimate goal was to pass their therapy exam and become a certified Therapy Dogs International volunteer pet therapy team. Rita took to her lessons extremely well and Lacie couldn’t have been more proud. Rita went to the park, camping, on road trips, and anywhere else she was welcome. Lacie and Rita, like so many owners and their dogs, were a perfect, clumsy, happy-go-lucky, match with nothing but love and joy to give the world.
When John and I decided to walk across America, Lacie immediately jumped in, offering to drive our support vehicle with Rita riding shotgun. They would even be able to join us for our therapy visits after they passed their TDI exam. Needless to say, we were thrilled to have them on the team.
Then, this summer, Lacie got an opportunity to move back to her home state of California. Her boyfriend Travis was offered a job he couldn’t refuse. A woman with a lifelong history of wanderlust and a nomadic lifestyle, she jumped at it. However, knowing how disorganized things always are after a move, she wanted to pass her TDI exam first.
On July 11th, Lacie and Rita drove to Cincinnati, took the test, and passed with flying colors! We couldn’t have been more proud of Lacie and Rita’s accomplishments, and Lacie couldn’t have been more proud of Rita.
Sadly, only 2 weeks later while Lacie was visiting her parents before her move, Rita and their other rescue dog, Audrey Hepburn, escaped from the yard. A storm came through the night before and left a small hole in the fence. Rita was struck and killed by a dump truck less than a mile from home. She was barely two years old. Luckily, Audrey was returned home unscathed.
Lacie has now moved to California with her boyfriend Travis, his two cats Grendel and Gilgamesh, and Audrey. She still plans to be our primary support driver next year. As she says, “It’ll be easy- I’ll be going home!” Audrey is already showing a great deal of potential as a therapy dog and Lacie and Travis both look forward to taking the exam with her as soon as she is ready.
We want to send out love to Lacie and the late Rita. She was a wonderful dog and will be missed greatly, but never forgotten.