Years ago when I was terribly lonely because my marriage was falling apart, a friend and I went over to the pound “just to take a look.”

A baby yellow lab caught my eye.

“Let’s go,” my friend said.

“Those puppies will be available on Thursday,” a worker told me.

I was the first one in the door on Thursday. The puppy and I left a half-hour later. I named her Lucy. She was my baby bear.

Much to my co-workers’ chagrin, Lucy accompanied me to work. My real estate office was two blocks from my home, so I took her with me.

My marriage continued to fall apart and in August 2003, when Lucy was 4 years old, my husband left. A void existed but my baby bear was always at my side. More than a year later I decided to sell my house and move to Albuquerque.

In November 2004, two weeks from moving, I made elaborate plans to get Lucy and Buster, my Basenji, to Albuquerque.

On Friday, Lucy was limping. I took her to the nearby vet clinic. They suggested leaving her for a sonogram. Reluctantly, I went home. They called to tell me she needed to spend the night.

Sad, I called Tom, my husband, to come over. While he was there he told me his mother, a woman I loved, had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. We talked about our marriage, the dogs we had and the good times, hugging when he left.

The next morning I called the clinic, assuming they would tell me she was fine and to pick her up. Instead, they wanted to do a biopsy. There was something wrong with her liver.

“No,” I said, “I am coming to get her.”

Crying, I called Tom, who rushed over.

While he was paying the vet bill, I walked her out, her limp much worse. In the car Tom told me one of the workers said, “I’d take that dog home, too, if she were mine.”

Still oblivious to how sick she was, I looked up liver disease, went to the store and bought chicken breasts. I offered them and some white rice to Lucy, a dog who loved to eat. She sniffed and attempted to lick the food but walked away. That’s when I knew.

Tom hung around for a while. A few friends came by. Lucy’s best friend, Gloria Killian, couldn’t get there until 5. Gloria had always watched her when Tom and I were away and she was going to drive with me to Albuquerque. Lucy adored her.

All afternoon, Lucy never complained but she was unable to get comfortable. Her stomach was raw from where they’d shaved her for the sonogram. As soon as Gloria walked in the door, Lucy wagged her tail but didn’t jump the way she always had.

Gloria and I took her back to the clinic so they could help end her suffering for good.

To this day, I cry when I think of her dying so young. I received flowers, sympathy cards and condolence telephone calls. The pain was unbearable. Antidepressants helped me get through the move.

My love for Lucy, my baby bear, is always with me. My wish is that she is frolicking in doggie heaven, knowing how very much I loved her.