Goodbye to Little Lemon: Remembering Luc, the original Sidewalk Dog

Sweet Luc.

Once upon a time there was a little red doggy who wasn’t very good at playing fetch, going for walks, or roughhousing with other doggies. He was very, very good at cuddling, though, and he gave his mom joy every time she looked at him.

She didn’t care that his chronic illnesses slowed him down or that she had to give him medication throughout the day, or that when he wanted attention, he danced like Elaine from Seinfeld: limbs akimbo, enthusiasm unfettered. She loved him very much.

His name was Luc (a.k.a. “Lemon”), he was the original Sidewalk Dog, and he had to move on to the big dog park in the sky last weekend—a place where he can always catch a tennis ball, where he has super-smooth dance skills, and where—just as on Earth—all the girly dogs have big crushes on him.

Ali Jarvis, Luc’s mom and Sidewalk Dog’s founder and owner, was used to Luc’s health problems. He came from a puppy mill posing as a reputable breeder, and since puppydom, his list of ailments grew to such unpleasant things as genetic neuromuscular disease, advanced dental disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But through medication, he was able to stay comfortable and happy for most of his 5-year life. Unfortunately, his little lungs were ravaged by disease, and he had to be euthanized last Friday. Immediately, members of the dog community, both local and national, expressed their sympathies. Local artist WACSO even immortalized Luc in one of his signature line drawings.

Luc was the inspiration for Sidewalk Dog. Because he needed medication every few hours, Ali had to bring him with her wherever she went. The warm welcome that stores, shops, businesses, offices and restaurant patios gave Luc opened Ali’s eyes to the wealth of dog-friendliness that Sidewalk Dog was founded upon.

“The night before [an ultrasound that determined Luc’s condition couldn’t be treated], I had a couple little talks with him, like I’ve often had, asking him to let me know if he wanted to be done and that it was okay,” Ali said. The next afternoon, after they got the bad news, Luc’s breathing went downhill rapidly. “That felt more than coincidental, like he’d heard the news about his lungs and decided he needed to be done. It might sound weird, but I hear stories like this all the time—of animals giving clear signs when you ask for it—and it seems like that’s what Luc did.”

Pet Crossing Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic’s Dr. Cheryl Roth, who took care of Luc toward the end, took a personal interest in his case, going so far as to try to arrange to put him on a doggie transplant list, but to no avail.

“Some patients flicker through a hospital without making much impact, but Luc has touched Pet Crossing and its staff in ways not explained with words,” Dr. Roth said.

Even though our Lovely Luc is gone, we at Sidewalk Dog know that his legacy lives on with the company, with each happy dog that gets to hang out with its owner at a restaurant patio, a dog park, or a shop.

“He was such a sweet little companion for me for these past five years,” Ali said. “I never minded all that I had to do for him—I got so much more in return.”

—Meredeth Barzen

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