Lessons From Lucy, by Dave Barry

The Simple Joys of an Old Happy Dog


Dave Barry is 70 years old, the same age in dog years as Lucy his 10 year old dog, so he has started thinking more about how much time he, Dave, has left. He said: “If our lives were movie credits, we’d be way down at the bottom, past the assistant gerbil wrangler. If our lives were Cheez-It bags we’d be at the stage where you hold the bag up and tilt it into your mouth to get the last crumbs. In other words: the end Is in sight.” Stephen King said of the book “If you have grown old along with Dave, who is now seventy, you will want to read this book.”  King is also in his seventies and a good friend of Dave, but his advice is still good.

The first of the seven life lessons he learns is the to “Pay Attention to the People You Love (Not Later. Right Now.).” Lucy lives in the moment. She does have moods and even gets mad. When the garbageman comes, she “objects vociferously—she cannot believe we allow this to happen—he is taking our garbage,” but as soon as he leaves, Lucy has forgotten him and moves on to the next moment in her life. Barry tries to apply this lesson but finds it hard to be present, rather than looking at his phone.  

Another lesson he learns from Lucy is “Don’t Lie Unless You Have a Really Good Reason, Which You Probably Don’t.” Lucy doesn’t lie as we learn when she knocked down the Christmas tree. She greeted the family when they came home “whimpering and flattening herself on the floor in the yoga position known as Pancake Dog.” Barry takes a lesson from this but thinks he is doing ok with this lesson.

The last lesson in the book was an add on inserted after the epilogue and tells a touching story of the Barry families recent near tragedy. It adds some meaningful depth to the book.  

The book is one of Barry’s best.


"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic."

"Everyone has a right to be stupid. Some just abuse the privilege.”

"Your hand and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain."

"Proofread carefully to see if you any words out."

"The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They're the kind of people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn't bother to stop because they'd want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club"

"I had no shoes and I pitied myself. Then I met a man who had no feet, so I took his shoes.

"Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing."

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