"Lucy". A story of Service, Remembrance, and Love.
If you have been to Alta, follow Alta on social media, or have even watched the news a few times, chances are you have seen or heard about Lucy the patrol puppy. Since joining the team here around October, her rise to fame has been swift. I mean, who could resist an adorable blonde puppy in a patrol vest?
The truth is, despite how much you think you know about Lucy, there is a story behind her that you wouldn’t know unless we told you. It’s one of service, remembrance and love. So now that we have you on board, let the story begin.
First off, “Lucy” is not her real name. Nope, the name on her registration reads something quite different, and may seem out of place without some background information. For shock factor we will tell you that Lucy’s legal name is “Kerton’s Legacy”. For training purposes “Lucy” is used because it’s easier for the dog to associate with. Let us explain.
At this point we introduce Diane. Diane Kerton was an Office Assistant at Alta for one season between 1987-1988. Short but sweet, Diane’s time at Alta had a real impact on her. Diane remembers the Alta family fondly, and remembers their kindness. She also remembers the dogs that were around at that time. Does anyone remember Jingo, Emma, Heyou and Crystal? Diane sure does, which brings us to Lucy (Kerton’s Legacy).
Diane lost her parents in recent years. Hardworking servants of the people, and both raised during the Depression. Diane’s parents were tough. Keith Kerton was in the Army in World War II serving as a medic and a guard of prisoners of war. After the Army, he continued to serve in the National Guard, and was called to duty during the riots in Detroit in the 1960s. Keith retired from the Guard in 1976. That speaks for itself. After his service Keith managed a wallpaper and paint store. A personable and friendly man, people would come from all over the country to his store because of his incredible ability to match colors to any random item people would bring in.
Diane’s mother Marjorie (Midge) was kind of the opposite. Raised on a farm in Kansas, not only during the Depression but also during the severe drought that hit that region in the 1930’s in what was called the Dust Bowl, no wonder she was tough as nails. Diane describes her as “stoic” and “stubborn”, but once you got to know her she was a source of help and comfort to countless family members and friends.
Midge was a nurse and saved countless lives during her time. Diane tells me a touching story about how her stubborn mother would not give up on a sick child after everyone else had. One night after the doctor went home and had written off the child as a loss, Midge stayed up the entire night taking care of her. When the doctor came back in the morning and asked, “What was the time of death?” Midge, tired as a dog, triumphantly told the doctor that the child had survived.
By this time in the story you may have caught on to the reasoning behind the name “Kerton’s Legacy”. When Diane’s parents passed she used some of what they left her to continue a legacy of service in honor of her incredible parents. That is where Lucy’s legal name comes from. Diane made a generous donation to Alta to cover some of the costs associated with a patrol dog. In turn we know that Kerton’s Legacy, aka “Lucy”, will do the Kertons very proud, and carry on the legacy of service and hard work that Keith and Midge Kerton had in spades.