23 Jan January’s Student of the Month: Lucy!
Each month, we are featuring one of our member dogs. Thanks to our amazing interns for putting together this project! Interview by Tiffany Wu; top photo by Milla Chappell of Real Happy Dogs.
What made you decide to rescue a dog from a shelter?
I did not decide. Lucy decided for me. I found her at the North Shore Animal League on Long Island. She was the most pathetic looking dog in the shelter and she broke my heart. I never had a dog before and I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of one. But I knew I had to adopt her. What’s funny is that I didn’t go there to get a dog! A friend wanted to adopt a dog and I accompanied her. We both left with dogs. We live on the same floor, and they’re best friends!
How has dog training changed your relationship with Lucy?
Well, one big thing is that I don’t hear very well, and she really helps me with that. She’s my ears a lot of the time, like when the doorbell rings. She naturally started getting me when the doorbell rang. I think she enjoys being useful in that way. I love seeing her learn new things. We taught her to stand right by my side when I say “place,” and the kids in my building love watching her do tricks — she will bark on cue, and sit up, and walk backwards and play dead. She makes everyone around her happy — especially me.
Did you face any obstacles in the beginning?
She was a puppy so she had housebreaking problems. I actually tried to return her twice! I went to a trainer at the shelter and he gave a lot of excellent and helpful advice on housebreaking her. School For The Dogs definitely helped me become a better dog owner. Once I started training her, I saw how smart she is! All the trainers were blown away. When Annie from School For The Dogs came over, she said, “If you don’t won’t to keep her, I will– and I’ve never said that to a client before.” When she said that, it helped me realize how special she is. I feel good that I have been able to make life so good for her. She is so much happier now than she was in the shelter.
Do people stop you on the street to ask about her?
Oh, all the time. People always talk about how sweet and beautiful she is–how they love her hair and her ears. People I know say, “It was a very good choice to get her. Having a dog is good for you, and she’ll keep you young and fit.” I say, “We’re going to get old together.” My doctor thought it was a wonderful idea for me to get a dog. When you don’t hear very well, you tend to stay more by yourself. She got me to go outside more. I am able to meet more people and be more outgoing.