Photo of Princess by Seth Casteel
The Lucy Inside of Princess
The word striking comes to mind when I think of Princess. You couldn’t help notice her dramatic coal-rimmed eyes. Her coloring was a lovely shade of sable and she had large distinctive ears. Princess was a gorgeous dog, almost exotic looking. So what was she doing at the shelter?
Princess came to the shelter as a stray without a microchip. She did have a collar but no tags. She was now alone in the world and at the mercy of the shelter. Sure she was pretty, but would that be enough?
The shelter was crowded and so many dogs needed help. A couple of volunteers took out Princess out, but she was not the "ideal" shelter dog. Our girl was a little wild at heart and needed some guidance to improve her chances. Training and socialization would be necessary for her to go home.
Okay, so we’ve heard this story before. Some wonderful volunteer saves the dog from certain death and then the dog gets a home. If only it had been that simple with Princess!
Oh man, she was a handful! Poor Princess stressed herself out so much that after a few months she was losing weight and starting to look sickly. She would spin feverishly in her kennel whenever other dogs walked by. Even worse, she was acting a little aggressive when shelter staff went into her kennel.
Frankly, even with all her charm and beauty Princess was just not adoption material at this point. Shelter staff didn’t know her history so how could they say that her behavior was temporary? As a result, it was decided that her days were coming to a close. What now?
Thanks to a nice donation to cover boarding expenses, a small rescue called Dogs Without Boarders decided to take a chance on Princess. But without the proper training what could they do to help her make the transition from shelter dog to family pet? Having Princess stay in boarding was not an option.
Okay, this is where the heroic volunteers come into it.
Out of pure frustration and fear, a volunteer decided to put her money where her mouth was and pay the big bucks for professional training in a boarding situation. Princess was fortunate enough to end up in the capable hands of Brandon Fouche, a dog behaviorist in Downtown LA. Known for his ability to rehabilitate aggressive dogs, Brandon’s place seemed like the safest haven for Princess.
Thousands of dollars later, after six months of boarding, rehab and a host of medical treatments to get her weight back up, Princess was looking good. She had responded well to training and she seemed a lot happier. The volunteers had run out of money to support her in boarding so they decided that it was time to move on. But where?
Since Princess was over her dog-aggressive behavior (fingers crossed), one of the volunteers decided to take the chance and bring her home. Princess met a big dog, a little dog and another little dog and…she did great! Phew! Next on the agenda was creating a game plan to find this girl a real home. First stop was the volunteer's workplace.
Visiting her foster’s office for the day, Princess lured in many admirers. I mean she still had those alluring coal-rimmed eyes! Before long, people inquired and checked her out, some contemplated having a new dog. Then Princess met Patrick, the man of her dreams. Boy, did she like him. Finally, Patrick said the magic words, “I’ll take her!”
The rest is a perfect love story. Thanks to Patrick, Princess became the Lucy that she was meant to be and that he had always wanted. Lucy hikes with him on a daily basis, plays with other dogs, both big and small, and sleeps in his bed. She has totally stolen his heart. Patrick has made a real commitment to Lucy and, as a result, they have been living happily ever after.
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