For almost six years all of the AutumnGrove Cottages have had a special visitor who comes to say hi. Everyone’s favorite “staff member”, Lucy, has been gracing the cottages with her love and companionship. Lucy, a six-year-old therapy dog, belongs to Vinny, whom himself is loved by the Managers for his giftedness to fix anything in the cottage better than expected. Vinny came upon Lucy when she was just six weeks old and nursed her back to health after finding her on the side of the road. This precious pup was named after the famous Lucy from the “I Love Lucy Show” because of her mischievousness. Lucy and Vinny quickly became the best of friends and soon became co-workers.
As Lucy grew bigger and got older, she started to visit the cottages. She was and still is Vinny’s right hand lady while he is on the job. Lucy was clicker trained when she was younger and Vinny started to notice how calm and gentle she was around all of the residents and even little children. From the get go, Lucy was welcomed with lots of rubs, kisses and even treats by the residents and staff. After being the unofficial companion dog among the cottages for a couple of years, Vinny decided to have Lucy formally certified as a therapy dog. The interview process that Lucy had to go through was quite difficult. Her first big step was to pass the initial interview where a Therapy Dog Incorporated (TDI) observer sat down with Lucy to get a feel of her behavior and personality. Once she passed that, she was put through a series of tests that checked her obedience, reactions and overall well being. The final stage consisted of three supervised visits to different nursing homes. Lucy, being the kind and gentle soul that she is, passed every part of the test with flying colors! She became an official TDI dog and now wears her fancy red vest whenever she visits the cottages.
Many residents think that Lucy belongs to them and can often be heard thanking Vinny for bringing their dog back to them. Many love when she visits and will spend hours petting her and feeding her dog treats. Some residents spend afternoons in the garden walking around with Lucy enjoying a beautiful day. It is also common to see Lucy snoozing on the couch with a resident or two. Lucy loves each resident just as much as she loves Vinny. She brings happiness and comfort to the residents in a way that they can’t help but smile. We are lucky to have Lucy and thank Vinny for sharing her with the AutumnGrove family.