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Lucky Penny

The challenging story of an ex-rescue dog

By JaimiePublished about a year ago 4 min read
Lucky Penny
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

The story of Lucky Penny is one that maybe a lot of people wouldn't want to hear. Most stories about dogs are about how good they are - Red Dog, Bolt, A Dog's Purpose - all movies about man's best friend. But this story about Lucky Penny challenges our ideas of what makes a 'good dog'. My partner has referred to her as 'one of those dogs that you just know would drink from the toilet bowl'. I couldn't agree more.

Lucky Penny was a photo on the pound website first. She had big, adopt-me eyes and a beautiful brown coat, white socks on each paw. They had given her some awful pound-dog name like 'Jawleen'. Someone had obviously run out of ideas.

After we went to pick her up, Lucky Penny was a medium brown dog with an enthusiastic personality who seemed to get along with our old dog from the moment they met. Seemed to. Our old dog with her greying muzzle and pleading eyes, lay down in the car with Lucky Penny curled into her side.

That was when Penny got her name. She was the colour of a penny and 'lucky' because now she had a forever home. And lucky us because we had the most perfect dog in the world. She could sit, she got along with other dogs, and she enthusiatically played fetch - for hours.

Sure, there were a few things. Lucky Penny didn't bring the ball back, for one. This meant that those hours of fetch involved a lot of running around after her to give the ball back. And she would bolt her food down by sucking in her stomach to make herself into a living vacuum cleaner.

She couldn't walk on a lead, and would slip through the gate to go on a run down the street whenever she could. And in those moments, she was free and flying and wagging her tail. Regardless of how we waved our arms and called to her to come back.

So for months we tried to train her on the lead, believing this is all she needed. It's been years now and Lucky Penny still pulls and whinges as if she might want to take off at high speed at any chance she gets. She's a runner, she's a track star.

Even when I moved out, and took Lucky Penny with me, Penny still managed to get out of the yard. And then pop the gate open at the neighbours house to play with their young kids. Bounce up to them and lick their faces, dragged back when the kids' parents had had enough of playing happy doggy families.

It took us a while to figure out how Lucky Penny was getting through the gate. Was she jumping the fence? Opening the gate by herself? Someone letting her out? It seemed that, despite the numerous cameras around the front of the house, there was no evidence of whatever it was that she was doing to escape the confines of the yard.

Until one day, a grainy image of her looking up at the camera as she had just escaped the yard, suddenly made it make sense. It was as if she knew she had been caught. I like to think of Lucky Penny as if she is a 'reformed' con. Sometimes she slips up and her criminal streak returns. When she came back home, she came wagging her tail, looking about as apologetic as any con artist you might come across.

We moved the chair away from the wall. It was our fault, after all.

It turned out Lucky Penny doesn't like other dogs, and she can certainly make her distaste known. But in the same token, we were attacked by dogs on a walk at the end of last year, and Silly Penny tried to defend me, refused to let me get involved, and earned herself a puncture wound in her side. I've not trusted other dogs since either.

But, you know, Lucky Penny loves kids, still licks their faces as they pull on her ears. Lucky Penny still whinges on her walks, wanting to go for her run maybe? And Lucky Penny sits with her head on my leg, even when she knows she's in trouble, and looks up at me with those 'you-adopted-me' eyes, the same ones that were on that website the day she convinced me she was the most perfect dog ever. I haven't been unconvinced yet.

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