She’s One Lucky Dog

Lucky Dog Lena
Today I’m going to get a little personal. If you are here strictly for the DIY tutorials, you might want to come back another day.

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while (6 years or longer) may remember when we adopted Buddy aka Handy Dog. Buddy was an amazing dog and was truly my best friend. Buddy’s foster mom told me that she thought he was a Walmart greeter in a past life. I don’t know about that, but I do know that he never met a stranger.

In fact, he had the ability to coax even the most anti-dog person into petting him. Sadly, Buddy passed away in early April. He was diagnosed with a tumor on his heart. Luckily we had four wonderful weeks to spoil him before it was time to say goodbye. I thought I could wait longer for another dog, but Buddy left a huge hole in my heart and only another dog could help heal my broken heart. I began looking for a new dog on (a huge database of pets that need homes.) I searched for English Shepherds that would be a good fit for our family. I had high standards, so finding the perfect dog was proving challenging. He or she had to be mellow, friendly with other dogs, good with children, not too anxious or skittish, 3-5 years of age, around 50 lbs., and didn’t chase cats.

A few dogs caught my eye on the Petfinder search, but ultimately they didn’t quite fit my criteria. Then two weeks ago, this sweet face caught my eye:

Lucky Dog Lena

There wasn’t much information about her except that she was a gentle teddy bear of a dog. I filled out an adoption application with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue to allow me to get more information. Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is based in the Washington, DC metro area. The organization works with several high kill shelters on the east coast including ones in North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. They also work with a shelter in Puerto Rico. Lucky Do only rescues dogs that they have spots for in foster homes. The foster parents bring the animals to adoption events every weekend in the hopes of placing the animals in loving homes. Remarkably, Lucky Dog finds home for approximately 1/4 of their foster animals every week!

Soon I received a phone call from Megan, Lena’s foster mom. We talked on the phone for an hour as she told me a lot of pertinent information about Lena. Lena was heart worm positive but she was undergoing treatment. (Did you know that dogs with heart worm have to be given arsenic?) She weighed 70 lbs, but was definitely underweight. (I could not believe this as she looked smaller in her pictures.) She told me that Lena was surrendered by her owner to a high kill shelter in South Carolina (no reason was recorded as to why she was surrendered.) She went on to tell me that Lena is very mellow and a sweet dog. She got along with the foster mom’s dogs. But, what she said next left me speechless.

Lucky Dog Lena

“Lena likes DIYing”, she said. I asked her to clarify and she explained that while working on some DIY projects she turned on the power sander. Her dogs scattered the moment the sander started up. But, Lena stood her ground and watched as if supervising the project. The same happened when she used a power stapler. Lena sat and watched. I was trying very hard not to let the excitement show in my voice. But, my brain was screaming, “Adopt her now! This is the dog for you.”

Megan explained that Lena hadn’t been tested with children yet and she would be taking her to an adoption event in Arlington, VA over the weekend. I knew I’d be going to Virginia in two weeks, but Megan couldn’t hold a dog per Lucky Dog Animal Rescue’s policy. I had three options. 1) I could jump in the car and go meet Lena that weekend. 2) I could wait for two weeks and hope that she was still available for adoption. 3) I could adopt her sight unseen. Luckily, I came up with a fourth option.

Lucky Dog Lena

My mom answered the phone on the second ring. “Mom, I’m going to ask you a huge favor. If you say yes, you can count this as my birthday present from you this year.” My mom hesitantly agreed to go to Arlington that weekend and meet Lena. I could barely contain myself as I waited for her to call me on Saturday. When she called she began by telling me Lena seemed very aloof and looked sick to her. Megan had warned me that Lena was not feeling great because of the heart worm treatment. My mom also said that there were children who were petting her and she was very calm. She said a man got up close to her face, and again Lena was calm. Finally, my mom said, “She’s a very sweet dog, Brit. But, there is another woman who seems to be very interested in Lena.” I was so anxious to have this dog, I hung up and called Megan right away. Although it was unusual, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue agreed to let me adopt Lena without meeting her. And Megan agreed to dog sit Lena until I could pick her up in 10 days.

As the hours drew closer to the day I’d meet Lena, I began to feel a pit forming in my stomach. I worried whether I’d like Lena and if she would fit into our family. Megan sent me a few photos via text of Lena. Each time I saw her adorable face, I knew I had to have her in my life. She was beautiful and I was in love with her. Is it bizarre to fall in love with a dog you’ve never met?

Lucky Dog Lena

I knocked on Megan’s door and she waved me in while holding back all the dogs. Each one rushed to meet me at the door except Lena. She hugged tight against Megan’s leg.

Lucky Dog Lena

She let me pet her, but her eyes never strayed from her foster Mom. I found myself feeling guilty for wanting to take her away. Megan assured me that she had easily attached to her first foster parent and that she had only been with Megan for two weeks. Everything seemed to live up to what Megan had told me. She really was a big dog at 70 pounds, but her ribs were sticking out. Lena was very sweet and definitely mellow. I promised to return in a few days after my commitment to attend the DeWalt event in Baltimore. Before I left, I gave Megan my pillowcase with a t-shirt in it so Lena could get used to my scent.

As the DeWalt event finished up, I left a few hours early to pick up Lena before rush hour traffic. I arrived at Megan’s and she took about 15 minutes to give me Lena’s medical files and helped me fit her new martingale collar. Then Megan walked Lena to my van and persuaded her to get in. She gave Lena a few send off words and said goodbye to me. As I sat in the driver seat and checked the traffic in Google Maps Lena began to pace in the van. Then she gave one loud bark of protest. I told her not to bark and that was the last peep out of her. It was a long drive back to North Carolina. After a while she laid down and began to relax. Eventually she dozed off for a little while.

Lucky Dog Lena

When we walked into the house my son smiled big. It was clear that he was happy to have a dog again and he appreciated her calm nature. The next morning Lena met my vet who jokingly said she wished Lena would be more still during her exam. We both laughed because she held impossibly still as the vet poked and prodded her. The vet and I debated Lena’s breed makeup. She is definitely a mixed breed. Perhaps she’s a golden retriever and a german shepherd. I think I’ll just call her a golden shepherd. (Could this be a new designer breed? LOL.)

After the vet appointment I gave her a much needed bath and grooming. She definitely looks like a well loved dog now.

Lucky Dog Lena

Lena is a chill dog. She rarely barks, we’ve only heard her bark a few times (and it is always just one bark.) She doesn’t know many commands, but she knows her name and, “Let’s Go!” Unfortunately we also found out that she has some thunderstorm phobia. I bought a Thunder Shirt with the hope that it will help calm her in a storm situation. I’ll know more as the fireworks start to go off for the Fourth of July.

One of the coolest things about Lena is her tail. It is a beautiful tail that curls at the tip. As she walks and wags, her tail curls to the left side.

Lucky Dog Lena

I have to admit, I feel like the lucky one in this relationship. I’m glad to have been able to adopt Lena.

Lucky Dog Lena

I’m anxious to see how her personality unfolds as she becomes more comfortable with us and as she recovers from her heart worm treatment.

Lucky Dog Lena

In the meantime, we’re enjoying having her around.

Lucky Dog Lena

Do you have a rescue dog? Was it love at first sight? And who rescued who? 😉


84 replies
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  1. Nancy Jean
    Nancy Jean says:

    That is so wonderful, congratulations!! Dogs are the best medicine and she will surely fill your heart again. You are both so very lucky to have been rescued!!

  2. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    This makes me incredibly happy. I have always had rescue dogs since I was an adult. Currently I have four.. Lucky Dog (13yo) – I rescued him just inches off a busy highway… Rosie (12yo) – my husband found her in a c-store parking lot, she jumped right in his car… Bogie (2yo) – got him as a pup as his mom was rescued by a friend and the litter was adopted out #stashpuppies on IG and other social media … Frankie (1yo) – at 6 weeks was found in a ditch, Bogie fell in love with him so we kept him… I have a huge heart for rescues.. for people that adopt even the sick ones. Bless you for opening your heart and home to this beautiful creature!!

  3. Linda
    Linda says:

    Finding the right dog (or them finding you) is a win-win. May you all be blessed with many years of joy and unconditional love. You might want to look at “Through a Dog’s Ear”. It is bio acoustically created music for dogs. It helps to keep my pups clam and the music is pleasant to listen to. I have had guests over asking about the music because the liked it so much and laughing to find out it was the dog’s cd!

  4. Sue
    Sue says:

    Like you, when our dog died we couldn’t stand the emptiness. So we, too, adopted a rescue. His rib cage was showing and he was afraid of everything. We now have this loving rescue. He is family now, and he knows it!

  5. Sara
    Sara says:

    Congrats on your new addition! Lena is gorgeous! Our most recent adoption is a rottweiler mix named Crystal. We love her so much! She actually has a lot of anxiety issues, but issues and all, we are so glad we adopted her! Right now we have her and my mastiff mix, Achilles 🙂

  6. Lisa A.
    Lisa A. says:

    What a great person you must be to go through all that to rescue a lovely dog and give her a wonderful home and what an amazing example to set for your son. She is a very lucky dog.

  7. Patricia Jones
    Patricia Jones says:

    I’m so happy for both Lena & your family. I went through a similar experience. I had to say goodbye to my beloved Pomeranian of only 10 years. For an entire month all I could do was cry & slept very little. I knew I would eventually have another dog, but didn’t have immediate plans. Several friends suggested I check out the rescues at a wonderful no-kill shelter in my city. One Sunday afternoon about a month after losing my Pom, I decided to go by & “just look”. Abby caught my eye & after telling a worker twice I was “only looking” I finally agreed to take her into a room & sit with her. I came home with Abby that afternoon & it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. She is so sweet & lovable and definitely helped me heal from my loss. I like to think we rescued each other. Congratulations again on your new adoption.

  8. Alanamous
    Alanamous says:

    I’m so happy for you, Lena and your family Brittany. Lena seems like a perfect fit. She definitely looks like she has Golden Retriever in her.

    Button used to be scared of thunderstorms. I made a cover for her kennel out of a flat sheet so that the sides were enclosed but the front could remain open for her to go in and out whenever she wanted. Whenever there was a storm she would crawl into her kennel and lay there as if it were her den. When the storm was over she would come back out and join me wherever I was in the house.

    If I went out of town or went to a friend’s house and brought the pups with me and there was a storm and Button didn’t have her kennel set up she would pace around nervously until I made her a make-shift den. Usually I would create a tent by draping a sheet or blanket from the edge of the bed down to the floor and placing an object on the edge to weight it down. If the bed was high enough I could tuck the sheet underneath the mattress. Lastly, I’d lay her dog bed under the tent for her and she would crawl in and lay down. Instead of using the edge of the bed,

    I’ve also used the back of a chair before and tied the sheet around the tops about 1/3 of the way up the sheet. Then let it drape to the floor against the chair on the short side of the sheet and extend the long end of the sheet away from the chair and place a weight on it to create the tent.

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Thanks Alana. I’m not sure she’ll go for the crate idea. She hates crates and the foster parents discovered that very quickly. They stress her out and she barks non-stop in them. But, when we get home I’ll try to find a comfortable spot for her during storms.

  9. mary
    mary says:

    What a wonderful story; she is such a beautiful dog and I look forward to seeing more of her. I am so glad you rescued her and talked about the organizations that help these animals. I wish more people would adopt animals and give them a good home.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] lovers! I’m checking in with a cool project for the dog and cat parents out there. When I brought home Lena the Lucky Dog, it was quickly obvious that she was much larger than Handy Dog was. Not only did she not fit on […]

  2. […] She’s One Lucky Dog from Pretty Handy Girl – A touching story about their recent dog adoption! We got Crystal through a dog rescue and love her dearly. I’m so glad we adopted her and, when it comes time to add a 3rd, we will be going the adoption route again! […]

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