Lucy, then known as ‘Peppa Erica’, was originally bought as a pet from a breeder by a well to do Italian lady who lived in a luxury beachfront flat. This lady had a very busy social life and, as a result, Peppa was looked after by the domestic worker during the day and was left alone at night when the owners went out. Peppa suffered anxiety and barked constantly. For many months, the neighbours complained and eventually Peppa was rehomed to the couple’s daughter in a beautiful home in Bantry Bay. There Peppa was the pet of young grandchildren. Being a boisterous and over excitable puppy, the owners thought she was too rough with the young children and she was then rehomed to the original owner’s other daughter, whose children were older. This arrangement did not work out. I do think this is where she was teased by children and her aggressiveness towards children originates from. Peppa was then sent back to her original home.
Peppa had been in 3 homes before she was 10 months old. Peppa’s fourth owner to be, Berenice received a call from her vet who explained that she knew a lady who had a puppy which did not fit into her lifestyle and had been given a month’s notice to rehome the ‘noisy nuisance animal’ or it would be removed from the flats.
Berenice offered to foster Peppa, but once she met her and saw how well she got along with her own dogs, she offered Peppa a permanent home. Peppa was tearfully handed over to Berenice by her nanny. Peppa came accompanied by her big basket, mattress (with 3 duvet covers) several fancy leads, bowls and toys. Peppa never once looked backed at her previous owners and Berenice took her home. Berenice strongly disliked the name Peppa. When her daughter came to visit Peppa for the first time, the Beetles song ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ came to her mind because of all her fancy bling, and Peppa’s name was then changed to Lucy. Berenice tried keeping contact with Lucy’s original owners by allowing them to visit and Berenice sent them regular reports of how Lucy was doing. They never visited Lucy once, and were annoyed by the frequent reports, so Berenice dropped all contact with them.
When Lucy was 11 months and 2 weeks old, she was in her 5th home (4th owner).
A few months after taking ownership of Lucy, she took her to a training club, where I met her, and immediately fell in love with her. Berenice allowed me to play around with Lucy a bit.
I was seven years old and my mom would not allow me to have a dog until I turned 8. My mom and Berenice agreed that I, knowing nothing about dogs, would not make any difference to Lucy. After all, really what did one expect from Lucy? Well Lucy and I started training together and this bond grew and grew.
Lucy continued to stay in Sea Point with Berenice and I saw her on a Saturday afternoon. We progressed to top level agility and started competing nationally. Lucy then started staying with me at the weekends and returning home on a Sunday evening to Berenice. After 3 years of this, while I was competing in Port Elizabeth with Lucy, Berenice graciously and tearfully handed ownership of Lucy over to me. I was only 10 years old then. This was Lucy’s fifth and final home.
The sky was the limit and we entered our first SA agility championships. Next stop was France for the Agility World Championships. At the age of 11, I was the youngest handler ever to compete at the world champs. After another year of competing, we made it onto the SA team to compete at the world champs in Czech Republic, where the SA medium team, which Lucy and I were part of, placed 5th in the world! Could things get better? The next year, we competed at the agility world champs again, and the Medium team placed 3rd in the world! Since then, we have gradually reduced Lucy’s work as she ages, however I am so proud to say that at the age of 10, Lucy is, what my mom calls, a little bottle of red wine that improves with age.
Lucy and I are joined at the hip. We love each other dearly. We eat and sleep each other’s thoughts. She is truly my friend for life and we have had so much fun together. Agility is not about winning, Agility is about the rapport and love that the handler and the dog have. If Lucy and I could achieve this, anyone can as long as they share this love.
I am now 16 years old, and Lucy and I still compete at agility shows – but not as frequently as she is 10 years old now. We qualified for the Dog Jumping South African Championships this year, but unfortunately were not able to participate. Lucy is truly a one-in-a-million dog and she always gives 110% effort in everything she does. Lucy is and will forever be MY HERO!
Berenice and I keep in very close contact and we visit each other regularly. Berenice occasionally comes to watch us compete at agility shows and Lucy always loves seeing Berenice!