World's Smallest Working Dog Lucy Enjoys Her Brush with Fame
Absecon's own Guinness World Record-holding pooch hobnobs with stars -- and could be in even greater demand as a therapy dog, spreading cheer wherever she goes.
Back home in Absecon a day after hobnobbing in the Big Apple with the likes of country music diva and movie star Dolly Parton and Miranda Cosgrove, teen star of Nick's iCarly, Lucy just wanted some treats.
Clad in a pink corduroy fleece-lined coat to keep her from shivering even inside on a blustery day, the Guinness World Record-holding smallest working dog let her owner Sally Leone Montufar know her desires.
She planted her tiny haunches on the floor at Montufar's feet and made what could only be described as a persistent squeaky sneezing noise.
When you only weigh 2.5 pounds and stand 5.7 inches tall from toes to withers, this is what amounts to a bark.
Maybe you saw Lucy, a micro Yorkshire terrier who is a licensed therapy dog, in one of her many television appearances this week.
Montufar said she submitted Lucy's measurements to Guinness on a lark and got word recently she had knocked a 6.6-pound Japanese police dog out of the top spot on the list. The media went nuts for the petite perky-faced pooch with the habit of sticking out the fingernail-sized tip of her perfectly pink tongue.
Local, Philadelphia and national TV outlets carried Lucy's story and footage of her adorable little canine self doing what she does best—making people happy by visiting them in nursing homes, schools and other arenas.
Thursday's appearance on Live! With Kelly in New York City was the icing on the cake. As usual, Lucy won hearts all around, including those of host Kelly Ripa, who snuggled her under her chin onstage for a couple of minutes at the end of the show, show staffers, and Parton and Cosgrove, who cooed over her in the green room, where guests wait backstage before going on air.
Cosgrove tweeted a photo of herself with Lucy, proclaiming her awesomeness. At one point, Lucy had an entire couch to herself while humans huddled on smaller chairs admiring her, Montufar chuckled.
And why not? Lucy's really is a Cinderella story.
Montufar was working in Paw Dazzle, a Smithville pet boutique she used to own, when a lady came in with a couple of dogs she said she was taking to a shelter because she couldn't care for them anymore.
When then-11-month-old Lucy popped her head out of a designer bag, “she looked pitiful and I couldn't let her go,” said Montufar, a retired teacher from New York City.
With TLC by Montufar and her neighbor and friend Linda DeSantis, and under care of staff at Absecon Veterinarian, Lucy gained about a half pound and is the picture of health at age 3. She eats healthily, including her favorite chicken biscuits from Paw Dazzle; the vet has cautioned the Yorkie shouldn't weigh more than 3 pounds, as it would be too much heft for her mini legs to carry.
It's hard to imagine how really tiny Lucy is until you see her in person. In photos, she appears bigger because her head is rather outsized for her 6-inch-long body—bobble-head-like. Lots of guinea pigs are bigger. Even some cheesesteaks I've seen.
As she grew healthier, Montufar said she realized what a gem Lucy really is.
“She became less lethargic and much more strong, with a stellar personality,” Montufar said. “She is non-aggressive and easily trained.”
Everywhere Lucy goes, people exclaim they have never seen a smaller dog. That's how Montufar got the idea to nominate her for Guinness. It was her personality—and her size—that prompted Montufar to put her to work, so to speak.
“No search and rescue for her,” Montufar quipped. “She's not ever going to bring me the paper.”
Montufar sought out Leashes of Love, a Cherry Hill-based group that certifies therapy dogs and connects them with hospitals, special needs schools, library reading programs, correctional institutions and other places where pets can spread joy.
“She'll make someone smile who hasn't smiled in years, nurses have told me,” Montufar said. “They get out of their misery for just a few minutes.”
Lucy often leads the pack when she's around the likes of Great Danes and Siberian huskies.
“She has to hustle to move as fast as they can go in one step, but she doesn't seem to know she's the little one,” Montufar said.
Lucy's cheer is likely to be even more in demand now with her newfound fame. But, other than being busier, her life won't change much. Oh, except for the Twitter account she's likely to get soon.
When she's not visiting people, Lucy snuggles with Gabriel, Montufar's cockapoo, and acts like a normal dog, romping and playing. Like many 3-year-olds, she does not enjoy getting dressed, and has been known to run and hide under chairs, from which Montufar has to coax her out.
Lucy loves playing outside, but has to be closely watched so she's not scarfed up by hungry hawks and other predators. Cold weather, she doesn't go out at all, as her body doesn't regulate temperature well. Lucy is warm and toasty on this day, but Montufar complains the bulky coat makes her look “hippy.”
“Eighty degrees is just perfect for her; she wants it 80 degrees all the time,” Montufar said. Hey, what starlet doesn't?
Proving once again—it's a dog's world. We just live in it.
Check out Lucy on Facebook.