Emily + Lulu
A rescued Greyhound becomes a therapy dog, and works with her teen best friend to offer comfort and hope in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"She brings smiles, laughs, inspiration, relief, and most importantly HOPE."
I was inspired to adopt a Greyhound after watching a presentation on the dangers of Greyhound racing at my local animal shelter. Broken bones, fractures, head trauma, electrocution, and paralysis are just a few of the cruelties of dog racing. At that time I was only 11 years old, but I knew right then I would change at least one Greyhound’s life for the better. Hollydogs Greyhound Adoption helps retired racing Greyhounds find loving homes. I did my research… black, male dogs are the least adopted. So that’s who I wanted to bring home.
Every time I was introduced to a dog, a certain Greyhound would push her way through the introduction and stand there looking at me. This three-legged dog with a cut and tattooed ear, and a partially missing tongue, would become the Greyhound that chose me! After repeating Lulu’s story so many times, I realized she is an inspiration not just to me but to anyone who has thought things couldn’t get any worse.
Lulu and I became a certified therapy dog team in 2016. I wanted to bring her inspirational story to anyone who needed support. Lulu began to teach me about my own strengths too, such as being able to speak publicly, visit with absolute strangers, and provide inspiration to my community.
Then that awful day, February 14, 2018, happened. My community was in disbelief about the absolute horrors that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. So many innocent lives lost. So many lives changed forever. Lulu and I were immediately asked to provide support at the local vigils through our therapy dog organization. Gentle pets, soft spoken words, and partial smiles were all received by Lulu. At this time, Lulu was not an inspiration, she was merely a distraction to the fact that 17 students and staff were lost in this tragedy. I was 14 years old and realized this could have been me, my school, my friends, my teachers, but instead I had my best friend Lulu with me and wanted to make a difference.
We then became regulars at the high school. We were there for the orientation, their first day back, and numerous school days and events after that. This was where Lulu made her biggest impact yet. People noticed Lulu’s differences, and conversations began taking place about her past and how she continues to live life to the fullest despite all of her struggles. Students and staff were completely drawn to Lulu and her ability to push through her past. She brings smiles, laughs, inspiration, relief, and most importantly HOPE. Hope that they too can survive such a horrific event and inspire a future generation to be kind and love one another. Thanks to Lulu and my opportunity to make a difference in my community, I am now an ambassador for school safety and inclusion of all students. Together, my best friend and I will continue to work to make the world a better place!
Every October, the Petco Foundation supports the incredible work of service, therapy, and other working animals who save and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Donate today to support Helping Heroes like Lulu.