Humber North hosts first puppy room with cuddly chihuahua

by | Apr 17, 2013 | News


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By Shazia Islam
Photos by Shazia Islam

Who knew that such a little dog could bring so much joy to a group of Humber students.

Lucy, a long-haired chihuahua, paid Humber North a visit for the first ever puppy room.

The one day event drew flocks of students to have the chance to cuddle Lucy.

Lucy is a trained therapy dog and visits seniors’ care homes every Friday, said Karen Semple, Lucy’s owner and trainer.

Semple told one of the large groups of students visiting the puppy room that chihuahuas are normally not considered for therapy training.

“They can be temperamental, very possessive, but it’s all in the way you train the dog,” she said.

St. John Ambulance recruited Lucy after she passed a rigorous two-hour test that involved agility and obedience assessments, said Semple.

Semple prepared Lucy well before the test.

“She did play dates, obedience training, dog shows, and I put her in as many social activities as possible so she got used to people,” said Semple. “On the day of the test, it was normal to her.”

Chihuahuas are known for being “purse dogs” and treated more like accessories, so it was important to raise Lucy like she was a big dog, Semple said.

Semple told Humber News that she volunteered Lucy to be a therapy dog because of how Lucy helped her father.

“I saw her with my dad and it just changed his personality.”

Humber students who accessed the puppy room took turns holding Lucy and watched her do tricks.

Semple said she hopes to bring Lucy back next year during exam time to give students some more much-needed stress relief.