Hound dog abandoned in Zion Canyon survives

Abandoned hound dog found in Zion Canyon comes to Best Friends. She is receiving lots of attention and enrichment, including nose work and agility.
By Christelle L. Del Prete

Lucy Lu the hound dog who was found abandoned in Zion Canyon"You could tie her ears into bows," says Dogtown caregiver Bryan Chesser, referring to Lucy Lu, a striking hound who does indeed have amazingly long, soft ears. But the really incredible thing about Lucy Lu has nothing to do with her physical characteristics. It's the fact that she survived being abandoned in Zion Canyon (most of which lies within Zion National Park) in extreme temperatures.

It was in the dead heat of summer, August of 2012, when Lucy was found wandering the canyon with two other hounds. A good Samaritan turned them in to the chief of police of Zion Canyon. Two of three dogs, Lucy Lu and her companion Bubba, both about six years old, survived their ordeal, but they were clearly suffering the effects of being left out in the desert in the relentless heat. The police chief and a local animal shelter tried to find them loving homes, but the shelter had very limited resources to get them healthy and adoptable. When a potential adoption fell through, they reached out to Best Friends for help.

Hound dog receiving attention and enrichment

Lucy Lu the hound with her caregiver at Best FriendsSo Lucy Lu and Bubba came to the Sanctuary, where they began to gain back some weight and regain their physical health. After a year spent in Dogtown and a foster home, Bubba found a forever family. Lucy Lu still calls Dogtown home, but she's getting plenty of attention and enrichment here. One thing the resilient hound needs to work on is building up her confidence. Because it takes her a while to feel comfortable in new situations, her caregivers have found some very creative ways to capitalize on her natural hound instincts and boost her self-confidence.

Whenever they can, Lucy Lu's caregivers take her to Tara's Run, Dogtown's large indoor agility center. There, they keep her in a small room while they hide treats all over the building, the way the Easter bunny hides eggs. Then they let Lucy loose and watch her use her powerful nose to sniff out all the hidden treasures. Naturally food-motivated, she finds this exercise tons of fun; she wiggles and wags her way around the building, navigating around the agility equipment until she's found every last crumb and it's time for the game to begin again.

Nose work and fetch

Aside from this "nose work," Lucy can play a mean game of fetch. In spite of the midday heat, she'll chase down a slobbery tennis ball as many times as you'll throw it, and she'll lope back and drop it at happily your feet. Though they may seem like simple games, Lucy Lu's caregivers have truly helped her gain confidence the fun way.

To adopt Lucy Lu or another dog, go to the Adopt a Pet section of our website.

Photos by Molly Wald