COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — At first glance, Lucca looks like just another dog.
“He’s just one ball of energy,” said Ed Dewan, a friend who nominated Lucca for the Red Cross Hometown Hero.
But Lucca is a therapy dog who loves to love.
“They’re to love on and they love on you, especially Lucca,” said Joan Carney, Lucca’s handler.
Dewan nominated Lucca for the award after he noticed Lucca’s ability to read people’s minds and hearts.
“He just seems to love everybody but he seems to have the unique ability to focus in on an individual that might be down,” said Dewan.
“It’s like he senses when someone needs a little comfort,” she said.
The pair makes frequent stops around the community from hospitals to the Colorado Springs Airport.
“He brings happiness, joy, regardless of what the situation,” said Dewan.
But Carney said their favorite spot is Cedar Springs – a mental health facility – where Lucca visits with patients.
“Lucca normally flits around from person to person wanting to give them kisses, but he went straight to her and just plopped down on her lap and gave her a few kisses. He never left her lap and you should have saw her face she was radiant,” said Carney. “It’s amazing how his sweetness can change a person’s whole demeanor, from nonchalant to pure joy and I thought this is my place, this is where we need to be.”
Carney said she’s always known Lucca was special but she was still surprised to find out Lucca was a hometown hero.
“I was in total shock,” she said. “I feel very, very humbled, very humbled and very appreciative of course, but I feel so humbled because there are so many wonderful handlers and therapy dogs on our team that are so deserving of this.”
Carney and Lucca also respond to crises and visited a high school just last week where another student committed suicide.
Hometown Heroes will receive their awards March 16 during a dinner at The Broadmoor.