They call her Lucy, the Parkway pup. She’s not as exotic as Sunny the red panda, but the stray dog who got fed by passing motorists along Lynnhaven Parkway had a loyal following of her own.
While Sunny had an air of mystery surrounding her disappearance from the Norfolk zoo, Lucy’s a street-smart hound dog who learned how to panhandle for food without getting hit by cars. She also eluded animal control officers for two years, while someone put up a large sign asking people not to feed her.
In the end, it was a 58-year-old woman — not animal control — who got the white dog with tan spots into custody, after spending three months trying to do so, even sleeping several nights in her car.
Lucy ran away from her adopted owners in December of 2018. She would sit near a traffic light across from Lynnhaven Mall, where people would feed her, and retreat into the woods when anyone approached her.
Animal Control and dog rescue groups tried unsuccessfully to trap Lucy.
Regina Quinn, with help from her dog, Brody, spent several months gaining Lucy’s trust. On Sunday, she was able to leash Lucy, and the dog is now at Virginia Beach Animal Control and Care Center. Quinn plans to visit her this week.
Lucy has been eating well. Animal Control officers posted on Facebook that she’s overweight but in good health.
Quinn saw Lucy on the side of the road in June and was shocked that she hadn’t been trapped yet.
“It was like a divine calling,” she said. “A lot of times animals just choose you.”
At that time she was living in Hampton and babysitting her grandchildren. Quinn’s an animal lover and the founder of Blue Angels Pitbull Advocacy & Rescue Resource. She started visiting Lucy after her babysitting duties.
Quinn spent several nights outside in the cold and the rain, even sleeping in her car, waiting and looking for Lucy. She would tromp through the woods after dark with Brody at her side and took several videos of their interactions on the eve of the capture and posted them on Facebook.
“Lucy let her guard down after three months of me visiting her nightly with my dog Brody,” Quinn posted. “We made the connection we were striving for for so long.”
Lucy had warmed up to Brody, sniffing and playing with him. Finally, Quinn was able to lure Lucy away from the road. Lucy then led them to a drainage pipe where she lived.
“Once she let her guard down, she was very submissive, very sweet,” Quinn said. “Part of me respected her boundaries, that she was street savvy, but now her heart was open and she was longing for that connection. I had to make that call.”
Just before the sun came up Sunday morning, Quinn was able to leash Lucy and notify Animal Control.
“I have to give credit to Brody,” Quinn said. “He’s a true hero. ... He’s the one who drew her out of her shell, he did not overwhelm her and let her come to him and then me on her terms.”
The only time Quinn ever trapped an animal before was on a snowy night when she used a cat trap to help a kitten.