RICHMOND — Three weeks ago she was homeless, then captured — in a frightened, malnourished, matted state — after roaming around Richmond for nearly two months.
These days Lady Gypsy — the small cocker spaniel named by the members of the Richmond RI Community Facebook group — curls up in bed each night, contentedly snuggled between her new parents.
“She’s amazing,” said Cody Harvey, 32, of Warwick, who, with his boyfriend, Richard Houle, 34, adopted Lady Gypsy the day after Christmas. “We fell in love with her the minute we saw her.”
“She curls up with us when we go to sleep at night,” added Harvey, the financial director for Flood Auto Group. “She just wants to be in my arms.”
Harvey said he and Houle, who has two children — Mariyah, 13, and Brayden, 9 — had been talking about adopting a dog when they heard the story of Lady Gypsy. The little black dog, believed to be about 10, had been abandoned and was wandering around the South Country Trail sections of Charlestown and Richmond last month. Richmond Animal Control Officer Anne Fisher told The Sun in December that area residents had been contacting her with daily sightings.
“They were reporting to me for eight weeks,” Fisher said at the time. “I got numerous calls from people in the South Country Trail area in Charlestown and Richmond of this small dog wandering, and, of course, she would bolt. She wouldn’t go to anybody, and everybody was concerned because of the road itself and, of course, the animal’s well-being. I could never find her. People would call me and she’d be gone. The awareness was out there. People were concerned for this small dog.”
Eventually, with patience and coaching from Fisher, South County Trail resident Melissa Bubar was able to lure Lady into a cage she set in her backyard, and deliver her to Richmond Animal Control, where Fisher took over.
News of the dog’s safe capture spread quickly and Fisher took to social media to ask residents to name her. The name they chose was Lady Gypsy. The dog was examined by Dr. Amanda Burbank at the Richmond Veterinary Clinic, who estimated her to be 10 years old and determined that she was deaf and had probably been used for breeding.
“By her body conformation she evidently had numerous litters of puppies,” Fisher said at the time. Next it was off to see Danielle Cassidy, owner of the Doggie Depot pet grooming service on Stilson Road, who gave Lady a complimentary Christmastime grooming, but had to remove much of her hair in the process.
Fisher taught Lady sign language, taught her to play, gave her toys and discovered her winning personality. “She loves to go for walks outside and she’s housebroken,” Fisher observed, noting that Lady “doesn’t have one aggressive bone in her body.”
Soon, people began to call and visit but it was the couple from Warwick who won Lady’s love.
“I couldn’t find a better home for her than with Cody and Richard,” said Fisher. “Lady Gypsy actually chose them from many adopting inquiries.”
Biopsies had been done on several growths, and they revealed some cancer cells, Harvey said, but they don’t seem to affect their pet or her disposition. “We had only one day, when we both went back to work,” that was difficult, Harvey said. “I think she had some separation anxiety ... but she’s adjusted.”
“And, she just came from the hairdresser,” said Harvey on Friday, “and she has a new little kerchief around her neck.”
Fisher, on Friday, called the match “a great accomplishment for me to see her go from such a horrible state and condition to a loving, beautiful little dog.” It was amazing, she added, how the community’s help, “a bit of TLC from me at the pound,” and a visit to the vet could have had such a positive outcome.
Lady Gypsy will give back 200 percent with her happiness and love, Fisher said.
And love is exactly what Harvey and Houle and their kids intend to give.
“Lady G will have lots of lovin’,” said Harvey. “She’s definitely gonna get loved every day for the rest of her life.”
“It feels really good to have actually rescued her,” said Harvey. “And it feels really good to give her a good, new life.”