By Nathalie Bonney @nathaliebonney

TINY teacup terrier Lucy has a superpower - she is the world’s smallest working dog with the BIGGEST heart

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Videographer / director: Ruaridh Connellan
Producer: Nathalie Bonney, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Ian Phillips

Lucy's loveable stick-out tongue is in fact a defect from birth

The mini Yorkshire terrier stands at just 5.7 inches tall, is only 7.5 inches long and 2.9 lbs in weight.
While most working dogs are known for their strength and agility, Lucy holds the Guinness World Record for being the smallest working dog - for her work as a pet therapy dog.

Together with owner Sally Montufar, a college teacher from South Jersey, Lucy visits the vulnerable, sick and disabled, bringing them comfort and distraction from the challenges in their lives.

Sally said: “Lucy is a wonderful therapy dog because she seems to have some kind of empathetic disposition. She is calm, she is sweet, she will cuddle and she’ll sense when something is wrong.

“We go to lots of schools, children’s hospitals and nursing homes and rehab hospitals. If someone asks we’ll go.

“Whether they are students with anxiety, in the hospital, rehab, or a nursing home, she just shows up and they get calm and comfortable and that’s what her superpower is!”

In between working Lucy takes long naps at home

One student who Lucy has helped is 22-year-old student, Dino. 

Suffering from anxiety issues since a teenager, Dino meets regularly with Lucy and Sally.

Dino said: “A lot of times when I have my anxiety attacks I can’t really concentrate and when I’m with Lucy I’m able to rethink things and keep a calm, collected mood.

“When I’m holding Lucy, I feel that all of my problems just go away. It’s kind of like I’m in a dream. It’s a very specific feeling - kind of like taking medicine.”

Owner Sally, 60, believes Lucy’s diminutive size makes her more approachable than other dogs.

She said: “Children that are not afraid of dogs won’t be afraid of Lucy because she is so little. She is very unintimidating. She’s helped a lot of people.

“She just shows up and they get calm and comfortable and that’s what her superpower is!”

Lucy with her Guinness World Record certificate awarded 28 November 2011
Lucy weighs just 2.9 lbs

Sally recalls a young girl with selective mutism who used to be so afraid of Lucy she would stand as far away as possible from the dinky dog.

She said: “Little by little she came closer and closer and she started to speak to us and after a long time, she got very close and started to pet Lucy and then she started to take Lucy’s leash and walk her around the school.

“The last time I saw her she was bringing other children with similar problems over and she held her. That was a high point for me.”

On visits, Sally dresses up her pet pooch in bows, collars and tutus – and she’s also taught Lucy a dance routine.

She explained: “She twirls, she lays down she walks like a turtle, she jumps, she goes through leap holes, she goes through tunnels – anything to entertain you.

“However, Lucy has what I call ‘Yorkitude.’ There are times she refuses, and that gets the biggest laugh from the audience.”

As a therapy dog Lucy meets student Dino to help with his anxiety issues

As well as her solo visits Lucy also partners up with fellow pet therapy dog Cooper – a Great Dane five times bigger than little Lucy. 

Cooper towers above his canine colleague and the two cause quite a stir when together – especially when Lucy sits on his back.

And even when off-duty, Lucy catches people’s attention wherever she goes.

Sally said: “Lucy stops traffic. I can’t walk anywhere without people saying ‘she’s so little, I’ve never seen a dog that small!”

Smaller than the family cat, Lucy is even dwarfed by a watermelon and is a similar height to a soda can.

Sally first laid eyes on Lucy when an animal rescue volunteer came into the shop she worked in with puppies and she spotted Lucy’s small nose sticking out of a carrier bag.

Double act: Lucy goes into school therapy sessions with Cooper the Great Dane

Sally said: “When I first saw her she looked pretty pitiful. She was skinny, dirty and a bit lethargic. Her tongue was hanging out and she had been homeless for a bit. I just thought who else is going to take her?”

Now in good health, Lucy has to take medication daily because of her size and must also have plenty of rest.

Sally explained: “She sleeps a lot when we’re not working. She’s so tiny that she really needs a lot of sleep and you can find her in a ray of sunshine just sleeping or she’ll cuddle with the cat.”

Sally makes all the visits with Lucy on a voluntary basis, on top of teaching at a college and caring for her husband Frank, who has multiple sclerosis, and her daughter Robyn who suffers chronic health issues.

Owner Sally Montufar couldn't resist adopting Lucy from an animal shelter in spite of her initial scrawny appearance

Sally said: “Lucy is big time therapy for me. She helps other people a lot but in my own family I’ve had some challenges and Lucy has helped immeasurably.

“My husband has MS and my daughter has had a chronic illness. To have a daughter in her twenties be hit with something like that is so difficult and I didn’t take it very well and I was unable to really understand why it happened.

“When I’m starting to feel a little panicked, a little sad about my husband and daughter I have Lucy and it’s terrific!

“Lucy is extremely unusual - there is just something about her that’s just very different.”

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