Homestead resident Lucy Melvin went to the Maryland SPCA to donate leftover dog food and supplies from her beloved 14-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Foxy, who passed away a few months ago.
“Three hours later, I was taking back all of my stuff – and Robbie,” said Lucy. A certain crate in the adoptable animals room had caught her eye—the sign on it said, “11 years old and blind in one eye.”
“I saw the sign, and I noticed a dog-shaped pink thing lying in the cage. I thought no one was going to adopt this dog. People want young dogs. Someone had thrown him out in the street, and his hair was so matted, they had to shave him down to the skin. That’s why he was pink,” said Lucy.
Fast-forward a few months, and Robbie’s black and white curly coat is growing in nicely—turns out, he’s a cockapoo. He likes to visit The Homestead common areas because he always gets petted. When at home with Lucy in her apartment, he enjoys hanging out with his fur sibling, Lucy’s cat Lulu.
“Most all of the residents and employees love Robbie,” said Lucy, who turned 88 in December and walks Robbie outside three times a day. “I think he was a city dog. He likes to walk on the sidewalk and he loves cars.”
Over the years, Lucy has had a wide variety of pets, including multiple dogs, cats, horses and—almost—a cheetah. A game park in South Africa wanted to give her the big cat while she was working abroad. She couldn’t see a cheetah fitting in when she moved back to the U.S., so she sadly declined.
Lucy had a busy career delivering management training to diverse groups of people from all backgrounds, of every level of socioeconomic status, in the US, South America and South Africa.
Born in Oklahoma, Lucy has lived in 15 states and five different countries, and she lived on a boat for 30 years. She sailed from Maine to the Bahamas each year, to Europe as far as Turkey and to the Caribbean. She most recently lived in Annapolis, where she also kept her boat, but she moved to Springwell to be closer to family. Her residence at The Homestead is her 33rd home!
“My daughter lives in Baltimore, and if I ever wanted to see my grandchildren, I needed to move closer to her,” said Lucy, who moved in around Thanksgiving 2018. “Now when they fly in, they can visit me too.”
“Because of my management background, I was interested in moving into a place to see it get going from the start,” she said. “We have a superb group of people here who care for us.”
As for Robbie, he is getting along quite nicely at The Homestead as well.
“I have had so many animals, and I learned that you don’t train them, you figure out how to accommodate between the two of you,” said Lucy. “And Robbie is very accommodating.”
Lucy, who is passionate about animal advocacy, has one last piece of advice: “There’s no excuse for people to treat an animal badly. If you don’t want an animal, do not throw them out on the streets. Take them to the SPCA so they can find a loving home.”