Vickie, a ten-year-old standard poodle, almost didn’t survive when she was living in a cramped, dirty pen seven years ago. But now, this canine inspiration to children and terminally ill adults has received a national award for her work from Delta Society, an organization dedicated to the human-animal bond.
Katie Costello, Vickie’s owner, found this poodle in a 3-by-3-foot cage seven years ago. Vickie’s previous owner, a drug dealer, had gotten Vickie from a buyer when he didn’t have money to pay, so he gave the dealer Vickie and a male poodle to breed and make money.
Except the man couldn’t make a lot of money by breeding the two poodles because they didn’t come with papers. So, instead he left Vickie and the other poodle in a pen, without any food or water.
Costello said that when she first saw Vickie, she couldn’t even identify her as a poodle. Eventually, Costello convinced the man to turn Vickie and the other poodle over to her.
In a loving environment, Vickie recovered and became healthy. Costello noticed that this poodle immediately took to training, and she thought she could use some of Vickie’s energy to help those that are ill.
Vickie has touched all of those that she has visited. A wife of a man that died thanked Costello for bringing Vickie to visit her late husband and said Vickie brought the man comfort when he needed it the most.
Now that Vickie is getting older, it is more challenging for her to get around and she is not able to walk as much, but she still continues to bring smiles and happy memories to everyone she meets.