Lynnette Scofield has been running The William Henry Miller Inn in Ithaca, New York, since 1999 but one of her most important employees didn’t come on board until 2014—that’s when Scofield adopted Lucy, the inn’s official canine “greeter.”
Bringing Lucy Home
Lucy was dropped off with no information at a shelter in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in September 2014. She was about 10 years old and had few chances for adoption, so the shelter reached out to Cayuga Dog Rescue, a small organization in Ithaca, hoping that she might have better luck there. Lucy found her way to a foster family in Ithaca, and Scofield adopted her just a few months later.
“One day, I was just browsing and there was this little face with the tongue hanging out,” Scofield says. “When I started to cry, I knew she was the one.”
Scofield had recently lost her elderly dog and Lucy seemed like the perfect match even though she needed some loving tender care.
“Luce had one tooth left and when the vet went to spay her, they found that she had already been spayed,” Scofield says. “If the previous owner had shared that information, it would have spared Lucy the surgery [as anesthesia can cause complications in senior dogs].”
The vet used that chance to remove Lucy’s last tooth and the road to recovery started. Scofield brought Lucy home on Christmas Eve.
Lucy Gets a Job
From the beginning, Lucy made it very clear she wasn’t going to stay home while her mom went to work.
“We call her ‘Velcro dog’ because she is normally stuck right by my side,” says Scofield.
She began bringing Lucy to the Inn with her and hired a trainer to help Lucy build her confidence and learn to relax a little.
“Since then, every day we try to reassure her that she is home and she is ours,” Scofield adds.
Lucy and Scofield live in the carriage house just behind the main building and go to work together every morning at 6:45 a.m.
“After breakfast in her little breakfast area, she is at the door to greet ‘her staff’ when they arrive,” Scofield says. “She has been a real plus for our staff—they just love her and will walk her and provide her with hugs and treats.”
When it’s time for the guests to have breakfast, Lucy is first in line to make sure no bacon goes to waste, as few things are more important to her in life than bacon, Scofield says. “Even her collar is material that is made to look like a piece of bacon.”
“During breakfast, she does her best to give everyone her ‘I’m just a poor rescue dog, do you have some bacon’ bit, although we try to be very careful to observe if guests are not thrilled with her,” Scofield says.
Then at mid-morning, Lucy takes a break for a morning snooze in her bed next to Scofield’s desk. In cooler weather, she’ll head to the dining room instead to take a nap near the fireplace.
As new guests start to arrive, around 3 p.m. each afternoon, she goes into greeter mode.
“Lucy’s main job is just being cute,” Scofield says. “She is with me to greet every guest.”
Not that the guests complain much, as they usually bend over backwards to be friends with her.
“She can tell that if they are trying too hard,” Scofield says, adding that with those guests, Lucy will play hard to get.
Once, a guest was so determined to make friends with Lucy Scofield offered the guest a “doggie meatball” made with wet dog food to give to Lucy.
“Instead, he ate it,” says Scofield. “A lot of hand gestures and ‘NO NO NO!’ went on [but] the guest said it wasn’t too bad!”
Behind the Scenes at the Inn
On a regular day, Lucy’s official duties might include a variety of other tasks besides greeting guests and asking for bacon, many of which (unsurprisingly) include food.
On Wednesday afternoons, for example, the staff sits down for ice cream and Lucy will remind everybody she needs some too.
“I’m also heavily involved with United Way and their office is two doors from the Inn, so she will often accompany me to meetings and just sit on my lap,” says Scofield. “Of course, if refreshments are served, she quickly wakes up; Lucy’s life revolves around food.”
Because Lucy is 13, Scofield says that she and the staff have to be careful to read her signs that say “I need to go out” – though once in a while they’ve missed them.
“One guest thought our ceiling in the main hall had a leak,” Scofield says. “Nope, just Lucy.”
Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and adventurer, whose work has been published in DiscoveryChannel.com, Yahoo!, & Popular Mechanics.