Naples couple's rescue of shelter pup to be featured on CBS's 'Lucky Dog'
Lizzie is a lucky dog. She is lucky to have escaped the California wildfires, lucky to be cared for in a shelter, lucky to get top training, and lucky to find new owners in Naples.
Now the 2-year-old border terrier is scheduled to be featured on the CBS TV show “Lucky Dog” this Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
The show features animal trainer Brandon McMillan, who rescues difficult to love and untrained dogs from animal shelters. At his Lucky Dog Ranch, McMillan tackles the task of transforming the dogs into model pets. Each episode features a hopeless-to-home story of a dog and the family that adopts the canine.
Lizzie was adopted in September by Linda and Jim Hansen who live at Naples Lakes Country Club. She was a dog the Hansens never thought they would get.
Five years ago the couple lost their 17-year-old dog. They didn’t want the hassle of training a new puppy.
“So I was watching 'Lucky Dog' and they train dogs,” Linda Hansen said.
She sent them an email and then filled out a lengthy application. Years went by and they heard nothing.
“Five years go by and I get an email that said, ‘You have been chosen,’” Linda Hansen said. “They sent us pictures and they said you can choose one from the pictures.”
It's your lucky day! We're looking at fate, luck and good fortune. Naples
The dog they chose had been sent back to a shelter.
“I said, ‘Go get that dog. That’s the one we want,’” Linda Hansen said.
Next came a very lengthy Skype session as McMillan tried to determine exactly what further training the 22-pound terrier needed. The Hansens have some hearing impairments so the canine was trained to alert them if the doorbell or phone rings.
“When the doorbell or the telephone rings she runs around in a circle,” Jim Hansen said.
The couple also enjoys boating, so Lizzie was taken on a boat to become accustomed to that lifestyle.
“We told them in our interview that we had an old sailboat in Doctors Pass so that is why they took her out on a boat in the Pacific to make sure she was not nervous getting in and out of a boat, and she just jumped in and out of the boat,” Jim Hansen said.
In September the Hansenss flew to Los Angeles to fetch Lizzie and to be filmed for the show. Production crews came to Naples a few weeks ago to get additional footage of Lizzie in her new home.
Lizzie lives a lucky life in Naples.
“She is up at 7 o’clock in the morning almost like an alarm clock,” Jim Hansen said. “She licks my nose. We get on the golf cart. I have a 16-foot extension leash and she runs alongside the golf cart.
"She runs very, very fast. She runs all the way around the circle almost 2 miles. She does her doggie things. Then she has her breakfast and then lies down and goes to sleep.”
In the afternoon it’s either another golf cart run or a walk.
“In the evening we will take her out and then she loves to sit on the raised spa by the swimming pool and watch the sun setting,” Jim Hansen said. “Every night she will watch the sun go down.”
She watches television with her owners and then has a bedtime routine.
“She goes to sleep on my shoulder in bed, and when I fall asleep she gets down and burrows under the bed,” Jim Hansen said, explaining that border terriers are instinctive burrowers.
Lizzie follows commands immediately. She knows, "sit," "stay," "come," "no," and more.
“Never in my life did I think I could get a dog like this,” Linda Hansen said. “She is highly trained. No problems, no messes.”
The Hansens are excited about all the adventures they have had and the people they met while filming the show.
“They were here for six hours last month,” Jim Hansen said. “They took us down to our sailboat and filmed us on the sailboat so some of those scenes will be on the show, too. We look forward to seeing which scenes they took will be in the show. After the show she will just go back to being a house dog.”
"Lucky Dog" premiered in September 2013. Since then almost 150 episodes have aired. In 2015 McMillan won the Daytime Emmy for best host for a lifestyle series. The show received a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Series in 2016.
While the Hansens feel lucky to have Lizzie, they also say Lizzie is lucky in so many ways.
“With all those fires in California, there were a lot of animals,” Jim Hansen explained. “She was running around on the streets when they (the shelter) got her. This was when a lot of dogs were displaced from the fires. One other thing that makes her lucky is we flew out to Los Angeles and got her and a week later that huge fire went through the hills. So she escaped two in a row.”
That is how Lizzie got her name. Linda Hansen said her dog’s full name is Elizabeth, named after Elizabeth in the television show "Madam Secretary." But she is called Lizzie because of her history.
“She is lucky Lizzie,” Jim Hansen said.