Lucky the Bed Bug Dog

May 20, 2013  

Lucky is a common dog name, but this pit bull’s story is anything but common

By Kaycie Goddard

Lucky’s life didn’t have the best start. Severely neglected, the scrawny, mostly hairless puppy was discovered by his now dad, Peter Schonemann of Russ Pest Control, while he was out performing bed bug inspections in North Carolina.

“I knocked and knocked on the door and no one would answer until I heard this whimpering,” Peter says, “So I took him outside with me and pet his head — it seemed like the only part of him safe to touch. And everyone who saw me said they were glad I had the pup because no one else wanted him.”

Peter took Lucky home to his family who immediately fell in love. A surprisingly clean bill of health had the puppy settling in with his new family in no time. “He ate twice and slept for about four days,” Peter recalls. No one in the family would have guessed that Lucky, seemingly just another of their rescue dogs (of which they now have three), would soon show off a special talent.

Adult bed bugs are just a little bit smaller than an apple seed and can be seen with the naked eye. However, their eggs and nymphs are nearly impossible to find without a special skill set — a skill set that Lucky just happened to be born with. “He would just sniff everything, and yeah he’s a dog, but this was different,” Peter says. Fully trained bed bug detection dogs can cost upwards of $7,000, but Lucky was showing signs that he’d be a good candidate to show what a totally free rescue dog can do. “So we bought some vials to hide the bugs in and Amy started training him to be a bed bug detection dog.”

Peter and Amy are impressed with his progress. “He can sniff out one egg. That’s all it takes,” his dad boasts. “He still gets distracted with other dogs’ toys when we’re searching a place and that sort of thing, but we’re working with him. He’s still such a puppy.”

“Everyone loves him around the office. He comes in every morning to take attendance before we go out for more training,” Peter says. Lucky, now 19 months old, is on track to be a certified bed bug detection dog by the time he reaches his second birthday.

“Lucky is the epitome of a pit bull — he’s loyal and loves to play,” Peter says. “Some clients are afraid of him since he’s a pit bull, but he’s got this goofy ear that stands up all the time so I think that helps.”

When he’s not sniffing out bed bugs, Lucky enjoys running with his mom, getting spoiled at the office, and enjoying a quiet home life with his family. Lucky and Amy ran in the 2013 Canine Crawl on St. Patrick’s Day which benefitted their local shelter, the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. Not only did they participate in the race, Lucky and Amy finished in first place in Amy’s age group.

Stay updated on Lucky and his bed bug detection by following him on Facebook and Twitter.

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