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New York dog overcomes fear of humans with hiking trips

A rescue dog overcame her fear of noise and people by going on a series of spectacular hikes and adventures – including zip-lining, abseiling and camping.

Five-year-old pit mix Penni spent the beginning of her life locked in the basement of a drug house, where she was subject to continuous physical abuse and mental stress from the owners.

Her owners abandoned her on the streets of the Bronx in New York City when she was two before she was picked up and put in an overcrowded pound where she was immediately placed on the euthanasia list.

Fortunately, a rescue group called Fur Friends in Need saved her from a sad fate. She was then adopted by current owner Blaine DeLuca, 29, from Canton, Georgia who came up with a creative way of helping her overcome her fears.

‘I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that she was terrified by everything,’ he said. ‘At the time, I lived in a busy town in New Jersey. Because of the noise, I often had to wait until late at night to walk her. If not, she would constantly be shaking in fear.’

But when he took her out for a short walk in the woods, her demeanor immediately changed – and once he moved to Las Vegas, he began taking her on more and more difficult hikes throughout Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona. 

 

Five-year-old pit mix Penni spent the beginning of her life locked in the basement of a drug house, where she was subject to continuous physical abuse and mental stress from the owners. But after being adopted by Blaine DeLuca pictured with his dog and friend), her life chaged dramatically. She was terrified by ‘everything’, he said. ‘I started taking her on small nature trails during daylight hours in order to help her relax,’ he said. ‘She immediately responded. She was an entirely different dog when we were in the solitude of the forest’ 

But things were soon to change even more for young Penni. DeLuca explained: 'Fast forward about a year and we moved to Las Vegas. Obviously, Vegas is known for its bright lights on the Strip. A lesser known fact, though, is there is an enormous amount of diversity in landscape within a couple hours of Vegas. The area has so much to offer'. Pictured: Pennie at the glorious Havasu Falls in Arizona

But things were soon to change even more for young Penni. DeLuca explained: ‘Fast forward about a year and we moved to Las Vegas. Obviously, Vegas is known for its bright lights on the Strip. A lesser known fact, though, is there is an enormous amount of diversity in landscape within a couple hours of Vegas. The area has so much to offer’. Pictured: Pennie at the glorious Havasu Falls in Arizona

Explaining his reasoning for taking Pennie on her grand adventures, he explained: 'Knowing the success I had with taking her on small hikes in the past I was not about to leave her behind on these new adventures. The hikes were not nearly as intense at the beginning, but as her passion became more and more evident, my confidence in her grew as well. Before long, I had absolutely no reservations in taking her anywhere. There is no terrain she cannot handle' 

Explaining his reasoning for taking Pennie on her grand adventures, he explained: ‘Knowing the success I had with taking her on small hikes in the past I was not about to leave her behind on these new adventures. The hikes were not nearly as intense at the beginning, but as her passion became more and more evident, my confidence in her grew as well. Before long, I had absolutely no reservations in taking her anywhere. There is no terrain she cannot handle’ 

Penni has been to countless places throughout Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona

She is well-versed in long-distance hiking, high elevations, rappelling/canyoneering, cliff-side scrambles, and even has a little experience zip-lining

Penni has been to countless places throughout Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona. She is well-versed in long-distance hiking, high elevations, rappelling/canyoneering, cliff-side scrambles, and even has a little experience zip-lining

'Anyone that has hiked with Penni will be quick to agree that she is happiest when she is outside,' DeLuca said. 'Whether it is on top of the mountain or walking down the sidewalk, her demeanor reaches a new peak when adventures are abreast.' Pictured: Pennie atop a log with her hiking shoes on 

‘Anyone that has hiked with Penni will be quick to agree that she is happiest when she is outside,’ DeLuca said. ‘Whether it is on top of the mountain or walking down the sidewalk, her demeanor reaches a new peak when adventures are abreast.’ Pictured: Pennie atop a log with her hiking shoes on 

DeLuca also has a message for other dog owners who might be admiring his and Penni's adventures. He said: 'Every dog owner makes the decision whether to truly integrate his/her pup into the family. Some consciously make that decision; others subconsciously. The reality, though, is that it is, in fact, a choice. You have the choice to include your dog in daily endeavors. 'You have the choice to treat your dog the way it deserves to be treated. So, the next time your dog greets you at the door with uncontrollable happiness choose whether you have a good answer to this simple question: what did we do to deserve dogs?'

DeLuca also has a message for other dog owners who might be admiring his and Penni’s adventures. He said: ‘Every dog owner makes the decision whether to truly integrate his/her pup into the family. Some consciously make that decision; others subconsciously. The reality, though, is that it is, in fact, a choice. You have the choice to include your dog in daily endeavors. ‘You have the choice to treat your dog the way it deserves to be treated. So, the next time your dog greets you at the door with uncontrollable happiness choose whether you have a good answer to this simple question: what did we do to deserve dogs?’

Penni, like any other dog, is not allowed in America's National Parks, which drives Blaine crazy as he doesn't ever want to leave her behind. But that didn't stop her seeing some of the most beautiful places in the American West 

Penni, like any other dog, is not allowed in America’s National Parks, which drives Blaine crazy as he doesn’t ever want to leave her behind. But that didn’t stop her seeing some of the most beautiful places in the American West 

Penni's owners abandoned her on the streets of the Bronx in New York City when she was two before she was picked up and put in an overcrowded pound where she was immediately placed on the euthanasia list

With her new owner, however, things are quite a bit better

Penni’s owners abandoned her on the streets of the Bronx in New York City when she was two before she was picked up and put in an overcrowded pound where she was immediately placed on the euthanasia list. With her new owner, however, things are quite a bit better

Fortunately, a rescue group called Fur Friends in Need saved Penni from a sad fate. She was then adopted by current owner DeLuca, who is 29 and from Canton, Georgia. He came up with a creative way of helping her overcome her fears - by taking her on wonderful hikes

Fortunately, a rescue group called Fur Friends in Need saved Penni from a sad fate. She was then adopted by current owner DeLuca, who is 29 and from Canton, Georgia. He came up with a creative way of helping her overcome her fears – by taking her on wonderful hikes

DeLuca explained his initial efforts to help Penni overcome her fear of noise and humans: 'I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that she was terrified by everything. At the time, I lived in a busy town in New Jersey. Because of the noise, I often had to wait until late at night to walk her. If not, she would constantly be shaking in fear' 

DeLuca explained his initial efforts to help Penni overcome her fear of noise and humans: ‘I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that she was terrified by everything. At the time, I lived in a busy town in New Jersey. Because of the noise, I often had to wait until late at night to walk her. If not, she would constantly be shaking in fear’ 

Penni enjoying a relaxing sit down while on a camping trip

Swimming through mud while on a hike in the American West

Pictured left: Penni enjoying a relaxing sit down while on a camping trip. Right: Swimming through mud while on a hike in the American West 

Chilling out: A happy Penni can be seen lying in a crevice to get out of the sun while on a hike. She is wearing her special doggie hiking footwear 

Chilling out: A happy Penni can be seen lying in a crevice to get out of the sun while on a hike. She is wearing her special doggie hiking footwear 

She ultimately overcame her fear of noise and people by going on a series of spectacular hikes and adventures – including zip-lining, abseiling (right) and camping. Left: A night in the city 

Scrapyard and cacti: Penni poses on top of a scrapped car with mountains and plants in the background 

Scrapyard and cacti: Penni poses on top of a scrapped car with mountains and plants in the background 

When DeLuca took Penni out for a short walk in the woods, her demeanor immediately changed - and once he moved to Las Vegas, he began taking her on more and more difficult hikes throughout Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona

Penni enjoying camp life

When DeLuca took Penni out for a short walk in the woods, her demeanor immediately changed – and once he moved to Las Vegas, he began taking her on more and more difficult hikes throughout Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona

Taking a gamble: Penni is seen among the slot machines in Las Vegas after being given a new life by DeLuca 

Taking a gamble: Penni is seen among the slot machines in Las Vegas after being given a new life by DeLuca 

Brave: DeLuca said there is 'no terrain she cannot handle' - and that includes rugged cliffs

Brave: DeLuca said there is ‘no terrain she cannot handle’ – and that includes rugged cliffs

Contented: Penni's life has seen a remarkable improvement since her adoption by DeLuca

Contented: Penni’s life has seen a remarkable improvement since her adoption by DeLuca

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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