Penny has always been a chill, easygoing dog. The 2-year-old golden retriever’s calm demeanor makes her the perfect PTSD service animal for her mom, Olivia Lachenauer.
“She’s really mellow and super sweet,” Lachenauer told The Dodo. “She’s always been very attentive to me.”
“She’s that calming factor and is trained for interventions during night and day,” Lachenauer added. “She usually catches my triggers before I do, and it has absolutely changed my quality of life.”
Penny makes sure to keep a close eye on her mom at all times, and when Lachenauer got pregnant, Penny became even more watchful. But one day last month, Penny’s behavior suddenly changed.
The normally relaxed dog seemed upset, as if she was trying to tell her mom something. Lachenauer assumed Penny was responding to her stress of having to take an exam that day.
“I thought her strange behavior was because I was starting finals,” Lachenauer said. “I’m in nursing school and had a big final that day. She wasn’t her usual calming self, though — it was almost an anxious energy. She kept booping her nose on my belly instead of being at my side.”
Sure enough, during Lachenauer’s final exam, she went into labor.
“On question 63, I started having the worst contractions ever,” Lachenauer said. “I finished my final, my parents came over, and by that night my beautiful baby boy was born! Penny knew before I did that something was off.”
Penny was so happy that her mom was safe and healthy — and went back to being her calm self again.
Now, not only does Penny have a special relationship with her mom, but she’s extra close with her new baby brother.
“Once I was settled, she turned into a super-nanny dog! It was adorable,” Lachenauer said. “She’s great with all of my kids, but especially loves checking on the baby and will lay by his swing, under his bassinet and supervise tummy time from a safe distance.”
Lachenauer can’t wait to watch Penny and her newborn grow up together. She knows her little boy will always have someone watching out for him.
“[Penny] is attentive, sweet and just overall wonderful with the newborn,” Lachenauer said. “I think her relationship with this baby is so strong because she’s been there since day one for him.”