For many people, dogs are as big a part of the family as any human member. This is exactly how Josh and Kelly Rheaume felt, whose dog Lucy is more like a helpful big sister to their newborn twin girls Lily and Lennon.
The 7-year-old dog has gone viral on TikTok for videos posted by Josh of her helping out with chores — like picking up dirty laundry and assisting with diaper changing.
The couple adopted Lucy during a particular rough patch for Josh, and he explained that she has “always been a daughter to us.”
“The day we rescued her, the stars had aligned so perfectly,” Josh narrates over one video of Lucy retrieving her “Dad’s Puffer.”
“It honestly couldn’t have happened in any other way. She needed us and we needed her,” he continues as she searches the kitchen. She finally heads to the bathroom and finds an inhaler and trots back to Josh before receiving some well-deserved cuddles and pets.
The Rheaumes were a bit nervous when they first brought home their newborn twins, worried that Lucy might be a little jealous or apprehensive.
“She was confused,” Josh told TODAY. “For about five, six days, she was very standoffish... She tried to go in the car seat...trying to take their place so she could get our attention again. It was quite sad actually.”
But then, very much like introducing an older human sibling to their new younger sisters, the couple realized that including Lucy would help with the transition.
“With all the tricks that I had trained Lucy over the years, we figured that we could put them into action,” he explained.
Fortunately, Josh had spent the previous years teaching Lucy some pretty neat retrieval tricks (see: a fun party trick where Lucy could retrieve a beer from the fridge). He was able to transition that trick into something helpful with the twins.
“The thing about Lucy (is) she has very good item recognition and word association,” he explains. “(It’s) something that’s kind of imprinted in her brain.” Now Lucy retrieves everything from bottles from the fridge to burp rags for her younger sisters.
And if anyone else is watching these TikToks in amazement as Lucy grabs various items from around the house while they can’t even get their own dog to sit on command, Josh has some training advice.
“A bond is really important, being close to your dog first and foremost. They want to do well for us,” he advised. “Give them the patience they need and, you know, reinforcing that positivity once they’re able to achieve what you want them to achieve.”
Older siblings helping out with their newborn twin sisters — love to see it.