Hometown Heroes: 'Lucky Dog Lady'

- Some people call Joy Brauer the crazy dog lady.  But she prefers the "lucky" dog lady.

"If you have never had the love of an animal, you need to do it," she offered.  "Your life isn't complete."

She's never far from her furry friends. Whether she's helping walk and train rescues at the SPCA Tampa Bay, or at home with her pack -- whom she refers to as the fabulous five. 

There's Evelyn, the one eyed Pekinese. Gloria, the west highland white terrier. Audrey, the maltipoo. Lester, the Papillion-Chihuahua mix.  And her other Pekinese, Stella.

"I just saw this quote on Facebook the other day: 'If I smell like a dog at the end of the day, I had a great day.' And I thought, well that sums me up."

She rescued three of them from the SPCA, where she's volunteered the last eight years. Joy spends most of her time training the dogs and getting them ready for their forever home. 

"Some of them come in so distraught and so shut down."

So she tries to cheer them up with kisses and treats.  But her favorite thing to do is to take them to her "happy place" -- a special play area that her husband donated to the SPCA.

"I just feel as though I am giving them a little bit of life before they get their forever home."

Joy can't imagine life without her furry friends, and says she has one wish: for everyone, everywhere to know the love a dog. 

"Today it's an all-about-me world and people are suffering from depression and illness and all, and I'm telling you if they adopt an animal, most of their problems will go away because of the unconditional love you get."

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