“You could see it in every inch of her demeanor,” DeLuca told The Dodo. “She was absolutely terrified of everything under the sun. It was awful. It was an uphill battle for quite a while. I couldn't even get her to walk. She would just sit in the corner with her head down. Six months, no eye contact; she was a full-blown disaster at that point."
But DeLuca refused to give up. He did everything he could to try and get Penni used to the world. He had friends bring their dogs over, and even moved in with roommates who had dogs so that Penni could hopefully learn from them that the world wasn’t actually as scary as she’d been taught it was.
At that point, the pair lived in New Jersey, where it was often cold and hard to spend time outside. They lived in a downtown city area, and the whole environment just wasn’t very inviting for Penni, and likely reminded her too much of her horrible past. In February 2015, the pair made the move to Las Vegas — and that’s when everything started to change.