OPELIKA, Al. (WRBL) – In 2021, Chicken, a dog now in the care of Lucy May McDaniel, was abandoned outside a shelter and tied to a tree. Now, she is a dog diving national champion.

Two years ago, when the McDaniel family saw Chicken’s picture, they stepped up to foster her. Eventually the McDaniel’s made her part of the family.

“I remember we got her as a foster, and then … I remember when my parents told me that we could adopt her and I was really excited,” said Lucy May.

Later on, the McDaniel family took Chicken to obedience training at the Harvard K-9 Facility in Opelika. That’s when the idea of dog diving was planted, and team “Flying Chicken” was born.

The McDaniel family was so excited to see how much Chicken loved this sport. As parent, Dorothy McDaniel loved what she was seeing from her daughter.

” What I think was striking to us was that Lucy May was committed to training her,” Dorothy said. “She was committed to coming out every week. And learning how to work with the dog. And learning to how to teach the dog different cues. Even how you properly throw the lure.”

During the season, Lucy May and Chicken are out at the K-9 Training Facility every Sunday practicing and perfecting their craft.

Today, Lucy May and Chicken have become National Champions at the annual “Ultimate Air Games” competition which takes place just outside Nashville, Tennessee. Lucy May’s mother, Dorothy, beams with pride to see her child and their adopted dog achieve so much.

“It’s really gratifying to see as parents, but also as people who work with dogs and foster dogs, to see a dog that no one wanted to being this dog that had so much potential. And we were able to find a way to work with it,” said Dorothy.

The McDaniel family hopes that Chicken’s redemption story can open up people’s eyes to what adopting a pet can do for them.