Grace, a Cairn Terrier, models a bandana as she guards a pile of pull toys made for Recycle 4 Rescue.
Grace, a Cairn Terrier, models a bandana as she guards a pile of pull toys made for Recycle 4 Rescue. ( John A. Pavoncello - jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)

Skittish but curious, Lucy scoots around the periphery of her humans' living room.

Of the four dogs in Lynn and Dave Johnson's Springettsbury Township home, 9-year-old Lucy is the only one too scared to sniff the strangers.

Yet Lucy's social behavior is drastically improved compared to three years ago, when the Johnsons adopted Lucy from a group that rescued the Cairn terrier from a puppy mill.

"She was in a wire crate for six years," Lynn Johnson said. "Her feet had never touched the grass."

Today, Lucy is a happy — if a bit skeptical — member of the Johnsons' pack of pooches.

She and her four-legged companions are also daily reminders of why the family's kitchen table is covered in T-shirts, shoulder bags and bandanas.

Lynn Johnson is an animal lover from Springettsbury Township who started Recycle 4 Rescue, a little business that benefits rescue groups. She and her
Lynn Johnson is an animal lover from Springettsbury Township who started Recycle 4 Rescue, a little business that benefits rescue groups. She and her helpers make things out of recycled materials, then sell them at places like Central Market and YorShoppes. Thursday March 27, 2014. John A. Pavoncello - jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com

For about six months, Lynn Johnson has been collecting recycled and inexpensive materials that she and her helpers turn into new products such as tug toys and doggie fashion accessories.

The project is called Recycle 4 Animal Rescue. All of the money raised benefits Animal Rescue Inc., a New Freedom farm sanctuary for dogs and cats.

"I feel like it's something I can do to contribute," Lynn Johnson said.

Many of the dogs who live at the sanctuary were rescued, like Lucy, from puppy mills, she said.

How it works: Johnson collects T-shirts — which she weaves into tug toys — and socks, which become chew toys. She's used wine corks for Christmas decorations and chairs to build water stations for dogs.

Johnson gathers ideas from online resources and gets creative help from co-workers and students at Franklin & Marshall College. A niece and a Girl Scout troop have also pitched in, she said.

And, luckily, people are buying. Johnson said she's been "shocked" at the response from customers.

"York is just fantastic about dogs," she said.

So far, she's raised about $800 selling the items at Central Market and as part of YorShoppes, a group of retailers who sell their wares in pop-up shops in downtown York.

On Friday, April 11, Recycle 4 Animal Rescue will participate in FoodStruck, a food truck party at 57 N. Pershing Ave.

Johnson said she's planning to set up a booth at more events throughout the year.

And, all the while, Lucy continues to improve. She's learned to climb stairs. She's doubled in weight.

After three years at the Johnson house, Lucy recently submitted to her first professional haircut.

"She's tough, and she's going to go on and enjoy her life," Lynn Johnson said.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.