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NEWPORT BEACH : A Case of Puppy Love on Lido Isle

August 19, 1995|ENRIQUE LAVIN

A litter of seven purebred golden retrievers has captured the hearts of residents on the city's Lido peninsula, a cozy bayfront community with a one-pet-per-household policy.

"I was really treading on thin ice when I brought this litter over to the Lido," said Nancy Young, 70, who with her 9-year-old granddaughter, Ashley, has been hosting dozens of puppy-lovers a day at their summer home in a well-kept mobile home park.

"I thought people were going to scream," Young said. "But instead of complaining, people want them to stay."

The pups were born just two days before the Youngs were to leave their Villa Park home for their Lido Isle summer place, so the family brought them along.

The animals have been spoken for since December, but that hasn't stopped would-be owners from joining those who live and work in the area in a daily pilgrimage to play with the pups. "I've been going to see them every single day," said Lori Buccola, a receptionist at Lido Peninsula Co. who calls her lunchtime visits "puppy stress relief." "When I see them, they make me happy."

Early morning and lunchtime traffic jams are common on the neighborhood's narrow streets as drivers make brief stops in front of Young's bungalow. But nobody seems to mind, and no horns honk in protest, said Ashley, whom her grandmother calls the puppies' social director.

Young, a professional dog breeder for 35 years, says the secret of her success in placing puppies even before they are born is to allow people to "love" them as much as they want before they go to their new homes.

"Nancy encourages people to love them, so they can be loving dogs," said Morgana Corelli, who with her mother, Yvonne Doughty, lives a few homes away from the Youngs. Prospective buyers make $100 deposits on unborn puppies and pay a balance of $700 when they pick them up at age 7 weeks.

Young and her husband, John, a veterinarian who specializes in golden retrievers, live in Villa Park and spend their summers in Newport Beach. Each of their 11 adult dogs has two or three litters a year.

Don Funk, manager of the mobile home community that has a summertime population of about 450, said he bent the one-pet rule for the Youngs' puppies because the situation was temporary.

"We'd be running a kennel and not a mobile-home park otherwise," he said. "Besides, the pups will be with their new owners soon, somewhere."

The Lido pup that will go the farthest is destined for an island in the Caribbean, Young said. Others will go to various locations across California.

Park residents said they will be sorry to see the dogs go.

"They have brought the greatest joy to this park," Doughty said. "Everyone is going to be so sad when they leave."

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