Sophie, Head of Home Security

IMG_0695After twenty-three years of marriage, four kids, four houses, two snakes, one albino hedgehog, one guinea pig and two feral cats, my husband and I have a dog. We had always sworn we’d never get a dog-for years four kids seemed like enough work. As our children aged, they begged and cajoled, promising that they’d do all the work. We would point out they appeared to have a hard time unloading the dishwasher promptly when asked. Then, as the kids aged, I began to ask my husband to change his mind. I believed they were old enough to be responsible and, even better, than the responsibility would be good for them. My husband was not convinced.

A month ago, my daughter and I went out to buy a hedgehog for her twin brother for his birthday. It was the one thing he’d really wanted and they really are quite cute and not a lot of work. But, as we went from pet store to Pet Smart, we couldn’t find one. Somehow, we decided to go to our county’s pound and see if they had any suggestions for how we might procure such a pet.

Our county has a lovely new pound and it, like shelters all over the country, is teeming with abandoned and found dogs and cats. We looked at all the cats—I grew up with cats and think they are interesting animals to watch. Then, we wandered into the dog room. It was mostly full of large cages with large to medium sized dogs that had some measure of pit bull in them. Most of them were barking. None of them called to me. Then, we turned the corner, and there, in a cement room all by herself was a tiny dog. She stood there, quiet and watchful, staring up at us and we stared in at her. I felt as if I could hear her thoughts and they were “Please get me out of here. I don’t belong here. I just need a nice family to love.”

And that was it. We played with her for a while, saw that she was a quiet, gentle dog, came home and asked my husband to change his mind on the canine ban. My husband brought up the dishwasher reluctance and my youngest son—the one who wanted to hedgehog—said, “Dad, there’s not a lot of emotional reward in unloading the dishwasher. It will be different with a dog.” My husband caved and we went back a picked up our new dog. We named her Sophie.

We’ve had her for four weeks now and everyone, especially my husband, is madly in love with her. She’s a tiny little thing, just under nine pounds and at seven months is close to full grown. She doesn’t bark hardly at all, is almost completely housebroken, crates well, and really does just want to love and be loved.  At the pound, we were told she was picked up on the streets, but it’s clear she hadn’t spent much time there. She’s healthy, easy going, and gentle. It’s clear someone had invested time in training her—I’ll never understand why someone abandoned her.

So she’s ours now. We joke that she’s Sophie, Head of Home Security. It really is a joke—she’s anything but an alpha dog and so little she’s even scared of basketballs. (She has learned to watch my sons play from a safe distance.) I won’t say that my husband and I were wrong to not get a dog when our kids were younger. She is a lot of work—all that puppy energy and a tiny bladder—but it’s doable now that the kids are older and are indeed responsible for her when they are home. I have pointed out to my husband that, in a little over three years, our youngest two will head off to college and then it will just be me, him and Sophie. He smiles and rubs her belly and says that will work out just fine.

So there’s my heartwarming pet story. Do you have one you’d like to share?

5 Responses to “Sophie, Head of Home Security”

  1. kathy says:

    What s lovely story! I love happy pet stories.
    Thank you Dabney!

  2. Missie says:

    It sounds as though Sophie got herself a good family :-)

    Nearly every critter my hubby and I have had has a heartwarming story behind it…from Bailey, the epileptic “schnoodle” (part Schnauzer and part poodle) that hubby and my dear boy (my step-son) rescued from the pound after they had watched “Lady and the Tramp”…to Big Dog, a part-Akita, part German Shepard stray who adopted us…to Ally (we named her for Ally McBeal), my now aging but still feisty calico cat, who broke my hubby’s “no felines” rule ;-) …to Sid (short for “Stray Independent Dog”), who is most if not all Rhodesian Ridgeback who showed up 3 months after we’d had to put our beloved Big Dog down (we had to put him down on hubby’s b-day, no less :-( …LOTS of tears) — we have always thought that Big Dog sent her to us…to LBK (“Little Black Kitty”), who showed up during Hurricane Ike — never, ever have I seen a cat work so hard to be in a family and make a home (it took over a year before Ally could decide she could tolerate LBK eve a little).

  3. LeeB. says:

    Dabney: What a lovely story!
    Missie: Good on you and your husband. Fun names too!

  4. Wendy says:

    How awesome for you, Dabney. I can’t imagine living in a house without at least one dog. Except for a few years right before I was out and on my own my family always had dogs. When I moved into my own apartment that’s one of the first things I acquired. Ton-ton lived to be 16, and by then I was married and we had Columbo, a one eyed dog named for Peter Falk. We’ve always had rescue dog mutts for the same reasons you adopted your Sophie.

  5. Tahyun says:

    This just warms my heart! My uncle works for Anti-Cruelty in a major city near us and often brings home dogs that “fall off the truck”, meaning, they are gentle and he doesn’t want them to be stuck in the shelter with some of the more aggressive dogs, since adopting is down lately. More recently, my mother has been adopting puppy mill mothers from rescues they (Anti-Cruelty) have been doing in conjunction with the Humane Society. We have two of them now, one Officially Adopted and the other still in foster (although we will probably end up adopting her as well; we call her Butter, usually, and she likes to burrow under blankets left about the house). The adopted one is a rare coloring of chihuahua and less or around 5 pounds; the foster one is a mix of chihuahua and something else, but she is mildly long like a hot dog but has these humongous ears and weighs about the same as the other.

    The one we have adopted is named Rosie. When we first got her, she was so scared of everything that we often had to chase her around the house just to feed her. Now a days, she plays with beanie babies my brother’s baby leaves around the house, barks at the racoons and other invisible animals she sees in the woods, and jumps up into my bed to wake me up in the morning. I love her soooo much (officially, I have decided that she is actually My Dog ;) ).

    It just really amazes me how many loving dogs end up in terrible situations and how, despite that, they can still be loving. They are a very resilient species, I think. <3