The Story of Sophie!
You may have seen the portrait that I completed at the beginning of this week of the beautiful rescue pup, Sophie. She has a really interesting story to tell so with the permission of her owner - here is her story!
Sophie's owner, Norrie, originally from Scotland, had lived and worked in the United States for 20 years. He was an animal lover and had pets previously and even horses. He volunteered in a dog shelter in California walking the rescue dogs. In 2013 he became very ill and was hospitalised with a rare autoimmune condition. After many weeks in hospital he was finally able to leave and move to a retirement community for rehabilitation. He was the youngest person in the community there by some way and was still struggling with recovery.
Norrie's daughter suggested that he should look at getting a dog - for company and to encourage him to get out walking and speed up his recovery. So they went out looking to adopt from the local shelter. As the area had a large Mexican community most of the dogs at the shelter were Chihuahuas (a very popular Mexican breed) and Pit Bulls that had been purchased as adorable puppies for families but had grown too large and strong. Neither of these breeds were quite what he was looking for.
In the very last pen, in with a load of Chihuahuas (who were all up at the gate yapping and barking) was a little ball of fluff curled up at the back. When Norrie called to the fluff ball, rather than yapping and joining in with the others, the little dog just sat up and cocked her head to one side. It was love at first sight!
The little dog was renamed Sophie and was adopted by Norrie after having to wait in the kennels for 10 days to complete her quarantine period and be spayed. Little was known about her background as she had been a stray. She seemed to have come from a home as she had a little training. She was about 2 years old. It was clear that she hadn't had a proper groom in those two years and so she was booked in and soon looked like a different dog entirely!
After a while, Norrie made the decision to move back to the UK, to Cheshire. He was very concerned about leaving Sophie in kennels during the transport and for quarantine. He was friends with a senior pilot who explained the process and gave some advice on the best companies to use. Norrie also discovered that quarantine could be avoided by ensuring that Sophie had all the correct jabs and medication at the correct times to ensure she was fully covered and everything was signed off by vets and the department of agriculture. It took some planning but this is what they did!
Norrie and Sophie had to get separate flights and Sophie was entrusted to a company for the whole trip. They arranged to collect Sophie from her house and accompany her to the plane for her flight, including arranging an overnight stay in New Jersey. She was treated like a VIP and arrived safely in Manchester where Norrie was waiting to pick her up and take her to her new home.
Now 7 years old, Sophie has settled into life in the UK and loves walks in the woods and barking at passers-by from the comfort of the sofa! She has vacations regularly in Cork, Ireland. The only thing she doesn't like are black work boots - and she will attack them if given the chance!
It is clear to see that Sophie has really found a wonderful home and owner - and I was very privileged to be able to draw her!