When a dog is like a big kitten

The South Platte River in Deckers, Colorado is world-renowned for fishing, and it’s also where a kind person came across Sophia (formerly Juno), a 9-year-old brindle Labrador retriever. While we know where Sophia was found, the specifics about how she was brought to the Dumb Friends League are not known, but that’s not necessary for our story.

Once at the Dumb Friends League, we learned that Sophia had a microchip that wasn’t registered, but we could see that it was implanted in 2010 in another state. How this pup made her way to Colorado was a mystery. (The League encourages all pet owners to ensure their cats and dogs are wearing proper identification—a collar and tag, and an up-to-date microchip identification implant—at all times, so if they ever go missing, chances of being reunited increase. Consult with your veterinarian about having your pet microchipped. It’s a simple procedure that could save your pet’s life. For more information, visit our partner, HomeAgain, or contact your veterinarian.)

Next up was an examination where sweet Sophia was diagnosed as being overweight and having dental disease. Several teeth had severe wear almost down to her gumline, which would require several extractions.

“Sophia was a shy, very sweet girl who we thought just needed some teeth removed,” recalled League Veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Hornback. “While she was under anesthesia, however, we discovered she had some of the largest bladder stones any of us had ever seen! We were able to remove the stones surgically and then we treated a urinary tract infection they had developed.”

Post-surgery, Sophia began a diet of Hill’s® Prescription Diet® c/d®. “Sophia recovered very well and bounced back quickly,” said Dr. Hornback. “She was a very good patient and was easy to treat and fall in love with. Her sweet eyes would melt anyone’s heart. Being on this special diet will keep her urinary tract system healthy and hopefully prevent any stones from forming again.”

It was time for Sophia to find her forever family. League staff thought Sophia’s simply wanted “a home with nice people who were willing to provide her with endless pets.” And, because of her bladder stones, Sophia would always need a special diet.

Shannan and her family had previously adopted two cats, Sammie and Simon, from the League, so they were familiar with the organization. Sammie passed away last year, and then the family’s 18-year-old dog also died. With room in their home and hearts for a new friend, a trip to the Leslie A. Malone Center was in order.

“As we walked around, we saw Sophia sleeping in the corner of her room. Her face looked so loving that we had to meet her,” said Shannan. “When we got the chance, she came right in and laid by our feet, wanting all the cuddles. She was like a big kitten.”

Shannan shared that it was “doggie love at first sight.” Sophia was calm and gentle with the family, and they knew they had to bring her home and make her part of their family.

Shannan shared that Sophia adjusted wonderfully to her new home loved ones. “She really is like a big cat at home,” said Shannan. “Sophia loves to cuddle on the couch with us. She also loves car rides and taking walks. She has been such a joy.”

Not surprisingly, Sophia’s favorite things include treats—especially her Kong toy filled with peanut butter—and she also likes to be tucked into a blanket when she naps (and who could blame her?). But, if Sophia is trying to sleep, and someone says something to her, be prepared to get a bit of a side-eye! When awake, Sophia likes to respond to questions with the silliest of noises as if she’s talking back, and her humans should understand what she’s contributing to the conversation.

Sophia is still eating Hill’s® Prescription Diet® c/d® to prevent recurrence of her previous bladder issues, and she’s healthy and thriving.

“When we first got her, her eyes seemed so lonely,” said Shannan. “Now, she has a family that adores her and dotes on her continuously. She is a very happy dog and good with every person and dog she meets. Her tail is always wagging.”

Sophia was considered a senior pup at 9-years old when Shannan’s family adopted her. “Often, people want a young dog or a new puppy,” said Shannan. “I love that we got an older dog, one who people may have passed by. She was already so well trained, and her heart was so loving. I hope more people adopt older dogs in the future. She’s the best!”

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