I don’t know how your family makes the decision to add a new pet, but the story of how Sophie joined our family started with a bet at a baseball game. We were vacationing in Chicago and decided to take in a game at Wrigley Field.
My husband made the wager in an attempt to keep our son, Matthew, and me interested in the game. Ken said half-joking that our family would adopt a new dog if the Chicago Cubs hit 12 homeruns. Actually, none of us remember if he said 10 or 12 homeruns, but it was a big, unrealistic number and Ken thought he was safe that we wouldn’t be adding a third pup to the family.
What he did know was a bet like that would keep his two animal lovers on the edge of our seats.
Timing is everything
Fortunately for us, the game took place the summer of 1998. That was the year when two baseball players on the Cubs, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, broke world records for the most homeruns hit in a season.
To my delight, I returned to our hometown of Las Vegas, NV ready to head straight from the airport to the city shelter.
My husband had one request regarding a new dog. Since we already had a 106lb. German shepherd named Bear and a second large Lab mix named Missy, he asked if I could find a small dog to bring home.
The next day after school Matthew and I drove to one of the municipal animal shelters. Unfortunately, as soon as we walked through the doors an announcement came across the speaker. The shelter was closing early and everyone had to leave.
Matthew was devastated so I decided to visit another shelter the next day while he was in school.
Adopting our puppy
It had rained that morning and I remember how wet all of the dog runs seemed. Even though the runs gave the animals access to the outside and indoors, the dogs had tracked enough water inside to make it cold and damp in each kennel.
As I walked up and down the aisles a small brown puppy with floppy ears and huge eyes sat quietly in the front of her cage watching me. I bent down to get a closer look, but a bigger black Lab puppy pushed her out of the way. He jumped all over the cage, his body shouting “look at me.”
Both puppies were adorable and I wanted to scoop each of them into my arms, but Ken’s words rang in my head. I knew the Lab would grow into a big dog, so I decided to get a better look at the little one.
The adoption coordinator at the shelter brought the puppy into a small private room so we could get to know each other.
During our “meet and greet” I couldn’t take my eyes off the little brown puppy and she stared right back at me. Most dogs don’t like to look into your eyes, but this little girl seemed to love it.
I then gave her my personal temperament test which consists of rolling her on her back and checking for signs of aggression. I’ve done this DIY test with all of my dogs.
The puppy passed the test perfectly. My only concern was that she didn’t seem to have the same energy as the Lab puppy. But I read that she’d been picked up as a stray and the day before she had been spayed and received her vaccinations. I suspected her lethargy might be due to this ordeal.
I decided to adopt the serious little puppy.
Introductions and a naming party
Together we headed to my son’s school arriving just in time to pick up my carpool of boys from middle school. The puppy seemed to perk up when she met the crew. And Matthew absolutely fell in love with her. I felt like the best Mom, ever.
I asked the boys to help me name our new addition. First, we decided that our family liked human names vs. typical dog names like Fido or Spot. The guys began calling out girls’ names. We decided to rule out any name if we personally knew someone with that name.
Then, one boy suggested Sophia. Somehow during the rest of the drive home the name was softened to Sophie.
Matthew and I brought Sophie into the house and introduced her to Bear, Missy and our cat Muffin. It was an easy transition, led by Missy who’d helped me welcome lots of other pets into our household. It also helped that the new puppy was so mellow.
Our new extended family had dinner, but the puppy threw up. We attributed it to her big day.
The next morning Sophie woke up with Distemper.