This is my first update on Sophie who has been with me for just over two years now. My vet estimated she was around two years old when she arrived and he thinks she might have been hit by a car because the x-rays showed A probable fractured pelvic bone. She had been found in a field, unable to walk, and underweight. She had a great foster family in southern VA who helped nurse her back to health.
Sophie had to travel 3000 miles west and 8,000 feet high to get to her new forever home in the Eastern Sierra of California (home of Yosemite National Park, Mt. Whitney, and Mammoth Lakes). I was hoping Sophie would be able to learn to be an off-leash dog as this area is extremely dog friendly and leash free. It only took a few weeks for Sophie to bond and take to the off-leash life. Her profile described her as shy and polite. Her temperament has been true to her profile but she is slowly warming up to meeting new people. My boyfriend and I are rock climbers so every weekend we are at the local crag and everyone knows her. This season fellow climbers have been commenting on how much she has improved. She is definitely the most polite dog at the crag. While other dogs are stealing your lunch, stepping on your gear, and dropping large sticks at your feet while you are trying to belay your partner, Sophie politely hangs back, staying close but not imposing.
We take her everywhere we can! My boyfriend is a contractor and takes her to work with him almost every day. Sophie loves being a “job dog” and overseeing all the comings and goings. It has also helped to overcome her fear of loud noises. I’m a psychotherapist and Sophie’s gentle temperament has made her a wonderful therapy dog for my clients. She enjoys sitting on the sofa and letting them stroke her while they talk. She is such a blessing.
On vacation, we generally go camping and climbing. Sophie loves exploring new smells and she is fantastic about staying around camp and never getting beyond sight or a whistle. She has her own headlamp (around her neck), sleeping bag, and climbing harness. Despite her previous injury, Sophie loves climbing class 3 rocks and can even do class 4 with her harness and a safety rope! She is very agile and loves long hikes and boulder scrambling. This summer we started working on learning to swim.
I don’t know if we have raccoons here but she is definitely a coonhound….cat-coons, deer-coons, squirrel-coons, and bear-coons. She’s not the smartest tack in the box, but when she takes off after prey she always comes back to the trail at the same spot where she left. It took me a few times to figure it out but she was patient and trained me to stay put. She never makes me wait more than 10 minutes now. Sophie rarely bays, but when she does everyone takes notice. Coonhounds are not common out here so Sophie has become quite the novelty. Everyone wants to pet her ears and she makes everyone laugh when she does get excited and starts baying.
I’m not just being a proud mom when I say that Sophie is the best dog ever!
Christina M. Caro