Blind Senior Dog Wouldn’t Stop Growling — Until She Got Her Friend Back
“Sophia didn’t have much hope by herself ... as soon as we put her with Rose, she really got her spunk back.”
A volunteer at an Atlanta shelter was closing up for the night when she noticed something strange — two tiny dogs were outside, but they didn’t come from the shelter.
“They were wandering around, a little disorientated and confused,” Christina Hill, director of marketing and communications at the Atlanta Humane Society, told The Dodo. “We’re not quite sure how they got there. We assume someone put them in the play yard.”
The staff member brought the dogs inside, and gave them food and a warm place to sleep, according to Hill.
The dogs, whom the staff named Rose and Sophia, were both seniors. But Sophia, the older of the two, had some age-related medical issues.
“Her eyes were faded a little bit into her skull,” Hill said. “She’s pretty much blind from what we can tell. She might be able to see slight figures or movements, but that’s about it.”
Sophia was also very thin, and vet staffers later discovered she had heartworm disease, which happens when heartworm larvae grow inside an animal’s heart and lungs. Without treatment, the disease can be fatal.
Shelter workers then put Sophia in medical isolation so they could treat her, but Sophia’s behavior worsened.
“Sophia kind of went crazy,” Hill said. “She would cower back in her cage; she’d grumble at you when you walked by. She wasn’t very happy.”
“Sometimes we see this [behavior] in older dogs if they’re not doing well or they’re not feeling well,” Hill said. “Or if they’re in a different environment, they’re going to act that way.”
But when Sophia got a little better, and they reunited her with Rose, shelter staffers realized Sophia was probably just missing her best friend, according to Hill.
“When we put Sophia back with Rose, Rose immediately recognized her,” Hill said. “So we found them a nice big home in our shelter and put them in there, and Sophia warmed up. She wouldn’t growl anymore — she would run up to you and jump on your lap. Her confidence was back, her energy was back and she was so much happier being back with Rose.”
Rose also acted like a guide dog for Sophia, and Sophia relied on her to get around.
“[Rose] kind of keeps an eye on her,” Hill said. “When we have [Sophia] out in the yard, [Rose] keeps an eye on her kind of like a little guide dog.”
“They were definitely together in their previous life,” Hill added. “They really help each other — they’re such great friends. And they’re super sweet dogs. You sit on the floor and they’ll jump onto your lap and cuddle with you all day long.”
Sophia and Rose are so close, shelter staffers want them to be adopted together. As part of their adoption deal, the shelter offered to continue paying for Sophia’s heartworm treatments.
“It’s obviously a lot harder to find homes for dogs who have heartworm disease, so we want to give Sophia that leg up, and hope that she finds a home,” Hill said.
But the most important thing, according to Hill, is keeping the dogs together.
“Sophia didn’t have much hope by herself,” Hill said. “She wasn’t really sure what was going on, and as soon as we put her with Rose, she really got her spunk back. She really found that will to live and will to find a new home with Rose.”