Sweet Senior Dog Makes Sure Orphaned Opossums Don't Grow Up Without Love
“Her behavior surprised us ..."
Two years ago, this sweet senior dog named Sophia’s life changed in a way she could never have predicted.
At the age of 13, despite never having had any babies of her own, Sophia became a mom — opening up her heart to a group of tiny youngsters who needed love the most.
It all began when Sophia’s owner, James, happened upon four baby opossums.
“[They] were found along the road next to their mother [who] had been hit by a vehicle,” James told The Dodo. “We brought them home […] and our Chihuahua, Sophia, immediately became interested and protective of them.”
Sophia, seeming to sense the little opossums’ need for a parent, began to take on that role herself. She kept them feeling cozy and safe.
“Her behavior surprised us because of her age and she had never been a mother,” James said.
Though Sophia’s maternal instincts appear to have been kindled in the presence of the babies, she didn’t limit her parenting style to what came naturally to her kind alone.
Opossum moms are accustomed to transporting their young atop their backs. Sophia, being a dog, is not — but that didn’t stop her from doing so to accommodate her adoptive babies.
It did take a little getting used to for Sophia, but she allowed the babies to hop aboard when they desired.
"They quickly became too large to hitch rides on her," James said. "But she always remained vigilant in keeping an eye on their activities."
Thanks in large part to Sophia's tender care and love, the baby opossums continued to grow and grow. Then came the day the orphans were mature enough to strike out on their own.
"We released them into the wild in the late fall when they were able to fend for themselves," James said.
It's been two years since then, and Sophia is still alive and well. And with any luck, the unlikely babies she helped to raise continue to thrive as well. James still sees opossums around his property today — living legacies of his dear dog's big heart.