Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sophie - Who Rescued Who? Mona of 3 Peeps Designs

I used to be one of those people that believed the negative press about pit bulls. That changed about 4 years ago when I helped convince my mom to rescue and keep a pit bull. This beautiful dog showed up at the empty lot across the street from my parents’ house about a week after they had to put their beloved Phantom (a beautiful Akita) to sleep. She's now called Sophie, and she is an amazing brindle pit bull with the deep, soulful eyes of a survivor and the playful temperament of a kid.

Having heard all of the negative stereotypes in the media about pit bulls, we were all a bit scared of her, well, everyone except for my dad (he’s never met a dog he didn’t like.) Anyway, we had no problem feeding her, but the thought of bringing her into our homes was a little scary. For me, it was because I had 2 kids, 3 cats, and a dog and I didn't want anything happening to them. My mother was against it because of the media’s negative hype about this breed and because of the recent loss of her dog. Well, after 2 days of feeding this little girl I started doing my research into the breed because I wanted to save her. I passed along every scrap of information to my mother in order to convince her to accept this girl into her home.

I wondered how this pitiful dog, who was so thin and hungry could be the mean, man-killing dog that the press portrayed. She was too shy and too scared. She didn't give off “bad or scary” vibes. Watching her sit and cry while she waited for me to put the food down and walk away, I just never got the impression that she would jump me and try to have me for dinner.  I've encountered some dogs that were like that and I've learned to trust my instincts. So, I did my best to convince my mom that Sophie wasn't a killer dog, in fact, she had more love and affection to share than most dogs that we have ever known.

(Miss Sophie Nov. 2007 about a month before giving birth)

I think it took about a week to get Sophie to cross the street and come to my parents fenced-in yard. During that time, we spent fed her several times a day, put water out for her, and spent extra time in the front yard so that she could get used to seeing us and get used to our voices and the noise we made. Anyway, my parents really didn’t have much choice in bringing her over because the owners of the empty lot were set to start building and my mom didn’t want anything happening to this dog (she was already getting attached to this homeless pup :-) during construction. My dad welcomed her with open arms, but I knew it was my mom that we had to convince to accept her because she was the one who was home all day.

When Sophie first came to live with them, she was scared of everything! She loved the kids and trusted us women, the guys had to work harder to win her trust. She would eat most of her food and then bury the rest in case she didn’t get more food. For quite a while my mom would find surprises in her garden that belonged to Sophie. When they were able to get her to go into the house, well, it didn’t last long. She ended up running through the sliding screen door (luckily the glass slider was open) when she heard the toilet flush! It was obvious she had never been inside of a house before. She really needed to get used to the normal sounds that go on inside of a house. We tried to get her to use a crate, but she seemed to be a bit claustrophobic and wouldn't use it. Eventually, though, she decided she liked the house and started spending more and more time inside.

She quickly put on weight and started looking healthy and then she kept gaining weight. Yup, you guessed it, she was pregnant! While she was getting used to all of us and living indoors, my husband and I put up signs to try to find her owners. I have to admit, we didn’t try too hard because of how scared and timid she was, combined with some suspicious old scarring on her body. Luckily for us, no one claimed her.

While preparing for the birth of the puppies we did a lot of research – what to expect when your dog is expecting! We'd only ever experienced the birth of kittens and judging by the size of Sophie, these were going to be considerably larger than the kittens. We stocked up on supplies: blankets (lots and lots of blankets,) toys, pee pads, and food. My mother introduced vitamins and other nutritious food into her diet to improve her health and get her ready for the impending birth of her puppies.

Our Christmas gift that year was ten beautiful puppies! Sophie had no problem accepting our help with the deliveries. Nine of the puppies were big and healthy and one was a lot smaller and in need of some extra help. My husband and I ended up at Walmart at 3am buying puppy formula and bottles. My parents wrote down the birth time of every puppy, printed up a plan for their development and learning, and my mother became a gourmet cook for the puppies once they were old enough to eat food. They even charted the weight of every puppy on a weekly basis!

(The perfect litter of 10)

The puppies took over the garage: my dad built a huge wooden playpen to keep them in when they weren’t in the house or outside playing. My kids and I were there everyday to help with playtime, feedings (including bottle feeding the runt until she was big enough to want to eat with the rest of the litter,) and cleanup. My sister visited and ended up staying for a few weeks to help out as well. It seemed we were constantly buying dog food, vegetables, baby rice, goat’s milk (to supplement the runt’s feedings) and pee pads. It was a great time, but a lot of work. And as it turns out, it was the best way to pick out a puppy!

We really hadn’t planned on getting another dog, but how could we not? I fell in love with Sophie and all of her puppies. Being there every day enabled me to learn all of their different personalities and pick out the perfect little boy for us - my Charlie! My parents kept the runt, Piper. My sister and her husband ended up adopting a head-strong little girl and named her Pebbles. And we found wonderful homes for the remaining 7 puppies, even keeping in touch with a couple of the adopters.  We were very lucky to have a relatively easy time in finding these pit bull mixes good homes (even though we cried every time one left the pack.)  I really believe it had a lot to do with my parents raising them like they were top of the line, pure bred puppies.

(Charlie, Pebbles, and Piper – Sophie's kids Nov. 2010)

A few weeks after the puppies went to their new homes, Sophie finally allowed my dad to put her into the car and took her first ride. Shortly after that, he took her to the vet and the vet checked for a micro-chip and didn’t find one. The vet gave her a full check-up, she received her vaccinations, and had blood work done. The blood work ended up showing that she had heartworms. That was really scary news, but thank goodness the treatment worked. She was also spayed.

I can’t believe it’s been almost 4 years since she came into our lives! Sophie has come a long way. She only has a few quirks now and we figure it’s from her life on the streets and the way people treated her. She now lives a safe and comfortably spoiled life with her daughter, Piper. How many dogs do you know that get their own tiny bowl of ice cream every night? 

(5 dogs taking over the living room)

Submitted by Mona of 3 Peeps Designs where her love of animals is clearly seen in the intricate and lovely beaded jewelry designs she makes by hand. Mona is one of many CFA Guild artisans participating in the promotion this week where 10% of each purchase using the coupon found here will be donated to the Close to Home Animal Rescue Group in Ohio/Pennsylvania. Read all about it by clicking on the box below as well.


Creative Critters said...

You really are an angel to have overcome the negative press about Pit Bulls and rescue the poor animal! I know several Pit Bulls and they are some of the sweetest dogs I've ever met. Buck actually stands on his hind legs and hugs me when I come over! These poor dogs are the victims here: they're abused, forced to fight and breed, and treated horribly, then abandoned when their owners have no further use for them. They are very strong dogs physically, but I think that emotionally they can be downright fragile. I'm so glad you and your family were able to discover how wonderful Pit Bulls can be! =)

Debra at Sleepy Cat Designs said...

Great the details of how it all started and worked out. Thank you.

Pam said...

Love your story, Mona. And the love that it reflects for people to dogs and dogs back to people. What lucky girls Sophie and Piper are, as well as the rest of the babies. Thanks for sharing.

Fisher and Staff said...

That is such a beautiful story. It's not the dogs who are bad, it's the people who treat them badly that the press should talk about.