In July 2009 a little black and white pit bull was rescued with hundreds of other pit bulls from their lives as fighting dogs. Already pregnant Vanilla as the shelter named her gave birth to 6 roly-poly puppies in a temporary shelter set up to house what became known as the Missouri 500.
In November 2009, after five long months in the temporary shelter, Vanilla started a new life with a new name. Vanilla became Sophie the day she came to my house for fostering until her forever home could be found.
Having never stepped foot inside a home before, Sophie had a lot to learn and a lot of fears to overcome. Veterinarians have recently realized that animals can exhibit many of the same symptoms that people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder do and Sophie had many of these same symptoms, the intense, constant anxiety, the hyper-vigilance to her surroundings and fear/panic resulting from loud or unexpected noises. It was several days before she could walk out of her crate voluntarily and many weeks before she could leave the room where her crate was located. The television was another novel experience that required four months of gentle persuasion before Sophie could tolerate the sounds and movements we take for granted.
Month after month of her progress was an emotional roller coaster with wonderful highs as I watched her conquer yet another new experience and horrible lows as a sudden change caused her to backslide into panic mode again. Through it all, Sophie showed the typical, wonderful pit bull personality. As long as she felt safe, she was a happy little clown, learning what toys are for and what cuddling with people is all about. Even at her most panic stricken she never once offered any aggression toward me and learned quickly that people could be a source of safety and comfort rather than fear and pain. She greeted everyone that walked in the door as if they were long lost friends.
In November 2010, just a few days short of one year, Sophie began her last and greatest adventure yet. Sophie was adopted by a wonderful family into her forever home. Nicole, Jose and 8-year-old Noah are Sophie’s new best friends and family. Because it took so long for Sophie to adjust to life inside a house, I feared she would suffer a set back when she went to her new home, but this resilient little pit bull proved me wrong as she walked into her new home and set about happily investigating every room and making herself comfortable on the furniture. She never missed a beat even when I left her to her new life. I will certainly miss my little girl, but I am so very happy that she will get to spend the rest of her life with a family that loves her and will spoil her like the little pittie princess she deserves to be.
Congratulations to Sophie and her new family and I wish you all the best for many years to come.
~ Amanda Clase