‘It’s a dog’s life’ was a 16th century metaphor describing the prevalent human condition of misery, cruelty and hardship. But people commonly use this figure of speech today when they mean a life of luxury, because the modern dog’s lot is much improved and many pooches are adored and pampered by their owners.
Little Sophie, a 4 Paws Silky Terrier Cross, has experienced human cruelty and neglect and now human love and kindness.
Almost a year ago, she was found malnourished and in an appalling condition in the Beerwah State Forest. Blind in one eye and partially blind in the other, she had rotten teeth, matted fur and a painful skin condition. Her sagging, weary body told the story of how she had delivered litter upon litter of puppies.
Sophie wasn’t claimed at the Pound. It’s thought she’d been used for breeding at a puppy farm before being dumped in the forest when she could no longer carry litters. Frightened and alone in the forest, Sophie had scavenged what she could to survive.
4 Paws believes all rescue pets deserve a forever home where they can live out their days in comfort. So we took over Sophie’s care under our Permanent Resident program. Thanks to the generous support of our Sunshine Coast donors, sponsors and veterinary staff, Sophie received first class veterinary care at Nicklin Way Surgery. The vets estimated she was about 8 years’ old.
Sophie spent a short time in temporary 4 Paws foster care before Delma and John Murrihy opened their generous hearts and become her permanent foster carers.
But it wasn’t an instant solution to her suffering. Sweet Sophie needed to be gently nursed back to health over many months. She had to learn to trust people and to become part of a loving family.
‘We let her take her time, we let her come to us when she wanted to,’ Delma says.
Delma and John love dogs and realised how much they missed having a pet at home when they moved into a retirement village. Being in their 80s, they thought it inappropriate to buy a puppy, so applied to become foster carers with 4 Paws. They were delighted to become permanent carers for Sophie.
Delma says when they first brought Sophie home, she wasn’t used to being touched or patted. With veterinary guidance and lots of care at home her chronic skin condition is almost completely under control. ‘Now she loves being patted. She’s very happy,’ says Delma.
It’s nearly a year since her ordeal in the forest and Sophie now weighs a healthy 7 kg, due to Delma and John’s loving care.
Because of Sophie’s skin issues, Delma cooks her special chicken and fish dishes each day. Their son often brings over beautiful fish he’s caught. ‘Sophie gets most of it,’ Delma laughs. ‘She may have lost a few teeth but she’s very good at eating!’
‘She’s as healthy as anything at the moment. She’s so strong. Her favourite place is by the front door and she watches my husband closely in case he goes out. Sophie’s done a wonderful job training us,’ Delma laughs.
The three often enjoy a play wrestle when they put Sophie’s harness on to go for a walk. But it’s not just Sophie who's the winner in this loving, harmonious arrangement. Sophie has enriched Delma and John’s lives too.
‘She’s improved my husband’s health because of all the walks,’ says Delma. ‘We love her. When you come home she’s all excited, like she’s saying, “Come on in, I’ve been missing you.”’
Sophie’s a strong character who knows her own mind. She’s not too keen on other dogs but adores people and greets everyone who comes through the door.
Sophie’s veterinary care will be covered by 4 Paws for the rest of her life. She’s generously sponsored by Geoff Walton, whose monthly sponsorship goes towards Sophie’s vet care.