September 24, 2012
BOSTON, Sept. 24 2012 – After a frightening two-week ordeal that saw her go missing, arrive at the MSPCA-Angell as a stray and then be adopted by a new adoptive family, “Sophie” the dog is now back in her original home. And staffers at the MSPCA Adoption Center in Jamaica Plain, Mass. are amazed at the generosity of spirit demonstrated by the family who adopted her—and then parted with the small five-year-old Bichon in order to reunite the dog with her former family.
Sophie’s plight began on a day like any other. On Monday, Aug. 13 Nicole Rowan of Whitman, Mass. asked her mother Robin if she could take Sophie on a short drive to see the girl’s grandmother. Robin agreed and before she could outfit Sophie with her identification tags Nicole had whisked her off for the short drive. On the way Nicole got into a minor accident and, although she and Sophie were unharmed, an airbag had deployed, which was so terrifying to Sophie that she leapt from the car’s window and ran into the thickly wooded Ames Nowell State Park in Abington, Mass.
A Family’s Frantic Search
Nicole immediately phoned her mother to explain what happened, and Robin raced to the scene. They searched the woods for Sophie, calling repeatedly for the tiny white dog until sunset. They suspended their search once darkness came, and returned home with terrifying thoughts of Sophie spending the night alone in a park occupied by coyotes and foxes.
Robin wasted no time in mobilizing her neighbors and the broader community in the search for Sophie. She blanketed the area around the park—as well as nearby Brockton, Mass.—with fliers. She issued a Pet Amber Alert and called a friend at Granite State Dog Recovery in New Hampshire, who dispatched a volunteer to help with the search. Robin even placed ads in The Brockton Enterprise and The Patriot Ledger newspapers offering a reward for Sophie’s safe return. Concerned citizens called to offer help and support—but the efforts failed to recover their dog.
Sophie Arrives at the Shelter as a Stray
On the morning of Aug. 18—two days after Sophie went missing—MSPCA-Angell Adoption Center manager Alyssa Muro received word that a small white bichon had been left in the lobby by an anonymous good Samaritan. “Upon her arrival Sophie was outgoing and healthy, if a little dirty. It was clear she had come from a very good home,” said Muro after she had settled the dog into a cage in the Adoption Center. However, because Sophie wasn’t microchipped and had no collars, the staff could not identify her or determine if she had an owner. Sophie stayed at the Adoption Center for 10 days, and then she was made available for adoption.
Sophie is happy to be back at home after her ordeal (credit: MSPCA-Angell)
Robin, meanwhile, was continuing her search efforts when on Aug. 30 she received a call from a woman who saw one of her fliers and realized that the dog she had brought to the MSPCA was Sophie. Her call filled Robin with hope: “That call was a lifeline for me because it confirmed that Sophie was no longer outside, and that her need for shelter, food, water and socialization were being met. I was filled with gratitude to know that.” Wasting no time, Robin hurried to the MSPCA, only to find out that Sophie was adopted by a new family as soon as she was eligible for adoption.
A New Family’s Heart wrenching Decision
When Kaisa Snellman of Belmont, Mass. came to the MSPCA in August with her family, she was looking for the perfect pet for her six-year-old son Max, who loves dogs and had even saved his allowance to put toward the adoption of a rescue dog. When the family spotted Sophie it was love at first sight. Said Kaisa: “Max immediately fell in love with Sophie and it was clear she was very drawn to him as well—cozying up to him from inside her cage on the adoption center floor.” Realizing Sophie was the right fit for the family—and moved by her story of arriving anonymously at the shelter—the family adopted Sophie and brought her home.
Sophie quickly became a trusted companion for Max, insisting on sleeping on his bed at night. But after only having Sophie for three days, Kaisa received a call from Alyssa at the Adoption Center telling her that Sophie did indeed have a family, and that they had been searching endlessly for her since she had gone missing. “It was such a heartbreaking call to receive, for here was a dog who Max fell in love with, who he would read to every night before bed,” said Kaisa. Still she knew there was only one option. “As hard as it was to tell our son that we would have to bring Sophie back, we knew it was the right thing to do for Sophie and the Rowans.” The next morning Kaisa called the MSPCA to arrange for Sophie’s return.
Sophie’s Reunion with Her Family!
Both families were in the Adoption Center lobby for the reunion. Upon seeing Robin, Sophie ran full-speed toward her and her daughters, barking and yelping as her family embraced her. Kaisa and Max looked on, proud of the role they played in the story, albeit sad to have to part with their new pet. Said Alyssa after the exchange, “We will do all we can to find the perfect dog for Max—who was so brave in parting with Sophie and in showing us all the courage involved in ‘doing the right thing.’ We’ll never forget his [and his family’s] Kindness.”
The MSPCA-Angell’s three state-wide Adoption Centers take in and place thousands of animals into new homes each year. To view the agency’s database of adoptable animals, click here.
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org.