Written by Becky Monroe
This week I am proud to share the story of Sofie also known as Sofie Bug. Her mom became a good friend of mine as we joined the fight in Wisconsin to stop puppy mill auctions.
Jodi adopted Sophie from what was thought to be a rescue at the time. She was a 6 year old Beagle Jodi found on Petfinder. Her name at the rescue was Princess, but she was far more like a Cinderella before she met the prince. The description on her Petfinder page was, “Mama needs a home.”
Jodi and her husband went to the rescue and were expecting to see this adorable, perhaps feisty dog ready to play and get into trouble. Instead, this frozen statue of a dog came out with her teets hanging to the grass.
As Jodi re-told the story to me she added, “I was so naive. I asked why her teets were like that. The rescuer told me that Princess had just given birth and all her puppies died in a puppy mill in La Farge, WI.”
Jodi went on to describe, “I replied with what I hear so often today, ’How can they get away with that?’”
The rescuer told Jodi what so many of us have come to learn that until the laws are changed, there will always be puppy mills.
Jodi scooped up Princess and brought her home and the next day started googling puppy mills. She found the No Wisconsin Puppy Mills group and immediately got involved all in Sofie’s honor. She attended Humane Lobby day and from that point on her life changed forever simply because she adopted a puppy mill survivor and knew things had to be better for all the other dogs still stuck in breeding cages.
Like most mill dogs, Sofie was afraid of normal life. Since she had never drank out of a regular dog bowl, only from a water bottle, drinking was scary for her. Jodi found that putting something like a silver spoon in the bowl helped bridge the gap for Sofie.
Sofie found solace under the pillows on the futon. Eventually, they adopted another Beagle named Summer from Midwest Beagle Rescue, who was not a mill dog and she helped teach Sofie all the things a normal dog should know and enjoy.
Sofie’s struggles gave Jodi strength she never had before. Because of everything Sofie went through, she gave Jodi purpose.
She has taught Jodi forgiveness, love and trust. She literally has changed Jodi’s and the life of countless others. Jodi believes that it is through Sofie she was driven to help other dogs.
Jodi explained that, if Sofie could teach humans one thing, she would want humans to look into the eyes of dogs, cats, all other animals and see themselves. “Don’t think of them as objects or a novelty. See them as another living, feeling, Being.”
It never ceases to amaze me what these broken souls can teach us. Sofie was no exception. Jodi believes that Sofie taught her to follow her passion. Sofie led Jodi to joining an animal advocacy group and she got to be a part of the group that helped pass legislation with a bill called Act 90 which led to increased regulation and inspection of breeders beyond USDA guidelines in Wisconsin in 2009. It also eliminated dog auctions in the state of Wisconsin and initiated the egulation of shelters and rescues.
Because of Sofie, Jodi found herself in the Governor’s office witnessing the signing of the bill which will forever be etched in Jodi’s memory.
As she said, “I never knew what my passion was until I met her — that little Beagle. I mean, I always loved dogs. I had dog wallpaper on my 5th grade bedroom wall, but to fight for animals and advocate and rescue them all because I met that one little beagle scared lifeless in the grass…. I’ve done that for her and will continue to until I am no longer able.”
After being rescued, Sofie went on to live a full life until the age of 18. She traveled to the Grand Canyon and everyone who met her, heard her story and was a better person because of her. Everyone she came in contact with quickly learned about puppy mills and left hearing the slogan, “Adopt don’t shop.”
Sofie grew up with Jodi’s grand babies — always being sweet and kind to them. She also went on to accept so many countless rescued mill dogs in their home and helped them on their journeys into normal life.
Jodi summed up Sofie by saying, “She’s an angel without wings and I believe she is still helping me as I continue to take retired breeding dogs out of the mill and place them with rescues. Because of Sofie, I am still meeting new people and groups like Bailing Out Benji dedicated to ending puppy mills and I am so very thankful to her for all of that.”
“Tails and Truths” is Bailing Out Benji’s new blog authored by Becky Monroe with the intention to cover the latest puppy mill news and puppy mill survivor stories.
If you are interested in having your mill survivor featured, you can email Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org
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