Dee Hoty has had a lot of experience acting—over 40 years, in fact—but, up until 2009, she had no experience with owning a dog. She didn’t know just how much her life would change when she met her beloved Sophie.
Hoty first met Sophie at an event called Broadway Barks, a pet adoption event that is held annually at Shubert Alley in New York City.
Keen to adopt a dog, she had called one of the organizers to see how the adoption process worked.
The phone call led to Hoty joining the event not just as a member of the public but as a presenter as well, introducing adoptable dogs onstage to the public alongside other Broadway stars.
That year’s event had more adoptable dogs than usual because Hurricane Katrina had separated so many pets from their homes. However, most small dogs had long waiting lists, making it tough for Hoty to find the pomeranian she had her heart set on.
“We went and looked around at different dogs, and didn’t really find anything,” Hoty told Humanity.
Hoty was about to give up hope when her then-boyfriend told her to check out a pomeranian he had spotted at the Sean Casey Animal Rescue booth. They ran over and saw a woman with a three-legged, six-month-old pup in her arms.
This was Sophie, although she was called Linda at the time. She had been found in a backyard in Brooklyn and had stitches running down her leg. Hoty cradled her and gently blew on the little dog’s head to get her attention; Sophie turned and looked at her with love in her eyes and a smile on her face.
Later that day, Hoty got on stage to present an animal for adoption, but she had no idea which dog she would get. As luck would have it, she got Sophie.
“It was definitely fate,” Hoty said.
Hoty’s mind was made up: she was going to adopt her. Soon, Hoty and her friend were meeting up at a pet store to grab supplies for her new pooch.
New Furry Friend
Since bringing this dog into her life, it has opened up a whole new world of social interaction for Hoty. Fellow dog-owners in Hoty’s neighborhood have welcomed her into their tribe and she’s made many friendships through walks.
Some are casual “sidewalk friends,” while others have become good friends, with them spending time at each other’s houses.
Everyone, including Hoty, is charmed by Sophie’s cuteness and smile. “She’s adorable,” said Hoty. “People on the street, I can just see them kind of melt when they see her because she is so adorable.”
“I don’t have a friend who doesn’t love Sophie. I’m not sure they could be my friend [if they didn’t],” she joked.
Sophie hasn’t only strengthened Hoty’s bond with her neighbors but with her theater friends and colleagues as well.
“When they know she’s in my dressing room, people have to come by,” said Hoty, who is about to star in “Fern Hill” at the New Jersey Repertory Theatre. “They have to see her because she’s so cute and makes them happy.”
While Sophie and Hoty have a great relationship now, there were some growing pains early on.
For instance, it took a little while for Sophie to get used to Hoty’s apartment set up. She was used to only having to go through one door to make it to the backyard, so she’d keep peeing in the hallway.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find a solution.
“Pick her up!” Hoty recalled her then-boyfriend telling her. “She won’t pee on you unless she’s really damaged in the brain.”
The advice worked and now, every morning when Hoty has to take her out, she carries her little dog down the elevator and sets her down when they get outside.
Despite only have three legs, Sophie hasn’t had too many physical challenges throughout her life, aside from one minor issue.
When pomeranians and other small dogs want something, they’ll often stand up on their hind legs to beg. Since Sophie only has one hind leg, she has a tough time balancing when she does this and can end up collapsing.
Hoty doesn’t want her putting pressure on that back leg, so she makes sure not to tease Sophie with a toy or a treat to minimize her standing time.
Other issues have less to do with Sophie’s limbs and more to do with her age. In recent years, Hoty has noticed her stretch out before deciding to make big jumps.
“I see her go ‘Can I do it? I don’t know’ and I say ‘Do you want up?’ and I lift her up,” said Hoty, who wants to make sure that Sophie can stay strong for as long as possible.
After all, Sophie is her best friend and the most constant thing in her life over the past nine years.
“Boyfriends come and go but your dog is always there,” she said with a chuckle.
Hoty loves Sophie tremendously. That’s why she urges people to adopt a rescue animal so that they can experience that kind of love as well.
“It’s life-changing in the best way,” she said. “I cannot tell you how much joy this little dog has brought me and I didn’t think I could ever love anything or anybody as much as I love her.”
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