Rising to the rescue: student gives hound a new home


Photo provided by Sofia Osborn

Sophomore Sofia Osborn’s first and most meaningful dog, Belle, passed away a few years ago, but remains close to Osborn as she grew up with her until Osborn was 13.

Salma Abuzaher, Reporter

Burgers were grilling. The glowing campfire was the only source of light in the pitch black sky. As her family prepared dinner, she took a walk with her father in the dark woods. 

A glint of light appeared before them, and assuming it was just a deer, they trekked on. As they approached closer and closer, they realized it was in fact a small puppy, with the biggest and saddest eyes they had ever seen.

Sophomore Sofia Osborn was camping with her mom and dad in September 2007 at the Artesian Springs Resort in Newton, Texas. They wanted to make memories on her first camping trip, but they had not planned to adopt a new member of the family. 

“We were shocked, and ended up luring her to the campfire with a burger that we had cooked,” Sofia said. 

The brown hound mix with a white soft chest was glued to the family throughout the rest of the trip, and even hopped into their car in the end. However, Osborn’s mom was not on the same page as the rest of the family.

“My mom didn’t think we should take her, but my dad insisted, so we did,” Sofia said. “They told me she stunk and was losing hair and all, but we put her in a box and took her home anyway.”

Although the family wasn’t certain about keeping a lost puppy found in the woods, it turned out to be a life-changing relationship for Sofia. She named her Belle, and the two became inseparable.

“After being fed better food, she began to grow a thicker coat and gain some weight, and became my best friend for almost 14 years,” Sofia said. 

Little did Sofia know that this camping trip would begin a series of rescuing lost and mistreated animals.

A few years later, in 2013, a car drove by her mother’s veterinary clinic and threw a puppy onto the lawn. Luckily, the receptionist witnessed the incident and rushed out to help the puppy before it suffered any more injuries.

“The dog was so matted they couldn’t tell what breed it was, but after several baths and haircuts, the dog turned out to be the cutest little puppy, and we adopted him soon after,” Sofia said. 

The Osborns fell in love with the little, light grey Schnauzer-terrier mix with a white beard and short, stubby tail. They named him Tad. Despite being a troublemaker, he loved the family and played with them for endless hours. 

“He was very relaxed with us, letting us do whatever we wanted with him, whether it be picking him up like a baby or rolling him around in a stroller,” Osborn said. 

Because her mother works at the Southwest Veterinary Dermatology pet clinic, Osborn frequently comes across mistreated dogs similar to Belle and Tad. That’s where Sofia realized her passion for caring and rescuing stray dogs. 

“Rescuing pets is very important to me because of the insane amount of homeless and mistreated animals,” Sofia said. “All of the pets in shelters will love someone just as much as a thousand-dollar pedigree breed will, and maybe even more.”

According to the American Humane Organization, only about 25 percent of dogs who enter animal shelters get adopted. 

Sofia plans to expand her eagerness towards this cause, and rescue more pets in the future. 

“I would want to have as many pets as possible in the future, to try to make as many animals happy and comfortable as I can,” Sofia said. 

Since she was young, Sofia would often accompany her mother on the weekends to the pet clinic and pick up on a few habits. She still helps out at the veterinary clinic every summer break, and on weekends if she has time.

“I help out with marketing, taking care of the animals between surgery, and feeding and walking dogs,” Sofia said. 

Sofia continues to develop a strong affection and understanding toward mistreated animals she cares for at the clinic, and it’s her way of showing her passion for the cause. 

“Caring for the animals at the clinic does make me feel good because it really shows others how much people care about animals, and hopefully it inspires them to do it too,” Sofia said. 

Sofia said she enjoys helping her mother, Sarah Osborn, at the clinic. 

“I’m also grateful to have the opportunity to help out and care for animals in any way that I can,” Sofia said.

Sarah hopes to increase the number of adopted shelter dogs and the care of mistreated animals.

“Each pet life is important and there are so many pets that need homes, that I would rather rescue a pet in need of a home than breed more dogs,” Sarah said. 

Currently, the Osborns own two dogs: Mia, a Shetland sheepdog with black fur and a white chest, and Cali, a mix with pure black fur. Both were rescued and taken in by Sofia in 2018. Although she loves them both dearly, her first rescue dog, Belle, holds a special place in her heart.

“I can’t choose a favorite pet, but my first dog Belle will probably always mean the most to me. She grew up with me, and was my best friend from the time I was two years old until I turned 13,” Sofia said. “She was an amazing dog, and I miss her a ton.”

Sofia urges people to adopt, rather than shop, when looking for a pet. 

“I’d encourage everyone to adopt before paying lots of money to breed another animal,” Sofia said. 

Anytime Sofia comes across anyone interested in owning a pet, she actively reminds them of the hardships many shelter dogs face, such as abuse, and how saving one could truly save a dog’s life.

“Most of the time, when people tell others to adopt, it’s under sad circumstances and to prevent sad things from happening,” Sofia said. “Helping out at the clinic just shows how happy the animals are when they are finally taken care of, and it’s good motivation.”

Sofia actively supports her passion by helping her mother at the veterinary clinic. Together, they support animal rights organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and informing others on the importance of adoption.

“There are too many unfortunate animals even in Houston that desperately need homes, so I hope that people go to shelters before buying from a breeder,” Sofia said.