Editor's note: This story was revised Oct. 16 to correct the nature of Sophie the dog's health condition.
ELKHART — Two dogs that had been staying at a local kennel since their owner died in September have found a loving home with a family in the Dunlap area.
Della Rhodes and her family adopted the dogs, Maggie and Sophie, last week after seeing them at Concord K-9 Center on C.R. 17 and meeting with Patty Peterson and Vince Kelly, two long-time friends of the dogs' original owner. Their friend, Chrissy Fortino, died unexpectedly on Sept. 8, which left the two dogs without a home.
Peterson and Kelly talked to several people about adopting Maggie and Sophie, including a family in Kentucky, before ultimately choosing Rhodes, a customer at Concord K-9 Center where the two dogs were being boarded.
“We called her, and she was very excited,” Peterson said. “I think it's going to be a great fit.”
Rhodes said she has owned dogs for most of her life and was excited to welcome Maggie and Sophie to her home. Maggie is a 5-year-old husky-shepherd mix with white and gray fur, and Sophie is a 7-year-old golden retriever-labrador mix.
“I liked that they were already trained, and we didn't want to see them broken up,” Rhodes said. “We just felt like this was something we wanted to do, and it was a good deed.”
Rhodes had to take Sophie to a vet clinic just one day after she was adopted.
“We could tell she wasn't feeling well,” Rhodes said. “She wouldn't greet anyone at the door, her tail wasn't wagging and she didn't bark or run around with Maggie.”
A veterinarian at Goshen Animal Clinic removed 30 large urinary bladder stones from Sophie. Because the surgery was unexpected, Peterson and Kelly collected donations from friends to help pay for the medical expenses. The animal clinic is also accepting donations from the public on behalf of Rhodes and her family to help pay for the cost of Sophie's surgery. The clinic's phone number is 533-0535.
Rhodes said Sophie is feeling much better after the surgery, and both dogs have adjusted well to their new home. They especially love running around and playing fetch in the backyard, she said.
“We knew we wanted dogs when we moved here from Goshen anyway because of the fenced in yard, but we didn't know what kind we wanted or what we were going to do,” Rhodes said. “It was a good decision for us. They are both great dogs.”