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Lost dog found in China Bowl

Scott N. Miller
Preston Utley/Vail DailySophie, an 11-year-old Shi-tzu, went missing from Tom Melton's vacation home in East Vail last month. She was found last weekend in China Bowl, and went home with Melton Monday afternoon.
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EAGLE COUNTY ” Sophie has had a rough month. But she’s home now, weaker and worse for wear, but alive.

Sophie is a dog, a Shih Tzu to be precise. She’s nearly 11 years old and nearly blind. Last month, Sophie’s human, Tom Melton, came to the valley to spend a few weeks at a place in East Vail. While he was out one afternoon, Sophie ” wearing her collar and identification tags ” wandered out the back door and into more than a month of the unknown.

“Over the next couple of days we looked everywhere,” Melton said. “We were here for three weeks and there was no trace. We’d given up.”

Late last week, nearly five weeks after Sophie had first gone missing, Melton got a call.

Sophie had been found, in Vail Mountain’s China Bowl, by a trail crew. She was alive, but barely. She weighed barely 10 pounds when she got to the animal shelter, about half her usual weight.

“They told me she was semi-comatose,” Melton said. “She was just lying there.”

Crew members took Sophie to the Eagle County Animal Shelter in Eagle. She then was quickly taken to Dr. Renee Rumrill at Castle Peak Veterinary Services, who cared for her for a couple of days.

“She was in very rough shape,” said Pat Hammon of Castle Peak. “She couldn’t stand, and I have no idea what she ate out there for 40 days. It’s not like these dogs are hunters.”

Rumrill took in Sophie over the weekend to care for her. The dog was bathed, groomed and fed while in the vet’s care, and, while still a long way from energetic, was much, much better when Melton came to get her.

“She was walking in the grass on her own,” Hammon said. “It’s pretty phenomenal, and it’s amazing that no coyotes or wild dogs got her out there.”

Melton was amazed, too, both to get Sophie back, and by the way people helped get her back to him.

“It’s cool to see people’s love for a little dog,” he said.

Even with three dogs in the family, it’s obvious Sophie is Melton’s special pup. She’s scraggly-looking now, but seems comfortable settled into the crook of Melton’s arm.

“She usually sleeps on my pillow,” he said. “It was a little overwhelming when I saw her at first. We thought she was gone.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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