“All of the dogs are great with Sophie right now. Heidi is always kissing Sophie, almost to the point it makes Sophie mad.”
Two Great Pyrenees and two German shepherds are a lot of dog for one household, but that’s exactly how Larry Bouley likes it. His fur family now outnumbers the human residents of his Seabrook, Texas, home — and it’s clear they have formed a happy pack.
At the helm is 12-year-old Sophie, an elegant Great Pyrenees, and alpha of the group. The Bouleys adopted Sophie 10 years ago after she was found running around the neighborhood, lost and afraid.
It seemed like kismet for the family, who had been talking about adopting another dog just days before. So they rushed to the vet where Sophie was being examined.
“When we first met her we were in a room, and my wife and son were sitting on the floor petting her,” Larry Bouley told The Dodo. “Sophie stood over my wife whenever someone came in the room. Her protective nature came out even though we just met her. We were hooked.”
Sophie’s fluffy white coat was severely matted, hiding her underweight frame, and she tested heartworm-positive.
The Bouleys worked hard, and in a few months, Sophie wasn’t just healthy, but the new boss of the house.
“From then on Sophie was the alpha dog, even though we had German shepherds,” Bouley said. “She was always in charge, and would correct the other dogs if they got out of line.”
Two years later, another Great Pyrenees, Bentley, joined the family. Abused and neglected as a puppy, the gentle boy needed a protector, and Sophie gamely took on the role. “When they got him his collar was too small and the skin had grown over it,” Bouley explained. “Also he has a problem with his leg which resulted in a limp.”
Despite his difficult past, Bentley became a happy — if cautious — member of the pack. “He has grown into a great family member and never causes any issues. Whenever I feed him he always looks up and says thanks,” Bouley said. “He is so thankful to be part of our family and you can see his love for Sophie. He doesn’t interact with the shepherds [Heidi and Maximus] too much, as they always like to play rough.”
One more setback has changed the nature of the pack — Sophie developed a fast-growing tumor on her leg, putting her health and mobility in jeopardy.
On December 6, a successful surgery removed the growth, but the nature of the pack changed forever. As Sophie heals, the dogs can sense something is not normal, constantly checking to make sure she’s OK. And each one has their own unique way of showing concern.
“All of the dogs are great with Sophie right now. Heidi is always kissing Sophie, almost to the point it makes Sophie mad,” Bouley added. “Maximus is not the most loving dog. He will sniff her and sees she has issues and will give her an occasional kiss. Bentley, on the other hand, is so concerned with her, always sniffing with an occasional kiss. Bentley is truly the sweetest dog I have ever had. You can see from some of the [Instagram] posts he loves her.”
Maximus, who likes to play rough and throw his weight around, is now being kept in line by Heidi. Heidi lends an assist to Sophie when Max gets out of line, though it’s only a matter of time before the matriarch has to hand over her crown.
“Maximus is taking over the alpha position so there have been some squabbles, and she is hesitant to release it, but her health will not allow it,” Bouley notes.
Thankfully, tests revealed the tumor to be benign, giving Sophie the opportunity of plenty of licks and sniffs yet to come.