CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - One man was a customer, the other – an upholstery shop employee. Their random interaction that day would unravel a furry story nine years in the making.
Sid Watts adopted his dog, Sophie, nine years ago from the P.E.I Humane Society in Charlottetown. When he got her, all he was told regarding her background was that she was about two years old.
The Kilmuir resident recently stopped into an upholstery shop in Vernon Bridge to pick up some chairs he was getting reupholstered. Sophie had come along for the ride in the hatchback.
Kenneth Gallant, a worker at the shop, helped carry the chairs out to the back of the vehicle. Sophie jumped to the back of the hatchback to greet the two men. A look came over Gallant’s face and he had a moment of silence as he looked at Sophie.
“Did you happen to get her eight or nine years ago from the humane society?” asked Gallant.
Watts said he did.
“That was my dog,” Gallant said.
Attempts by The Guardian to contact Kenneth Gallant were unsuccessful, but he did express his emotions over the reunion in an emotional Facebook post.
He said his initial reaction to seeing Sophie was one of shock.
“My heart stopped for a second. This dog reminded me so much of my Sophie. And then he said her name, ‘Sophie.’”
Gallant posted it was a moment of relief and joy for him that was hard to contain.
“My heart was about to explode. After all this time, after all the wondering, the hurt, the regret, there she was.”
Watts said the love that Sophie had in her early life was evident from the start.
“When she came to us, from day one, she was the sweetest, gentlest, kindest girl you could ever ask for. So we always wondered what the story was behind someone who had to give her up,” said Watts.
Because of circumstances in his life at the time, Gallant had to give up Sophie, along with his other dog, Otis. His only choice was to take them in and hope they got good homes.
Gallant described the decision to give up his dogs in his Facebook post as the hardest decision he ever had to make in his life.
“The eyes swell and the throat constricts as I think of those two days — and those two precious faces the last time I saw them, just begging for my attention. It was the look they gave me every day when I left for work, but this time they didn't know that it would be the last,” wrote Gallant.
Both dogs were eventually adopted. Unfortunately, Kenneth was later informed that Otis was euthanized a couple years after his adoption.
“My heart broke. The sense of guilt that I felt was massive. I failed him, and to this day, still feel that way,” said Gallant.
Gallant adopted his current dogs, Tony and Dolly, from the P.E.I. Humane Society in 2011.
He plans to visit the Watts family in Kilmuir to see where Sophie grew up and says he’s grateful to the family for the love they have for Sophie.
“There are no words to aptly express how happy it makes me to know that she has lived a happy life. I cannot thank Sid and his family enough for taking in my girl and giving her the life she so deserved,” he wrote.