Pa. bloodhound fire dog, Sophy, dies at age 11

A member of the Greensburg Fire Department Bloodhound Team, Sophy was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease caused by a pituitary tumor


By Jessie Forand

GREENSBURG, Pa. — On May 17, Sophy, a member of the Greensburg Fire Department Bloodhound Team, responded to her last call.

The 11-year-old dog died July 5, TribLIVE reported.

K-9 Sophy, a member of the Greensburg Bloodhound Team in Pennsylvania, provides tracking services in 2015.
K-9 Sophy, a member of the Greensburg Bloodhound Team in Pennsylvania, provides tracking services in 2015. (Greensburg Bloodhound Team)

Sophy worked in the field – and lived at home – with her handler Elysia Battistella, of Hempfield, Pa.

Battistella’s father, Lou, a veteran handler and bloodhound team captain, said the dog was a wonderful companion, and protective of children.

“They want to please,” he said, and particularly when tracking, “they’ll give you a big kiss at the end of the trail.”

Sophy was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease caused by a pituitary tumor. This caused her to lose weight quickly as her health declined.

Working with a dog who is also a family member, “moves the heartfelt pain of loss up a couple of notches,” Lou Battistella said.

Sophy’s handler Elysia will continue to train and deploy with the bloodhound team. She’s currently working with Darcy, 6.

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