Sophie & Tia Made for each other
You know her as a Bollywood fashionista, versatile VJ, sensational singer, and TV presenter. But what you might not know is that Sophie is a big animal lover. Find out more about her nostalgic memories of all her old pets and her current companion – Tia.
Have you had pets throughout your childhood? Who was your first pet?
Growing up in London in a big house with an expansive garden made it so much easier to have dogs. We even had a park right behind the house. We first had a King Charles Spaniel, then a Doberman and then a Bichon Frise!
Over the years how many pets have you had?
Four dogs, but in the extended family we have had countless pets, from tortoise to wolves. It’s pretty crazy. Part of my family is in America and at one point my cousin had about 16 pets because one of her dogs had puppies and she was fostering a few more.
Has there been a favourite or all have been special?
They are all like your children, and you can’t pick favourites! My Doberman was pedigree and her parents’ champions at crufts. She was absolutely stunning. I remember my Bichon – Benji was really naughty but super smart and loving. Putting him down was the toughest thing ever. My current, Tia, a Shih Tzu is the smartest and most loving dog I have ever met.
Any special incident you remember with your pets?
When my cousin saw my bichon, she wanted one too so we went and picked up a puppy. That night I, my best friend, and my cousin wanted to sleep in mum’s room because of the puppy and Benji.
Suddenly in the middle of the night Benji started barking like crazy and was trying to wake us up. Our bed was on fire. The electric blanket had caught fire which burnt through the mattress, and there was smoke throughout the room. Benji with the little pup woke us and saved our lives. It’s something I can never forget.
Any special antics of your pets that you cherish?
The minute the front door used to open Benji used to race out and go for a run around the neighbourhood. It was a nightmare because we would be chasing after him. The road was quite aloof, so many times even the neighbours used to chase after him. But this one time, the police called and when my mum went to pick him up, he was behind bars! We still laugh about that!
How do you spend time with your pet?
Tia came into my life by chance. My neighbours bought her and then realised they couldn’t keep her. I never wanted a dog in India because I travel so much and don’t trust the staff but I fell in love with Tia the minute I saw her and once she set foot into my house I couldn’t let her go! She has filled our life with so much joy and happiness! She is the baby of the house. We play, go for walks, she loves car drives. She is super social and loves to be with us and we love to keep her with us as much as possible.
What do you love most about your Tia?
She is so loving and friendly but above all she is so smart. She understands everything. Within one month mum and I had fully potty trained her and since the age of three months she has never done anything inside the house. She doesn’t even destroy anything or bite anything. But the best thing about her is the welcome we get every time we’re back home. And I don’t mean back home after a trip, whether it’s back from the gym or work, the welcome is so heart warming.
What do you think Tia loves most about you?
She knows how much I love her, and how much time and attention we all give her. That’s the most important thing – she knows she is loved immensely. Everyone including our vet says Tia is so lucky she came to us. I feel we are lucky she came to us. Earlier when we travelled, it was all about my shopping, but now it’s about her treats and toys. And she is so smart, as soon as we come back home from a trip she jumps on the suitcase waiting for us to share her presents.
Do you take your pets when you go on a vacation? Would you like to share one such memorable experience with us?
It’s something I’m dying to do and I just heard England had stopped quarantine. I want her to be able to run around a beautiful park, walk on clean streets so I hope that happens soon.
Do you look after your pet’s exercise and nutrition needs?
A lot of people in India leave all the duties to their staff. Mum and I have never done that. We trained her ourselves. When I’m in Mumbai at least once a day I take her for a walk and I play with her every day.
As for nutrition, she is a nightmare. The only dog I know who isn’t interested in food at all. Chicken, lamb, mutton, fish she likes nothing of these. Feeding her is a huge mission. She hates dry biscuits too so we cook for her three times a day some chicken drumsticks and veggies. She pretty much only eats the bone marrow and tiny pieces of chicken and that too hand feeding. It’s a terrible habit but if we don’t do it, she will not eat anything all day which causes acidity and vomiting. And moreover how can you see your baby hungry!
Tia’s favourite dishes?
She absolutely loves paneer and asparagus. Crazy I know but that’s her favourite.
What’s a special treat for Tia?
Vanilla ice cream! More often than not it’s on days when she has acidity or nausea but sometimes as a treat too!
Any tip you would like to share on – responsible pet parenting, grooming, feeding.
Having a dog is a full time job and full on relationship. It’s not just to play for 20 minutes and then hand them to someone else. Our whole lives have changed. We still travel for my live shows but before Tia we could easily extend our trip, but now that’s become rare.Only get a dog if you are willing to invest time and love. Grooming is super important. We brush Tia twice a day and brush her teeth a few times a week. Grooming session happens every two weeks but I bathe her myself every week. I prefer someone coming home to groom her as there are fewer chances of fungal infection and ticks. And as pet parent, one has to be super aware. They can’t speak so you have to be tuned to your dog in case they have a sore throat, aren’t well, for their vaccinations. That’s something I don’t rely on the staff for.
Favourite activity together: Playing fetch with her toys!!! Every time I travel I pick up a new one so she has lots to choose from!
Annoying habits: Nothing annoying! I just wish her eating habits would improve but she is getting better now. Slowly but surely!
Qualities you love: The fact that no matter what time I come home, even late at night, with her sleepy eyes she will welcome me at the door. I always carry her back to bed and she snuggles up to me. Seeing her all cosy last thing at night and first thing in the morning is the cutest sight.
Funny/crazy antics: She has a little overbite so she has the cutest teeth and the cutest smile in the world!!! Throughout the day she is more my baby. Come evening she knows she can get some treats out of mum so she is stuck to her! And if god forbid mum sits down at the computer to try and do some work, that’s it – Tia starts barking and pulling mum away. It’s too cute! My little Tia is the cutest, prettiest munchkin ever and I’m so thankful to have found her!