Rory Cellan-Jones's rescue dog Sophie from Romania becomes internet sensation
The story of a traumatised rescue dog adopted by British journalist and alumnus Rory Cellan-Jones (1977) and his wife, an economist and Cambridge University professor, has captured the hearts of the nation.
Rory has documented on Twitter how since her arrival before Christmas, rescue dog Sophie has been living almost constantly behind the sofa, despite the couple’s best efforts to tempt her out.
Their daily updates on Sophie’s progress have led Sophie to become an internet sensation with a legion of fans invested in her rehoming story to the extent that #SophieFromRomania and #MorningSophie have been trending on Twitter. They have also been met with a myriad of suggestions from followers on how best to help their timid animal.
Acting on expert advice, Rory and wife Diane Coyle, Bennet Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, have shown immense patience with Sophie and it appears their approach is paying off as Sophie is increasingly venturing out from her hiding place. She has accepted treats from their hands and has even allowed Diane to pet her.
The story which has been covered by numerous media outlets in recent weeks and has been named ‘the feel-good story of 2023’ by people delighted by Sophie's progress.
Rory told the BBC’s Today programme how they adopted one-year-old Sophie from a Romanian charity and had seen videos of her looking lively and in apparently good spirits. However, when she arrived at their home it was a different story.
The former BBC technology correspondent added: “When she arrived with us, she just was terrified. Maybe it was the journey across Europe. She had been three days in a van – a nice van, but a van all the same.
“We took her to garden briefly and she made it clear she was not going out for a walk. She dived under the table and ever since she has spent nearly all of her time behind our sofa.”
He said he had been overwhelmed by the public response to the story.
His former dog Cabbage, a Collie Cross who died last year, had similarly been a viral sensation as Rory used to document their daily walks.
“People said they found it comforting and I was prepared to do the same with Sophie, but no such luck. So, I began posting pictures telling the story and it seemed to strike a chord,” he added.