Sophie the Giraffe

A rubber teething toy by the name of Sophie the Giraffe blows the spots off all others

sophie the giraffe

This weekend Coraline and I went to Massachusetts to visit two dear friends and a brand new little human. It was a very exciting adventure indeed — while Kate and I took turns snuggling four-week-old Eli, Coraline got to snuggling a new friend of her very own: Sophie the Giraffe. Now, I’d heard about this Sophie character before. In fact, there was an entire thread on Mothering Dot Com dedicated to her. Where did you find her? How many do you buy at once? Do you share Sophie? The way she was spoken about, you’d think this toy was made out of solid gold.

Sophie is not made of gold. Or sugar. She does not require batteries. She is not brightly colored. She has no moving parts. She does not talk or sing, though she does squeak. In fact, neither Coraline nor I realized we were in the presence of Sophie until, well, we knew. She was perched in a basket beside a Pack ’n Play changing table, and at first glance I thought she was a misplaced dog toy (oops). It wasn’t until Coraline was offered this unassuming rubber giraffe and would not let it go — not even when baited with a cell phone — that I knew Sophie for what she is: The stuff of obsession.

Manufactured by French company Vulli, Sophie first found her way into the mouths of teething babes back in the ’60s. Made of soft natural rubber and food paint, Sophie has seen a resurgence in popularity amid the natural parenting community. She is easy to hold in tiny hands, is 100% non-toxic, and wields the same inexplicable power usually reserved for water glasses, paper, pets, or anything with buttons. When no toy seems to garner more than two minute’s attention at most, Sophie enjoyed a good 20 to 30 in Coraline’s very excited hands. Two dogs, an iPhone, a remote control... nothing could distract her from Sophie. Not even her beloved spotted giraffe. The spotted giraffe got dumped. For Sophie.

I have been trying to wrap my head around what makes this unremarkable little rubber giraffe so remarkable. So far, I’ve got nothing. “Blog worthy,” Kate called her. “Mmmmmmmmmmm,” said Coraline. All I can say is: Where can I get one?

You can find Sophie at,, or

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About This Blog

Shannon Gallagher

Shannon Gallagher
Rhinebeck, NY

Dutchess County native Shannon Gallagher is a contributing editor for Hudson Valley Magazine. An erstwhile thrill-seeker, these days she courts disaster of a different variety wrangling a spirited toddler, honing her vegan baking skills, and chasing the ever-elusive work-family balance. She teaches Pilates and does fascial bodywork, and lives in Rhinebeck with Coraline, a cat named Otie, and Sushi the Fish (named, of course, by the toddler).



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