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28 March 2006 @ 02:55 pm
A Love Letter to Sophie  
Sophie in Dress
My sweet girl Sophie in her pretty dress from The Dogcoat Lady.

We brought Sophie home on January 5, 1996. Roger’s mother, Judy, and I had gone down to Sunnyvale to visit a dog rescue run by a woman named Nancy. Nancy had warned me about Sophie, had tried to discourage me, but we really wanted a Boston Terrier and Nancy was on the way to a breeder we planned to visit.

She was such a pretty and regal little girl, still a puppy in energy and spunk. She ran so fast and jumped so high; she never seemed to slow down. Finally, Nancy brought her to us. Judy had a tremendous gift with animals, they seemed to understand her, but Sophie came to me. Twice she clearly picked me. I knew she was mine. She rode the two-hour trip home in my arms.

She wasn’t an easy dog. She was headstrong, willful, and an escape artist. The first couple of years we barely saw her. She would stay just out of reach at the tip of your fingers. Except when she saw an open door. A flash and she was off racing down the middle of the road. We spent a lot of hours driving slowly and calling her name. Often, she would just jump into an open car door like she appreciated a ride home from her adventure. Panting and grinning, she always looked so happy and smug.

The running wasn’t adventure though, not really. Sophie was afraid of love, of belonging. She could always find something more interesting on the other side of a piece of glass. She was full of fear. We never hit her, yet she still flinched every time a hand was raised too quickly. There was always a shadow behind her eyes like she could never completely relax.

She was a fierce girl that was never afraid of a fight. She chased off three juvenile raccoons from our backyard pond one night. On another night, she attacked a skunk mother and baby. By the time we got to her she was rolling over and over with the baby. Roger had to reach down and grab her hoping he grabbed the right black and white creature and pry her teeth off the skunk. I sat with her in the bathtub washing her with tomato puree. Definitely not the trophy she expected.

Over the years she mellowed. She learned to snuggle, usually at our feet. She liked me to kiss her belly. She found contentment in a cushion in the sun and barking at phantom creatures invading her yard. Each time she would be sick or injured she would let us do a little more for her. She even learned to sit on our laps.

In the past few months she had started having seizures. A proud dog with an athletic body, she began to lose her physical strength and become a mere mortal. The seizures took so much from her, but she fought back. On Saturday, we came home to find her having a mild seizure that wouldn’t stop. We took her to the vet where she stayed overnight. We don’t know what it was, a brain tumor, a stroke, or some other ailment.

On Sunday, the vet released her to come home with us. We spent all day holding her while she slept. Occasionally she would want to get up and pace in a circle. On Monday I stayed home and held her in my arms all day long. Her head resting against my heart. I fed her baby food through a food syringe. We snuggled, slept, and ate in the rocking chair.

Last night we took her to bed. I held her in my arms and we slept, fitfully. This morning, she got up with Roger, she ate and drank from a bowl and he brought her back to bed. She snuggled up next to me and we fell asleep. When I awoke, she was gone. She died peacefully and quietly in my arms.

I will miss her sitting on the concrete steps blinking in the sun. I will miss her insisting on tummy kisses. I will miss her coming in from the back yard smelling like rosemary and sunshine. I will miss her prancing little feet. I will miss her defiant yodel. I will miss her soft fur. I will miss her curled up between my knees at night. I will miss her greeting me at the door when I come home. I will miss her terribly.

I am so grateful for the journey we took together. In ten years she taught me so much. She is my first dog and a great love of my life. She came into my life in my arms and she left my life in my arms.

Thank you Sophie. You take a piece of my heart with you, but I have so much more to give now because of you. Run free sweet girl. I love you. I’ll love you forever.
 
 
Meghan: Squeeky Cutesinsenchantedbedlam on March 28th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful, touching, amazing tribute you've written. As I sit here with tears on my cheeks, I know that you loved your dog just like I love mine. I hope that you rest easy knowing that she's waiting for you to cross that bridge to her.

You loved her despite her fear of loving back, but I'm sure in her stubborn Boston Terrier way, she loved you more than anything in the universe.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your love for her inspires me in so many ways. Please don't ever let got of your tenacity, or your memories of one little ragtag beauty.
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:03 am (UTC)
Thank you for your comforting words.
Jamiejamie_marie on March 28th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
Your eulogy was so touching... I loved hearing about the life of Sophie. I'm glad she spent her last moments in your arms. ♥
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:03 am (UTC)
Thank you.
ashley jackson-pierceshesbeenelected on March 28th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, how this broke my heart. Your Sophie was so much like my Lunchbox. I feel like I've lost her all over again reading through this. I take some comfort in knowing that they are probably running around somewhere together, chasing skunks and lizards and barking at everything along the way. This was a beautifully written tribute -- you are so lucky to have had her close in her last days, and that she went peacefully. Our Pugsley was so miserable and paced and paced in his last hours -- it comforts me to know that Sophie wasn't hurting and that she was with you guys all the way to the end. What a gorgeous baby. I'm so sorry for you loss and will be thinking of you both today.

Love,

--A
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:05 am (UTC)
Thank you, I will think of her as running and playing. It is a nice thought.
classikgrl73 on March 28th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful eulogy, I am so so sorry for your loss
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:05 am (UTC)
Thank you.
Sheri: 15-Grief by la femme_iconsbooksaremyhabit on March 28th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
that made me cry, you must be so strong to be able to write that
she sounds wonderful and what a nice way for her to go
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:07 am (UTC)
It isn't strength; it is what I had to do. Thank you for your kindness.
(Deleted comment)
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:08 am (UTC)
Thank you.
stageiistageii on March 29th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC)
What a lovely photo of Sophie - she is a beauty.

My heart goes out to you - I'm so sorry for your loss.

miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:08 am (UTC)
Thank you. She was such a princess, that picture was taken just a week ago.
(Deleted comment)
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:09 am (UTC)
Thank you.
Rachel Leighskippy3571 on March 29th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)
i am so, so sorry for your loss. this eulogy was absolutely beautiful. she sounded like such a sweet girl. she is much better where she is now. we will miss you sophie.
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:09 am (UTC)
Thank you.
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 29th, 2006 08:12 am (UTC)
Thank you for all the kind words. They mean so much to me.

This morning I was so certain about what I wanted to say. Tonight I am at a loss.

Just thank you.
Rory and Charleyseethewizard on March 29th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
Much sympathy and love on the loss of your beautiful Sophie. I'm sure this is what she is saying to you right now:

I STOOD BY YOUR BED

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached out to me.

I was with you at the shops today, your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, you tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "It's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be so near you every day.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew...
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is almost over... I smile and watch you yawning
And say, "Goodnight, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out... then come home to be with me.

-Author Unknown
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 31st, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
Very touching and comforting poem, thank you.
hergurl on March 29th, 2006 03:28 pm (UTC)
She looks so cute in that picture.

It is almost like she knew she was loved...

I know you will miss her and know that my thoughts are with you as you grieve.

Jackson sends lots of Boston kisses your way...
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 31st, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you, can't have too many Boston kisses.
I'm just a girlcute_bunny on March 29th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
What a pretty little lady, and what beautiful words for her. I'm so sorry for your loss.
miss_maia_dmiss_maia_d on March 31st, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Defying Gravity: Tuffystarlit12 on April 8th, 2006 04:11 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry. She was a beautiful girl and it is so evident you loved her dearly.