Sunday, September 25, 2011

Farewell to my Beloved Sophie

Right before I was scheduled to leave for the Midwest Birding Symposium a week and a half ago, I had to have my beloved dog Sophie euthanized. Her health has been failing for many months, and she had stopped eating the previous week. I tried to tempt her with delicious canned dog food, but even that held no appeal for her. She had a difficult night on Tuesday (the 13th) and neither of us got much sleep and I knew on Wednesday morning that it was finally time to make that dreaded phone call to my vet. My trip was going to be 5 days and I didn't want Mr. Johnson to have to deal with that all by himself while I was gone. We have a wonderful vet and she had taken care of Sophie for her entire life, so I was thankful she was able to come out that very day. We were able to hold Sophie in our arms and comfort her as she passed peacefully.

Sophie was "my" dog from day one -- I picked her out and bought her and we were very attached to one another. I loved her with all my heart and miss her very desperately. We had almost 14 years with her and lots of memories -- good and some not so good -- as any pet owner would probably agree. In this post, I want to share some of my favorite memories of Sophie with you.

When Sophie arrived, Mr. Johnson wasn't happy! He didn't think we needed another dog, but I thought differently and brought her home without Mr. Johnson's approval. Sophie soon won him over with her cuteness!
Sophie loved Daisy from the start and wanted to be with her all the time.

Daisy, on the other hand, wasn't totally thrilled with her new and extremely pesty "little sister."

Penny was not quite a year old when Sophie came to live with us. Since Penny had only ever had Daisy as her "dog sister" she thought she was a dog anyway and Sophie and Penny were always great friends. Penny is also missing Sophie very much now.

Sophie loved sleeping on the bed -- no matter who she had to share it with!

Sophie also loved beer! Mr. Johnson trained her to drink from the bottle and she really excelled at that.

Sophie was an excellent retriever and loved playing with her frisbees -- no matter what the weather. Sophie was never trained as a hunting dog, but on one hunting trip when she got to go along with us and Daisy, she surprised all of us by finding and retrieving a pheasant!

In addition to people walking their dogs past our house and staying home by herself, Sophie had some other dislikes, including possums,
stray cats in the backyard (she got that from me!),

starlings (she got that from me too!),
and chipmunks.

Sophie always loved snoozing -- usually it was in a sunny spot in the living room.

But she would also burrow under the covers in bed if we forgot to make it in the morning.

Since she was always cold with her short fur, she would readily submit to wearing the sweater I knitted for her on cold winter days.

Because Sophie's health had been failing for a couple years, we tried to take her along with us whenever we went on our birding trips. She got to explore the Sax-Zim Bog in northern Minnesota.

And she came along to Crex Meadows in Wisconsin when we went to see Sandhill Cranes.

The weather was hot when we visited Blue Mounds State Park, so she just hung out in the shade with Mr. Johnson.

Sophie's special treat was a cheeseburger from McDonald's dollar menu. She even ate the pickle!

Earlier this year I found a cushy dog bed to put on the floor for Sophie since she wasn't able to jump up on the couch or bed anymore. She loved that bed so much I ended up buying her 2 more for other rooms in the house. I like to think they made her last days much more comfortable.

Sophie Belinda Johnson
10/23/97 - 9/14/11


Ruth said...

I am sorry you lost your faithful friend. Losing a pet is so heartbreaking. I hope you can find another dog when the time is right, not as a replacement, but as a new love.
(Sorry, I was working on my brother's blog when I first wrote the comment)

eileeninmd said...

I am so sorry for your loss of your dear Sophie. I know what you are going thru and it is hard. Even though we know it is for the best and humane thing to do, we just love them doggies so much. I am sure you have some wonderful memories of Sophie you will never forget.

barefoot gardener said...

So sorry for your loss. She's beautiful.

Penelope said...

Thanks for sharing these memories and photos of Sophie -- they made me smile. She had a good life, clearly. My sympathies on your loss.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I'm sorry, Ruthie. Sophie was such a good friend to you.

Taos Sunflower said...

Oh's just awful. I SO know how you are feeling right now. Thank you for sharing the story of Sophie's life with you and Mr. Johnson; she was obviously a very special girl. I love how she laid on her tummy with her hind legs stuck out behind her...and the photo of her with Penny is probably my favorite. PS Think of how fortunate Sophie was to have you all in her life!

KGMom said...

Oh, Ruthie--I know how you feel, missing Sophie.
What a sweetie she must have been--the photos tell that story well.
And Mr. Johnson looks like it didn't take long to fall for the "new" dog.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to Sophie. It is fun to look back on photos and remember the good times we've had with out pets, cats and dogs. Thanks Ruth.

MOM with tears running down my face.

Birdsong said...

Oh, Ruthie, I am so sorry. Our critters become such a huge part of our lives and it is so dreadful to lose them. Sophie sounds like one that will stay close in spirit to you. I am glad you have so many fond memories of her to cherish.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Ruth. I know you went through this with Dakota too. I'm already looking for another dog. It's just so quiet at home -- this is the first time in over 30 years that I haven't had a dog around the house. Really missing that!

Thanks Eileen. Yes, lots of wonderful memories.

Thanks Barefoot. In addition to being beautiful, Sophie was quite the diva!

Thank you Penny. Sophie didn't much like having her picture taken, so I had to sneak a lot of these photos.

Thanks Lynne. She was my best friend!

Thanks Martie for your kind words and thoughts. The photo with Penny is one of my favorites too! Sophie was a lucky dog and after Daisy passed a few years ago, Sophie really enjoyed being the spoiled "only dog."

Thanks Donna. Sophie looked like a sweetie in her photos, but she was really a lot like me: ornery, opinionated, and pretty bossy! Maybe that's why I loved her so much.....we were soulmates! ;-)

Thanks Mom. I'm glad you got the chance to spend some time with Sophie and Penny when we went to the state fair this year. (I went through lots of tissues writing this post too)

Thank you Birdsong. Dreadful indeed! but I'm glad to have all these photos and happy memories.

Meggie said...

Such a lovely tribute to your sweet girl. I'm sure your home is quiet and lonely. All of us pet lovers know the feeling. May your fond memories bring you comfort, Ruthie.

Gaelyn said...

Thank you for sharing Sophie's story. She was obviously a good girl for both of you. I know you are sad, I've felt it too. But I'm sure I saw her playing with Carson just over the rainbow bridge this past week while on Lake Powell. May the good memories make you smile forever. Hugs.

Teresa said...

Awww... so sorry. Having lost a beloved pet before, I understand the loss and the hole left in your daily life. Glad you have the good memories to cherish.

RuthieJ said...

Thank you Meggie.

Thank you Gaelyn. I saw your picture of the Rainbow Bridge and that was the first thing I thought of.

Thank you Teresa. I guess all of us who have pets in our lives have had the same experience.

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh, so sorry. Those of us who have lost our canine friends know exactly how you feel. Lovely tribute to your Sophie. I know you will treasure your memories and photographs.

Mama Pea said...

They never live long enough, do they? What a lovely tribute to your Sophie. I so enjoyed see all the photos of her from puppyhood on.

We lost our Zoey last March and I still "hear" her nails clicking on the floor now and then. Whenever I leave the house or come back in, for a second I look to see where she is to check if she wants in or out.

They add so much to our lives but you know you gave Sophie so much also. Did she have a good life or what?! Hugs to you. It gets easier as time passes and you can think and talk about the memories without crying.

Carolyn H said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Sophie. A dog, whose life is so short, must think we humans live forever. And we think they live far too short a time.

Robin Ripley said...

Oh Ruth, I know this was both a joy and a heartbreak to write. My heart goes out to you.

Chicken Mama said...

Dear Ruthie, I haven't been around much to read lately, but thank you for sharing this post of Sophie with us all. So sad, but such wonderful memories! That's the one dang thing with pets, though . . . outliving them. :( "Whatagoodgirl!" she was. Besides the cat, do you have any other four-leggeds at home right now?

Sending a big hug!

Chicken Mama said...

P.S. Never mind, I've read the comments now and see that you're already looking for a new four-legged. :) I, too, couldn't imagine no kitty nor dog around.

Anonymous said...

It's so strange to think that Kathy was only 11 and Jane was only 16 when you adopted Sophie. I remember her and Daisy and Shelby racing across your yard with the abandon that only dogs understand. I miss them all but know that they're causing all kinds of trouble together over the Rainbow Bridge.

stephen said...

My sincerest sympathies with the passing of Sofie.

RuthieJ said...

Thank you Stephen. I still miss her every day. After having Holly for a few weeks now, it's interesting to see that she has little bits of Sophie in some of her habits too.