Farewell, my Sweet Sophie

It has taken me all day to write this post, and it will be short. At least until I have a little time to let things settle.

Our family had to say goodbye to Sophie this week, and it has broken our hearts. I first noticed something amiss in August, very subtle, but not quite right. After an extensive workup, cancer was the likely culprit. I say ‘likely’ because other findings (low platelets and bleeding) made some diagnostic tests not possible at the time. I will be writing this all up from a more medical perspective on my about.com site soon, but I still need some time.

Sophie was one of many pets in this household, but in her sweet quiet way, she ruled the roost.

We adopted her from the shelter in 2002. She raised our two kids and countless other pets; showing them how to behave and at the same time, protecting them and teaching them the ways of the world. Some pets – like the Greyhounds Purl and Argos – needed more help than others.

Sophie had to teach the Greyhounds LOTS of things, like how to be “normal” dogs in a home environment, how fun walks are (Sophie’s all-time favorite activity), greeting people on walks, and playful things, like digging in the sand.

FarewellSweetSophie2_2380

Always more fun with a friend.

Sophie was also our alert dog. For everything and everybody. The Greyhounds got to where they just watched her, then looked off into the distance to see what she was looking at. Here Sophie spies an Oystercatcher on the beach.

FarewellSweetSophie3-2013-07-24-10

Check this out guys!

Sophie had to be the leader. All the time, everywhere we went. The first out the door, the first in the car, the leader on every walk and hike. This was mostly good, except when she ignored me… doing whatever she pleased, on her own timeframe. But I am probably just a poor dog trainer.

FarewellSweetSophie4_2702

Always in the lead. Luckily the Greyhounds like to follow.

Earlier this year, I posted this photo (reposted below). I didn’t realize until after I took it that a rainbow was right over Sophie’s head! She was a pot o’ gold, for sure.

Sophie is my pot of gold!

Sophie is my pot of gold!

The one thing I did NOT want – any suffering or lingering in a compromised state. We all want that of course, and I’ll be honest… it is hard to “know” that time, isn’t it? The lines are very blurry. And then those lines get blurrier, as the disease progresses. The new benchmarks are different than what we see in their previously healthy state.

But I knew. That light had left her eyes. She had other signs too, like not wanting to eat, and breathing that had become labored. Such a change from a few months ago, hiking for miles and miles in July. No one believed me when I said she was almost 12. Young and energetic, she lived a healthy life. And a very happy one.

It has been stormy and rainy here, fall ushered in by cold winds. But… on my sad drive home after saying goodbye, everything changed. The skies were on fire in that time photographers call “the golden hour.” I had to pull over several times, it was so beautiful.

Can you see the rainbow?

Do you see the rainbow?

And then lovely purples and pinks.

And then lovely purples and pinks.

The grand finale looking west. The ocean is over there...

The grand finale looking west. The ocean is over there. Way over there.

Thirty minutes later, it was all over. Back to gray. Coincidence? You can decide, but I like to think it was a final goodbye from a really great dog.

Farewell, Sweet Sophie.

We will miss you always.

We will miss you always.

42 Responses to Farewell, my Sweet Sophie

  1. Roxanne says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. All hail Sophie!

       2 likes

  2. barb says:

    If only all animals could be loved as much as she was and it would be a good world. But no words need to be added to this wonderful post.

       7 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Isn’t that the truth, Barb – the world would be a better place for sure. Pets ask for so little and give us more than I can even fathom at times. They help me be a better person, for sure.

         3 likes

  3. Annette Frey says:

    Oh no! I am so sorry! Sophie was even a great dog from my “virtual” perspective over here!!

    Run free Sophie……………..

    ….and may your family’s heart heal and be left with all the wonderful memories of such a wonderful teacher, friend and companion.

    Xxo

       2 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you, Annette. I know she is running happy and rolling in stinky stuff to her heart’s content. And, no bath is necessary. She was not a fan of baths.

         0 likes

  4. Jessica says:

    Oh, Janet. I am so very sorry for your loss. I love that you were able to find beauty in that momentous, horrible journey home. Huge huge hugs to you.

       2 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you, Jessica. I appreciate your words. My dh beat me home (separate cars) and even HE noticed how beautiful it was – he said “did you see all of those rainbows a few minutes ago?” which was extra cool, since he usually doesn’t notice these things. Thanks again.

         0 likes

  5. Tamara says:

    Oh dear… I’m so sorry to hear this news. My heart goes out to you and the family. Sophie was a beautiful dog with a beautiful spirit. That spirit shone even for those of us who only knew her online.

       2 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you, Tamara. And thank you for loving Sophie from afar. ;) She was a very shareable dog.

         0 likes

  6. Heather McManus says:

    I’m so sorry to read this about your sweet Sophie. She was well loved & that’s all any dog could ever want. If only all animals were as lucky.
    I also appreciated your comment on how the lines are so blurred when it comes to deciding on when it is time to put your pet to sleep. Hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. You described it perfectly.

       2 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you for your comments, Heather. The blurred lines and shifting benchmarks were really apparent for me this time… since Sophie had been so active and healthy a relatively short time ago. The “new normal” is a tricky thing. :-/ It helps to know others feel the same way.

         0 likes

  7. nadine says:

    I am crying after reading this and seeing the photo’s. So beautiful and moving…the rainbow said it all. Goodnight Sophie and godbless.xx

       2 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      The appearance of the rainbow made me smile and cry at the same time. But it was a good thing, a nice reassurance. Thank you for posting, Nadine.

         0 likes

  8. Laura says:

    I am so so sorry for your loss, she was and is a beautiful dog.
    When reading this there were tears in my eyes, i do believe that the sky was Sophie saying her final goodbyes.
    The last picture is stunning, sending love your way xxx

       2 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      As much as I love rain and gray skies (I do!), I loved and needed these fiery, rainbow-y skies more at this moment. Thanks for your comments, Laura – I appreciate them.

         0 likes

  9. Oh I am so sorry. Hugs and love to you and your family. Sophie sounds like the most wonderful dog.

       2 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Hi Shawn. I know you know the drill of pets loved and then navigating through their loss. Thank you.

         0 likes

  10. Nicola Brown says:

    Beautiful, simply beautiful. Heartfelt and warming, My heart goes out to you, your family and of course your gorgeous Greyhounds x

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you, Nicola. I have been a little apprehensive about going on a walk with “just” the Greyhounds, missing our fearless leader. But we will walk on. Well, Purl will bounce-prance on, but… ;)

         0 likes

  11. Kerry says:

    Janet–I’m so very sorry for your enormous loss. These animals have a direct connection to our hearts, which break when they are gone.

    So glad you have such beautiful photos to remember her by.

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Direct connection and our hearts — you got that right, Kerry! I am thankful for many photos (and by many, I mean MANY) and loads of happy memories, that will start to surface soon…

         0 likes

  12. Caroline says:

    Oh, Janet. The photo of Sophie at the “end” of the rainbow is one of my all time favorite pet photos. Sending you lots and lots of love.

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      That means a lot to me, Caroline, since you are my pet-photo-blogging role model (helloooo Romeo). Thank you and XO.

         0 likes

  13. Kallie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that she is gone. You and the other pets were so lucky to share your lives with such a sweet Sophie, Janet. Hugs to all of you, and rest in peace, Sophie!

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thanks, Kallie. Yeah, we were lucky to adopt Sophie, former street vagabond who was picked up by animal control and unclaimed. Good luck and good love all around.

         0 likes

  14. Nancy Kay says:

    Hi there Janet. My heartfelt very best wishes are with you during this difficult time. One would think that, as we get older, this part of sharing our lives with animals would grow easier. No such luck, so it seems. Take good care.

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      I did at one time (silly youth!) think that maybe…? Maybe… I would be wiser, this would be easier? No such luck is right. But of course, I am so grateful for all of the love and good lessons they teach us, even when they leave us. I appreciate your kind words, Nancy, thank you so much.

         0 likes

  15. Edie Jarolim says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful essay for a beautiful friend.

       1 likes

  16. Darleen says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. We had to put down our beagle, Guinevere, three years ago and your post brought up all those memories. I still miss her dearly, but can smile thinking of all the love she gave me. I wish the same for you. I like to think that there truly is a Rainbow Bridge and one day we will be reunited with our much loved pets.

    https://rainbowsbridge.com/poem.htm

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you for posting the poem, Darleen. Always some comfort to be found there. Who knows what sorts of fun and crazy adventures Sophie and Guinevere are having now? ;)

         0 likes

  17. Jana Rade says:

    So sorry about Sophie’s passing. She can play OTRB with Jasmine now. (((hugs)))

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thanks, Jana. I actually had to google OTRB *facepalm* Over The Rainbow Bridge – yes! Lots of playing, eating, and… for some, rolling-in-stinky-stuff OTRB! Good times for all.

         0 likes

  18. So sorry. {{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}

       1 likes

  19. Manny says:

    Sweet puppy! They are always puppies in your heart and Sophie will always be with you. You will feel her presence when you think of her. You are beautiful together.

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you, Manny. Sophie and Sweet are interchangeable words for her. One of our pet nicknames for her was actually “Sweetness,” which of course she responded too.

      Her other nickname was “Smartypants,” because she could figure out when I would leave, when it was walk time, if a deer was in the yard (in the pitch black of night), etc., first, before any of the other pets would.

         0 likes

  20. Linda says:

    God Bless you for taking such good care of Sophie! I hope she will help you find a new baby to care for soon as a tribute to her! Life must go on and we must not limit our ability to love and to be loved.

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Thank you, Linda. I met with a friend this morning who said something similar – that “life is for the living” and that is so true. Always honoring the grief and the loss, but also enjoying those walks…

         0 likes

  21. Melanie Morlan says:

    Dearest Janet, I am so sorry you lost your Sophie. What a sorrow to loose such a lovely dog and family member. I send you thoughts of love and strength. That headshot of her with the ocean in the background tells a story of her thoughtful soul.

    My Best

       1 likes

    • AboutVetMed says:

      Melanie – thank you. I so appreciate your friendship and kindness. I know you understand the unconditional love of a dog, the sadness of loss, and also how much they add to our life. XO

         0 likes