Today after much postponing, my sons and I put down my dog Sophie. She was over 17 years old and had had numerous times when she seemed on deaths door – only to perk up again and give us hope she would live forever…
I first met Sophie when my boys brought her home after a Bronco game, holding her and saying, “Look what we found… we could keep her if you want, or we can take her to a pound where they will kill her…” Animal lover that I am, she became a member of our family – for better and for worse. Worse was that she was completely untrained and wild. She was in heat and growled and snarled and had obviously been abused.
But despite her eating my kids favorite toys, chasing the neighbor kids around trees, and being a complete weirdo, she was family. When one day she decided that she would no longer leave our cul-de-sac, her phobias kicked into high gear. She would walk to the end of the street, sit down and go no further. So she was relegated to playing and chasing and adventures via the car.
Originally she came to us at barely 17 pounds – she looked like a cross between a red fox and a dachsund. I thought she was amazingly gorgeous! At some point she ballooned to 50 pounds and we jokingly referred to her as the ‘double wide 747’. Getting serious about her weight, the kids were forbidden from giving her treats and half their meals, although this was a challenge, and she was put on a strict diet. She recovered and maintained a respectable weight that as she aged we came to realize was all – fur.
Her bones protruding, her knees giving way, she would not let us trim her nails and they grew to ridiculous length. Her teeth hurt. Her bones hurt. Her back would arch in this horrible fashion. I tried doggy aspirin, and eventually it just didn’t work any more. Absolutely stubborn to the end, she would not touch the Tramadol that may have prolonged her life – but to what end. She was totally deaf and could no longer appreciate the piano I played for her.
We, my sons and I, tried to determine when. That awful, awful decision that is just awful. And we waited three years! She would recover – especially when the warm weather came in, and then winters were tough. But she began to fall spontaneously, and then she would quiver, and sometimes she would splay and whine for help to put her legs back beneath her. Fortunately, being home, I was always there to help. The nurse maid – but in a loving way, never a burden.
So many memories of her protecting me, warning me of danger, she was small, but she made up for it in character. I will miss her terribly. I made the kids throw away all her things in the house. But I know that every time I walk into the ‘mud-room’ from the garage, where she would lay in her bed, I will think she is still there…
A dog, such an amazing companion, so unconditional in their love, so always there – Sophie I will miss you terribly!!