On Friday, the 11th of January, 2019, I woke up. The room around me was cold, and the entire apartment felt as though it was clutched in Death’s icy palm. I then found out why. Today would be Sophie’s last.
When I was young, just an early teenager, we went to get her from the shelter. She was listed as a pit bull and the people at the shelter had named her Deidre. It was a fine name, but when we took her, we renamed her Sophie. And on that day, my mom promised her 16 years of good life. On the way out the door, the folks who ran the shelter told us that she may have a touch of kennel cough, and so when she started coughing a few days after we got home, we didn’t think anything of it. But it didn’t stop there. Sophie coughed for days and days until we got worried enough to take her to a pet hospital. Pneumonia was the diagnosis and though it cost an arm and a leg, we treated her and brought her home a week or so later.
After she had recovered from her illness, Sophie was revealed to be a high-strung, crazy, good, crazy good dog. For awhile, we couldn’t even let her roam around the house for fear she’d just eat anything she found on the ground. Those first few years were, for lack of a better word, crazy. She was soft and snuggly and perfect in every way. Sophie traveled with us through a move from a house to an apartment and, though she was scared at first, she relished the chance to live so close to the woods. There, it felt like she was really maturing into her true self. There, out by the woods, she calmed down a bit. Still high-strung, still every bit everything I said before, but there was a maturity there now. She had watched me go through high school, and grow and I think it helped in some way. Although, she got very protective, even going so far as to blow her voice out, barking at landscapers who got too close to the building (read: who entered her line of sight).
After a few years there, we were forced to move again, and she was forced to bid farewell to the woods. We thought farewell at the time. She’d never get to go back. We moved to a slightly more urban area and she greeted the new place, the new yard, with vim and vigor. But it was around then, that she started losing interest in her dog food. We didn’t think much of it at first, after all, we’d just moved and she’d been eating the same food for years and years now. It didn’t cause any worry for a couple months, but then we took her to the vet. There was something wrong with her liver. We saved up some money and took her in for further testing a month or so later. There was nothing we could do or could have done. Her liver was failing and it was just a matter of time. This news was heart-shattering, but not unexpected; at least not to me. So we did the best we could. Got her to eat when we could, got medicine for her and never stopped loving her. And then, on Friday, the 11th of January, 2019, I woke up and found out that this would be Sophie’s last day.
I ate a breakfast without taste, took antidepressants that won’t help, and waited for the vet to arrive. And while we waited, I held Sophie in my arms and told her over and over again how good she was and how much I loved her. And I thanked her, for every year, and every day she had with us. And then, when I couldn’t stay with her any longer, I went into my room, closed the door, and wrote this
Sophie was the best dog I’ve ever had. She didn’t always listen, or sit, and she didn’t like to be touched on her head, or picked up and held. She didn’t like to sit on people, and she always ate so much grass that she’d throw up. She was way too loud sometimes and got scared every time the smoke detector would beep or the power would go out. She’d climb into my arms and attempt to occupy the same space as my head. She was a little brown dog, greased lightning in a bottle and one of the best friends I’ve ever known. Sophie, we promised you 16 years. I hope you can make do with the 11 and a half best years any dog has ever had.