Sophie’s Unconditional Love Lessons
This past Friday evening our family was filled with gratitude and grief as we laid to rest our much loved Sophie, the English Springer Spaniel pup who worked her way into our hearts and gave us boundless unconditional love during the past 12 ½ years.
Many of you knew Sophie. She spent many an hour with me, with Gina and Lisa, in our offices and with clients. She was an empath- although never trained as a therapy dog, she intuitively understood people and connected with them during some of their saddest and most vulnerable times. Never imposing herself, she readily sensed when people wanted to pet her and when they preferred she keep her distance. She had a way of putting people at ease and providing comfort.
Her instinctual abilities in this regard were most apparent to me after the death of my mother. I often woke early (or in the middle of the night) recounting memories and missing my mother. Sophie was always at the ready. She was a giver; she knew how to dish out love without asking for anything in return. That unspoken ability drew others toward her. It was one of those counter-intuitive truths realized in the number of people who came to bid her farewell.
As Sophie aged and became blind and deaf, and her legs became weak and unable to support her body, she allowed us to carry her in and out of the house to do her business (although she seemed to hate that indignity), and up and down the stairs to be with her peeps. As time passed and we needed to acknowledge the hard reality of her never really walking, running or frolicking again, it seemed the loving thing to let her go before she suffered more and enjoyed life less. She made so many friends on this earth, and I was so moved by the people -our friends and those of our now adult children- who sent kind words, and many who tearfully came to wish Sophie a safe and happy passage.
After Sophie Skyped with our older daughter in Denver, my son read her, and all of us all a passage from The Master And Margarita, which expresses the love between Pontius Pilate and his dog Banga. Our youngest then gave her one last Frosty Treat, and my husband then wrapped her in a blanket and together we traveled to our kind and compassionate veterinarian. Despite the many times she’d grumbled at needing to go to the vet for a shot, this time Sophie did not resist. She seemed comfortable and supported in our embrace as she peacefully left this world.
It’s an odd thing, but I still feel her presence. I keep expecting to see her pop up to greet me, cock her head and offer a sweet kiss. Difficult as it is to adjust to her loss, she has left us with a legacy of love, and the understanding that sometimes saying nothing is more than enough.