The Loss of a Dog

Our 4th of July was a little different this year. Like many families, ours is scattered in different corners, and except for the main Holidays, it’s getting more and more difficult for all of us to get together. I had contacted the kids a few weeks back and told them our family dog of 16 years was in failing health. I asked them to reflect on all the great hikes, long walks, and adventures with “Sophie” and to keep her in their prayers.

I was surprised and happy to hear that all five of my kids were coming in for the 4th. They arrived safely on July 3rd, when Sophie started having seizures. She had labored breathing and looked scared. My oldest son and his wife, comforted Sophie, massaged her tummy, and calmed her down, reassuring her, that she was loved. Then he laid Sophie in her in her bed, (her favorite destination) and said their goodbyes, honoring the dog of their youth, the dog they grew up with as young men and women. Though it was a very sad event for all of us, it also showed me once again, how a child’s perspective truly is, a magical thing.

The day after Sophie died… I was tucking my grandson, (Matthew 3) and grandaughter (Azumi, 4), in bed, and they asked where Sophie was. I said, “up in heaven.” They asked me if she was hurting, “No,” I said, “not anymore, now she is running and playing and feeling healthy and strong.” Azumi told me, “Grandma, I was crying into my pillow that night for Sophie.” “Awwww” I said, “she’s okay now,” …”but Sophie was making sad barking noises, and I was sad for her. “Yes,” I replied, “I was too”, and we both hugged. Then she said, “I wanted someone to hug me when I was crying in bed, so I crawled into Matthews bed, but he didn’t wake up to hug me.” “Oh I see, well everyone needs a hug when they feel sad.” “Why Grandma?” “Because hugs make us feel better.” My grandson Matt said, “Gran-gran,” Sophie died. “Yes”, “he did.” “I love Sophie,” he said, “me too” I replied. Our oldest grand-daughter who is almost 5, called me and said, I should get a new puppy and name her Sophie, “that will make you really happy, Grandma.” Oh how I love the view of the world from a child, even in those precious moments.

After tucking them in, I was heading out the door when Azumi said, “I think Sophie will be a star in the sky, and we can blow her a kiss.” “That’s a great idea, so let’s blow her a kiss now.” We all blew her a kiss, waved to the sky and said “we love you Sophie.”

I miss our dog with all my heart, and truly believe that in her “animal sense,” she hung on until this July 4th, so every sibling could fly, drive, or bus it to our house. What a great tribute to our Sophie… the love of family and the priceless, wisdom of a child.

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