Saying Farewell to Sophie, 7/11/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #228)

As I began to write this essay on a Monday two weeks ago, I did so with mixed emotions.  Ever since our seven year old doggie Sophie had her initial symptoms, surgery and rare bone cancer of her upper jaw diagnosis over two months ago on May 2nd, we knew that she was living on borrowed time.  But what we didn’t realize then was that we were also living on borrowed, time—because when your home and/or life has someone with a terminal illness in it, your reality changes.  Their illness becomes your “new normal” as you care for them, be with them, and grieve with them for their inevitable passing.

This “new normal” happened when my late father was ill with strokes for two years before his death 11 years ago and my mother’s cancer for two years before her death 31 years ago.  You cling to every scrap of a moment that you are with your loved one.  Since my father could no longer speak, I read the newspaper and Reader’s Digest to him and we would collapse into giggles over their jokes.  For Mom, as long as she had her telephone handy, she was still able to be “in control” and help us in our lives—such as lining up a rental car for me my last week of student teaching out of town because my car broke down.  She couldn’t walk—not even to the bathroom at that point, we carried her—but she could dial.

And with Sophie, we have cherished these last two months that we have had with her, adapting where she needed it to insure her comfort.  So from her perspective, there was a little bit of a plus side with all of the pampering we gave her—we hope.  Sophie couldn’t jump up on the bed to claim her spot  to sleep at the foot of our bed as she used to—so we put graduated steps for her to get up there.  And Sophie very much liked the soft dog food she had been eating for two months so that she wouldn’t break her jaw from the bone cancer.  And the sliced ham treats to entice her inside when she barked at the UPS truck visiting the neighbors were definitely a step up from generic hard dog biscuit treats.  Who knew that dogs liked pork?   She was a real doggie gourmand.  And no need to worry any more about her girlish figure.

And Sophie had a few good days in the beginning of her diagnosis when we could toss the ball with her—though she always set the ball down ten feet away from me.  So maybe she was playing ball with me.  Ha!  Now if only our other and younger 4 year old doggie Max had remembered his place and deferred to Sophie even more, Sophie felt that would have been ideal.  Still, Sophie never missed an opportunity to put Max in his place by assuming the dominating mock humping pose over him—at his rump or his head, it was all the same to her.  And if food dropped on the floor–even if it was a bite from Max’s own lips–Max knew well enough to discreetly back away as Sophie swooped in to claim her prize.  My husband and I say that Max was “Sophie whipped”.  Ha!  Yes, our girl Sophie was all attitude. And Sophie even greeted my work colleagues cheerfully when I brought into my office Tuesday afternoon so she could be with me during her final hours–I joked that it was on her bucket list.  She was always a curious dog, so she had to visit all of their offices and be petted by them.  They have followed her illness and been caring friends during this time–as have my many online friends whose love and support means the world to me.

Blessedly for Sophie, she didn’t know that she was dying—not in the way that my husband and I knew it.  Oh, she felt poorly.  And her ouchy near her eye kept growing again after surgery to remove it and imposing on her vision–and the pressure of that enlarged tumor was probably painful.  Though Sophie didn’t whimper or shiver in pain, more and more she wincingly looked at me as she presented the left side of her face for me to look at and see if I could make it better.  But I couldn’t make it better.  Sophie stayed very close to me these last few weeks–even more than usual.  Sophie’s head would pop up under my laptop writing desk when I was blogging or chatting, such that I would have to push it back and give her my undivided love and attention. Sophie never ceased to make her demands for love to me–wanting to be petted, let outside, and given treats–reminding me daily of the precious gift that she was in our lives.

However the last two weeks with Sophie were a gift that we almost didn’t have.  And we hope that we haven’t been selfish in having that time with her.  So last night, Tuesday July 10th, 2012, we said farewell to Sophie.  We knew that it was her time by the aggressive advancement of her upper jaw tumor encroaching on her left eye and the cancer spreading to other parts of her body.  And our normally humorously wisecracking young vet Dr. Matt–who haltingly and somberly gave us her cancer diagnosis two months ago–said that it was Sophie’s time, to prevent her from feeling excruciating pain and suffering from her bone cancer, especially were she to break a bone.  But, my husband and I suffer with Sophie’s passing and feel excruciating pain with no relief for us.

Love does that to you—it gives you sorrows amidst the joys.  And Sophie’s life with us has been a very great joy.   So my husband and I were grateful that Sophie had a peaceful death–being cradled in our arms, us kissing her and telling her that we loved her as she took her last breaths.  Our caring Vet Dr. Matt first gave her sedation so she slipped into unconsciousness, and then the final injection eased her from living in this world to forever living only in our hearts.  My husband I thank Dr. Matt greatly for his tender care of Sophie during her life and now during her illness and passing.  And we also thank Dr. Matt for his tender care of us, helping us to come to terms with the inevitable.

My husband and I will cry for many hours and for many days and for many weeks with Sophie’s passing.  And I am crying now as I finish writing and prepping this essay–because Tuesday night belongs to our loving memories of Sophie.  We will be bereft of comfort and our sorrow will be beyond measure.  But we hope that in time, our memories of Sophie will focus on the joy she brought to our lives–and that we hope we gave joy to her life.  And yes when my time comes in the distant future, my heaven will have Sophie in it.

I close with the touching hymn “All things bright and beautiful” sung endearingly by children, in a video by lindamattkids

NB:  All Sophie and Max images were by my husband.  The clouds image was from MS Office Clip Art.

P.S.   Here is a link to a poem “As Beautiful a Spring Day as I will Ever See” by Sophie that talks about her life:


About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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40 Responses to Saying Farewell to Sophie, 7/11/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #228)

  1. servetus says:

    It’s really true that a terminal illness in a loved one changes every time frame in one’s life. This is a lovely tribute to Sophie.


  2. Fabi says:

    Dear Grati,
    I don’t know if I can say anything to make you feel better after losing your doggie Sophie, but I would like to say I’m so saddened for your loss. I hope that you’ll be comforted by your memories of all good times shared with her. She was a very special friend and couldn’t have had a more loving family during her short life in this world.


  3. april73 says:

    I’m very sad to read this. Like Fabi, I don’t know what to say.

    My thoughts are for you and your familly.




  4. Dear Grati, what a beautiful tribute to your pup! Although I’m not religious, I like to believe there is a Puppy Heaven, where it’s always spring, where all our beloved dogs get to roam and chase things :) There’s just something about that unconditional love that dogs seem to gift us with, and never question whether we are worthy of it. I’m sure Sophie had a doggielicious life, and that you have plenty of beautiful memories of the times you were lucky enough to spend together!


    • Dear Pin Up,
      Thanks for your lovely note. Sophie is our angel now. And I love your term “doggielicious”! We loved Sophie more than I can say. And Sophie gave us the gift of her her love and we cherished it.
      Love and Hugs, Grati


  5. Snicker's Mom says:



  6. fedoralady says:

    Dear Grati,
    I know what it’s like to love a pet so much that it’s heartrending to say goodbye to them. But you also did the right thing by choosing to release from her pain and distress, although that is probably small comfort to you right now. Sophie was fortunate to having a loving family and you were fortunate to have a loving family member like Sophie. i believe all our pets go to heaven–why should they not, after serving as angels on earth? Comfort and peace be with you, my friend.


    • Dear Fedoralady,
      Thanks for your very kind words. They mean a lot to me. Sophie was a part of our family for 6.5 years. That’s near 49 yrs old in doggie years. So we almost had our golden anniversary. with her But still, our time with Sophie was golden and blessed.
      Love and Hugs, Grati


  7. AJ Daisy says:

    Oh Grati so sorry for your loss. I like fedoralady believe our pets go to heaven they deserve somewhere nice after serving us so well on earth. Love to you and your family thinking about you. RIP Sophie xx


    • Hi AJ Daisy,
      Thanks for your very kind note. I know that pets are are in heaven because it just wouldn’t be heaven without them. Sophie will be greatly missed, but we treasure our memories of her.
      Love and Hugs, Grati


  8. Ana Cris says:

    Dear Grati,
    In this moment of farewell, receive our love and solidarity. I’m sure Sophie is a good place, supported by friends. Love is a powerful force that unites hearts, not caring with the details if are human hearts or animals.


    • Dear Ana Cris,
      Thank you for your lovely words. Love has no limits–not age, not distance apart, and not fur. We may have been “fur challenged” in Sophie’s mind, but she loved us anyway.
      Love and Hugs, Grati


  9. Kitty says:

    As I said before, dear Friend, my heart is broken for you and your husband. There is a better day coming where there is no cancer, no tears, no broken hearts. I cling to the hope of Isaiah 11:6-8 where we are assured that there will, beyond any shadow of doubt, be animals in heaven. I believe that your Sophie is now running the fields of that beautiful place with our Bertie and Zoey and Jake and my beloved childhood friend, Pickles and the many other much loved other-than-human family members. What a blessed hope!


    • Dear Kitty,
      Thank you for your very lovely thoughts. And my sympathies to you for your pets who have passed on.
      I’m sure that our Sophie is at play now in heaven with our yellow lab Missy who preceded her in 2005. I’m sure these two girl doggies will delight in gnawing on the pearly gates, eating the hem off St. Peter’s robe, and napping on a comfy pillow cloud or two while keeping one eye open in case there are treats to be eaten.
      Love and Hugs, Grati


  10. jasrangoon says:

    Sending hugs, thoughts and prayers your way today, Grati! I hope that through the sadness you and your hubby are able to think back on all of your wonderful memories of Sophie and smile. This was a lovely tribute to her life.


  11. Dear Grati, I too, believe as Kitty does that our pets are there awaiting us in heaven. God gave you a blessing in Sophie and in turn you blessed her life.
    This is a beautiful tribute to a beloved family member.
    Hugs and prayers for your peace.


  12. fitzg says:

    Dear Grati,
    It is heartbreaking to lose such a lovely companion. This was a lovely memorial to Sophie. Having been with two big dogs, and one medium-sized Beagly-hound (a beagle on stilts) at the end of their lives, I feel for you and family. Our dogs give us so much, and they live in our memories forever, with our gratitude. You will always cherish the memory of her gift to your lives.


  13. Brooke says:

    Hey Gratiana!

    Again, I am very sorry for all of this. I know she wasn’t here long enough and you wanted more days to share your love with her. One day you can help others who are suffering with the loss of a pet. In these times, it’s understandable when you feel like you can’t stop the tears and wish things were different.
    We all care about you and wish you peace and comfort. Never hold in anything that is bothering you. Talk about it as soon as you can.


    • Dear Brooke,
      Thanks for your very nice note. It does help to express one’s feelings. And my essay here–eulogy, if you will–about Sophie is one way that I am doing that. I appreciate everyone’s kind thoughts at this sad time.
      Love and Hugs, Grati


  14. Ania says:

    Dear Grati, I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of one of your family member which undoubtedly was Sophie. My hugs to you and your husband.


  15. Cornelia Sampson says:

    Dear Grati,
    So sorry about your loss! May the good memories of the time shared with Sophie comfort you. As Dr. Seuss said: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.
    Hugs, Cornelia (balletmom)


  16. Dear Cornelia,
    Thanks for your kind note. We are grateful to have had Sophie in our lives.
    Love and Hugs, Grati


  17. bccmee says:

    My sincerest condolences. Your Sophie led a wonderful life.


  18. Oh, Grati ,I´m so sorry for what happened with Sophia.No one should suffer , especially the children and the animals.They are like angels in this world. Only the time will diminish a little the pain that you and your husband are feeling now. Your another doggie will be a big help to you in this hard times.Play with he and who know you will feel less sad and better. Stay in peace, Grace!


  19. DarkJackal says:

    I knew I would cry all over reading this, so I had to postpone it till a good moment. This is so beautiful and makes me glad you had that time. You made the best of it. Sophie was a very lucky girl.


    • Thanks for your lovely note, DarkJackal.
      I know what you mean about needing to be in the right frame of mind to read somethings. I have been rather weepy about Sophie the last few days, so wishing that she was still with us.

      It will be 3 weeks since Sophie passed tomorrow/Tuesday. Though we have had a lot of RA news to tempt or to distract me over this time, I still miss Sophie every day. I am a sentimental soul to begin with, but Sophie was such a part of my life I doubt that I will ever get over her passing. I just hope to get through it–and in time remember her with joy and not sadness.

      As a small way to keep Sophie present with me, I named a female character in one of my new stories Sophia. And as I write Sophia’s story of finding true love at last–our Sophie’s beauty, soft silky hair, strength, perseverance, and heart is reflected in this character.

      Love and Hugs, Grati


  20. Pingback: Fun Day Sunday–Blessings Unbound, 8/19/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #253) | Something About Love (A)

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