Around here animals are family members. Once an animal comes to this house, they are here to stay. They know that they will be taken care of and loved deeply. Sophie has been no different. She was brought to us along with her brother 15 years ago as a tiny, fur ball of a puppy. Our friends had found them in a dumpster (I can't even imagine what kind of person could throw two little puppies in the trash to suffocate and die.) and brought them to us. The original plan was to find another home for them as we already had two other dogs... but as time went by they became family and we just couldn't part with them.
Sophie has been a funny little girl. In her younger years she would dart off into the woods each time we came home to show us that she could catch a squirrel. (Although I don't think she ever did). She would run, run, run. In her older years she became more of a house dog. She would lie in the entrance foyer and wait for someone to come by and give her a nice scratch on the head. She has been a spunky little girl. She was the smallest of the dogs on the S_____ farm but she ruled the roost! In the last year she became slower moving, and harder of hearing and seeing. You could literally step over her and she wouldn't wake up. I can't even tell you how many times I stopped to see if she was actually breathing. When she was awake she would come over and bury her head in your lap until you finally stopped petting her. Then she would nudge you one more time just to make sure that you were really done before moving on.
Over the last week she had been getting more and more frail. She was having trouble walking on hardwood surfaces. Her feet would slip a little here and there. She seemed to become even more hard of seeing. We often found her standing in a corner not knowing what way to go.
Yesterday afternoon she went outside with the kids and me as she had done MANY times before. She had been pacing all day. I knew she needed to use the bathroom. The kids and I went to the playground and within 20 minutes she was gone. Frantic we went inside put on our tennis shoes and jeans and went hiking through the woods to find her. For two hours we searched to no avail. I tried to explain to the kids what was happening and why we were looking for her. (She has wondered through the woods many times before and we have never needed to go looking for her.) Maylin would hold my hand and ask to whisper in my ear, "We no find Sophie, I be sad." Pierson called and called for her even though I knew she couldn't hear us. After our legs had climbed over as many fallen trees as they could we headed back to the house to wait for Mom. Sophie has been Mom's companion for a long time now. We knew the news of her disappearance would be sad. We all sat out on the half-brick-wall in front of the house and cried as we shared the news. Maylin went inside and came back with Pierson's guitar and her pink bible. As the rest of us cried Maylin said, "I hewlp make you happee." and she started to sing "Jesus yubs me dis i yo for ya bibul teylls me show..." Be still my heart. And she is right. Jesus does love us, and the bible does tell us that! Even though my mind was racing with all the things that Sophie could be going through I knew that God had her in his hands and wouldn't let her suffer. I feel certain that she wanted to go into the woods to die quietly. They say that dogs do that. But I still couldn't fight the urge to go look for her. Through the night our dog Chaucer howled a couple times. My crazy mind said, "He has found her!" So I put on my flip flops and in my night gown I went out for a few minutes to see if she had made her way home. To my disappointment Chaucer came running and just wanted in the house. Today, 24 hours later, the kids and I went out one more time to look... I knew that in the condition she was in there was no way she would have survived the thunderstorm through the night but again my mind just needs to know what happened to her. We still haven't found her. I pray that she is resting peacefully and comfortably.
Bye Bye our little Sophie. We have loved you dearly!