Homage to Sophie
This post is written for my dear friend Jessica, whom I have known since we were 14 years old. I am blessed to have several very long term friendships. I treasure them for one cannot duplicate the experiences a person shares when going from child to teenager to young adult, to 3rd chapter Boomer. Jessica and I have shared many memorable experiences together, but this is not about us, but rather her dog Sophie.
Sadly Sophie was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor, quite out of the blue and at the tender age of 8. She was this little mop of a dog – furry, sweet, lovable, and adored by neighbors and kids on the UWS of New York City. In Jessica’s own words, “She was a puppy at heart until the end-bouncing around, behaving silly and making everyone laugh. She was the mascot of her building-loved hanging out in the lobby to greet everyone.”
Sophie was trained to be a therapy dog and participated in an amazing program teaching empathy and building self esteem for middle school kids-a fair shake for youth. She flirted with the other therapy dogs, used every opportunity to inch her way over to them and nuzzle. It made everyone around her laugh.
What better role can a dog play (besides giving their owners unqualified love) but to bring joy to others who have so little, whether emotionally or physically impaired? This was Sophie’s gift, her special talent and she did it with humor, tenderness, and compassion.
She came into Jessica’s life when she needed it most, having gone through a very difficult time. I truly believe dogs (cats too, if you are a cat person) are little people in fur suits who know us better than we sometimes know ourselves. (metaphorically speaking of course) They snuggle when we need a hug, nuzzle up to us when we need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. They are there for joy, as well as sorrow and are never too busy to be there for you. No dog has said, “Sorry, can I call you back later, I’m in the midst of something.”
To add a bit of levity to what is a very sad story, I must include the animal communicator tale. What’s that you said, “animal communicator?” “Put simply, animal communication is a silent, telepathic language that functions via deepened intuition.” (SheKnows)
An animal communicator was contacted (Jessica’s sister had suggested this in her hour of need) and a conversation took place via phone. The communicator informed Jessica that Sophie was stressed out and that she, Jessica, needed to lighten up. “Too much negative energy!” Now this animal communicator was not told anything beforehand about Sophie’s tumor or that Jessica was faced with this life or death decision. STRESSING HER OUT!!! Really?
As Jessica told me this story over lunch at Barney Greengrass on the UWS, I was ready to fall off my chair laughing. Jessica knew that out of all her friends, I would be the one to appreciate this the most. I, who have always been superstitious, a believer in astrology, psychics, reincarnation, etc. (We once went to Staten Island on a bus for an incredible reading by a woman that occasionally would be hired by the NYPD to help find missing children! I digress…)
The animal communicator was then told about Sophie’s diagnosis to explain why there was stress and she proceeded to take a different approach. She couldn’t make the decision for Jessica, but she did assure her that all Sophie wanted was to be near family and to feel loved.
Reiki was administered to both dog and human. Jessica reported that suddenly Sophie started running around like the puppy she had always been.
Jessica knew that she had done everything she could and that Sophie understood and felt loved.
.. Dogs (cats) are special. They bring us joy and comfort. As we age, perhaps, ever more importantly, they give us a reason to keep to a regimen, to let them out in the morning, to feed them, to walk them,to provide company, solace. Never underestimate the power of a pet! Who knows, it might be someone’s soul inhabiting the body? But that we will save for another post!
-Kacie and Colby (Barclay’s and my senior citizen dogs) are respectively 14 and 17. We know their time with us on earth is limited. Love them with all your heart and be sensitive to their needs, as you would want someone to understand yours.
Enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay and Joy