Lessons from Sophie

“But ask the animals and they will teach you”

Job 12:7a

We laid her to rest yesterday.  Her last days are vivid in my mind.  The past ten years have seemed as if I only blinked.  I’ve held and loved and cuddled her since she was 6 weeks old.  I met her when she was 3 weeks old.  She was easy to choose from amongst her siblings.  I knew from day one that she belonged with us.

God’s Word says we can be taught by the animals and so I ask myself what has Sophie taught me in the last 10 years.  

Sophie loved unconditionally.  Always. She never failed to greet me in ten years.  In her young years she’d meet me at the door, tail wagging, jumping and ever so happy to see me.  In her older years she’d be on her bed, but her head would lift and she’d have her eyes on me and waited for me to come and greet her (which I did).  

She never held a grudge.  Not ever.

I could go away for a few days and all was forgiven.  She was so excited to be together again.  Friends would visit and sometimes I’d have to place her in a side room due to a visitor or group, depending on what was needed.  She would have preferred to be with me, but she’d sit obediently until I would come and get her.  She never complained or moped.  She adjusted to life so beautifully.

She lost her back leg 3 years ago.  That was so devastating and then she showed us just how very strong she could be. She healed and ran about on 3 legs as if she could adjust to absolutely anything in life.

She was gentle and humble.  During the ten years that she was mine, I became a grandmother 5 times.  We pretty much had a new baby added to our family every year for 5 years.  The babies would come and my focus would drift from Sophie to these precious grandchildren.  She humbly accepted that.  She seemed to know to be still and look to us for guidance as toddler after toddler climbed onto her to touch her or do whatever it was they had in their little minds to do.  They too loved her in their own way.  She’d look to my son or myself for cues.  We’d nod our heads, smile, tell her she was such a good girl.  She trusted us and she obeyed.

She was an incredible listener.  There were a few tough personal years for me.  Many a time I’d come home to an empty house and slump on the floor next to her and cry, tell her my woes, kiss her, cuddle her.  She seemed to know when I was troubled and she certainly was there for me…never leaving my side.

When I was sick, she was there.  Again sensing something was different, she’d remain close by…making sure I was okay.

Sophie loved the company of humans.  She loved to be amongst a party at our house or in the middle of a circle.  We’d take her to the dog park and she’d make us laugh because she’d rather visit all the people…rather than the other dogs.

Sophie was protective.  If my husband chose to play around and his arms would go high or wide teasing that he was going to wrestle me…Sophie would let him know in no uncertain terms that she’d not have it.  

All dogs are different and ours did not like the water.  She was very obedient when bath time came, but she’d pass every time on swimming in our inground pool.  Again, she was protective.  She would sit and watch as I gently swam laps, but if splashing occurred and she thought I was in any kind of trouble…she’d stand up and bark as if to say…get out now!  I’m worried about you!

She was so easy to please.  She loved sharing apples and peanut butter with me.  She loved sharing anything with me.  When she was healthier…she knew the word ‘WALK” and she was more than pleased to go on a walk.  If I wanted to garden, she’d join me.  If I wanted to sit and read a book, she’d join me.  She loved car rides and I think it’s because she just wanted to be together. I’d greet her each morning and give her a back rub.  She looked forward to that.  She always crossed her front legs as if sitting like a proper lady might sit. There was nothing I could do that didn’t please her.  She loved me. 

She was a true companion.  Loyal and faithful in their purest forms.

So what have I learned?

I’m picky. I’m easily annoyed.  I can hold a grudge.  I’m not always thankful or loving.  I desire to be loyal and faithful, first to God and then to others.  I need to keep my eyes on my master, Jesus Christ.  

So many times in her early years, Sophie would visit my first or third grade classroom full of children.  She’d come in very excited because she recognized my building and my classroom. She’d enter and 20 or so children would be upon her shouting her name.  Her beautiful eyes were fixed on my son, her true owner and master.  Her eyes never left his.  She’d take all cues and obey.

God…that I might look to my master steadfastly and be so obedient.

This is my tribute to Sophie…who will forever be in my heart, to my wonderful son Jonathan who brought her into my life ten years ago and trained her to be who she was and to God for always being faithful and trustworthy in the good times and the difficult times.  

Thank you Lord on High for giving me the gift of Sophie.

I will forever be thankful.

Remind me of her often Lord, I have much to learn.

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