14 years ago, I opened a door and a tiny, strawberry-blonde barreled into my legs. She was a ridiculous little thing – tiny legs, a stump for a tail, and two soft ears folded forward… I was a a sweaty 11 year-old just getting home from a soccer game. The last thing Dad or I expected to come home to was a puppy.
I got the news last night – Sophie was put down. Her degenerate spinal disease had progressed to the point where she could no longer use her back legs. To walk her, Mom looped a long scarf under her stomach.
In short, I knew it was coming.
Sophie was my friend and companion. Then, when I turned 16, she would sit in the passenger seat of my first car, her head on my hand as I shifted gears. We’d go for walks in the woods together when no one else could come along. She’d follow gamely along in our tracks as we went snowshoeing through snow deeper than she was tall. She slept on my bed every night.
When I came home from college, she ignored me. She jumped all over my mother, but took one sniff of me before walking away. I was devastated the first time this happened. But, just like old days, come bed time, she slunk into my room and I lifted her up. The next day, we were friends again.
She was terribly bad behaved. Barked incessantly. Had a sick obsession with toys that squeaked. Not a meal went by where she didn’t put her front paws on our laps desperate for handouts.
Oh, and she never got along with other dogs. She wasn’t a dog’s dog. She was a people’s dog.
If we lived in a world where Philip Pullman’s daemons were born with us, Sophie wouldn’t be my daemon. From the start, she was my mother’s. While Sophie loved us, her family, she loved my mother best. Truly she was my mother’s dog… but she was my little sister.
I love you, girl. I’ll miss you always.