Beautiful Friend Sophie
Beautiful Friend Sophie
This is a story about my tattoo. It is also a story about something that is very dear to me. It's still hard for me to think about it because it's such an emotional subject.
I'll start with the story of my tattoo first. I had my first and only (or so I thought) tattoo done at a parlor in the town of Marengo, IL. The shop is called Visionquest Tattoos & Things. After 2 years of "the what to get" debate, I decided on my Pisces sign. My pisces symbol means a lot to me, because it describes me perfectly. It describes me as a true dreamer that is more concerned with intellectual concepts than material gain. Someone who is caring, positive, sympathetic and sometimes over emotional about things that touch the soul.
I had the design positioned on my lower back almost on my left cheek. Therefor I could contort my body into strange ways just to see it and only show it to someone who deserves the chance. I wasn't scared even though it's pretty large and I knew it would take an hour to complete. After about 20 minutes into the process, she ( I really wish I could remeber her name ) started asking me strange questions. Do I drink a lot of coffee? No. Do I drink a lot of alcohol? No. Confused about where she was heading I told her the only thing I have a tendancy to over do is drink a lot of Coca Cola. Well, obviously the enourmous caffine intake was making my blood too thin to clot. (Creepy huh). She didn't want to continue because the ink wasn't staying in my skin. So, I stopped drinking soda or anything else caffinated for an entire month (which was hell). I returned the next month and finished the tattoo. No problems getting the ink to stay, and I was officially a tattooed woman within the hour.
I had decided that that would be the only tattoo I get. I actually had a tendancy to forget that it was even there until I'd pass by the mirror stark naked and catch a fleeting glimpse.
Well, now to the second part of my story. It involves my beloved dog Sophie. I got Sophie my sophomore year of high school. She was a thought to be purebred Golden Retriever. But she was free, so I really doubt she was pure. We thought half retriever and half Irish Setter because her hair was kinda red. My parents said they were leaving that day to go look at and maybe get a puppy. When they returned there was no puppy to be found. Being upset, I started to badger my dad with questions of why they didn't get one. After not getting a reaction or answer from my dad except a really wierd smile, a little, furry head popped up from inside the jacket he was wearing. Boy, was I happy. We all know what puppys look like, so no need to describe the emense cuteness she eminated. She was born on Valentines Day.
She was a real charachter. She had a really mellow personality, but was a big fan of roaming the neighborhood and visiting the neighbors. Everyone liked her. My brother is handicapped, so every morning the bus would stop in our driveway and open the doors. An open door was an invitation to Sophie. She would get on the bus, visit all the kids, and finally get off once my brother was in his seat. Her other favorite activity was swimming. My parents live on a lake (hence the name Crystal Lake, my home town) and every summer I would pull out the un-popable rafts. Once Sophie saw you floating in the water, she would walk down the pier stairs, swim out to you, and proceed to claw her way onto the raft whether you wanted to give the raft up or not. There she could lounge for hours just floating and occasionally snapping up lake grass that floated on the surface.
She was a retriever but didn't like to hunt. My dad took her pheasant hunting and she hid under the car. She loved to get in the car, but didn't like it when it actually started to move. I could go on for hours about all the strange but wonderful things that dog did. But to be brief she was the perfect dog. You could leave her at home with no problems, you could trust her with children and other dogs, and she was always at the door waiting (well unless she was sleeping at the top of the stairs, then she would just thump her tail and almost squint her eyes and smile).
Well, then my sad realization that nothing that great can last forever happened last summer (which is now the point my throat starts to burn while I hold back my tears). Over the last part of 1997 and early 1998 she started to have problems. She started to destroy the house when no one was home. You would return to the house and find her drooling and panting after having ripped up numerous things. She destroyed the living room couch, the TV room couch, my couch in my bedroom (twice), my bed comforter, my brothers comforter, a few upholstered chairs and many other things. She would have massive panic attacks during the middle of the night where she couldn't rest. She'd wake me up around three am by pawing the side of my bed. Her eyes would be blood shot and she would drool and pant. It was heartbreaking. When it started to rain she would panic. And if it thundered she'd go nuts with anxiety. We put her on doggy downers for storms, which made her a vegetable.
We took her to the vet numeous times They said it was old age. In my opinion I don't think the vet clinic did enough to find out what the problems was. They just seemed to give us more drugs, but no answers.
After she destroyed the same couch for the second time (just after it was re-upholstered) my parents made a date for her to be put to sleep. I was numb. I took two days off of work to be with her. We went swimming, went on walks and just spent time together. My dad came home the day the appointment was, and found us sitting together with me hysterically crying. He loved Sophie just as much as the whole family did. He said he couldn't do it not knowing that we tried everything possible.
So, again to the vet. They put her on doggy prozac ( which is pretty much the same drugs used for humans ). It would take a few weeks to see if it helped. It didn't. Things got worse. Her eyes had lost the luster, it's like I could see her slipping away into some unkown mental pain she was enduring.
I read a great quote just before her second date was set. I can't remember who wrote it but it pretty much stated: A dog lives in the moment, it doesn't remeber the good times but only knows the pain presently felt. I didn't want her to be gone, but I knew there was something wrong which we couldn't fix. ( Ok, now I'm fully crying while typing this, it's still miss her terribly )
I again took time off from work to be with her. My mom and I took her to the vet in her car which I now call the vehicle of death and do my utmost to avoid riding in it. My mom warned me that if I can't control my emotions that I should stay home for Sophie's sake. I did my best to stay calm, which you could have punched me in the face at that point I was so numb. We took her into the room and waited for the vet. A vet entered that I've never met before. He proceeded to tell us that we should wait outside the room because it might be too tramitic for us. My mom said it was out of the question, and we wanted to be there to comfort Sophie. He then told us we should then be aware that sometimes they don't go as quietly as thought and she might jerk and shake. He was very blunt and unsympathetic which made the whole process worse. I at that point lost it. I kissed my most faithful and beloved friend goodbye, tried to compose my self and left the room. I sat in the waiting room, cried and felt more emotional pain than ever before. After about two minutes I went back in. She was gone. My mom was holding her head in her hands and crying. We cried the whole way home. She was 11 years old when she died.
We had her cremated. When we got the small coffee can size container of her ashes I created a time capsule for her. In it we put her first dog collar, her bottles of pills, pictures, a dog bone, a note about her life, and another note in case someone someone else in the future accidentally finds her ashes. The last note basically asks that she not be moved from her spot and if they have to move her, for them to find a family member and return her to us. I found a medium size stone from my Aunt's farm and wrote her name with the inscription "Beautiful Friend". Me, my mom, my dad and my brother gathered in the yard after the hole was dug. I placed her in the ground and my dad covered the hole while my corney brother played Taps on his boombox. The neighbors must think we're all nuts.
My story is pretty much over. A few months after she had died I had her name tattooed near my first tattoo. Some people say that getting a tattoo hurts. When I had her name done it felf great. I guess it's my tribute to Sophie. When I tell people I have my dog's name tattooed on me they think I'm strange. But if you had enjoyed the years I spent with Sophie you wouldn't think it odd at all. She was beautiful.
Thank you for reading this. I know it was long, but in a way it was needed therapy for me. In my entire 28 years nothing as painful as that has ever happened. I still think of Sophie, and will still get another dog when I'm ready. I have a small website dedicated to her at www.oneway.com/kelly. I would appreciate any comments or feedback. You can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If that e-mail doesn't work try: email@example.com.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 April 1999