This is about my dearly departed Dachshund/Cairn mix, Sophie. She lived to be 18 years old, and lived with me for 17 years after I adopted her from our local humane society. She was such a sweet, smart and gentle little girl who loved her mommy beyond words, and I loved her right back. Friends still remark at how smart she was — she had nuances to her personality and mannerisms that were so human you almost thought she was! She would leave biscuits in friends’ luggage when they would visit. One of the funniest things she ever did was many years ago when a friend was staying over and using the sofa bed, and the cushions were stacked on Sophie’s favorite chair. As my friend stood next to the chair looking out the window, Sophie sat between her and the chair, looking back and forth from her, to the chair, to her, back to the chair … back and forth many times before my friend finally caught on and removed the cushions. Sophie sighed, exasperated at the thickness of human logic, and jumped up to the back of the chair, where she could contentedly but belatedly look out the balcony window.

Another time she was travelling with me out of Dulles airport to Atlanta, when I had time to kill and stopped at Cinnabon. There I was, with Sophie in her little bag (she was a tiny thing, 12 lbs) on the cart with my luggage, and me trying to steer the cart with my elbows while I juggled coffee and pecan roll. Sophie caught one whiff of that confection, stuck her nose straight in the air and howled like a fire alarm! Dulles wasn’t busy that day, and those who were in the terminal all stopped to stare at such a little dog making such a big racket! You could tell her the dog lovers were, they all chuckled knowingly and came over to see the little sweetie and lend a hand. She wouldn’t stop until I could maneuver the cart over to the windows, sit down and give her a bite. She was 16 when she did that, and never howled like that before or afterwards. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? It certainly was new to me!

Sophie held my heart tightly in her paws, heart and soul from the moment I held her in my arms at the shelter that day so many years ago. Finally, in March 2006, little Sophie’s tiny body just couldn’t carry that big heart anymore. She never got sick; she quite simply just wore out. Her little puppy heart never flagged. The day I had to make that last awful trip to the vet was the worst day of my life, even though Sophie got one last nap in the sun riding in the car with me.

I must go now as my tears are fogging my glasses and blurring the screen. The pain of losing her is still so strong. Her ashes now quietly stand guard at home next to her picture. I give thanks every day that God brought sweet little Sophie into my life.

April from MD