Just can’t seem to finish our last project

Paint Doors project
Paint Doors project

Miss Sophie would always keep me company on my many projects wherever they happened to take place. The house, the garage, the backyard, the front yard. Not a bother, didn’t get into anything -usually- just sat quietly, she just wanted to be around. If the project spanned several areas, she would of course follow, and I of course waited for her. Held a door as needed, fixed a spot for her to sit. It was just a given. She was going to be there. If I didn’t let her know I was starting up something and maybe let her nap, she was invariably offended that I started without her. I’d come back in, an she was waiting, noticably peeved and immediately joined the venture. I regularly had to tell her as I went out the front door, “no, I’m not going outside for anything, I just have to run to the store- I’ll be right back”.

As her illness worsened, and Texas summer heated up, I found she couldn’t be outside for long, and not wanting to leave her alone, I focused on indoor projects like painting these doors, where she could be near, and watch.

And I enjoyed the audience, the eyes always watching me- head rarely moving- just her eyes tracking, keeping me in view. I felt I was doing the projects with her, often for her. But this one was our last, and she passed away before I was able to finish it. I just can’t seem to get on it again. My heart’s just not in it anymore baby girl. Maybe this weekend…

Here are those eyes tracking me, keeping me close:
Sophie watching me paint

the rituals, I miss the most

9 years…

11:56 pm, it’s past bedtime now.
I don’t have my reminder anymore. She used to lay at my feet while I worked nights on the computer, and she came to know the Windows shut down music. fast asleep, she would hear the doodleoo of the Window’s shutting down and would immediately stir half asleep to her feet, and give a shake, start heading for bed. Waiting on me, looking back at me. Always those eyes, looking at me. How do you get over that? A quick trip outside to go potty – and it was quick – she knew her bedtime bone was waiting on the other end of this ritual. Squat in the yard and run back inside. She liked to eat.

Bring her to the bedroom, and unsnap her collar – slept nekkid- Had to get that collar out of the way to brush that thick long curly blonde hair. She is busy cleaning herself after the bone and potty, so I move on to brushing teeth. While I do, I inevitably pet her with my foot or free hand – I couldn’t get enough of it. Addicting. Once she is ready and I am done, comes the thorough brushing. I began it after she was several months old and we went to a pet store. she was maybe half her adult size and long haired already, and I had no idea what to do with her tangles. We met another Golden Doodle and I asked how they kept his hair so groomed and soft. they just said, “you gotta brush them every night”. So I did. I bought a brush with standard bristles on one side and metal tangle-free spines on the other. though in her younger days, she would try to eat the brush, she eventually began to accept the drill and would just let me brush her as needed. It really was that simple and it worked. She was gorgeous and worth it. But, yes another ritual. I miss it incredibly now. with her diagnosis, I guess I was fortunate to have a few more months of brushing, and I made a point to remember, that some day I would miss this most intimate interaction more than anything. That and her Sophie-hugs. She gave the best Sophie-hugs, and I told her so often.

sophiegoldendoodle 6th birthday
6th birthday

why must I forget her?

Sophie Golden Doodle

9/27/16 4:23 am

Since she has gone, all I want to do is remember her. Her smell, her touch, her sounds. So strong in my memory initially, begin to fade now. I miss her dearly. The memories bring pain. To stop the pain, must I forget her? what was the point then? 9 years. gone. I still faintly plead, wish that she could come back. Did she really have to go? was it really time? why do I doubt. why am I belaboring? reminders everywhere, but they decrease as I suppress the pain. everywhere. but less each day. why did she have to go so soon? I loved her so much I cant sleep. I babble here instead. trying to make sense of it. what was the point? we grew together over 9 years. some struggles, but mostly good. the last few years, I began to dread her inevitable passing. I shut others down when they brought it up – we don’t talk about that. that cant happen. I cant survive that. it did happen though, and I am still here. without her.

sophie
7/15/16
Sophie
7/15/16

Sophie Meals September 2016

one of the last pics of her before I knew she was dying
one of the last pics of her before I knew she was dying

for so long, there was so much to remember and now I am starting to forget… I don’t want to forget, so I am writing it down…

 

 

 

Sophie Golden Doodle, approx. 65 lbs
canned pumpkin (keep stool firm)
dry Purina Pro Plan
wet Purina Pro Plan
DVM Resources SynoviG3 Soft Chews as pill-pockets
1 prednisolone 20mg every 12 hrs
1/4 pill, Plavix 75mg anti-blood-clotter 1x day
1 to 2 to 3 Tramadol 50mg every 8 hours, over the course of 2 months


to 9/11/2016 – final schedule
6am:
morning pee break

2 oz canned pumpkin
2 oz dry Purina Pro Plan
4 oz wet Purina Pro Plan
2 DVM Resources SynoviG3 Soft Chews as pill-pockets
1 prednisolone 20mg
1/4 pill, Plavix 75mg anti-blood-clotter
3 Tramadol 50mg
1/2 large milk bone “chaser”
1/2 dentastick dessert
get fresh water in kitchen bowl

after-breakfast potties, outside for a small walk, drop a deuce or 2, pee again
hang out on patio with me for my breakfast
come in, get a 1/2 milk bone

back outside a few more times, back yard pees
come in, get a 1/2 milk bone or dentastick

2pm:
1 oz canned pumpkin
2 oz wet Purina Pro Plan
1 DVM Resources SynoviG3 Soft Chews as pill-pocket
3 Tramadol 50mg
1/2 large milk bone “chaser”
1/2 dentastick dessert

help me get the mail
late afternoon potties, outside for a small walk, drop a deuce or 2, pee
come in, get a 1/2 milk bone or dentastick

6pm:
2 oz canned pumpkin
2 oz dry Purina Pro Plan
4 oz wet Purina Pro Plan
2 DVM Resources SynoviG3 Soft Chews as pill-pockets
1 prednisolone 20mg
1/2 large milk bone “chaser”
1/2 dentastick dessert
get fresh water in kitchen bowl

after-dinner potties, back yard, maybe small walk, pee, maybe a deuce
come in, get a 1/2 milk bone or dentastick

10pm:
1 oz canned pumpkin
2 oz wet Purina Pro Plan
1 DVM Resources SynoviG3 Soft Chews as pill-pocket
3 Tramadol 50mg
1/2 large milk bone “chaser”

go outside again, back yard, maybe small walk, pee, maybe a deuce
come in, get a bedtime bone
head to bedroom for bedtime
get fresh water in bathroom bowl
off with collar
play with bear
get brushed, top of head, ears, under chin, coat, tail, feet, face (likes the least so saved for last)
belly rubs
sophie-hugs
lights out

 

 

to Sophie

Sophie's fur

A deep sigh
A stretch
The noise of tags as she shakes her collar
Tappy toes walking the tile
Slopping water out of her bowl
The thump of her dropping her body on the floor
A yawn, at rest
🐾
The tuft of hair on her head
The scruff of her jowls in both hands
A hug and a thump on her ribs
Stroking her back
Rubbing her belly
Scratching her butt
Letting her tail slip through fingers as she walks away
🐾
Her snort
Her smile
Teeth clutching but not biting
Her face in my chest
Her nose in my hand
Sniffing
Licking
🐾
Her gazing eyes
Her pawing foot
Her tilting head
Her bark for attention
Her jump for action
Attack the frisbee
The leash, Let’s go
🐾
#SophieGoldenDoodle

 

i hear things that get my attention and then i remember…

 

goodbye sweet girl

Sophie's last day Sept 12, 2016
Sophie’s last day Sept 12, 2016

Said goodbye to this sweet girl yesterday.
The lymphoma overpowered the prednisone and her restricted breathing was making her miserable. She looked to us with those always bright eyes for some relief, but we couldn’t do anything more. She is finally at peace but has left an incredible hole in our lives. You will be missed, #SophieGoldenDoodle.

 

…later

I went to work today and was able to compartmentalize my feelings and trudge through the distraction of work. A few people spoke to me about it, one had lost their dog Friday, I was able to keep it together and talk about how special she was, and is resting now. I even had a pre dialogue in the car ride home as I got close, of my typical greetings to her upon opening the door. “Where’s my girl at?! Where’s my watch dog?! Who’s the pretty girl?!where’s she at..?! There she is!! There’s that prettiest girl in the whole wide world!”
But as I opened the lock I noticed my hand shaking, and when she was not on the other side of the door, the flood hit hard. Tracy approached having experienced the same earlier when she got home from errands and we embraced in wet sobs. Later, I see these comments- Thank you all for the overwhelming support. I know many of you speak from experience -two and four legged loved ones. Thank you.

 

found a nice example of Sophie’s greeting captured on SophieCam
This was from January 2016. She had hurt her bad foot and was resting it. Watching now, I do feel bad about leaving her at the end, but I was just changing clothes so we could go on a walk…