I got Sophie was I was 10. She was originally my Grandmotherâ€™s dog, but eventually my Gma asked if weâ€™d take her because she didnâ€™t know what she was in for. And neither did we. My Dad had dogs as a kid, but the kind that just roamed the neighborhood and occasionally came home for food. My Mom had never had a dog in her life. My sister and I desperately wanted a dog, but the puppy weâ€™d imagined wasâ€¦not like Sophie. At nine months old, she was literally Satan. She ate our toys, stole our socks, dragged us around the neighborhood on walks, and oh my GOD did she love it when people came over to visit. (I swear sheâ€™ll calm down eventuallyâ€¦she just needs likeâ€¦another 17 laps around the houseâ€¦)
Around her 2[sup]nd[/sup] or 3[sup]rd[/sup] birthday she calmed down a little â€“ a little â€“ and weâ€™d really gotten the hang of the whole dog thing. She got walks, went to TONS of training classes, and even though she was still a spazz around people we never, ever, EVER had to worry that she would bite or purposely hurt someone. She even seemed to know to stop wiggling around so much if she was around young kids. Sheâ€™s the weirdest Golden Retriever ever â€“ she doesnâ€™t retrieve, and she HATES swimming, but let her loose in the woods and good luck keeping up with her. Sheâ€™s part of the reason I discovered my love of climbing mountains and hiking in general. Iâ€™ve logged hours of my life in to climbing mountain paths with her. She loves to lay in the sun in the driveway and wait for the mailman, or just to watch people walking by or the school bus dropping kids back home in the afternoon. Iâ€™m so glad for all the people whoâ€™ve gotten to meet her and know her because sheâ€™s pure happiness in a furry little dog, and Iâ€™m sad for anyone that doesnâ€™t.
Iâ€™m 23 now. Today is Sophieâ€™s 13[sup]th[/sup] birthday, and I canâ€™t imagine my life without her. Iâ€™m sitting here typing this watching her curled up in one of her thousands of beds after a walk â€“ because even now sheâ€™ll drive you crazy if you donâ€™t give her a walk â€“ and thinking, not for the first time, how lucky Iâ€™ve been to have her through almost all of my growing up. Sophie isnâ€™t the only dog weâ€™ve ever had, or even the only dog we have at the moment, but I think everyone has a special dog in their life, the kind of dog that you didnâ€™t just love unconditionally, but that you love so much it hurts. If youâ€™re really lucky, you may even have a couple. Sophie is absolutely that dog for me.
Iâ€™ve had her through the end of elementary school, that awkward transition to middle school, high school, and almost all of my college career. She has been there to get me through every sadness, to stare at me like Iâ€™m crazy whenever Iâ€™m loudly celebrating some success, to make me feel cozy at night whenever she does that one random snore of contentedness, to keep me company during endless hours of studying, to explore the outdoors with me, to lay at my side when weâ€™re both relaxing, to look back at me with that goofy smile when sheâ€™s run so far ahead of me on a trail that itâ€™s actually embarrassing, to make me SO ANGRY when she purposely does the exact opposite of what I tell her to do, and to never leave me alone when I open a jar of peanut butter or cut up a cucumber. Sheâ€™s taught me to try and see the good in everything, and makes me want to be as positive and excited about everything as I can be. Iâ€™ve grown up with a wonderful, one-of-a-kind, best friend and I am so incredibly lucky.
Sheâ€™s older now. Her back legs arenâ€™t as strong as they once were. Sheâ€™s gone deaf. Sheâ€™s had a few health issues here and there. Sheâ€™s lumpy and bumpy and her farts actually threaten to kill me. But she still loves to try and chase rabbits, will walk half the earth for a cucumber, NEEDS a walk daily, and still wags her tail like a maniac if sheâ€™s meeting someone or sees an old friend. I donâ€™t think about how old she is unless itâ€™s a day like today â€“ otherwise, Iâ€™m happy to have her and thatâ€™s good enough for me.
No matter what, I hope she knows just how much I love her, and how much Iâ€™m always going to love her.
Happy 13[sup]th[/sup] birthday Sophie!!!