This is Sophie. Sophie is more than “just a dog”. She is my calm, my serenity, my constant. She is the first face I see in the morning, and the last face I see before bed. She is my rock. To some, she is nothing more than a slobbering, stinky dog, and to others she’s an imperative family member. But to me, she’s even more than that. She is my “person”.
Sophie had a rough start in life. She was abandoned, malnourished and barely survived a time in her life when she should have been thriving. Fortunately (for both of us), she was rescued by a group I was working with called SAINTS and brought into foster care. We fed her, bathed her, vaccinated her, and loved her. All things any puppy needs, but she had yet to experience.
As a foster mom, I tried my best not to get too attached to the pups I took in. I had to, otherwise every time one got adopted I would be heartbroken. Okay, so that didn’t work out too well and I still ended up crying every time I brought a puppy to meet their forever family, but they were tears of joy, in my defense.
I only had Sophie a short time before she was first adopted, but I knew right away she was special. This dog was going to change someone’s life. I had instantly formed a connection and bond with her. So much, that I joked with my colleague and friend, Lisa, that I wanted to keep her myself.
In the rescue industry, we call that a “foster fail”. It’s an endearing, joke term, used to describe a foster parent who ends up adopting the dog they were fostering. We call it a “fail” because generally those foster parents were now full time pet parents, and not likely to foster again.
A short while after Soph was adopted, her new family returned her. I know how maddening that can seem, but better they return her to us than her live in a home where she wasn’t 110% appreciated. As it turned out, the new family was just dealing with some personal issues and they decided to give pet ownership another chance. So we gave her back to them. On the inside, I was reeling. I mean, here was this sweet little hound dog, being returned and re-bought like some kind of material possession, but I knew I had to be a big girl, and look at the bigger picture. She was going to live out a great life with people who did love her.
After Sophie left the second time, I threw myself back into work with SAINTS. I wanted to stay busy, and keep changing the lives of all the abandoned dogs and puppies in our area. Things were going great until I got a call that Sophie was coming back. AGAIN. I knew right then and there that this sweet little soul was meant to be with me. So I adopted her.
I had never felt such attachment and love for a dog before. And this is coming from someone who will chat you up on the street, just for a chance to pet your dog. I’d had dogs my whole life, but none like Sophie.
See, she is different. She knows me better than I know myself. I guess she could be considered an un-official service dog.
She knows when I’m in pain, or when an anxiety attack is on the horizon. She knows when I need comfort, love, attention, and space. She knows my coming mood changes before I even do, and I have learned to depend on her for that. Anxiety is a bitch, and it can make me a bitch, but day in and day out, she is there for me. No judgments, no resentment, no questions. Just unconditional love and support.
She is more than “just a dog”.