Tuesday, May 18, 2010

sophie – my black, furry baby.

happy birthday, sophie! my dog is 14 today, so i thought i’d do a post in honor of her. i haven’t talked too much about my ‘first baby’ on here, probably because i have 3 others that do more interesting things, at this point. mostly i complain about her shedding all over the place. so here, more or less, is the story of sophie.

14 years ago, she was born as one of 15 pups in her litter (or something crazy-huge like that). her father belonged to a friend from church, a chocolate lab, i believe. pretty sure her mother was a black lab, but as it goes with labs, you can get any of the 3 colors from any combination of parents. as breeding tradition goes, they got to choose ‘the pick of the litter’ to keep. well, they had enough dogs already, i guess, and didn’t intend to keep her. this friend worked on music with my mom at church, and brought said pick of the litter with her one day when she was REALLY little. my mom fell in love. i was home from college at the time, and she came home and told me about this adorable puppy that whimpered and slept the whole time. the wheels were already turning, so i jumped on the bandwagon and announced that a black lab was TOTALLY the kind of dog i wanted to get. so we plotted and presented the issue to my dad who suggested, skeptically, that we bring the puppy home “on trial”. hahaha! famous last words.

at any rate, sophie wormed her way into everyone’s hearts, especially my dad’s! they agreed that she would be my birthday present, as i was turning 20 in july. sadly, i don’t have any puppy pictures of her, since these were the pre-digital days, and i didn’t realize until i got the pictures back from printing, that my camera was broken and i had 3 rolls of completely white prints.

since then, sophie has lived in a variety of places. kirkland, wa, cheney, wa, napoleon, oh, back to kirkland, and now woodinville.

she has shared her home with 2 different cats. my cat, kijika, and more recently, my parents’ cat, beatrice… both of which, she has ‘tolerated’. my parents also used to have quite the collection of rabbits, who she enjoyed chasing, barking at, and generally stressing out in her younger years.

her favorite words were ‘walk’, ‘car’, ‘oops’, ‘cookie’, ‘squirrel’, and ‘cat’. she also liked helping my dad ‘feed the bunnies’. she would accompany him out to give them their food or hay… it was a general excuse to go out with one of her favorite humans and nose around in the bunny poop. gross, i know, but it’s still one of her favorite ‘treats’. i guess you have to be a dog to understand that one.

over the years, she’s had some various medical issues that have had to be dealt with. she’s been under the knife more than once too. when she was only a couple years old, she developed these weird bumps in her left ear flap, which had to be removed. not long after that, she developed a bump on her tail, which turned out to be cancerous. she had that removed, and due to the lack of excess skin on tails, had to have a bandage on for weeks, which had to be changed at the vet’s every few days. THAT was expensive! she also had a tendency to get yeast infections in her ears and had to go to the vet so many times to have them cleaned out or treated (something she HATES) that the experience apparently scarred her for life and she had to get a new vet, just because going to that building made her so nervous that she would shake all over, whine obnoxiously, and ‘molt’. basically she’d leave half her fur on the floor there. she also had some skin issues, but in the last several years, she seems to have finally ‘outgrown’ all of that and hasn’t had any issues at all recently. that’s nice, considering she’s been quite the money-pit dog in that regard, and considering she’s 14 today, i can’t imagine that she’ll stay out of the vet’s too much longer. she’s got a little stiffness now, and she has to take medicine so she can control her bladder, but other than that, she’s doing really well for an old dog! oh, and she got run over by a truck one time too. that was scary, but doggy angels were definitely watching over her because she went right down the middle and came away with just a couple bumps and scrapes. but OMG that was scary! one of the worst things i’ve watched happen.

i’ve had to make her throw up a couple times. being a lab, she’ll eat almost anything, which can definitely get a dog into trouble. the first time, she was only about 6 months old and she ate a BOTTLE of advil. yes, the bottle, let alone what was in it. another time, she ate 16 CHOCOLATE cupcakes off the counter. if you know dogs, you know that chocolate is like poison to them. super fun. but obviously, she survived.

there are several funny, famous sophie stories, all of which involve food. there was the time she snuck over to the neighbor’s house through a hole in the fence. they have a dog door into the garage for their dog – an bearded collie named fergus, and he eats like a cat (as opposed to like a lab – all in one gulp), so there was always food in his bowl, which sophie happily finished off. this time however, she apparently made her way into the house because she came home with a baguette in her mouth. apparently they had left some old bread on the counter to make into thanksgiving stuffing, and sophie raided the stash. oops. then there’s the scone incident. my friend, trudy came by to drop off her son, sean, who was spending the day with shane – i think they were 3 or 4 at the time. well, sophie LOVES people, and also thinks that an open car door is an invitation to go for a ride. she’s also incredibly food-motivated, and so within seconds of trudy arriving, sophie had bounded out the door, leapt into her car, honed in on the half-eaten scone between the seats, and of course, devoured it! but the best story would have to be the night before shane’s 5th birthday. he had very specifically requested a round cake with pink frosting and fish sprinkles. so i had baked the cake, 2 layers, and had it cooling on top of the stove. i was in my bedroom talking to dave on the phone late at night (this was the summer before we got married and he was living in ohio – so this was a nightly tradition), when i heard my mom yell from the kitchen. when i came to investigate, there was an empty cooling rack on the floor, and the remaining layer of cake, still on the stove, had several large chunks taken out of it. the birthday boy had already gone to bed, so i had to inform him in the morning, and then he got to go the the store and select a replacement cake. he was very forgiving.

all in all, sophie has been the most wonderful dog. she is very loving, friendly and kid-tolerant. aside from shedding issues, i’d recommend a lab to ANY family with kids. she would never hurt a fly. well, actually, she’s a pretty good fly-hunter… so i guess she would, but never a person. but you need space, a good brush, a good vacuum, and lots of energy. around the age of 11, she finally outgrew being a puppy! now she sleeps a lot, but still takes her job seriously as the family dog. her duties involve thoroughly greeting anyone who comes to the door, keeping the floor clear of crumbs, pre-washing the dishes, cleaning out crusty casserole dishes, and reporting the weather. she’s retired from duties of protecting us from squirrels and cats, but still watches out for flies and spiders.

we love you sophie! happy birthday! may you have at least a few more, you sweet, sweet dog!

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