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Introducing Sophie

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Sophie came to live with us permanently 10 years ago – the same day she destroyed the sofa during the 10 minutes she was left alone at her first home. I had fallen in love with her and couldn’t bear to see her go to live with strangers. So when the phone rang that day – and the voice on the other end of the phone said, “That’s it – she has to go” I said “I’ll be right there to get her” without a second thought. I couldn’t have imagined what am impact she would have on my life in the years that followed. We already had the worlds greatest dog – Keaton – at that time – a 2 year old Golden who was a wise old soul from the time he was born. He was as calm as Sophie was anxious. They seemed to complete each other somehow. Over the years that followed, Keaton and Sophie became inseparable. We always worried what would happen to Sophie if Keaton, being older, were to pass away first. Last April, (2009) Sophie was going to the vet to have some cysts removed from her back when I found the lump under her front left leg. It was removed along with the cysts and we waited anxiously for the results. It came back positive for soft tissue sarcoma. The specialists gave her a few weeks to live if we didn’t amputate her leg and follow up with radiation treatment 3 hours from home. We would have had to leave her there for 3 months, they said. Knowing her anxious nature, and her dependence on Keaton, we decided that this fate was worse than death, and began preparing emotionally for losing her. But Sophie has never done what was expected of her. She is a rebel dog. Where Keaton always lived his life quietly and gently – Sophie wanted to speed through life 100 mph with her hair on fire ! So we had the tumor reduced three times over the year. The last time it came back bigger and harder than ever – before her hair even grew back.

Keaton also aged over the last year, he was, after all in his 14th year of life – a golden age for a golden dog. One day earlier this month, he was no longer able to walk, and became panic stricken. Our vet had a special affinity for him, as did everyone who met him, and she came to our house right away when I called. He went to the rainbow bridge with all of us holding him and his beloved Sophie at his side.

We worried about Sophie, wondering if our couch might be the victim of her anxiety induced grief over losing her closest friend. But, again, she surprised all of us. Her joyful nature, and love of life began to burn more brightly every day. Our vet suggested that we might rethink the decision to amputate her arm – she was certain that Sophie could have quality time left – cancer free – without the pain and uncomfortable bulk of the tumor – the size of a grapefruit – hindering her. So, we consulted with the specialist, and she went for the surgery on Thursday, February 25th.

I was shocked to get the phone call on Friday morning – just 24 hours after her surgery – saying “You have a very happy 3-legged dog waiting anxiously for someone to come and take her home!”

While it wasn’t Sophie’s choice to take this path, I am cautiously hopeful that it was the right one for her.

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6 Responses to “Introducing Sophie”

  1. Welcome, Sophie! We’re sorry you had to find us, but happy to hear that you’re on your way to recovery! We’re keeping fingers and paws crossed that your recovery goes well and that you continue to love life for a long time!
    What kind of dog are you? How old are you? And we all love pictures, so please post some if you can!
    Holly and Holly’s mom

  2. Thank you for sharing the heartfelt story of Sophie, I can tell she is much loved and so with that she will do great things as a Tripawd!

    The first 2 weeks come with challenges, but just be there to love and support her. You will be amazed at what she will do.

    Ginny & Angel Paris

  3. What a beautiful story about your girl. My Xander had his surgery yesterday, Friday February 26th. Although his amputation did not stem from sickness (he was struck by a car November 11th), he is now a proud member of the tripawd community. He came home this morning and made his way, on his own, up the stairs to the door. Xander had a bit of an advantage as he has not had the use of his right foreleg since the accident… however I’m certain with your Sophi’s spirit that she will not be long finding her balance.
    Sending love and strength for her healing… keep your heart strong for her, as she knows not that anything is different… only that today she gets to love you all over again.
    Xander and Trina

  4. Sophie will surprise you. The first two weeks will be the hardest, but you will be amazed at how well she will compensate for her missing leg.

    My boy, Opie, is also a golden. Your description of Keaton, also describes Opie to a T. He has been a laid back, lazy dog from day one. He went tripawd in November 2009. He is now back to his normal lazy self.

  5. Welcome! Sophie and Keaton sound like two wonderful Goldens (you’ll find a few of us on this site have Goldens too :). Sounds like you made the right decision with Sophie and she will do just great as a tripawd. With her energy and love for life, you’ll be so amazed at how quickly she’ll bounce back. These next 2 weeks of her recovery may be difficult at times but just know that it’s all worth it in the end. My Golden Mackenzie is going on her 4th month ampuversary and she still continues to do well. Best of luck to you and Sophie. Keep us posted. Would love to see pictures of her too!

  6. Dear Sophie’s Mom: Mackenzie’s Mom told me about you and I wanted to say hello. And I hope everything goes well this next 2 weeks. I too have a 12 year old Golden, Rosie. She is my sweetheart my baby. We love her so much like you love your Sophie. These dogs are just so loving and kind and wonderful. My Rosie we’ve had a long trial with her leg cancer. All started last August 09. We did Radiation first then Chemo, and oppted not to Amputate at first just like you because she was older. But now after all the efforts to save her leg with a special Radiation we did called Stereotactic Radiation. Well her leg has a hairline fracture and they think we should amputate. We are contemplating now what to do. I’m so scared to put her thru more surgery as she is 12 and tired. But she has good days she walks with a pretty bad limp, but she overlooks it and goes on. We are sad to see her in pain and all the pain meds, so we may amputate in the next couple weeks. So I was very interested to find out how your 12 year old Golden is doing. Please keep letting us know how she is. You will find the strength to get thru it because you love her so much. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Rosie’s Mom

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