What is a dog? A dog is something special. More than simply an animal, yet less than a human. A dog is sentient yet, less than human. A dog gives and feels love as we would define it yet, less than human. A dog is capable of emotion on levels we can’t understand, for others of their own kind and those different yet, less than human. But a dog is more than a sum of it’s parts. A dog provides us with an intimate opportunity to watch it grow and progress in ways we don’t entirely understand. From its birth, we have the opportunity to watch it learn and thrive based on the combinations of it’s surroundings, master and primal instinct. However, as the years progress, we have the privilege of observing its loyalty and love to us both unparalleled and unconditional in a way that is more than human.
Today, I lost one of my best friends, Sophie. Sophie was more than a dog. Sophie was a beloved friend that provided me with a love that some don’t often experienced, paralleled only by that of love from close family and significant others. Sophie passed today and I wasn’t there to comfort her. I wasn’t there.
I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in heaven. So I don’t have the opportunity to believe that she is in a better place, simply because I don’t believe she is. Sophie’s time with my family and I provided both of us with an unbelievable experience filled with love and fun. Her welcome home greetings were that of kings and it was always one of the better parts of my day. Sophie’s place was in our home and her purpose was executed flawlessly. Sophie was always in a better place.
As silly as it sounds, her death has given me an opportunity to evaluate what death is, especially when its that of a loved one. I’ve often wrestled with the idea of death, considering my own and the impact that other’s have on me. Death is a part of life. It’s just simple biology. Sophie, like many other dogs and humans, succumbed to the grip of cancer and it baffles me that something as simple as unchecked replication of cells, consuming all of the organism’s energy could be so vicious. Seemingly “taking’ something from us. A loved one, a friend. But again, I must realize that these things happen in biology. It would be easy to be angry at someone or something for taking my beloved Sophie from me. It would be easy to place blame and feel as though both her and I were slighted. But we weren’t. Sophie wasn’t taken. Sophie was a part of a biological process that we just haven’t had the opportunity to fully understand, and that resulted in death.
Sophie was more than just a dog. She gave me the opportunity to reevaluate how I treat others. As silly as it may sound to you, Sophie’s love caused me to reconsider how I love those around me. Sophie never yelled at me. Sophie never got mad at me. And when she was wrong, she admitted it and made things right, only to be her happy fun loving self within moments afterwards. When I was wrong she never thought for a moment to forgive me. She showed me that love doesn’t have to be conditional. Love can and always will be superior to anger and sadness.
Her life wasn’t exactly a long one, but I can’t imagine that in the days prior to the cancer, that there was ever a day filled with sadness. Her death has only reinforced the idea that we are finite. As humans, we have the opportunity to learn and teach and make this world a better place, as cliche as it sounds.
Make the most of your days and make sure to let those around you, human or not, know the love that you have for them.
Here’s to you Sophie bug. Thank you for the love you gave me and the happiness you provided. I am forever grateful.