It’s a year now since my beloved King Charles, Sophie, was facing her last night before I had to have her put down. She was a true companion for thirteen a half years ~ years that brought many highs and lows.
We called her Princess Sophie Rose after a character in a much-read children’s book and it suited her perfectly.
Sophie probably knew me better than anyone ~ she was always there with those beautiful eyes watching my every move and was empathy dogified.
She left her mark in so many ways: every hardback book chewed like the most delicious bone; paw prints on my heart marking the days and nights that she sat with me knowing I needed her.
I’m just glad she didn’t have to suffer and that I was with her right to the very end, holding her soft spaniel ears. Her ashes live here in the Study with me. I’d intended to scatter them out in the woods but couldn’t bring myself to do it and I’m glad now that I didn’t.
I can’t imagine how she’d have got on with puppy Stan, who came into my life just ten days after she died. I hope she’d be pleased to know that he has pulled me through the sadness of losing her ~ both physically and metaphorically.
However, I hope she also knows the extent to which her love was beyond special and will always, always be part of my very being.
Dogs have been a fundamental part of my life since I was a child and I think tonight of a research paper I co-wrote with a psychologist some years back about the whole issue of pet bereavement and the extent to which the death of a companion animal can be a highly significant event in the owner’s life, especially if the animal is the last connection to humans one has loved.
Sophie certainly fitted into that category as she was greatly loved by both my parents and always tugged to go cross the road to call into their house in the years after they had died.
I have both my parents to thank for introducing me to a love of dogs ~ yet another of those priceless gifts.