Sophie earned her middle name “Taz” because as a puppy, she used to race around the house like the Tasmanian Devil, but after 13 years her body gave out and today, with a heavy heart, we said goodbye. We called each of the girls on video chat to let them say their goodbyes, then I took her to the vet and stayed with her as she crossed that rainbow bridge.
It was Sophie who got me back into hunting. I quit hunting when my last Lab, Sabokka, died. Then one night Carrie surprised me with a little ball of brown fur in her arms and I new it was time to get back into the game. Sophie’s first retrieve was a Sage Grouse at the age of nine months, and a couple of months later made her first water retrieve – however I had to wade out into the water waist-deep to break the thin layer of ice for her.
Although we hunted together quite often, I rarely took her fishing. The main reason was that she would try retrieving any fish that I hooked, something that other fishermen always found humorous.
Sophie was never destroyed a thing, except for speakers, CDs, every remote control she could find, and Ashley’s homework – which was submitted with my note: “Yes, the dog really did eat her homework”. We didn’t have crates at the time and put Sophie in the kitchen, blocked by a child gate. This lasted about five seconds before she knocked it down and that was the end of any attempts to crate or confine her.
In addition to being an excellent retriever and hunting companion, Sophie mentored all of our dogs and I often referred to her as the “zen master” of our little pack. She took great joy in being mischievous, for example taking shoes or slippers and then standing in front of you slowly wagging her tail. More recently she would make eye contact with you before dragging limbs off piles we had raked up and chewing on them. But Sophie was always as gentle as they come.
She along with Elvis, became certified therapy dogs nearly four years ago and it was a job she thoroughly enjoyed. When she saw me get my therapy bag, the excitement of that wild little puppy returned and she would “woof” and jump until I put her in the truck. She worked right up to the end and her last therapy visit was June 24.
Sophie was a big part of our family for 13 years leading a happy life from start to end, loved children and was able to meet our first grandson. To say that she’ll be missed is an understatement, but she’s now free from the health problems that were taking their toll on her and if there’s room to run and water to swim, that’s where you’ll find her.