A tribute to Sophie

I didn’t grow up a dog lover. In fact, I don’t know that I would classify myself as a dog lover. I definitely prefer them to cats, but I don’t just blanketly love every dog I meet.  And in my youth, I wasn’t a huge fan. Until Sophie.

Sophie came into our lives 12 years ago. And today, she left. It’s a very, very sad day in the Brokaw family. We had other pets growing up, but Sophie was different. Sophie is the only one that went the distance. She’s the original greatest creature that ever creatured.

Dogs playing tug of war

Stella & Sophie meeting for the first time

Sophie saw my family through some really hard times. She was there to comfort and snuggle us the morning my little brother left for basic training. An event that changed our family and meant that my parents, after 40+ years, were no longer active parents. She was there to comfort my parents when we hadn’t heard from my little brother in days but knew that a Blackhawk from his base had gone down in Iraq killing all on board. As my mom paced, Sophie never left her side. She was there to give attention when we were sick or sad, always diligent with her love and compassion. She was there to celebrate with us, always excited to be included and given loves. She loved nothing more than welcoming you home, being told “good girl,” swimming, and riding in the car. She was called many things over the years – Beans, Soph-a-ba-doph, and Sophalicious to name a few.

She became my dad’s side-kick after Logan, her boy, left the house. She’s been my dad’s errand buddy on the weekends and his companion in bird watching at the local lake. In the past couple of years, she’s really slowed down but she never lost her youthful exuberance or excitement when you’d show up at the house – wiggling, whining, and bringing you a toy to admire.

This past April Sophie came to stay with us while my parents were out of town. It was a tough visit because her declining health was so evident and required more care than we’re used to giving our athletic, agile puppy. She needed help up and down the stairs and spent most of the day panting, which was cause for concern. I had a hunch that her time was short and felt as though I would really come to cherish the time she spent with us that long weekend. The last day she was at our house, I was emotional. Somehow I knew the opportunity to pet-sit her wouldn’t come again.

Yesterday it was determined that Sophie had a large tumor on her spleen and, likely, another one on her liver. She was no stranger to physical struggle. As a young dog she had to have her full, luscious Golden Retriever tail docked due to a bad cut. We called her nub, which she would “wag” furiously, her “short and sporty.” She had ACL surgery several years ago as well as some subcutaneous tumors removed. There were split paws over the years, sore hips more recently, and various other things. But to know that she was in pain that she couldn’t recover from was too much – too unfair and too inhumane to let continue. And so she was put to sleep today. I drove with parents and Sophie to the vet’s and piloted my parents home after she had passed. It was really the only way I could be of any help and it gave me a chance to say goodbye to a creature that’s touched me so deeply. I’m grateful I was able to do that. So grateful to be able to whisper in her ear that I loved her and to be brave.

So fast, 12 years. And the end, so quick to be over. But such an indelible mark has been left. Sophie made room in my heart for fur children of my own. I will forever be grateful. Love you Soph-a-ba-doph.

Leave a comment


  1. Erin L

     /  July 28, 2011

    Oh Annie, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. It’s so hard to say goodbye to our furry family members. This is an awesome tribute. Hugs and more hugs.

  2. Thanks, Erin. I thought about you guys and Otto (and other fur kids you’ve seen pass over the years) a lot today. Hugs to you too.

  3. Sean C.

     /  July 28, 2011

    My condolences Annie- <3 <3 <3


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