Our Chris Andoe, on the death of his dog Sophie

In 2006, we found Sophie limping down the street in Oklahoma City.

I called to her and she came right up and wanted to come inside.

I gave her food and water, then we called the Golden Retriever Rescue to pick her up. She was in horrible shape with a cut paw and hundreds of ticks of all shapes and sizes. This was around nine in the morning.

At about 4:30 in the afternoon, I went out back to find my husband Damon bathing her and picking off ticks as he wept. He said he just couldn’t stand the thought of them being all over her.

Seeing as she was baptized in his tears, I knew she was now ours.

Sophie and our other dog, Brawny the yorkie.

Sophie and our other dog, Brawny the yorkie, who would dutifully clean Sophie’s eyes each and every morning.

We didn’t know what to name her, and toyed with a few names until one evening we went for a walk through the neighborhood with our friend Trish and her dogs. One short street was more like an alley because four backyards faced it, each with at least one barking dog. It was always chaos walking through there with those dogs barking and our dogs barking back. I looked at her, and she was limping along with a big smile and I immediately thought of the dinner scene in the Color Purple when after being so sad, Sophie starts laughing and saying, “Sophia home now! Sophia home!”

Sophie and Brawny have two daddies.

Sophie and Brawny have two daddies.

For seven years Sophie’s been part of our family. Each morning, Brawny (our yorkie) would clean Sophie’s eyes as she lobbied us for walks, rides and treats.

Sophie's last moments, surrounded by her family.

Sophie’s last moments, surrounded by her family.

Sophie enjoyed playing with dogs, but truly loved people. At the park she would approach each and every bench to greet everyone, and this brought a great deal of joy to the homeless and mentally ill. One such woman greeted her daily and when she saw someone shoo Sophie away she hugged her and said “Don’t you worry about them Sophie!”

Sophie had cancer and was wasting away. We said we’d make our end of life decision when she no longer enjoyed the things she loved, and that day was yesterday.

She’s traveled with us through eight states and down countless trails. Last night we went to her favorite sunny spot by the bay where she just rested in the grass.

She was too tired to be nervous as we got to the vet. I spread out my hoodie and she laid down resting her head on my lap. She passed surrounded by her family.

Farewell old friend.

sophie-sun


Chris Andoe is a New York based writer and seasoned activist. After meeting John Aravosis at a Chicago “StopDrLaura.com” protest in 2000, Chris was inspired to organize his own major demonstrations in St. Louis, his adopted hometown, which drew national attention. Since then, his activism has revolved around LGBT, affordable housing, and mass transit issues. While living in San Francisco, Andoe made headlines taking on the amorphous hacker group Anonymous for publishing nude photos of a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesperson, saying “Puritanical shame-based tactics have no place in the capital of sexual liberation”, and he extensively covered the city’s jarring gentrification, from mass evictions to the nudity ban. Back in St. Louis Andoe’s hosted public events on the subway and elsewhere as “The Emperor” and writes the Tales from the Emperor column for Vital Voice Magazine. Always in the fray, Andoe’s been interviewed by NPR, CBS, and has been quoted from CNN to The St. Louis Post Dispatch. His upcoming book of short stories, Delusions of Grandeur, is expected out early next year.

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  • nobonesl

    A beautiful, heartful story. And yeah, I cried.

  • Clevelandchick

    So sorry for your loss but thank you for saving her from the streets and giving this beautiful creature a loving home and a happy life for so long.

  • skwcw2001 .

    I know you all just where in st louis my bud jack is still recovering lol, but on the loss of a baby there are no ways to make it not hurt. For me the best person I have known is my dog. They come into our lives through all the bad and good through are not so great moments in life, to our great times, they lay with us when we are sick putting up with our neediness without complaint, they test us and test us, they treat us, we think to highly of ourselves, we think that we saved them, when in fact they save us. They allow us a buffer when times are hard, good, better and bad. There cannot be anything more beautiful than a puppy belly, and watching the pup grow and go through the awkard year of life to the clumsy getting their footing time, to when they start to figure things out and you flow with their being through your daily life and you work together perfectly, then the most sadly the fact that they are the greatest gift we can have, have such a short time with us, we make a bargin when we get them to love them raise them and grow, then when it is time to either help them pass or be there for them as they would us. My sympathies to you your husband and other fury child.

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  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    You have my condolences, sort of. You gave her seven wonderful years. The type of years I wish all dogs and cats had. I lost my Golden, PJ, ten years ago. His collar still hangs in my living room. I have my late husband’s cat now, and I tell her daily about PJ and my husband.

  • PeteWa

    I’m sorry for your loss, but also so happy for the wonderful home you provided Sophie.

  • jimdarlin

    I have had to make the same decision you just made 4 times in my life. Two Golden Retrievers, 1 Keeshond, and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever; and each and every time was a tough decision. When you are a dog lover you go into it knowing that you are going to have to make that call one day. But the love your dog gives you demands that you be there all the way to the end; including making the end of life decision at the right time. It sounds like you did. By the way I have two Golden Retrievers now.

  • Ty Morgan

    Sorry for your lost, but yours and Sophie’s lives have been enriched by your coming together. And that can never be taken away.

  • HelenRainier

    Heart felt condolences on the loss of Sophie, She was meant to be a part of your family and I’m sure you learned much from her. She will be at the Rainbow Bridge waiting quietly for all of you.

  • houstonray

    Our condolences and love as well. We have three cats, the oldest will be 18 next month. I know that the day will come and we’ll do it when it’s right. You did the right thing and Sophie is watching over you. What wonderful Daddies she had. Thanks for sharing her with us…

  • citizen_spot

    My condolences on the loss of your beloved Sophie. Thanks for sharing her story and pictures.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    My love to you both, Chris and Damon, in this time of grief, loss, and sorrow. Sophie was blessed to have known you.

    hugs,
    Becca

  • discus_sucks_ass

    Chris & Damon, I hear your pain and I have known it. I am happy she found a good family for 7 years, as I am sure she was too. Damon not being able to stand her being covered in ticks speaks volumes about him and you as well…Sophie was lucky she adopted you both.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh, that clutch in the throat again, that silent first wail of grief. Those moments when color flees, time slows to a stop, and life is so incredibly intense when we lose those so dearly loved, those who loyalty and ever forgiving love never fails. We are so sorry for your loss and find in your post the beauty of that love. Peace, Michael and Trace

  • 2patricius2

    I wrote this when it was time to have my little Pomeranian “Pooh” put to sleep:

    I’ve heard the hissing of air escaping a tire,
    leaving it flat.
    I’ve watched water flow out of a tub
    in an eddy, gurgling as it drained.
    I watched the life drain from my dog.
    I know where the air went -
    into the atmosphere.
    I know the water flowed into the sewer.
    But where did Pooh’s life go?

  • UncleBucky

    My cat died in 10 minutes. Probably a heart attack or congestive heart failure.

    I have never wanted another pet.

  • cole3244

    i have had to pts 12 cats so far and i am a complete wreck every time.

    i shed a tear for you but you did the right thing for sophie even though it was a hard thing to do.

  • greenman47

    Sherman’s Departure

    One less scoop of canine kibble
    Garnished with chopped chicken breast,
    One less poop and pool of piddle,
    Little Sherman’s laid to rest.

    One less silent form escaping
    When the door is opened wide;
    Even though the way be gaping,
    Sherman now shall “Stay inside!”

    Faithful Sherman, watchful, humble,
    Lhasa Apso, not some mutt.
    Guarded our domestic temple,
    Kept us safe from…who knows what?

    His years were long, his life contented,
    Then said he, “I’ll eat no more.
    I shall depart, you can’t prevent it.
    I can open my own door!”

    JPK 5/9/2012

  • SharonB

    Very sorry to hear of your loss. You were lucky to have such a friend; and, she was blessed to have you all as her family.

  • Indigo

    May she rest in peace while waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.

  • stldem

    How wonderful that Sophie had the two of you and Brawny to love her.

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