When I entered the professional workforce after graduate school in 1997, the first step was to secure a pet. I have always loved animals, and I knew that having a companion as I acclimated to a new city would be prudent. The Saturday after I received my first pay check I headed to the Humane Society to find my little furry friend. As soon as I held Sophie, an adorable little white kitten, I knew that she had chosen me to be her mommy.
Sophie was by my side through 5 moves, 20+ surgeries, one amputation, one husband, two babies and 18 years. Yesterday evening, our streak came to an abrupt end. Sophie passed away, and to say that I am heartbroken does not do the emotion justice. I feel lost without my little friend.
When my foot was injured, she laid on my lap for countless hours. When I endured surgery after surgery to fix the injury, Sophie stayed by my side until the pain finally waned enough for me to sleep. When I had my amputation, she walked with a limp on her front left paw for a month.
After I moved to Virginia, leaving everything I had known behind me, Sophie sat on the opposite end of my little kitchen table and listened while I told her about my day over dinner. There were weekends where she was the only company, and although she was a cat, I never felt completely alone.
I've spent countless hours petting her little head as she purred on my lap. Although Sophie was adorable in my eyes, I know that those who didn't know her had a different perception. Her head remained the size of a kitten while her body grew to an adult size. Because of the disproportion, many thought she was obese. She wasn't overweight; her head was just smaller than her body which made her look fat.
Saturday morning we began our difficult goodbye. Sophie wasn't moving much, and her breathing was labored. Her once pristine white fur was suddenly dingy and disheveled. I could tell by looking in her eyes that she was ready to die.
Sophie saw me through dating, marriage, babies, jobs and medical setbacks. She provided me with unconditional love and friendship. This weekend, she offered me one final gift. She allowed us all time to say goodbye. Scott, Robby and I all spent time petting and holding our little friend. We showered her with love, kisses and lots of petting. She knew she was loved, and we all came to realize that our time together was ending. She was suffering and deserved to be at peace, so I made the difficult call to the vet.
As I held Sophie at the vet's office, I softly began to sing the song I used to serenade her with when she was a kitten. I continued singing in her ear as the medication was administered. In her final moments, she looked at me and began to purr. I stopped singing to tell her that I loved her. She nudged my head and took her final breath.
We all drove home in silence. We buried Sophie in the flower bed in our back yard. Robby laid flowers on the fresh mound of dirt, and I said my final goodbye.
I am lucky to have had 18 years with my wonderful little friend. This morning my heart hurts and the house feels empty. I miss my Sophie.