Nearly twelve years ago I was out driving around one day and decided to stop at the Humane Society to say hi to the animals. This was a common practice back then. I'd stop in and go from kennel to kennel giving them scratches. I don't think I really intended on leaving there with a dog that day, but I did. In one of the kennels was a sweet looking retriever named Brandy. She was 9 months old and happy to see me. They brought her into a small room and she immediately climbed into my lap. She was fully grown so this was no easy feat. All I could imagine was her out frolicking with our golden retriever, Cisco, and so I brought her home. She never looked like a Brandy, so she became a Sophie. Sophie immediately assumed her role as Alpha dog and started bossing her new brothers around the second she set foot in the house. It's been that way for twelve years, except now she bosses all of us around.
She can be a real pain in the rear at times but she's part of the family. Over the years we've come to accept her idiosyncrasies. We know to guard our food at all times otherwise it will swiftly be plucked from our plate. There is a dedicated spray bottle full of water at the table for this specific purpose. A Sophie nose near your plate gets sprayed, oh how she hates the spray bottle. You can't leave her out in the yard or she will jump up on the window to tell you she needs to come inside. God forbid she's outside when neighbor starts shooting his gun (or canon) as she will break the window trying to get in. This is just the short list of nuances that come to my brain, but believe me there are pages I could write.
About a month ago we felt a lump on her neck. It was about the size of a chicken egg. This was right before Christmas and I told her we'd go into the vet after Christmas. Two weeks later it was the size of a goose egg. It was growing fast. So last week I took her in. The vet said it was most likely cancer and we'd need to get it off of her as quickly as possible if that was the route I wanted to take. The other route would be to put her down. The surgery was under $300 bucks so we signed her up to have it removed. He bumped her to the top of the surgery list and got her in two days later (last Thursday).
I've got to be honest, I didn't think she'd make it through surgery. In my head I gave her about a 20% chance of coming home. I cried when I dropped her off and said my goodbyes. The kids gave her a hug before going to school, we talked about what might happen. I prepared them so it wasn't a huge shock.
Then, by golly, she made it through surgery. They worked and worked and got it all. I love our vets.
What I wasn't prepared for is how she would look when she came home. For them to remove this giant tumor from her neck, they had to cut a lot off. The scar goes from the bottom of her neck to the top. It's gruesome. Greta was scared of her for about a day.
Sophie is slowly recovering. She sleeps a lot (as most old dogs do). This weekend she started playing again with Cody which was good to see. They love to go into the couple of acres behind the house and do their morning perimeter run. It made me smile to see her loafing along. We're not ready to be without our Alpha-Sophie.....although we might need to rename her Franken-Sophie at least for the time being.