Monday, December 17, 2012

Sophie Jo of Minnesota

Sophie Jo doesn't care much for the camera, but as Queen of the "Drop and Roll" she loves to taunt her Mom and Dad with "pretty girl" poses.

 Paint me like a French girl!

For all her sass and wiggle, Miss "SoJo's" story is part two of a genuinely awesome Corgi story. One that continues to unfold and amaze her family with every passing day. This little tri girl is proof that although we may not know just what we need to heal our losses and rebuild our hearts, somehow the Universe knows. And sometimes the Universe answers ... with a very special dog.


Sophie's story wouldn't be complete without Tootsie's tale. Tootsie, who made her Daily Corgi debut back in June, entered her family's life through a series of serendipitous circumstances, starting with a picture postcard of Stephen King (yes, that one!) and his pet Corgi. Some things are mere coincidence, others seem pre-destined. Somehow Tootsie ended up where she needed to be ... life's not-so-random twists and turns made sure of it.

This past Fall, after 14 years of a wonderful life her lucky people, this grand dame of 16 made her way to the Bridge with dignity, surrounded by all the love every dog deserves in those final earthly moments. It was time. They never do live long enough -- but it was her time. 

In the wake of this loss and inevitable heartbreak, the blow was softened by the many people of Corgi Nation who reached out to Tootsie's family via the facebook community. "We were deeply grateful for all of the wonderful comments, wishes, empathy and words of comfort as we dealt with the loss of our many years of companionship with Tootsie Lou" writes Karen. "It was gratifying to have her acknowledged in this way as an important member of our little family by fellow Corgi lovers and owners. Watching her rapid decline over the course of four weeks was heart breaking. Collecting her ashes was closure to a long goodbye."

"The weekend we collected her ashes, Steven and I talked quite a lot about our "future family" and the fond memories of Tootsie's little quirks we would miss on a daily basis. He said perhaps we could consider a puppy, since at that time we had the mixed blessing of him being laid off and available to deal with a puppy. "Everyone wants a puppy" I said. "They're so cute they sell themselves. Let's consider an older dog, not necessarily a senior dog as I don't want to go through this again in a couple of years, but one that's at least past the puppy stages of house training, chewing, etc. Oh, and I'd like our next Corgi --  (cue his 'Oh?!?' look of surprise) -- to be a tri-color. I'll be open to any dog in need of a home when we get to that point, but Tootsie spoiled me enough that I'd really like another Corgi."

"Because of circumstances in our lives, Steven and I agreed to a year's wait before committing to another dog,  Little did we know a year's wait was nowhere in the cards, but a certain JoJo Potato was -- we just hadn't met her yet. The Universe knew my heart was grieving for the loss of my Corgi, and was prepared to answer with completely unmistakable signs   paralleling those that had delivered Tootsie to us."

 The t-shirt ... the classified ad ... a few of the "coincidences".

"Not long after, I attended a local church fundraiser; part tradition, part distraction to get out of the house. On my way to the checkout, I was scanning for overlooked bargains and was stopped in my tracks by the shocking sight of a Corgi t-shirt. I never find anything Corgi themed, except on the internet, but this t-shirt with a tri-color Corgi wearing a Christmas hat and scarf was right there in my direct line of vision. I was stunned! I'm sure I sound like a grief stricken old lady when I say that I took it as a sign from the Bridge that Tootsie was telling me she was OK. I snapped up the shirt, not caring the size or condition, and headed to the check out before I burst into tears."

"Fast forward one week. I was 90 miles away visiting my parents for the weekend. Mum and I usually check the classifieds to plan our Saturday morning outing, scanning for church bazaars or garage sales of interest. As she spread out the paper, she pointed out a "Free Corgi to a good home" classified ad. "This caught my eye yesterday" she said. "I took the liberty of calling for more details, even though I know you're not really in the market for another dog." Though it was against my better judgement, I was intrigued enough to call and leave a message. After all, who gives away a Corgi?! Surely it must be a mix, or have behavior issues, or they would want money for a purebred  (sound familiar?) I had to know. Because it was a rural area, I had visions of the dog being dumped out in the country, or surrendered to the local Humane Society if no one answered the ad. I called back to say if the dog had been placed then God bless, but if not I was still interested in more details or possibly meeting the dog."

"Sunday afternoon we got a call back from the owner Esther, who had placed the ad before remembering she had an out of town engagement. She and her husband had boarded the dog in town while they were away, and he was en route to pick up the dog. Turns out the boarding facility was less than a mile from where my parents live. She called her husband and arranged for him to meet me there. I grabbed my friend Sharon -- who had stopped in for coffee and a chat --  and headed out."

"Sharon lives on a farm and offered to take the dog if we couldn't keep her. When we pulled up to the curb, my heart leapt in my throat -- Sophie was a tri-color! The lady who ran the boarding facility vouched for her good behavior with the other dogs and her cats. Jerry explained to me that there are three dogs on the farm and Sophie was more or less the odd one out. They got her as a Christmas gift from a local breeder. (I forgot to ask if she arrived with a Santa hat and scarf on)."

"I assured Jerry that after 14 years of spoiled Corgi experience, she could not go to a better home than ours. My two cats are used to a dog around, but she would have no other competition for our time and attention. Our initial interview went well and we made delivery arrangements for the next afternoon. Jerry and his wife delivered Sophie to my parents house, where she impressed them with her charm and brand of cute. My offer to pay for Sophie's accessories (kennel, leash, food toys) and gas money was rebuffed. "Just love her and give her a good home" they said. (How do you put a price on a piece of your heart?) The only remaining obstacle was winning my husband over ... "

 Hi Dad, I'm home!

"Upon arriving at home, I let Sophie walk up the sidewalk ahead of me as I saw Steven come to the door. "Oh my! Who is this little sweetheart?" he said, bending down to greet Sophie. Over her head, he glared at me. "I thought we agreed to a year?!" I rushed to explain that I meant no disrespect of his feelings, but it was Tootsie's story all over again in so many ways: Who would give up a Corgi? ... no health issues ... a complete kit of accessories upon delivery ... the odd one out of a pack of three ... no charge ... "just love her  and give her a good home". How could I walk away? She's a tri-color!"

"The kennel ended up in Steven's office, but by week's end was in our bedroom. "You know" he observed, "Sophie could be our anniversary present this year". Short of a bow on her head, she is purebred, fixed, microchipped and accessorized -- the perfect present!"

"Sophie turned two on November 6th and got a new name with her new family. We added the "Jo" just as we added the "Lou" to Tootsie. She has the assorted variations of SoJo, including JoJo potato, Sophie JoJo (couch potato) and the "when your mother is mad at you and calls you by your full name" moniker of Miss Sophia Josephina! Last but not least, Little Miss Wiggle Bum when she wants to go full tilt on the leash, straining at the harness to make us keep pace." 

"I'm trying to refrain from envisioning her in various costumes or playing dress up but she's just so damn cute. Thank goodness I have no car in which to go shopping or I would probably try her patience, though she certainly has the pretty girl attitude of a doggy model!"

"After recent years of a more sedate pace, there is a whole lot of puppy energy to deal with! I had forgotten how much energy and enthusiasm for life puppies have. SoJo gets three walks daily, more on weekends. On the first outing she reads the "morning news" at local hot spots. I'm hoping she learns to speed read the "pee mail", as the headlines can get rather time consuming. Following morning potty break, she prefers to go back upstairs to bunk up with Steven on the warm bed in semi darkness instead of going directly to the food dish like the cats do." 

"After my workday we do the rounds of the evening editorials and post updates of "SoJo likes this" on articles of particular interest. We play tug, fetch in the evenings, and her favorite ploy is the drop-n-roll so you can rub the floofy butt."

"She's a bit of a beggar but we carefully monitor the intake of peanut butter toast crust as well as mac-n-cheese (her current favorites) so they don't become too much of a habit for later years, when she has less energy to wear off the extra treats. Because JoJo Potato likes to "help" in the studio, I've had to toddler proof my space, as she has slyly slunk away to attempt chewing found trinkets like paper scraps, clothes pins, buttons, cartons, etc."

"Steven is working second shift now, so the fur kids are alone for a couple of hours each afternoon. It's nice for him to come home and be greeted with such enthusiastic puppy kisses. She's an excellent guard dog, letting us know at 1:30 a.m. that the neighbors have returned home. Sounding the bark alarm, our girl bolts from the bed and charges downstairs to challenge a potentially dangerous invasion of her turf. That has taken some getting used to, but we hope in time she'll get used to city sounds vs the old familiar country sounds. She has learned how to hog the middle of the bed on a regular basis."

"SoJo found an old tennis ball behind the rocking chair and promptly brought it to our attention by dropping it at our feet. She was taught to fetch somewhere along the line -- who knew? Since our house is rather tiny, I'm looking forward to sneaking her into the office this winter on Saturdays to chase the ball along nice long hallways.  Next Spring we hope to do obedience basic training license so we can attend dog parks.  I'm hoping to meet up with other Corgi owners in the Twin Cities area to learn more about training options, play dates, walking companions, other recommendations and advice."

"The way I explain it to my friends is this: "When you put the desire of your heart out to the Universe, you don't let your Ego negotiate what you think is the better timing. You smile and say "Thank You for this Gift". Fate meant for us to have a dog."


Molly The Wally said...

Fate is sometimes a generous thing. Have a marvelous Monday.
Best wishes Molly

Tanya said...

A great, beautiful story, especially during these most sad days.

susancorgi said...

This is a beautiful story. Healing comes in a little package with four legs.

gwendolynrose said...

What a wonderful story! It brought a tear to my eye and put a smile on my face!

Anonymous said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes,only another. corgi lover could understand how we love these stuby leg,furry bottom bundles of friend you have been twice blessed, I pray you have many years with Sophie Jo. Incidentally I have a tri colored male that brings me so much happyness daily. Again thank you for sharing your touching story ,

Coleen said...

A lovely story, Karen. You are a good writer.

Unknown said...

My daughter's name is Sophia Josephine, my grandmother's nickname was Tootsie. We recently lost our 16 1/2 year old corgi, Bella right before Christmas (she was pictured on the Daily Corgi about a week before she passed, in a Christmas photo with my two kids)