EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of a two-part column.
Todd and Amy were to soon have more excitement in their first years of marriage as they became expectant parents and business would require a move from Lemont (part of Sophie’s pedigree name) to Houston, Texas. October 1993 would find the run-of-the-house yellow dog in a new home with competition for attention as Samuel L. Reid came aboard. Sophie adapted well to the new arrival and the spacious home in Houston’s Champions area. Hunting opportunities and retrieves were delegated to morning hunts in shallow flooded rice fields, warm days and an air-conditioned mansion, for long naps and canine royalty.
The Reid family’s announcement of a move to Louisville, Ky., and another addition to the family meant little to Sophie until she saw her new home and spacious fenced back yard, plus private entrance. Could life get any better?
Will T. Reid became Sophie’s “second buddy” in March ‘96. The Prospect, Ky., home was located not far off the Ohio River where local, as well as migrating, waterfowl provided daily excitement and entertainment for the hunters of the Reid family. There’s little doubt that the Kentucky home was Sophie’s favorite as she matured, played with Sammy and Will, hunted with Todd, and patrolled the Reid home, alerting Amy to all who would come calling. Health problems limited Sophie’s hunting adventures but that seemed to be accepted by dog and master. Few canines have ever known such a life of luxury, love and reward.
“Folks, I really hate to leave this place,” was Sophie’s cry as the Reid family made the decision to move back to Texas. Houston again; hot weather, mosquitoes and fire ants. Oh well, it’s a dog’s life. The West University, Georgetown address would be her last home. Health, heat and physical condition would all but end her hunts with Todd and the boys; however, the tasks of newspaper retrieve and guard dog would continue to be pleasurable duties. School activities, baseball and business gave her more free time to search for food and sometimes trouble in the kitchen. Never was there a dog that loved eating more than Soph. Long walks with anyone who would mention the word were still exciting, not to mention Jessie the cat, adopted as a permanent house guest, who provided daily exercise and needed to be reminded of who was still No. 1 pet.
Sophie’s last earthly task was to train her successor, Homer. The black, part-Lab pup was an aggravation and pest at first, but as Sophie’s poor health and age became more evident, her job to teach became more apparent. Homer seemed to sense Sophie’s urgency as all animals seem to have the ability to comprehend the end. Time will be the judge of Homer as it was for Sophie.
Well, I just hope this short narrative does justice to the yellow Lab, and if dogs are allowed to write heavenly stories, “what a tale she’d tell.” In closing, it’s imperative to remind Sophie — you were a dog but fate determined that you were not to lead a dog’s life.
Larry Reid is host of “Outdoors with Larry Reid,” which airs at noon Sundays on WBGZ Radio, 1570 AM/94.3 FM.