Sire: CH Can-Cia's Rock This Town
Dam: Firestar's Tiramisu
by Bernard Atkins
This is a true story about a special dog whose memory will forever be embedded in the hearts and minds of my wife and me, our beloved Sophia.
It was a cold day in January, 2002. My wife and I got up that morning full of joy and excitement. It was the day that we were driving to Rockford to pick up our new puppy, Sophia. We fed Ginger, our older boxer, who was depressed over the loss of her companion, Lacey, our German Shepherd, due to cancer. We told Ginger that we would be back with her new companion and that she would start feeling better in no time.
We continued on our journey. After an hour and a half, we arrived at our destination. There she was, a little bundle of joy, five months old and very sweet. Sophia got acquainted with us and then proceeded to nestle herself in a whelping box of new born puppies as if she were the mother of the pups. From this simple act, we knew she would be special.
We brought Sophia out to our Jeep, along with her favorite blanket, and started our journey back to our home in Wheaton. When we arrived at home, we went into the house and introduced Sophia to Ginger. They checked each other out and immediately seemed to bond with each other. The beginning of a great friendship!! Sophia became a very loving part of our family and a wonderful companion.
My wife started training Sophia in Rally Obedience and Therapy Work. Sophia did very well in the rally ring earning two titles. She passed her Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog tests with flying colors. She made us very proud. At age 3 years old, we learned she was fatally allergic to bee and wasp stings and had cardiomyopathy. Heart medication allowed her to live a full and productive life until we lost her that sad day in October, 2008 at age seven years + two months.
Sophia not only touched her immediate family's hearts but also the hearts of all the people she visited in nursing homes, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities and rehabilitation centers. She lit up everyone's face when she walked in a room. She was truly a gift from God. She did things for people that medical professionals were unable to do. God put Sophia on this earth to make a difference in the lives of others----AND DID SHE EVER!!!!! She was an inspiration to everyone she encountered.
My wife and I loved every dog that we ever owned and were deeply hurt when death came to our door. The hurt was a little deeper when we lost Sophia. Our lives have become richer for having had her. Sophia set the example of how to love and how to open your heart and mind to be loved. We can learn so much from our pets if we just pay attention. We will never let go of our beloved Sophia and she will always be in our hearts and in our minds. She was an exceptional dog!
I would like to express a special thanks to Rose Northcutt of Shira Boxers for all of her help on that sad day in October when Sophia passed. I would also like to thank Dr. Michael Leuthy, Sophia's cardiologist, for prescribing the perfect medication that allowed us the many memorable years we spent with Sophia. Further, we would like to thank all of the people who sent e-mails, letters and cards expressing their condolences. And finally to all the people who knew and loved Sophia.
Sophia enjoyed being a therapy dog. She visited adult day care facilities, assisted living centers, nursing homes and rehabilitation hospitals. She earned the title TDIA from Therapy Dogs International, Inc. for accumulating 50 documented therapy visits. She had completed 37 additional documented visits toward her TDIAOV title when she passed. Sophia also earned the AKC Rally Obedience titles, Novice and Advanced, as well as her AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate.
Ruth & Sophia at Pet Parade for Animal Assisted Visits at DuPage Convalescent Center in Wheaton, IL, Saturday 02/18/2006
02/24/06, First Leg for Rally Novice with Qualifying Score of 98, Blackhawk KC, Chicago, IL under Judge Donna Darland handled by Ruth Atkins