Monday, June 16, 2014

The Legacy of Sophie Ann

Rest in Peace, Sweet Sophie Ann

Sweet Sophie Ann touched the hearts of many in the OBG family last week when a picture of her on a stark cement shelter floor appeared on Facebook with a plea to rescue her. OBG friends and family swung into action with numerous offers to help her --transport, foster and donate to her expenses.  An OBG family in Charlottesville agreed to foster her and Sophie Ann's rescue began.  Sadly, poor Sophie Ann was too sick and she went to the rainbow bridge the next day.  Her foster Mom wrote this letter to honor Sophie Ann. Thank you, Judy and Tom for opening your home to her. Rest in peace, sweet girl!

This past weekend of Father’s Day (and my birthday) was supposed to be a happy one as we hoped to welcome poor, dear Sophie Ann into our home to love her and treat her like a little princess for once in her life. We had talked about where to put her bed, her food bowl, what she might like to eat, how to introduce her to our other 4 dogs, etc. Sadly, it didn’t turn out that way. I got the call early Saturday morning that the heartbreaking decision had been made to euthanize her. As the vet examined her, more and more problems came to light, each one having its own healing time and pain to be rectified. As test results came in, it became clearer that this sweet girl would have to suffer more to have a chance at getting better - and she might not even survive the various procedures. The kindest thing seemed to let her go run free at the Rainbow Bridge to be healthy and happy once more - perhaps for the first time ever.

My husband and I were very sad about this turn of events, even though we agreed with the decision in the end. But did little Sophie Ann’s life and death stand for nothing in the big picture? Right away I knew that she had changed our lives forever. Last Wednesday when my husband came into the kitchen and asked if I wanted to take Sophie Ann (after we had seen OBG’s heart wrenching post about her that day) - I didn’t hesitate in saying “Yes!” We had discussed fostering before, but hesitated because we already had 4 wonderful dogs, all rescues (2 from OBG) and the fact that we would become ‘failed fosters’ - we would fall in love with a foster dog and adopt it. That would take us right back out of the foster service. Suddenly, with Sophie Ann, I realized being a hospice home for old and sick dogs is where we could fit in. Our 4 current dogs are very gentle, non aggressive and they have welcomed each other into the family without a problem, so we had no worries that they would be happy about this idea. The fact that we could provide love and attention to a dog which probably hadn’t had much in life, allowing it to live out its life in safety and peace and hopefully happiness, even knowing that the end might be near, was something we could do. Before Sophie Ann we had never considered being an end of life foster.

I was thrilled to see the generous outpouring of money so quickly for Sophie Ann’s immediate problems. However, just as important were those people who commented that they would take her - and there were several of them. If that feeling is not lost and they can be encouraged now to foster another dog (OBG currently has 15 dogs waiting for fosters who are now spending every day and night alone in a cage - even though being kindly treated). OBG could then take in the next dog, who at this point might not be picked up if intake is shut down because the dogs they have can’t find fosters. Those of you who volunteered for Sophie Ann could change another dog’s life forever. What better legacy could Sophie Ann leave than for a few people to step up to foster another little dog who needs a human family now?

I love the thought when people say, “You can’t make a difference, there are so many dogs” you can know that for one dog you can make all the difference.

I hope Sophie Ann’s passing so briefly through our lives and never even meeting her, she can be a small force for good in opening other hearts to fostering.

Judy and Tom Rikken
Sophie Ann’s foster parents for a few brief hours

#cockerspanielrescue #rainbowbridge #rescued


  1. This is a perfect example of "everything happens for a reason." Judy and Tom, this is so beautiful and I hope you will be able to hospice foster. You certainly have the heart. For all the others who offered to foster Sophie Ann, please consider one of the 15 currently living in cages in boarding. Thank you OBG for allowing Sophie Ann to go to the Bridge surrounded by loving, caring people.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Marion. We hope some of the other pups in need can go to foster homes soon. arline

  2. Judy and Tom Rikken ... thank you for your loving and caring hearts and the willingness to take in Sophie Ann. When I saw her picture and story, my heart ached for senior should be turned into a shelter (no way could a fur baby in her condition be a "stray" of their own volition)...they deserve to pass in the loving care of their family. then I saw how quickly everyone rallied to offer aid or a home and I was elated. This morning I awoke to the sad news of Sophie Ann's passing and the tears again started flowing. There are so many furbabies in need, those who have been surrendered, those who have strayed, those who have been cruelly treated--abused-neglected, those who have medical problems that their families are unable or unwilling to deal with , and the list goes on.....just wanted to pass on my heart felt thanks to you for your willingness to care for Sophie and others like her in need. Also want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who stepped up for Sophie, by sharing and caring.