It’s been a year since Sofie died.
Twelve months adjusting to her absence.
A full 365 days of missing her.
She’s still very much a part of our lives, so much so that she inspired one of the eleven poems I submitted for my term assessment in December.
Continue reading “A fundamental force of nature”
The current term of my creative writing programme is all about poetry. Lots of reading, critiquing, analysing, and, of course, writing. We’re being asked to write about things that move us deeply. And to share work from published writers (who I think of as ‘real‘ poets) that inspire us.
The first poem I wrote this term is about saying goodbye to Sofie. She comes to mind so clearly on the 22nd of each month: the date of her death (in February) as well as the date of her birth (in December).
Continue reading “The 22nd”
Almost exactly three years ago, a friend posted on social media about the trauma of saying goodbye to Roxy, his faithful companion of 12 years. He and his wife candidly outlined their struggles and Roxy’s, demonstrating their compassion and caring, and providing a window into the hardship of choosing to euthanise a beloved family member.
I benefited so much from their insight; it made me want to share our experience with letting Sofie go. I’ve written another post about not being ready to let her go that deals with more of the emotional stuff; this one is all about the decision.
Continue reading “How we knew”
Taking Sofie to the vet just over two weeks ago, we knew there was a possibility that we wouldn’t be bringing her home again. Intellectually we could tell that this world was becoming too much for her old bones, but our minds and our hearts weren’t syncing.
Emotionally, we weren’t prepared to not have Sofie in our lives. We still aren’t.
Continue reading “We weren’t ready to let her go”
Nowhere is the amazing transformative power of a haircut more visible than with my dog, Sofie. From sedate shaggy fluffball… to puppy-like sleek (almost scrawny!) in a few short hours.
We let her coat grow a little longer than usual to cope with the snow and cold in Calgary, but last week it warmed up a bit and Sofie’s fur started to seem like too much to manage. While she consents to being brushed (with periodic snaps at the brush), it’s certainly not her favourite activity and we weren’t able to keep up the thrice weekly grooming sessions necessary to keep her coat from matting.
So I pulled out the clippers, slipped Sofie a little Rescue Remedy, and got to shearing.
A couple hours later, an entirely new dog emerged!
After the mild trauma of a serious grooming, Sofie tends to embrace her short coat with a puppy-like attitude. Her outlook on life always seems lighter after a haircut and she appears to revel in the new sensations that come with less fur. She also rediscovers how much she loves getting pet, which leads to lots more Sofie snuggles 🙂
Unfortunately, Calgary’s weather slipped back to winter immediately after Sofie’s haircut, but the forecast is calling for warmer temperatures – and her non-fur coats to kept her toasty in the meantime!
We’ve been in Calgary for about a week and a half and are starting to adjust to the dry climate, cold temperatures, and bright sunshine. The windchill can be harsh, but actually seeing the sun in the winter (unlike the typically grey skies in Vancouver or Berlin) offsets at least some of the wintry pain. Sofie’s enjoyment of the deep snow also makes the winter weather more bearable!
Despite being shorter than the drifts, Sofie loves running through the snow – snuffling and sniffing as she goes. She usually winds up with a very icy beard and frequently needs some thawing time after we get back inside. At least she’s consented to wearing booties to ward off the worst of the cold, prevent ice balls forming on her feet, and protect her paw pads from the salt and other chemicals used to melt the ice on sidewalks and driveways.
She was baffled by the booties initially and it was hilarious watching her trying to lift up all four paws at once in protest, but after a few minutes Sofie figured them out and now lets us put them on without a fight.
Sofie’s proven herself to be pretty adaptable and has very much made herself comfortable… an inspiration to my and my husband!
Staying with my sister-in-law and her family has certainly helped with feeling like we belong. They’ve made us feel incredibly welcome and comfortable – even though we’re still half living out of duffle bags!
We’re both looking forward to really settling in – renting an apartment we’ll be in for longer than a few months, finding jobs, developing our hobbies (cycling, squash, and German lessons for him; yoga, volunteering, and a better command of French for me) and learning about our new city.
If you have any tips for Calgary, please let me know!
We’re kicking off the new year with big changes. On 1 January, we’re leaving Germany and returning to Canada. Our grown-up gap year adventure is wrapping up… and a new adventure is beginning.
Instead of returning to beautiful Vancouver or taking on Canada’s biggest metropolis (Toronto), we’re going to mix familiar and foreign (although far less foreign than Germany!) by settling in Calgary.
While neither of us have lived in Calgary before, my husband’s sister and her family live there and much of their extended family is in the province. We both lived in Edmonton (a 2 1/2 hour drive north) when we met and I’ve lived through four Albertan winters (my Northern-born husband has been through many more!), which is proof that I can survive -40º Celsius temperatures, deep snow drifts, and blinding mid-winter sun.
Gulp. That’s much more winter than I’m used to!
Mannheim is trying to help us get ready for Calgary’s winters by sending us off with snow. We woke to a wonderland of the white stuff, which made Sofie super happy. She loves the snow… and I suspect there will be lots of it waiting for us in Calgary!