When a person you love dies it's natural for other people to express sympathy. When a pet, or a furry member of the family dies some people might not empathize and wonder why you're grieving. After all it was' just a pet.' Let me tell you why our Sophie wasn't "just a pet."

Sophie came into our lives 15 years ago. She walked away from a family who didn't value her and came into our lives at the best possible time. We weren't looking for another 'pet.' Our German Shepherd loved and protected us, but Sophie needed to be with us for reasons we didn't yet see.

Sophie was a guard cat who watched over our family from the bedroom windows and alerted us to other 'strangers' approaching her house and she never let a mouse inside. In fact, she even found our lost hamster when he'd escape his habitat but never considered him dinner!

While our dog guarded the family, Sophie comforted the individual. After a stressful day at work, she'd end up on my lap; her 'motor' always running. Another day she'd sleep with my sick daughter until the fever broke. When it was time for my daughter to make her own home, Sophie moved too. She was good company for a young woman in an apartment on her own. When Sophie took an unsupervised stroll after a door had been left ajar, we thought we may never see her again. Our hearts were broken. After 36 hours, many tears, and frequent shakes of the treat canister, Sophie returned; cobwebs stuck to her whiskers and burrs from sticker bushes in her tail!

Other than the 36 hour absence, Sophie never left us. She came into our lives to take care of us instead of the opposite. We'll always remember the way she played "happy feet" next to us on a blanket, looked up at us with soulful eyes and meowed "hello" and always seemed to know when we needed her next to us. Sophie, we hope there's plenty of catnip, toys and unlimited little treats in a can wherever you are. We'll always love you!