Sophie was born in February 2008, in Saskatchewan, to proud golden retriever and poodle parents. She spent a happy, early puppyhood romping through open fields on a farm, near Regina, with her twin sister Sasha. At the age of one, she moved to the Edmonton area, where she spent three years in a more-urban setting, to broaden her social skills.
Sophie moved to the Yukon, in 2012, for the same reason that most of us are here—to pursue the active Yukon lifestyle. She patrolled the forest between Porter Creek and the college, covering 10 kilometres or more on some days. While some dogs have to drink out of mud puddles, Sophie had a natural spring, a flowing creek and a clear lake at her disposal. While she was never a competitive swimmer, she did enjoy wading. This introduced her to the unpredictability of swimming beavers and the ‘uncatchability’ of floating ducks.
Sophie loved being outdoors in any weather. She continued her daily patrols in dark mornings as cold as -35℃. On warmer days, she loved to roll in the snow and would come home covered. She quickly learned to adjust her “hairstyle” to the season: short in the summer, shaggy in the winter. Although she suffered from motion sickness, she did manage to travel as far afield as the Bonneville Lakes and to the top of Grey Mountain.
Like many Yukoners, Sophie enjoyed the occasional contact with wildlife: bear, moose, coyotes, foxes and martens. Birds, however, were of no particular interest to her. She developed a special preoccupation with porcupines and had several close encounters with them, from which she (and they) emerged relatively unscathed. Unfortunately (or probably, fortunately), she was always prevented from cultivating her interest in pursuing wolves.
But it was not all fun and games with Sophie; she had a serious side, too, and was involved in community activities. With her sister Sasha, she set up a vigilance training program for squirrels in her patrol area. She worked in the hospitality industry (as a greeter) and in security (as a home security guard). Unlike many of her kind, she loved welcoming small children to the door at Halloween and was never perturbed by New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Sophie was not particularly interested in partisan politics, but was polite to any door-knocking candidates who stopped by. On several occasions, she infiltrated the main YG administration building to distract public servants from their duties and have her ears scratched by members of all political parties.
Sophie was an extrovert who made friends easily with the people and dogs she met in the normal course of her duties. Young children in the neighbourhood referred to her as one of the “teddy-bear dogs” and knew her by name. She shared her spontaneous joy and non-judgmental affection with everyone. She also looked after her sister, asking politely for doors to be opened when Sasha had to go out, and for meals to be served at appropriate times.
Sophie was the “Dog Who Walked in Front.” As such, she was always first … first for supper, first out the door, first up the trail. Now she has gone on ahead one last time. After a short, swift decline, Sophie passed away quietly at home on 11 October 2018, surrounded by family, friends and much love.
Her sister Sasha (with whom she spent her whole life) and her best human friend Tim Green (to whom she taught much) miss her very much. (Not sure about the squirrels, though.)